Energy Update Week of June 23

Friends,

The Supreme Court ruled today on EPA’s tailoring rule. Our experts (Scott Segal, Jeff Holmstead and others) are digging into the details. They say that it is a mixed bag but clearly narrows the initial Mass v. EPA decision. Please call them directly for more. As well, Scott will be a guest on the Diane Rehm show tomorrow on this topic.

Well, I had a whole different beginning already thought out and half written to this introduction yesterday until that Ronaldo cross in the 94th minute.  OMG, I can’t even believe what happened and I don’t even really like watching soccer.  That game was crazy and its just too bad the US let it slip away.  In lacrosse, the kids have a saying for just dumping the ball all the way to the other end of the field: a “Gilman” clear.  In the 93rd and 94th minutes, we were just yelling “Gilman” at the TV…  Unfortunately, our voices didn’t make it all the way to the Rain Forest.  Oh well…only makes Thursday match with Germany that much more important.  The conspiracy theorists are already out saying the Germans will throw a bone to their former star player Jurgen Klinsmann.  I doubt it as there is too much pride at stake.  The US will have to earn anything they get.

Well in my world I was handling three lax tourneys for three kids while the wife was at the Firefly Festival for four days, sending audio clips, front-of-stage video and pics of the Foo Fighters, Third-Eye Blind, Weezer, Beck, Imagine Dragons and many more.  It looked to be an awesome show, although I could really tell because it is illegal to text and drive…(and I never slice).   This is a Call for any Jumpers or Graduates to tell me I’m a Loser because I don’t know Where it’s At.   You are My Hero.  Please Say it Ain’t So, but it seemed like my weekend was Everlong. I guess I should have told her How’s It Is Going to Be rather than let her just live her Semi-Charmed Life.  And you may have missed it, but Styx and Foreigner were at Jiffy Lube Live on Friday and rumor is that while looking old, they still had all their hair and rocked.

I’m in Pittsburgh today and tomorrow at the SEJ Shale reporting conference, an event for journalists that will cover the ins and outs of natgas drilling and production.  We do a facilities tour tomorrow in Washington County, PA with our friends at EQT.

On Capitol Hill, the second round of Climate discussions continues after last week’s hearings, while tomorrow, House Resources returns to its energy jobs agenda featuring Lackawanna College President Mark Volk and other educators talking about job training and programs to develop the next skilled energy workforce.

The week really started yesterday with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy selling the US Mayors on the GHG plan in Dallas.  There is word of a mixed reception to her approach despite some of the media coverage to the contrary.

Finally, it is hard to believe that we are running up to the week of July 4th, but it is next week… We likely won’t have an update as I will be on the go, chasing my daughter Hannah (who was named a Brine High School Lacrosse All-American and will playing in a 3-day national tournament) in Germantown.  It sounds really fun for her, but not so much for me who will have to run her back and forth between Germantown, DC, and Annapolis.   We will be working hard this week so call with questions.

Frank Maisano
(202) 828-5864
c. (202) 997-5932

 

IN THE NEWS

McCarthy, Scalise Move Up in House Leadership Ranks – After the fallout over Eric Cantor’s primary loss and leadership resignation, House Republicans voted on one ballot to make California Rep. Kevin McCarthy House Majority Leader and Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise the House’s chief vote counters as Majority Whip.  Our friends at Fuel Fix and Politico said winners over the elevation include Fred Upton, the GOP Energy agenda and refiners like Valero, Chevron and Shell.

GHG Rule Hits Fed Register – The EPA Rule on existing Power plants hit the Federal Register on Friday.  The comment period is up and running so send in those remarks.

Bloomberg News: Legal Questions On GHG Rule – Our friend Mark Drajem has a good story from Thursday that says within EPA’s rule is a second rule that may provide a crucial legal backstop to the plan in case the first rule for new power plants is struck down.  Many experts think the first rule for new power plants is in serious jeopardy because of the CCS provisions.  So, in case the rule is overturned, EPA’s proposed rule to cut the carbon from existing power plants was accompanied by a second, little-noticed rule that sets standards for power plants that are modified or reconstructed. While the standards for those plants can be met with little effort at coal or natural-gas units, the rule may provide a secondary legal girding for the more wide-reaching existing-plant plan.

Committee Hammer CSB – The House Oversight Committee unloaded on the Chemical Safety Board late last week, where new evidence of management failures within CBS was outlined by a Committee report.  Responsible for investigating accidents, the Board’s effectiveness has languished and its accident investigations, which are supposed to be completed within a timely manner, are behind schedule.  The Board has also been the target of an analysis by the Center for Public Integrity last year. While the board’s investigation into the 2010 Tesoro Corp. refinery fire in Anacortes, Wash., that killed seven workers was completed just last month, more than four years after the accident. Its Deepwater Horizon report, released June 5, also was four years in the making.  At the hearing, much of the backlog was blamed on poor leadership by Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso, appointed by President Obama in 2010, leading to both Chair Darrell Issa and ranking Democrat Gerry Connelly questioning whether he should consider resigning.   Former board member Beth Rosenberg resigned from her position last month, a little over a year into her five-year term. She cited the agency’s “level of dysfunction,” including what she described a widespread fear of disagreeing with management, creating a high amount of attrition.

Coal Ash Letter Ask for EPA Regs – A letter from some 85 Democrats to EPA has called for the Agency to act on a rule soon. The Democratic members called for a final coal ash rule with an enforceable federal backstop under RCRA.  It doesn’t say Subtitle C, but it describes the characteristics of such an approach.  It references both Kingston and Dan River, and is led by NC members Butterfield and Price.

House Members Target Carbon Emission Rules – Speaking of 80-something letters, roughly the same sent a letter to EPA asking for 111(d) to be rescinded in light of Congress’s previous rejection of cap/trade and the intrusiveness and cost of the rule.  Jeff Duncan led this effort and it features 84 total signers.  I can send both letters if you are interested.

PA Pushes on MTBE – Here is an oldie but goody…Pennsylvania has said it will sue oil companies over MTBE contamination. Defendants named in the MTBE lawsuit include MTBE manufacturers, gasoline refiners, marketers and distributors that together controlled virtually the entire MTBE market in Pennsylvania, the lawsuit said.  Pennsylvania is seeking to recover millions of state taxpayer dollars spent to clean up MTBE, as well as damages and penalties for marketing MTBE. The oil companies knew, or should have known, it was a potent threat to ground water.  Thought we were done with that.

Poneman Out at Energy, In at Harvard – Deputy Energy Secretary Dan Poneman, who served briefly as acting Energy secretary before Secretary Moniz took over, is leaving DOE after five years this fall. Poneman will head to Harvard University where he earned his bachelors and law degrees.

Thernstorm Pierce Hits Back on GHG Collaboration – Our friend Sam Thernstrom of the Energy Innovation Reform Project wrote for National Review on how a better, more innovation-friendly energy policy would also represent a better approach to climate policy. Sam was responding to Jonathan Chait’s June 17 piece. It is a good debate that is thoughtful.  So much better than listening to the babble for politicos on these issues.

PJM Makes Recommendation on NJ Transmission – The grid operator PJM’s staff has  recommended PSE&G’s proposal for additional transmission at the Artificial Island. This was PJM’s first competitive window after Order 1000, opening the door for incumbents and independent transmission developers to submit proposals, yet they ended up picking an incumbent’s proposal.  In doing so, the grid operator chose to ignore warnings from the States of Delaware and New Jersey over the “constructability” of PSE&G’s proposal because it’s an environmental, permitting and public opposition nightmare.  A blog post is critical of PJM’s selection of PSE&G’s proposal and very supportive of another proposal that would not have had the same constructability and NIMBY concerns because it would be buried underground and routed along road ROWs.  “Minimal sacrifice for host landowners, minimal public opposition, minimal risk, minimal time to complete.”

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

SEJ to Host Shale Reporting Seminar – The Society of Environmental Journalists, in partnership with Carnegie Mellon, will host a shale reporting education seminar at CMU today and tomorrow.  The goal of the whole event is to provide a focused group of journalists who cover shale issues with the latest/balanced info on shale issues.  On Monday, the conference will hear from academics, environmental advocates and industrial folks to discuss the many details of the current Shale boom.  The following day they will head out on a rig tour of drilling, production and compressing sites.  See more here.

FERC Commissioners to Address Regional Regulators Conference – The Mid-Atlantic Conference of Regulatory Utilities Commissioners (MACRUC) will hold its 19th Annual Education Conference today through Wednesday at the Hotel Hershey.  Speakers will include FERC Commissioners John Norris and Phil Moeller, as well as NARUC head Colette Honorable, New Jersey Natural Gas CEO Laurence Downes, Bill Colton of ExxonMobil, Walter Lynch of American Water and Exelon Utilities CEO Denis O’Brien.

McCarthy Addresses US Mayors Conference – The US Conference of Mayors closes its 82nd annual Conference today in Dallas.  Yesterday, EPA’s Gina McCarthy addressed the mayors on the new GHG rule for existing Power plants. More than 200 U.S. mayors from cities large and small focused on the economic health of the nation’s cities, transportation, education, housing, assistance to returning veterans and the minimum wage.  In addition to McCarthy, guest speakers included Maria Shriver speaking on women living near poverty, a session on sports, race and politics in America will include retired NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Sacramento Kings’ owner Vivek Ranadive and several mayors including Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA player and president of the conference.

Lovins to Address Wharton Green Forum – The Wharton DC Green Business Forum will host Amory Loving at two sessions today where he discuss topics at the intersection of business and our environment.  The first session will be at Bernstein Global Wealth Management at Noon and The City Club of Washington at 6:00 p.m.  Lovins, co-author of “Reinventing Fire,” Chief Scientist and Co-Founder of the Rocky Mountain Institute will outline how business, motivated by profit, supported by civil society, and sped by smart policy can get the U.S. completely off oil and coal by 2050, and later beyond natural gas as well in two events hosted by the Wharton Club of DC: at lunch and in the evening.  His presentation will draw upon and update ideas first described in “Reinventing Fire.” That book maps a robust path for integrating real, here-and-now, comprehensive energy solutions in four industries-transportation, buildings, electricity, and manufacturing-melding radically efficient energy use with reliable, secure, renewable energy supplies. Popular in tone and rooted in applied hope.

Forum to Look at Egypt Energy Challenges – The Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East and the Energy and Environment Program will host a two-panel event tomorrow morning on Egypt’s looming energy crisis and short term responses for energy security. Through this workshop, the Atlantic Council seeks to engage in an open collegial nonpartisan dialogue to discuss the most urgent energy needs facing Egypt’s president, Abd Al-Fattah el-Sisi and how his government can mitigate the looming crisis.  For the past two years, Egyptians have faced electricity shortages resulting in rolling black outs across the country. While this has been hard on households, the power outages have also been detrimental to industry, which is operating at only 60 to 70% of capacity, constraining an already weakened economy. The issue is not supply—Egypt’s electricity consumption is only about half of what its megawatt capacity can produce—rather, obtaining sufficient inputs. Electricity is generated mostly by using oil and gas, and depleted foreign reserves mean that the country is struggling to pay for them.  The event will explore these issues and how al-Sisi and his government can mitigate the looming crisis. The first panel, “Why Egypt is Facing an Energy Crisis: Demand vs. Supply,” will address the roots of the crisis and its impact on economic performance. The second panel, “Energy Security and Political Stability,” will tackle how these problems can be mitigated, the role of external assistance, and the effect these pressures will have on political stability.

Forum to Look at Mexico Energy Issues – The Wilson Center will hold a forum tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. on Mexico’s Energy Reform. In December 2013, Mexico passed its historic energy reform but the hard work of debating and enacting secondary legislation remains. The Mexico Institute and the Inter-American Dialogue cordially invite you to a discussion of the prospects for the secondary legislation and the key elements that should be included in the process for implementing the reforms. A panel of leading energy experts will address the challenges and opportunities for the forthcoming debate in the Mexican congress. Speakers will include Duncan Wood of the Mexico Institute, PEMEX’s Fluvio Ruíz Alarcón, Jeffrey Eppink of Enegis and Marcelo Mereles of EnergeA.

Wilson Forum to Tackle Russian, Energy – At 10:00 a.m. tomorrow, the Wilson Center will also discuss Russian, pipelines and sovereignty at a forum featuring American University’s Lucy Seybert.  Seybert examines varied approaches by Lithuania, Ukraine, the Czech Republic, and Belarus for reconciling energy needs with state sovereignty. Mapping the underlying dynamics to this tension between energy and security is important for our understanding of energy cooperation and conflict in Europe and beyond.

House Resources to Look at Education, Job Training in Energy – The House Resources Committee’s Energy panel will hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. looking at education opportunities in energy.  The discussion will center around the job creation issues and education training being provided today at colleges and schools around the country.  Speakers will include educators including Lackawanna College President Mark Volk, who spoke last month at a Newsmaker on a similar subject focused on addressing a growing skills gap in energy and manufacturing.  In 2009, Lackawanna College identified the technical human resource needs of the oil and natural gas industry – and began to position the school to take a leadership position in educating future workers according to those needs.  Now they are being considered a national model.  Other speakers include Seth Lyman of Utah State University, Marlene of McMichael of the Texas State Technical College System and Duane Hrncir of the SD School of Mines.

JEC to Look at NatGas Production – The Senate-House Joint Economic Committee will convene at a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. to examine the economic impact of increased natural gas production.  Witnesses will include Dan Yergin, UPS’s Jim Bruce, Diana Furchtgott-Roth of the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, EDF’s Elgie Holstein and Anadarko’s Charles Meloy.

Former EPA Renewable Expert to Address RPS – The Green Business Roundtable will feature a presentation by former EPA official Blaine Collison tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. on increasing the U. S. renewable energy portfolio.  The discussion will look at lessons learned and trends to watch.  Collison currently is Managing Director – Network Services at Altenex.  Altenex helps commercial and institutional energy users source voluntary renewable energy. Blaine’s role includes managing new customer origination and identifying new services for Altenex. Blaine was previously the director for the EPA’s Green Power Partnership, a nationally recognized network of over 1500 non-utility energy buyers committed to renewable energy.

Fed Maritime Commissioner to Address NatGas Roundtable – Tomorrow at Noon at the University Club, the Natural Gas Roundtable will host William Doyle, Commissioner of the Federal Maritime Commission for a presentation on natural gas, LNG, liquids, exports, transportation and the Panama Canal.  Commissioner Doyle served over a decade as an officer in the U.S. Merchant Marine, serving aboard numerous classes of vessels. Combined, Commissioner Doyle has over 20 years of experience in the transportation industry, including both the maritime and energy sectors. Throughout his career, he has held several senior executive positions in the industry.

CHP Webinar to Talk GHG Compliance – The Alliance for Industrial Efficiency is hosting a webinar tomorrow at Noon on Combine Heat and Power (CHP) as a EPA GHG 111(d) Compliance Solution.  The call will feature presentations from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and the Center for Clean Air Policy on their recent analyses about potential CHP deployment under the Clean Power Rule.

DOE Webinar Focused on Hydrogen Vehicles – DOE’s Fuel Cell Technologies Office will present a live webinar tomorrow at Noon on hydrogen fueling for current and anticipated fuel cell electric vehicles. The webinar will feature representatives from the California Energy Commission discussing their recently announced Notice of Proposed Award for 28 hydrogen fueling stations, the evaluation criteria, and the variety of competitions. In addition, representatives from Argonne National Laboratory will discuss a new tool for estimating the economic impacts of hydrogen infrastructure for early market fuel cell electric vehicles. The tool, titled JOBS and economic impacts of Hydrogen (JOBS H2), estimates the jobs, earnings, and economic output created by deploying hydrogen fueling stations.

Forum to Focus on International Negotiations – The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will host a forum tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. focused on international climate negotiations.   The solution to climate change is often framed as a series of “silver bullets” – for the United States, comprehensive domestic legislation; for the rest of the world, a major international agreement led by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The unprecedented scale and complexity of the climate challenge, however, suggests the need for a more flexible solution – “silver buckshot.”  The unprecedented scale and complexity of the climate challenge, however, suggests the need for a more flexible solution – “silver buckshot.” Smaller-scale, bottom-up alternatives to the UNFCCC process could help kick-start real progress towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This panel will explore the potential for such an alternative approach, in the domestic and global settings.  Speakers will include CNA’s Sherri Goodman, ELI’s Ruth Greenspan Bell and Columbia U’s Elke Weber.

Summit to Target Crude By Rail Issues – American Business Conferences will hold a Crude By Rail summit tomorrow and Wednesday in Houston to focus specifically on how each stakeholder can cost effectively optimize safety in their operations to restore confidence and promote reliability.  As the only crude by rail event specifically focused on optimizing safety, the Crude By Rail Safety Initiative 2014 host speakers from every key stakeholder group, including regulators, shippers, railroad operators, transloaders and refiners to quantify the cost-impacts of improving the safety of crude by rail operations.  Expert speakers will breakdown railroad strategies for improving safety and shipper strategies for crude testing, classification and transloading, provide a cost-analysis of railcar upgrades, clarify how the emerging regulatory landscape will impact each stakeholder and examine best practice emergency response and hazmat training.

IEA Expert to Address CSIS Forum – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Didier Houssin, Director of the Directorate of Sustainable Energy Policy and Technology at the IEA, on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. to present the IEA’s Energy Technology Perspectives 2014 (ETP 2014).  Starting from the premise that electricity will be an increasingly important vector in energy systems of the future, ETP 2014 takes a deep dive into actions needed to support deployment of sustainable options for generation, distribution and end-use consumption. In addition to modelling the global outlook to 2050 under different scenarios for more than 500 technology options, ETP 2014 explores the possibility of ‘pushing the limits’ in six key areas: Solar Power, Natural Gas in Low-Carbon Electricity Systems, E-mobility, Electricity Storage, Attracting Finance for Low-Carbon Generation, and Power Generation in India. Guy Caruso, Senior Adviser with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.

House Resources Panel to Look at Carbon Sequestration in Soil – The House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation will hold an oversight hearing on Wednesday  at 2:00 p.m. on increasing carbon soil sequestration on public lands.

Senate Energy to Look at Water Legislation – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Water and Power will convene a hearing on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. to examine S.1971 (“Nexus of Energy and Water for Sustainability Act of 2014”), to establish an interagency coordination committee or subcommittee with the leadership of the Department of Energy and the Department of the Interior, focused on the nexus between energy and water production, use, and efficiency.  Witnesses will include DOE’s Jonathan Pershing, Interior’s Tom Iseman, CRS’s Nicole Carter, EPRI’s Anda Ray and Mary Ann Dickenson of the Alliance for Water Efficiency.

Carbon Dioxide Enhanced Oil Recovery Featured in Hill Briefing – Experts from industry, labor and the environmental community join the National Enhanced Oil Recovery Initiative (NEORI) at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday in 385 Russell to discuss how using captured carbon dioxide for enhanced oil recovery can benefit U.S. energy production, the economy, and the environment. Speakers include former House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt, former Arkansas Sen. Tim Hutchinson, Arch Coal’s Tom Altmeyer, Hunter Johnston of Leucadia Energy, Brad Markell of the Industrial Union Council AFL-CIO,  NRDC’s John Steelman, Brad Crabtree of the Great Plains Institute and Patrick Falwell of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.

RFF Forum to Look at Climate Economic Risks – Resources for the Future will hold forum on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. to look at the economic risks of climate change. The Risky Business initiative – a project of Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Office of Hank Paulson, and Next Generation – works to answer that question. Using the best information available, the initiative outlines the range of climate futures that the United States might expect in major economic sectors and by geographic region. It also examines the likelihood of these futures and the potential economic consequences for American businesses and households. The initiative does not advocate any particular policy, industry, or personal response to climate change but instead seeks to provide government, finance, business, and household decision-makers with the information necessary to make their own risk management decisions.  At this RFF seminar, Trevor Houser, lead author of the independent risk assessment supporting the Risky Business initiative, and his colleagues will present an overview of the methods, data, original research, and key findings in the assessment.  A panel of experts will then offer additional perspectives.

AEI Forum Look at Europe, Russia Gas – The American Enterprise Institute will hold a forum on Thursday morning looking at Russia, gas and European energy security.  In the wake of Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine, energy politics are back on the front page. Even more manifest is the fact that Russian pricing and supply policies with respect to the country’s exports of natural gas are heavily influenced by foreign policy and other noneconomic considerations.  But there is little agreement on the short- and longer-term responses that would serve the energy security and other interests of European consumers of Russian natural gas, and a US policy mix furthering both European energy security and US goals remains elusive. These difficulties stem in no small part from conflicting national energy, environmental, business, and foreign policy objectives, the difficult tradeoffs among which are exacerbated by competing interests and perceptions across governments.  AEI will host a group of scholars and discuss the political and policy dimensions of European energy security in the context of Russian gas exports, and US policy alternatives.

Small Biz to Look at Energy Firms – The Small Business Committee’s Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy and Trade will hold a hearing on Thursday on the new domestic energy paradigm and the downstream challenges for small energy businesses. The purpose of the hearing is to examine the mismatch between the supplies of oil produced and the capacity of the refining sector to manufacture it into useful products. Witnesses will include Jared Blong of Midland, TX’s Octane Energy, Russell Smith Williston, ND’s Quantum Energy and our friend Kevin Book of ClearView Energy analysts.

Potential Energy DC (PEDC) and The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Technology Policy Fellowship Big Data Affinity Group will host the 2014 DC Energy and Data Summit on Friday morning.  Summit participants will have the opportunity to interact with a diverse community of technologists, policy makers, investors, entrepreneurs, and leaders in data science.  We will discuss challenges the energy industry faces today and will explore how Big Data technologies and policies could address these challenges. Summit sessions will show how entrepreneurs can utilize data science to generate compelling solutions in the energy sector, highlighting the current energy landscape as well as “leading practices” and “lessons learned” at the nexus of government and public-private partnerships.

Dingell to Address Press Club Luncheon – The National Press Club will host Rep. John Dingell, the Michigan Democrat who holds the record as the longest-serving U.S. House member ever, for his farewell address on Friday. Dingell announced he will retire at the end of his current term, having been a member of the U.S. House for 58 years, serving alongside 11 presidents. He served as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and helped pass legislation including Medicare, the Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

Forum to Look at Energy Efficiency Financing – The Alliance to Save Energy for the first in a series of Energy 2030 Congressional briefings on Tuesday, July 1st at 12:00 p.m. in 2456 Rayburn looking at perspectives on energy efficiency financing.

July 4th Holiday

NARUC Summer Meetings Set – The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ Summer Committee Meetings, one of three conferences NARUC holds each year, will take place at the Omni Dallas Hotel in Dallas, Texas, from July 13-16. The meeting will feature discussions on the top regulatory challenges across all utility sectors—water, electricity, natural gas, and telecommunications. Panels will tackle the latest developments on the Environmental Protection Agency’s landmark greenhouse gas-emissions proposals, Liquefied Natural Gas exports, Internet neutrality and the transition from traditional telephone service to IP-based networks.  Featured speakers include Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Acting Chair Cheryl LaFleur, FERC Commissioner Tony Clark, Federal Communications Commission Member Mignon Clyburn, Environmental Protection Agency Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation Janet McCabe, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration Administrator Cynthia Quarterman, Duke Energy President, CEO Lynn Good, Luminant CEO Mark McFarland, and many more.

CSIS to Host IEA Mid-Term Gas Report – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Anne-Sophie Corbeau to present the IEA’s Medium-Term Gas Market Report on Tuesday July 8th at 10:00 a.m.. The annual report, which gives a detailed analysis and five-year projections of natural gas demand, supply and trade developments, sees global demand rising by 2.2 percent per year by the end of the forecast period, compared with the 2.4 percent rate projected in last year’s outlook. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) will meet much of this demand, with new pipelines also playing a role. The Medium-Term Gas Market Report is part of a series of annual reports the IEA devotes to each of the main primary energy sources: oil, gas, coal, renewable energy and – as of last year – energy efficiency. Jane  Nakano, Fellow with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.

EIA Energy Conference to Feature Upton – The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) will hold its 2014 EIA Energy Conference on July 14th and 15th.  The EIA Energy Conference has become a premier forum for addressing energy issues in the United States and around the world. This event will bring together thought leaders from industry, government, and academia to discuss current and future challenges facing domestic and international energy markets and policymakers. The conference will feature keynote speakers including House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Fred Upton, IEA Director Maria van der Hoeven and IHS Vice Chairman Daniel Yergin, among many others.

McCabe to Address ICF Energy Breakfast –ICF hosts its July Energy Breakfast on Thursday July 17th at the National Press Club featuring EPA Air Administrator Janet McCabe.  McCabe will discuss EPA’s newly released Existing Source Performance Standards (ESPS) regulations for power plants.  The discussion will focus on how the regulations affect states, regions, companies and customers as well as are the benefits worth the costs.

EPA Public Meetings Set – EPA will Hold public Meetings in Atlanta, Denver, Washington and Pittsburgh.  The Altanta and Denver meeting will be on July 29th while DC will be July 30 and Pittsburgh on July 31st.

Annual Congressional Renewable Expo Set – The 17th annual Congressional Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency EXPO + Forum  will be held Thursday – July 31 (9:30 am – 4:30 pm) in the Cannon House Office building in cooperation with the House and Senate Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Caucuses.

 

Energy Update Week of March 17

Friends,

What a crazy couple of days we just had: 1) for you Math nerds – Pi (3.14159…) Day on Friday (brought in a tasty Apple pie); 2) for you history/literature buffs – the Ides of March on Saturday, 3) for the religious and Rainbow-haired sports fans – John 3:16 Day on Sunday; and finally today — St. Patrick’s Day, mixing a little Green with the White.  The White?  Yes, about 8 inches of snow, forcing the federal government and local schools to close again.  What to do?  How about move right to our NCAA hoops brackets…

Yes, that is right.  As of 7:00 pm or so last night, I may have received a dozen or so emails inviting me to join into the NCAA Hoop bracketology.  While I don’t promise to know all, here are a few good facts to keep in mind when picking:

1) Have a strategy that includes some surprise picks.  If you are right, that’s how you score points. There will always be upsets and Cinderellas that will shock the pool.  Keep in mind, the lowest seed ever to make a final four is an #11.

2) Pick the right #1 seeds since 14 times since NCAA expansion in 1985, 52% of the time #1 seeds have won the entire tournament.  Only once (4% of the time) have all four #1 seeds have made it to the Final Four, with only three times (12% of the time) no #1 seeds have made it to the Final Four.

3) Pay attention to coaches’ names: Since 1989, the national title has been won by a coach with an “I” in his last name 18 times. Not since 1997 (Lute Olson with Arizona) has a coach won the title without having an “I” in his first or last name. Maybe that is a sign as well since AZ is the overall #1 seed.

4) Winners are often always winners: Duke (.750) has the best winning percentage for teams playing a minimum of 20 tournament games. Others in the tournament: UCLA (.725), North Carolina (.722), Florida (.714), Kentucky (.707), Kansas (.699), Michigan State (.683) and Michigan (.672).  Picking those teams should yield some points.

5) So who to pick:  Play- in game winners: #11 – Iowa over Tennessee, #12 – NC St over Xavier, #16 – Cal Poly over TX Southern; #16 – Mt. St. Marys over Albany (that would be a better lax game).  Surprises to watch for in Round One: Dayton, Toledo, Stephen F. Austin, Harvard, Manhattan, Mercer (watch out Duke), Western Michigan.   Final Four:   South: I like the Steve Alford-led UCLA Bruins; West: Wisc should give them a game but I like Arizona; East: Mich St (too good to overlook at #4 Seed) Midwest: This one is totally up in air, but I like either Michigan or Louisville; Just don’t see WSU Shockers becoming first since ’76 IU Hoosiers to run the table.  Champs: Arizona.

At least we have a slower week this week as Congress heads home to the spring break district work period. That will give us plenty of time to get our picks done and our snow shoveled, as well as spending a good part of Thursday and Friday watching Round 1.  While it is a slow week, the Methanol Policy Forum is tomorrow at the Capitol Hill Hyatt and will feature our friend and former EPA expert Joe Cannon, former Senate Energy Chair Bennett Johnston, former NSA chief Bob MacFarlane and former Shell CEO John Hofmeister.  As well, the INGAA Foundation event slated for this morning will be rescheduled for tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. at the Press Club. Don Santa and ANGA’s Marty Durbin will discuss a new report on midstream energy infrastructure investments needed by 2035.

Finally, Congrats to my Bracewell environmental section colleagues Rich Alonso, Sandra Snyder and Tim Wilkins, who won a major victory on Friday when EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board said it wouldn’t review the air quality permit for the LaPaloma natural gas power plant in Texas after the Sierra Club raised questions about the plant’s GHG permit.   Another victory for the good guys…Call with questions.

 

Frank Maisano
(202) 828-5864
c. (202) 997-5932

 

IN THE NEWS

Landrieu, Others Push Administration on Helium Legislation Implementation – In her first official move as Chair of the Senate Energy Committee, Mary Landrieu is leading a bipartisan, bicameral inquiry with House Resources Chair Doc Hastings and ranking members Lisa Murkowski and Peter DeFazio into the US Helium program and its implementation under last year’s Helium Stewardship Act.  The legislation aimed to create more competition, increase reliability for end-users of helium, and bring in better returns for US taxpayers from sales of crude helium from the Federal Helium Reserve. In the letter to GAO, Landrieu, Murkowski, Hastings and DeFazio expressed concern about BLM’s implementation of those provisions to date–including the ability of helium purchasers to get crude helium refined (a.k.a. “tolled”).  Without the availability of tolling, it is unlikely the legislation will achieve its goal of getting more parties into the market and increasing supply reliability for end-users.  The congressional leaders are asking that GAO investigate the BLM’s plans for helium sales, enforcement of the tolling conditions developed in the Act and other general helium sales oversight.  BLM is scheduled to have a large sale of crude helium from the Reserve in August of 2014 and Congressional leaders are concerned that BLM’s current inattention to these provisions may be undercutting the interests of the government, the fair market and competition envisioned by last year’s legislation.  You can find the letter here.  Please contact my colleague Salo Zelermyer at 202-828-1718 who can help you with background and resources on the issue.

House Doctors’ Letter Raise Concerns about Health Benefits of EPA Rule – Eleven doctors in the House of Representatives signed a letter to EPA on health benefits and the EPA power plant rules.  Essentially, the letter questions whether unilateral carbon rules will produce health benefits given the global nature of the emission and the tendency of EPA to double count conventional air pollution benefits in any event.  Further, the letter reflects upon the threats to public health created by the rules because of adverse impacts on the economy, energy prices, and electric reliability.  It asks for EPA to prove of its case to the doctors.  I can forward a copy of the letter should you want to see it.

Hamilton College Says No to Activists on Divestment – Another liberal northeast college has told activists urging them to divest from fossil fuels to go pound frack sand.  After Harvard, Brown and Middlebury each told protesters no thanks to divesting their endowments from fossil fuels, New York’s liberal Hamilton College made a similar statement this week.  In a letter,  Hamilton College Trustee Investment Committee Chair Henry Bedford said that “divestment would likely entail a financial risk to the endowment, both short- and long-term. There are also other concerns, from questions about the real value of such an act to the belief that it is likely better to have a voice in corporate conversations about responsible behavior than to withdraw from them. We are sensitive too, to the widely noted difficulty of reconciling an institutional boycott of a segment of an industry with the continued use by individuals and communities of the products and services offered by that segment. But the fundamental question has to do with our responsibility to steward funds entrusted to us in support of the College’s mission, which is education…We believe it would be a violation of trust to shape our investment strategies to achieve ends other than academic.”

EPA Send HF Rule to White House – EPA sent its proposal rulemaking for hydraulic fracturing disclosure to the Office of Management and Budget for review.  The proposal will require manufacturers, producers and distributors of products used in fracturing fluids to detail their potential health and environmental hazards.   In the plan, EPA is seeking feedback on the “design and scope” of the reporting requirements under the Toxic Substances Control Act that would be included in the proposed rule. EPA to finalize the proposed rulemaking by August.  Many in industry say they are already disclosing many chemicals through state regulations and FracFocus.

Spring Brings Talk DST, Cherry Blossoms, Gas Prices – Two things we know for sure, if it’s spring, there will be talk in Washington about Daylight Savings Time and cherry Blossoms, as well as conversations about the price of gasoline.  Understanding Daylight Savings Time and Cherry Blossoms is pretty simple, but what impacts the price of gasoline is much more complicated.   There have been many stories in the press recently about factors impacting gasoline prices, many of which discuss refinery turnarounds.  In light of these stories, our friends at AFPM sat down with Chief Industry Analyst Joanne Shore to discuss seasonal factors that impact gasoline prices, and how crude oil supply and refinery turnarounds affect the price at the pump.   Watch all of the videos on our AFPM News channel, under “Fuels.”

WAPA Gala Awards New Corvette – At its Annual Gala, the Washington Automotive Press Association (WAPA) presented the Golden Gear Award to the team responsible for the development of the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. The award was accepted on the team’s behalf by Stacy Summers, District Sales Manager for Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C., for Chevrolet.   The WAPA Annual Gala, held at the National Press Club brought together auto journalists, manufacturer and industry representatives from all over the country. For nearly 30 years, WAPA has presented its Golden Gear Award to honor an individual or organization that has made an outstanding contribution to the automotive industry. Since 2009, the Golden Gear has been awarded in memory of WAPA founding member and legendary automotive journalist John Lynker. An occasional newspaper columnist and magazine contributor, Lynker anchored Washington’s WTOP radio station for more than 20 years.  Prior recipients of the Golden Gear Award include Scott Keogh of Audi; John Krafcik of Hyundai; Roger Penske; J.D. Power; Carroll Shelby; Robert Lutz of General Motors; Carlos Ghosn of Nissan; Henrik Fisker; and John W. Hetrick, designer of the patented airbag.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Methanol Forum Set – The Methanol Institute, the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security and the U.S. Energy Security Council will host the 2014 Methanol Policy Forum in Washington, D.C. tomorrow at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill.  The event will bring together industry leaders, energy policy experts, executive branch officials, Members of Congress, academics and the media to share information about methanol’s potential as a liquid transportation fuel against the backdrop of the shale gas revolution and a resurgence of domestic methanol production.  The event will kick-off with a panel of CEO’s representing the growing number of methanol producers opening plants in Louisiana, Texas and beyond. It will provide the most up-to-date information on methanol fuel blending around the globe, with experts from China, Israel, Australia and Europe. Officials from the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency will join with technology innovators to discuss how to unlock our vehicles to methanol. Plus, there will be a special luncheon discussion with members of the U.S. Energy Security Council – a “who’s who” of Washington policy leaders – on fuel choices. Speakers will include former Louisiana Sen. and Energy Committee Chair J. Bennett Johnston, former National Security Advisor, Robert McFarlane, former President of Shell John Hofmeister and former EPA official and current Fuel Freedom Foundation head Joe Cannon.

POSTPONED – Fuel Cell Forum to Look at Resiliency, Security – Today’s  weather has postponed  the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association forum at Noon in Senate Visitor Center Room 200 on the resiliency and efficiency of fuel cells and hydrogen and there impacts on energy security.  Speakers were to include Ed Cohen of Honda, Daimler’s Gwen Bluemich, Katrina Fritz of ClearEdge Power and DoE Deputy Asst. Secretary for Transportation Reuben Sarkar, among others.  The event will be rescheduled soon.

INGAA Infrastructure Report Released Tomorrow – Originally scheduled for this morning and delayed by the snow, INGAA Foundation President and CEO Don Santa, ANGA President and CEO Marty Durbin, Sunland Construction President and CEO (and INGAA Foundation Chairman) Craig Meier and representatives from ICF Consulting will brief reporters on a new report on midstream energy infrastructure investments needed by 2035. The report, released at the National Press Club at 9:00a.m. tomorrow, will include natural gas, natural gas liquids and oil pipeline midstream investments and detail jobs and economic impacts through 2035 as a result of those investments.

Forum to Look at Renewables For Poverty Reduction – The Society for International Development – Washington will hold a forum tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. on the promise of solar-powered irrigation pumps for poverty reduction.  When people have access to water and energy, poverty is reduced and life chances are significantly improved.  In its focus on the water-energy nexus for UN World Water Day on March 22, 2014, the World Water Report examines how the water and energy sectors are working together to increase energy services that will lead to major improvements in sanitation, agriculture, and economic growth in developing countries.  Called a ‘game changer’ for agricultural economies since first introduced in the mid-2000s, solar-powered pumps for irrigation are an application at the water-energy nexus that is contributing to food security, empowerment of women farmers, and poverty reduction.  Solar-powered pumps are also at the nexus of the development community, with donors, NGOs, financial institutions, and the private sector committed to developing technologies, best practices, and business models to make them a success.  Speakers will include UNEP’s Carla Friedrich, Richard Colback of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), USAID’s Renewable Energy Advisor Dr. Jeff Haeni and Bikash Pandy of Winrock International

RFF to Feature Expert on Financial, Environmental Risk – Resources for the Future will host a seminar series conversation tomorrow at 12:45 p.m. looking at a financial approach to environmental risk featuring Robert Engle.  Engle, 2003 Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences, is an expert in analyzing the movements of financial market prices and interest rates. His insights and methodologies are well known as indispensable tools for researchers and financial analysts alike. In recognition of his pioneering work, in 2003, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his research on the concept of autoregressive conditional heteroskedasticity (ARCH). He developed this method for statistical modeling of time-varying volatility and demonstrated that these techniques accurately capture the properties of many time series. Professor Engle shared the prize with Clive W.J. Granger of the University of California, San Diego.  Many of these methods are now featured on the innovative public web site, V-LAB, where daily estimates of volatilities and correlations for more than a thousand assets are available to assist in evaluating portfolio risk, asset allocation, derivative pricing, and systemic risk measures now incorporated in the NYU Stern Systemic Risk Rankings. His research has produced such innovative statistical methods as co-integration, common features, autoregressive conditional duration (ACD), CAViaR, and DCC models.

DOE’s Friedmann to Discuss Coal in US, China – Georgetown University’s Mortara Center for International Studies will hold its next Energy and Climate Policy Research Seminar on Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. looking at the future of coal in the United States and China.  Speaker Julio Friedmann, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Clean Coal in the DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy will discuss technology, policy and opportunities for coal.

On Wednesday at Noon, ABA and ACORE will hold a webinar looking at state rate/market generation planning.  Last year, two lawsuits in New Jersey and Maryland pitted traditional state planning authority against federal oversight of competitive energy markets. District courts in both states ruled that federal market oversight trumps state resource planning interests and struck down state subsidies designed to promote construction of specific gas-fired generation resources.  The Maryland and New Jersey state governments have appealed these decisions. The states want to restore their traditional role in resource planning and economic development, while the plaintiffs (primarily utilities) seek to defend the price integrity of markets run by regional transmission organizations.  The panel will address these issues and how resolution of the cases on appeal could affect the ability of States to integrate renewable energy into their generation fleets. Speakers include Craig Roach, an expert witness in both lawsuits; Steven Ferrey, an expert on cooperative federalism; and Edward Comer, who is responsible for all legal issues affecting the Edison Electric Institute.

Forum to Look at German Renewables, Coal – The Heinrich Böll Foundation will hold a forum on Wednesday at Noon looking at Germany’s effort to manage its bumpy transition to clean technology.  Apparently, environmental activists will try to explain why Germany return to coal is actually a victory for clean energy. This panel discussion will examine two countries – Germany and the United States – that are currently seeing very diverging developments in their respective coal industries before focusing on the role of international financial institution in addressing the use of coal.

Forum to Look at Fate of Arctic – The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will hold a forum on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. on the fate of the Arctic.  The Arctic is a sentinel of global warming where scientists predict and have observed the largest warming, melting and change, yet a region with planetary impact.   Join us for a discussion of the Arctic’s many changes and their implications: Environmental changes in the form of melting sea ice, greening of the Arctic tundra, migrations of species; Challenges facing indigenous people and how they are responding and coping with this changing world; and how feedbacks in the climate system may mean that the Arctic becomes more than an indicator of climate change and perhaps a source of even more greenhouse gasses.  Our panel will help sort out the science from the speculation, and guide effective decisions for the future.  The “Managing Our Planet” seminar series is developed jointly by George Mason University, the Brazil Institute and the Environmental Change and Security Program. It is based on the premise that the impacts of humanity on the environment (including natural resources) are at a planetary scale, requiring planetary-scale solutions.  Speakers will include Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk expert David Titley, National Museum of Natural History Arctic curator Igor Krupnik, USGS Research Geologist Miriam Jones and, Eastern Geology and Paleoclimate Science Center U.S. Geological Survey and George Mason University Professor of Oceanography Paul Schopf.

Wind Property Value Studies Discussed – The Energy Department will present a live webcast Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. looking at wind energy and property values.  Often a talking point for anti-wind activists, their claims have rarely ever borne true.  Carol Atkinson-Palombo, assistant professor at the University of Connecticut, will present her research from the recently released report, “Relationship Between Wind Turbines and Residential Property Values in Massachusetts.” Ben Hoen, staff research associate at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, will present findings from the report “A Spatial Hedonic Analysis of the Effects of Wind Energy Facilities on Surrounding Property Values in the United States.” Their research examined 122,000 Massachusetts real estate transactions between 1998 and 2012, and 50,000 U.S. transactions between 1996 and 2011, respectively. The authors will provide an overview of each of the report’s methods and findings and will answer questions after the presentations.

AWEA Announces Siting Seminar – Following a weather postponement, the AWEA Project Siting Seminar has been rescheduled for Wednesday and Thursday in New Orleans at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside.  The program will be a dedicated siting program that hones in on the latest strategies and information to effectively minimize siting and permitting risks while maximizing energy output.  Keynote Speaker will be USFWS Director Dan Ashe.

MD PSC Commissioner to Address Energy Breakfast – ICF International will hold its March Morning Energy Breakfast on Thursday at the National Press Club, featuring Maryland Public Service Commissioner Kelly Speakes-Backman.  Backman will address the multiplicity of challenges confronting state regulators—and Maryland in particular—in the face of a changing utility sector. Discussion topics also include today’s critical issues affecting the electricity and gas industry that state regulators need to approve before key changes can take place.

Group to Release Report on 2013-2014 State of the Future – On Thursday at Noon, the 17th State of the Future report produced by The Millennium Project – a global participatory think tank with over 50 Nodes and about 5,000 participants around the world will be released at the Wilson Center.  The Millennium Project CEO Jerome Glenn, NASA Langley Research Center Chief Scientist Dennis Bushnell and National Science Foundation Program Director Paul Werbos will explore global strategic prospects and strategies drawn from the 2013-14 State of the Future report and the online Global Futures Intelligence System.  2013-14 State of the Future’s executive summary gives an unparalleled overview of our current situation, prospects, and suggestions to build a better future, plus an annual World Report Card of where we are winning and losing, and the 2013 State of the Future Index. Chapter 1 on 15 Global Challenges provides a framework for understanding global change. Other chapters share international assessments of the causes of and solutions to the increasing problem of hidden hunger; vulnerable natural infrastructure in urban coastal zones; lone wolves and individuals making and deploying weapons of mass destruction; a presentation of the Global Futures Intelligence System, and some concluding thoughts.

Forum to Look at Oil in Amazon – On Friday at 9:00 a.m., the Wilson Center will hold a forum on oil in the Amazon, looking at local conflicts, indigenous populations and natural resources.  Author and expert Patricia Vásquez explores the potent mix of grievances, identities, and structural constraints that have given rise to conflicts between investors in the hydrocarbons sector and local communities in Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.  Over a period of fifteen years, Vásquez conducted hundreds of interviews with stakeholders on all sides, identifying short- and long-term strategies for preventing or mitigating conflict.

Wharton Green Biz Roundtable to Highlight Army Energy Issues – The Wharton Green Business Forum will hold a lunch at the National Press Club on Friday at 12:00 p.m.  featuring Richard Kidd.  Kidd, a graduate of the Yale School of Management, will summarize for the audience key aspects of the Army’s approach to energy and sustainability. He will do this first by highlighting the organization change techniques used to alter the way the Army values energy at the corporate, installation (stateside bases) and operational (combat) levels.  Also, he will provide a business operations overview of the Army’s Renewable Energy Task Force, which has created the largest renewable energy project pipeline in America by applying private sector approaches to a public sector entity. The Wharton DC Green Business Forum meets regularly with speakers in varied facets of the cleantech energy and sustainability fields to learn about new developments and business opportunities. Sponsored by the Wharton School Club of DC, announcements of upcoming events reach over 3,000 Washington area alums of Wharton, Harvard, Columbia and other top business schools, entrepreneurs and executives. Attendance at the programs is open to anyone interested in business and the environment, with advance signup recommended.

SEIA Webinar to Look at Solar Financing – On Friday at 3:00 p.m., the Solar Energy Industries Association and a panel of experts will host a webinar to discuss the fundamentals of solar financing. The webinar will focus on tax and finance structures such as inverted leases, sale leasebacks, and partnerships. Speakers will include SolarCity Senior Tax Counsel Jorge Medina, Michelle Jewett of Morrison & Foerster and Michael Bernier of Tax Credit Investment Advisory Services.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

Refiners Meeting to Hear from McChrystal, Dobbs – The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) will hold its annual meeting in Orlando next Sunday through Tuesday. The meeting is the world’s premier refining meeting, assembling key executives and technical experts from refining and marketing organizations worldwide, as well as representatives from associated industries. The general session features high profile speakers who will address current issues of widespread importance to the refining industry. During management and technical sessions, leading industry experts share valuable insights with attendees on major issues, including energy and environmental initiatives, and the latest technological developments impacting refining and petrochemical industry management and performance.  Speakers will include former Commander of U.S. and International Forces in Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal and Fox News host Lou Dobbs, among many others.

Landrieu to Hold First Hearing on Energy Exports – The Senate Energy Committee will hold new Chair Mary Landrieu’s first hearing on Tuesday March 25th focused on energy exports.

House Resources to Look at Wildlife, Energy – On Wednesday, March 26th, the House Committee on Natural Resources will hold an oversight hearing on oversight of the Obama Administration’s enforcement approach for America’s wildlife laws and its impact on domestic energy. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe will testify.

Press Club to Host Philly Mayoral Frontrunner – The National Press Club Newsmakers Committee will host Pennsylvania State Senator and leading Philadelphia Mayoral candidate Tony Williams for a newsmaker event on Wednesday, March 26th at 4:00 p.m.  Williams will discuss Pennsylvania natural gas drilling and its impacts on his urban district in terms Of job creations.  He also will discuss other important matters on his agenda including his leadership on crime issues and education/charter schools.  More on this next week.

WCEE to Honor GE, Deloitte Energy Leaders – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment will hold its 33rd Annual Woman of the Year Reception and Dinner Gala on Wednesday, March 26th at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington DC. WCEE said that its members have voted to honor Deb Frodl, Global Executive Director at GE, ecomagination as WCEE’s 2014 Woman of the Year.  Frodl leads GE’s business strategy and commitment to “accelerate innovation and growth in a resource constrained world through efficient and resilient solutions.”  Committed to encouraging the success of women in her field, Frodl also serves as Executive Champion of the Minneapolis GE Women’s Network and is a member of the Executive Steering Committee for GE Commercial Women. WCEE is also honoring Greg Aliff, Vice Chairman and Senior Partner of Energy Resources at Deloitte LLP, is WCEE’s 2014 Champion.

Chamber Women in Business Summit to Look at Challenges, Leadership – The US Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Women in Business will hold its 3rd annual summit on March 27th at the Chamber to celebrate the successes of businesswomen around the country while also discussing their unique challenges.  The summit will address the importance of finding supportive and reliable networks necessary for success, as well the common roadblocks that women face in accessing and using capital—one of the most common reasons why women’s business dreams lag in comparison to men’s.   Speakers will include Schnitzer Steel CEO Tamara Lundgren, Barnard College President Debora Spar and Kat Cole of Cinnabon, among many others.

Forum to Look at 5 Years of BC Carbon Tax Policy – Climate Desk, Climate Access, and Bloomberg BNA are partnering to present “The Carbon Tax Return: Lessons Learned From British Columbia’s First Five Years of Taxing Emissions.” A distinguished panel, preceded by a cocktail reception, will take place on Thursday, March 27 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Salon C in Vancouver, British Columbia with doors opening at 5:30p.m. PDT.  Speakers will include Spencer Chandra Herbert, Environment Critic and Member of the BC Legislative Assembly; Merran Smith, Director, director of Clean Energy Canada; Ross Beaty, Chairman Alterra Power Corp.; and Jeremy Hainsworth, contributor to Bloomberg BNA (BBNA) and the Associated Press.  Our friend Chris Moody will moderate.

McCarthy, Wellinghoff, Trade Assn Heads Headline ACORE Forum – The ACORE National Renewable Energy Policy Forum will be held on Friday March 28th in the Kennedy Caucus Room in the Russell Senate Building.  After an opening reception Thursday night at Union Station, the event will feature keynote remarks from EPA’s Gina McCarthy, discussions about policy innovations with Rep. Sander Levin and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and outlooks from trade association heads including our friends Michael McAdams of the Advance Biofuels Coalition, Ted Michaels of the Energy Recovery Council, SEIA’s Rhone Resch, AWEA’s Tom Kiernan and several others.   Finally, our friend Joe Desmond of BrightSource Energy will moderate the afternoon keynote session featuring former FERC Chair Jon Wellinghoff, Sen. Mazie Hirano and NV Energy CEO Michael Yackira.

Forum to Look at Renewables, EE Budget – Also on Friday, March 28th at 3:00 p.m. in 215 Capitol Visitor Center (House side), EESI, in partnership with the House Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus, will hold a briefing on the energy efficiency and renewable energy implications of the fiscal year (FY) 2015 budget proposal released by President Obama on March 4. The $3.9 trillion budget proposal reflects the Administration’s “all of the above” energy strategy as well as its focus on climate change, following the unveiling of the President’s Climate Action Plan in June 2013.  Speakers from the Department of Energy and the Congressional Research Service will give an overview of the budget requests for various clean energy programs, explain budget priorities, and provide context on how these priorities and trends compare to prior years. Speakers include DOE’s Jason Walsh of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, CRS Energy Policy Specialist Fred Sissine and our friend Scott Sklar.

Transportation Summit Set – The Transportation Energy Partner’s Energy Independence Summit 2014 will be held on Sunday, March 30th to Wednesday, April 2nd at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City at Reagan National Airport.  The Summit will feature educational sessions and presentations from the nation’s leading clean transportation experts on Federal funding and incentives to promote alternative fuels, vehicles and infrastructure; successful alternative fuels and vehicle projects across the country; and innovative state and local policies and programs that are advancing markets for cleaner fuels and vehicles.

Energy Bar Conference to Focus on Secure Energy – The Energy Bar Association will hold Its Annual Meeting & Conference on April 8th and 9th in Washington.  The conference will focus on the challenges of generating and delivering energy securely.

FirstEnergy CEO to Address Chamber Leadership Series – The Institute for 21st Century Energy and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation will host its CEO Leadership Series luncheon on Tuesday, April 8th at 11:30 a.m. featuring FirstEnergy President and CEO Anthony Alexander.  The electric utility industry is in a time of unprecedented change.  Alexander’s remarks will focus on some of the regulatory challenges and mandates that are making it more difficult for electric utilities to provide reliable, affordable service to customers.  He also will emphasize the importance of a national energy policy that drives economic expansion, creates jobs, and recognizes the high value that customers place on the use of electricity.

Center for Offshore Safety Holds Forum – On April 9th and 10th, the Center for Offshore Safety will hold its 2nd annual safety forum in Houston at the Westin Memorial City.  The Center is focused on promoting the highest levels of safety and environmental protection for offshore drilling, completions and production operations in deepwater Gulf of Mexico. The forum’s agenda has been created to provide an update on progress made by the Center and its cross-industry work groups. The agenda is complemented by interactive panel sessions regarding SEMS implementation and industry, auditor and regulator experiences with the recent SEMS audits. Additionally, senior leadership from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement and U.S. Coast Guard will provide keynote presentations. The forum is an excellent opportunity to gain an insight and understanding of SEMS, SEMS implementation, SEMS auditing and the work being undertaken by the COS.

INGAA Head Santa to Discuss Report – ICF International will host our friend Don Santa, President and CEO of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA), on April 17th for its April Energy Breakfast.  Santa will discuss the INGAA Foundation’s new report on dynamics and issues affecting midstream infrastructure development. The report discusses the needs for midstream pipeline infrastructure in North America through 2035 to meet the booming production of natural gas, natural gas liquids (NGL), and petroleum.

PBF, Valero Speaker to Headline Platts Conference – Platts will hold its 3rd Annual North American Refined Products conference in Houston at the Marriott West Loop on May 20th and 21st.  The event explores supply and demand for refined products from the North American PADD regions and the opportunities and challenges in those markets.  Keynote speaker will be Todd O’Malley of PBF Energy.  Other speakers will include Valero’s Richard Grissom.

Kasparov to Speak at Cato Dinner – The Cato Institute will announce its Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty at its 2014 Biennial Dinner on May 21st at the Waldorf–Astoria Hotel in New York City.  The keynote address will be presented by Garry Kasparov, former Chess champion, Russian Pro-Democracy leader and Global Human-Rights activist.  The Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty, named in honor of perhaps the greatest champion of liberty in the 20th century, is presented every other year to an individual who has made a significant contribution to advance human freedom. The prize carries a cash award of $250,000.

 

Energy Update Week of February 10

Friends,

With the Olympics kicking off, I am stuck watching as much of it as I can.  I hope you are enjoying the Winter Olympic coverage as well.  The first few days featured some great women’s hockey and lots of moguls.  I always loved skiing and was pretty good, but I just don’t get the mogul thing.  Seems way too hard and WAY too dangerous for the knees.  Anyway, more great action this week as the men’s hockey competition cranks up on Wednesday, featuring many of the NHL’s brightest stars playing for country and Gold rather than their city and Lord Stanley.  We’ll get to that later.

In case you missed it (and you may have because they released it at 4:48 on Friday), EPA has determined in a study that coal ash use in recycled materials is not a hazard.   Seems like the first step to getting to a decision that our friend Ed Felker mentioned last week in a Newsmaker interview with an industry source.  See the details below.

Several hearings on Capitol Hill this week with House Energy looking at Clean Coal programs at DOE, Senate Homeland Security hosting DHS officials on responding to severe weather and Senate Energy tackling state efficiency and renewables programs.  This morning, House Transportation will be in Charleston, WV for a field hearing on the recent chemical spill and finally, with the approval of Max Baucus to be Ambassador to China, the committee leadership swap mentioned last week (Wyden to Finance, Landrieu to Energy) has been implemented.  Montana Lt Gov. and 2014 Sen. Candidate John Walsh will be appointed to replace Baucus.  His expected Republican opponent Rep. Steve Daines (who also represents the entire state) has a war chest of $2 million and is already up with TV ads.  Many experts say it will be tightly contested and a key pick up if Republicans want to get control of the Senate.  Game On!

Some interesting action also around town as well with NARUC hosting its winter meetings and the Green Jobs, Good Jobs conference today and tomorrow.  Lots of great speakers at each event, including Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Sen. Lisa Murkowski at NARUC and Gina McCarthy, Richard Trumpka and others at GJGJ.

Finally, for those of you mired in the doldrums because of the weather, pitchers and catchers (except for A-Rod, who has the year off) are reporting to Florida or Arizona to open spring training this week. As well, college lacrosse games began this past weekend signaling the start of lacrosse season (America’s fastest growing sport).  So despite the rough winter and not many signs of relief yet, at least there are some positive signs of Spring, showing us the light at the end of a pretty long and cold winter tunnel.  Stay warm, think Spring and start paying attention to college hoops because NCAA March Madness is just around the corner.  Call with questions.

 

Frank Maisano
(202) 828-5864
c. (202) 997-5932

 

IN THE NEWS

ERCC: Cold Snap Shows Importance of Coal Utilities – The recent  blast of cold weather has had significant impacts on utilities and the power market place.  This winter has offered some hard lessons about the importance of reliable and affordable electricity, and the need for policymakers in Washington to be very careful about limiting the flexibility and diversity of our electricity generation options. EPA carbon regulations, coupled with other regulations, push the power sector away from an optimal fuel diversity necessary to best protect American consumers, households, small businesses, and communities in the event of severe cold weather. The most recent experience with the Polar Vortex provided a vivid demonstration of this fact. As the EPA seeks to finalize carbon standards, they must take electric reliability fully into account and must listen to interagency, industry and state/local input in earnest.  The cold snap has sent natural gas prices soaring, resulted in shortages of propane used to heat many homes, and has exposed the fact that without fuel flexibility our country could face serious electricity reliability problems in the future.  The Electric Reliability Coordinating Council’s Scott Segal recently issues a white paper offer some important lessons on the subject.

Increased NatGas Price Forces Utilities Hand – The paper states that “this year’s cold snap greatly increased natural gas prices, forcing electric generators to turn to emergency expensive supplementary fuel sources, such as jet fuel.  During the course of recent cold weather, data from the PJM region encompassing New York and New England have shown substantial increase in wholesale market prices as a direct result of spikes in the underlying market price for natural gas. With half of New England reliant upon natural gas, some local utilities have had to run infrequently used turbines on jet fuel to meet demand.

Propane Takes Hit Too – Segal says the cold snap has stressed the natural gas supply as well, resulting in propane shortages that threaten the safety and well-being of millions of Americans.  In turn, as natural gas flows to electric generation at high costs, the incentive to remove natural gas liquids that are necessary for America’s propane consumers decreases. As a result, there has been significant propane shortages for consumers in the Midwest, Northeast and Southeast. About 14 million Americans rely on propane for home heating.

Reliability Threatened – The cold snap has threatened electric reliability and exposed weaknesses in relying on some sources of alternative energy, according to Segal.   FERC recently noted that: “Last week, cold temperatures stressed the bulk power system with high loads, increased generator forced outages, and other challenging operating conditions….PJM filed an application with the Commission for a week-long waiver…[which] allowed PJM to engage in unit-specific review of day-ahead plans with the interstate natural gas pipelines to help ensure that adequate supplies of natural gas were available and to confirm unit availability…Wind turbines were also affected by the cold, with some wind turbine models reaching their minimum operating temperatures.”  As well, Segal adds that coal-powered generating facilities will frequently have two to three month’s supply on hand, making them particularly useful for the increased demand associated with unusually cold weather. By contrast, natural gas facilities rely on a continuous delivery of fuel by pipeline, which can be subject to interruption under the circumstances of high demand.

Nearly 90% of Coal Capacity Slated to Close Was Operating Full Out – Just last week in their earnings call, AEP leaders  said 89% of the plants slated for retirement by mid-2015 in order to comply with MATS under the EPA’s current timeline were needed at full capacity during the Polar Vortex.  They said: “When 89% of our coal capacity slated for retirement in mid-2015 is called upon and running, natural gas delivery is challenged and voltage and load reductions are occurring, it is a clear reminder that we should carefully plan and design the social safety net, we call the electric grid to meet extreme requirements, not just steady state conditions. We believe the nexus of EPA initiatives, energy market development and security threats, whether physical or cyber is a national security issue.

Fitch: Higher Natural Gas Reliance Shows US Power Vulnerability – Fitch Ratings says the recent cold spell in the northeastern U.S. underscores the vulnerability of the power sector’s natural gas supply during extreme cold weather conditions, according to. The frequency of disruptions and price spikes will likely increase in the future, particularly during periods of extreme winter weather as competing natural gas space heating demand may take precedence over natural gas as a source of fuel for electricity generation.  On-peak wholesale power prices rose to as high as $765/MWh in PJM Interconnection LLC (PJM) operated wholesale electricity markets and $510/MWh in New York as natural gas prices and electricity demand soared. PJM reported that about 4000MW of 9,000MW of forced plant outages during the polar vortex weather event were due to unavailability of natural gas. New England faced natural gas shortages for the second winter in a row.  Falling natural gas prices supported by plentiful supply and a clean-fuel profile under the existing U.S. environmental regulations to control air polluting emissions has turned natural gas as a preferred fuel for electricity generation. Natural gas-fired power plants are also critical in supporting intermittent renewable energy resources, such as wind and solar.  In the PJM operated electricity wholesale market, natural gas fired electricity generation capacity is expected to grow from about 25% of the installed megawatt capacity to about 29% of installed capacity by 2016. In 2012, natural gas was fuel on the margin in California, Texas, New England, and New York where at least 40% of electricity was generated from natural gas-fired power generation facilities. For the U.S. as a whole, natural-gas fired generation capacity will grow 10% by 2016 from 2012 levels, based on Fitch’s estimation of the planned developments.

EPA Finds Coal Ash Use Appropriate – Late Friday, EPA released its evaluation of the two largest beneficial uses of coal ash: 1) use in concrete as a substitute for portland cement, and 2) the use fluegas gypsum as a substitute for mined gypsum in wallboard. EPA’s evaluation concluded that the beneficial use of encapsulated CCRs in concrete and wallboard is appropriate because they are comparable to virgin materials or below the agency’s health and environmental benchmarks.  The study that assures the two largest uses for recycled coal ash are safe.  EPA’s report comes as the agency is facing a court-agreed deadline of Dec. 19 to finish its rulemaking process for coal ash, and considering options to regulate coal ash as either a hazardous or non-hazardous waste product.

Sankey to Join Wolfe Research – Our friend Paul Sankey is joining Wolfe Research as a Managing Director to lead Wolfe’s new Energy sector research effort. Sankey will be joined and supported by a large and talented team. His initial product will focus on Global Oil and Gas markets, with coverage of Major Oils and US Refining. Over time Sankey’s team’s coverage will extend into Oil & Gas Exploration & Production, and in due course into Oil Services & Equipment, with potential for longer term expansion into further Oil & Gas related sectors.  Sankey joins Wolfe Research after thirteen years at Deutsche Bank, where his team was consistently top ranked. Among numerous accolades, Sankey has been voted for eight consecutive years onto Institutional Investor’s All-America Research Team, with the #1 ranking in each of the past three years. He has been ranked #1 in Greenwich Associates & Bloomberg top analyst survey four times, including consecutively in the past three years.

DOE, NASCAR Push More EV Charging Stations – At the NASCAR Plaza in Charlotte, N.C. last week, officials from the Energy Department, NASCAR and Sprint Corp. announced the companies’ participation in the Department’s Workplace Charging Challenge –  a collaborative effort to increase the number of U.S. employers offering workplace charging by tenfold. The Challenge also supports the broader efforts of the Department’s EV Everywhere Grand Challenge to make plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) as affordable and convenient for the American family as gasoline-powered vehicles within the next 10 years.  As part of today’s announcement, NASCAR unveiled five Eaton Level 2 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at its Charlotte location, bringing the total number of EV charging stations to 20 across NASCAR facilities located in Daytona Beach, Concord, Charlotte and at Michigan International Speedway. The charging stations power electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles of NASCAR employees and guests. Last year, NASCAR entered a Memorandum of Understanding with the DOE to jointly promote clean, efficient energy technologies that strengthen U.S. competitiveness. NASCAR’s participation in the Workplace Charging Challenge is the latest example of these ongoing collaborative efforts to build a cleaner, more sustainable energy economy.  More than 55 employers have already committed to the Workplace Charging Challenge, including a number of NASCAR Official Partners such as 3M, Coca-Cola Company, Ford Motor Company, and General Motors. Find additional information on the Workplace Charging Challenge at www.electricvehicles.energy.gov.

Oil, Gas Jobs Up Again – Friday’s employment report from the Department of Labor showed again that jobs in the oil and gas sector rose to 206,000 employees last month, about a one percent improvement.  In addition, coal mining jobs saw a slight Increase as well.   Employment in petroleum and coal products manufacturing was up 1.4% to 112,700 jobs.   Since last year, jobs in the oil/gas sector have increased by 6.6% from January 2013.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

NARUC Winter Meetings Set – The National Assn of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) will host its Winter Meetings today to Wednesday at the Renaissance Washington Hotel.  Five U.S. senators and two cabinet secretaries will address a gathering of State utility regulators.  Sens. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Mark Pryor of Arkansas will speak during the morning general session on Tuesday, February 11th. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx delivered a keynote address at the Opening General Session this morning.  Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz will speak at the closing session on Wednesday. Dan Utech, director for Energy and Climate Change at the White House, will join Secretary Moniz. Also, EPA Air office head Janet McCabe will participate in a panel discussion on Tuesday.  Other speakers include EPRI CEO Mike Howard, Edison Electric Institute Executive Vice President of Business Operations David Owens, NRDC Energy Program Co-Director Ralph Cavanagh, and many more.  The cross-cutting agenda will feature discussions on net-neutrality, climate policy, energy efficiency, renewable energy development, gas pipeline safety, telecommunications legislative policy, and distributed generation and the smart grid, among other topics.

NARUC, FERC to Discuss Resources – In addition to the NARUC Winter meeting, the NARUC and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Sunday Morning Collaborative discussed resource adequacy issues yesterday.  Tomorrow, FERC commissioners will also join the NARUC Committees on Electricity and Energy Resources and the Environment for a joint meeting.

CSIS to Look at Oil Exports – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will hold a conference this morning at 9:30 a.m. to examine the impact of surging domestic crude oil production on the potential for changing current policy restricting crude oil exports. As the price differential between domestic and international crudes remains wide, producers have become more vocal about their desire for a less restrictive export system. Recently, leading producer appeals have been joined by calls for reform from Washington, including from Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Lisa Murkowski, and Senate Democratic ENR Committee member Mary Landrieu.   As the debate about crude oil exports heats up, many questions remain. Why have crude exports become an issue, and what are the consequences of inaction? The panelists will present their assessments of the market impact restricting or allowing crude exports.  They include our friend Kevin Book of ClearView Energy and several others

Cato to Hold Event on Oil Exports – The Cato Institute will hold a forum this morning at 10:00 a.m. on oil exports featuring former Rep. James Bacchus, International Trade Attorney Scott Lincicome and Mark Perry, Professor of Economics, University of Michigan–Flint.  Cato’s Daniel Ikenson will moderate.  , Director, Herbert A. Stiefel Center for Trade Policy Studies, Cato Institute.  A once-in-a-generation supply shock is transforming global energy markets, lowering crude oil and natural gas prices, and quickly making the United States the world’s largest producer of oil and gas. But energy politics threatens to short-circuit this American economic boom. Of immediate concern are federal regulations — in particular, discretionary export-licensing systems for natural gas and crude oil — that were implemented during the 1970s, an era of energy scarcity. By restricting exports and subjecting approvals to the whims of politicians, the current licensing systems distort energy prices and deter investment and employment in these promising sectors of the U.S. economy. They also irritate global trading partners, likely violate U.S. trade treaty obligations, and undermine other U.S. policy objectives.

Good Job, Green Jobs Conference Set – The Alliance to Save Energy will hold Its Good Jobs, Green Jobs Conference in Washington at the Washington Hilton Hotel today and tomorrow.  It is the event where jobs and the environment meet, and it will feature keynote speakers, informative workshops, and opportunities to network with people from around the country making a difference in their communities tackling climate change and creating jobs.  This year’s Conference is focused on repairing the systems Americans rely on every day. Whether getting us back and forth to work, supplying our power, keeping us safe from storms and floods, communicating with police and fire during emergencies, or ensuring the institutions where our children learn are safe and healthy, we need to repair these systems today to create quality, family-sustaining jobs, to address the threat of climate change, and to ensure the health and safety of our workplaces and our communities.  Speakers will include Gina McCarthy, Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Jeff Merkley, AFL-CIO head Richard Trumpka, NRDC’s Frances Beinecke, Sierra Club’s Michael Brune and Leo Gerard of the United Steelworkers, among others.

Forum to Look at Conservative, Environmental Issues – The R Street Institute will hold a half-day forum today at The Loft on Conservative Environmentalism. Twenty-five years after President Reagan left office, conservatives find themselves in an often bitter fight with the left over environmental policy. From green energy to the Keystone pipeline to public land management, the right and the left are frequently at odds over the best approach to secure both wise environmental stewardship and strong economic growth.   At this half-day conference, two panels will examine these questions. The first will discuss President Reagan’s environmental legacy, including the Coastal Barrier Resources Act, the 1986 Water Resources Development Act, and Reagan’s public lands designations. It will draw out the president’s guiding principles and examine the positive and negative aspects of each policy.  The second panel will discuss free-market solutions to today’s issues, including energy research, stormwater runoff, the state of the Coastal Barrier Resources System, and the Gulf Coast in the wake of the BP oil spill. How should federal and state officials think about these problems? The conference will end with a lunch keynote by environmental policy expert and Reagan historian Steven Hayward.

Bracewell to Host Environmental Symposium in Houston – Tomorrow, Bracewell & Giuliani will host a forum on environment issues in Houston.  While it will not be open to the media, it will feature B&G experts in a series of briefings and discussions about the most challenging environmental legal issues facing the energy and heavy industries today.

Markey to Speak at Film Festival on Uranium – The Heinrich Böll Foundation and the Goethe-Institute are hosting the International Uranium Film Festival in Washington DC today and tomorrow.  Climate change, energy security and demographics continue to determine the global development agenda well into the twenty-first century. At the same time, the nuclear industry portrays nuclear as a viable and secure solution to those challenges, and mining companies are constantly looking for new uranium deposits. Yet, nuclear accidents do happen, and when they do, have most devastating effects on local and regional populations. The featured movies will highlight some of those personal stories and will include the film Nuclear Savage, footage never seen before in the US.  The International Uranium Film Festival is the first festival of its kind that addresses the problems and challenges related to nuclear and radioactive issues. After premiering in Rio de Janeiro in 2011, the festival has traveled to major cities around the world, including São Paulo, Recife, Salvador & Fortaleza in Brazil; Lisbon and Porto in Portugal; Berlin and Munich in Germany; and ten major cities in India including New Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai. The festival is now – for the first time – coming to Washington DC.  Screenings will take place on three consecutive nights, followed by a panel discussion featuring film directors and policy experts, including Sen. Ed Markey.

House Energy to Look at Clean Coal Program – The House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing tomorrow on DOE’s Oversight of Energy Oversight of Clean Coal Programs. Witnesses will include DOE assistant secretary Julio Friedmann and NTEL acting director Scott Klara.

House Science Focused on Ensuring Open Science at EPA – The House Science, Space & Technology Committee’s Subcommittee on Environment will hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. looking at ensuring open Science at EPA.  Witnesses will include former bush OIRA chief and current IU Dean John Graham, Dr. Louis Anthony Cox, Jr. of NextHealth at Colorado Health Sciences Center, JHU’s Bloomberg School of Public Health professor Ellen and Raymond Keating of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.

DOE Webinar Focused on Manufacturing for Fuel Cells –The Energy Department’s Fuel Cell Technology Office will present a live webinar tomorrow at noon looking at additive manufacturing for Fuel Cells.” During this webinar, Eaton will share their experience using additive manufacturing for prototype development and Nuvera will cover recent developments in additive manufacturing for full-scale production. EERE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office will also present an overview of additive manufacturing technologies and current R&D activity being supported by the Energy Department. This webinar will be of interest to hydrogen and fuel cell manufacturers and those interested in advanced techniques for hydrogen and fuel cell component manufacturing.

Aspen Forum to look at India, US energy Cooperation – The Aspen Institute will hold a forum tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. looking at U.S. India cooperation on climate change and energy issues.  A strong strategic India-United States partnership on the policy and technical innovation pathways necessary to advance clean energy technology, resilience strategies, energy access, and multilateral development on climate change presents a unique opportunity for diplomatic and economic gains on both sides.  The moderated panel discussion will explore the future of the bilateral dialogue and collaboration between the two governments and non-state actors in both countries. WRI’s Manish Bapna moderates a panel that includes Carol Browner, CARB Chair Mary Nichols, Indian Environment Minister Suresh Prabhu and manufacturer Jamshyd Godrej.

Forum to Look at Solar Jobs – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will hold a forum on tomorrow  at 2:30 p.m. looking at the Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census 2013, which found record growth in the U.S. solar industry.  The Census, which is based on over 75,000 phone calls and emails to solar industry employers, determined that the solar industry grew at ten times the national average last year, creating 24,000 new jobs. Survey respondents cited declining equipment costs as the primary driver behind the industry’s remarkable growth and were optimistic about creating new jobs in 2014. Since the start of the annual Census in 2010, U.S. solar industry employment has increased 53 percent and now employs more than 142,000 Americans. Speakers will include Rep. Anna Eshoo, Andrea Luecke of the Solar Foundation, Amit Ronen of the GW Solar Institute and DOE’s Jason Walsh.

Moniz, The Fray to Open Ivanpah Solar Project – NRG Energy, BrightSource, Google and Bechtel will hold a grand opening of the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System on tomorrow and Wednesday  in Las Vegas.  Ivanpah, the world’s largest solar thermal project, which is located in the Mojave Desert near the California-Nevada border, uses 347,000 sunfacing mirrors to produce 392 Megawatts of electricity – enough clean energy to power more than 140,000 California homes.  The event will feature a first look at Ivanpah during the two-day event.  There will be a dinner on Wednesday followed by tour, ribbon cutting and lunch on Thursday.  U.S. Secretary of Energy Dr. Ernest Moniz will be the keynote speaker and there will be an appearance by Grammy-nominated band The Fray. Images used in the lyric video for “Love Don’t Die,” the first song released from the Fray’s album, Helios, were shot at Ivanpah.

Elliott School Program to Discuss Energy, Turkmenistan – George Washington University’s Central Asia program will host a forum tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. looking at the environment, human rights and oil development  in Turkmenistan.  Kate Watters, co-founder and Executive Director of Crude Accountability, will discuss the links between environmental and human rights violations and oil and gas development in Turkmenistan, one of the world’s most opaque and authoritarian countries. She will focus on the various responses of international financial institutions, multi-national oil companies and western governments to Turkmenistans official policies, and discuss the role of civil society in highlighting and uncovering environmental and human rights abuses.

Senate Environment to Tackle Transpo Legislation – The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works will hold a hearing on Wednesday on MAP-21 transportation reauthorization legislation.  The hearing will focus on the economic importance of maintaining Federal investments in our transportation infrastructure.  Witnesses will include US Chamber President Tom Donohue, NAM’s Jay Timmons, Richard L. Trumka of the AFL-CIO, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials president and Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary Mike Hancock and American Road and Transportation Builders Association CEO Peter Ruane.

Senate Homeland Security Looks at Extreme Weather Events – The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs will hold a hearing Wednesday on extreme weather events and the costs of not being prepared.  Witnesses will include DHS assistant Secretary for Policy David Heyman, DHS Assistant Secretary for Infrastructure Protection Caitlin Durkovich, GAO’s Mark Gaffigan, Delaware DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara,  UNH’s Paul Kirshen and Zurich Insurance’s Chief Climate Product Officer Lindene Patton.

Senate Energy to Look at State Efforts to Implement Efficiency, Renewable Policy – Sen. Al Franken will chair a Senate Energy Subcommittee hearing on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. focused on what states are doing to create jobs through innovative renewable energy and energy efficiency policies. Sen. Franken said he hopes to use the hearing as an opportunity to hear from businesses about the potential for economic growth, learn about states’ innovative energy policies, and to identify opportunities the federal government can take to support job creation and innovation at the local level.  Witnesses will include Minnesota Department of Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman, Randy Clark of NORESCO, American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy executive director Steve Nadel, Hawaii State Energy Office and Administrator of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism Mark Glick, Texas State Energy Conservation Office director Bill Taylor and Bill Rodgers, CEO of GoodCents.

CSIS to Hold Africa, Water Symposium – The Center for Strategic and International Studies will host a symposium on Thursday morning focused on opportunities for women’s access to water and clean energy in Africa. Practitioners, thought leaders, experts and policy makers will discuss and explore the opportunities in water-energy access in Africa, and give examples of successful policies and entrepreneurial ventures that are helping to increase women’s participation in, and contribution to, the water and energy sectors in Africa. The panel sessions will focus on removing barriers to women’s access to energy and water, and on harnessing opportunities at the water-energy access nexus through innovative social, impact, and for-profit investment models, and diaspora networks and platforms to establish business ventures and relationships that catalyze more investments.

Forum to Look at Drought Issues – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute will host a briefing Thursday at 2:00 p.m. In 210 Cannon examining the current and projected impacts of climate change in the Southwest and regional efforts to manage these risks. The Southwest is already the driest and hottest region in the United States, and California is in the midst of a historic drought. The draft Third National Climate Assessment (NCA) – the final version is due in March – projects that the region’s climate may become even more severe. These changes are having substantial adverse effects on the regional economy and quality of life, forcing local leaders to develop creative solutions to combat drought and other extreme conditions. How can the Southwest best address current impacts while also building climate resiliency to manage risk and foster long-term prosperity?  Speakers will include Eleanor Bastian of Rep. Diana DeGette’s office, National Park Service climate scientist Patrick Gonzalez, Chris Treese of the Colorado River District and Margaret Bowman, Acting Environment Program Director of the Walton Family Foundation.

DOE Webinar to Solicit Input on Solar Forecasting Metrics – The Energy Department’s SunShot Initiative will present a live webinar on Thursday at 3:00 p.m. on solar forecasting metrics.  During this webinar, the Department of Energy (DOE), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and IBM will describe and solicit input on preliminary statistical and economic solar forecasting metrics and on proposed processes to determine baselines and target values for the metrics. The information gathered from this webinar will enable DOE, NOAA, NCAR, and IBM to develop a stakeholder-vetted set of metrics that is expected to serve as a reference document for the solar forecasting industry and users.

CEQ’s Sutley to Address CAP Forum on Last Day – The Center for American Progress will hold a conversation with Nancy Sutley on her final day as chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality on Friday at 10:00 a.m.  After five years as President Barack Obama’s environmental policy advisor, Nancy will share her insights on the administration’s record on climate change and conservation, the president’s environmental agenda moving forward, and why the role of CEQ is more important than ever. Carol Browner will host.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

GreenBiz Forum Set for AZ – The GreenBiz Forum 2014 will be held on February 18-20th at the Montelucia Resort & Spa in Arizona.  Presented in partnership with The Sustainability Consortium and ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability, the sixth annual GreenBiz Forum defines the trends, challenges and opportunities in sustainable business now. The Forum is framed by the annual State of Green Business report, the seventh annual edition of GreenBiz’s acclaimed accounting of key sustainability metrics and trends.

RFA Conference to Tackle Challenges to Ethanol – The Renewable Fuels Association will hold the 19th annual National Ethanol Conference at the JW Marriott in Orlando, Florida on February 17th through 19th.  Among the number of issues panels and forum, on Tuesday, February 18th, Led Zeppelin 2, a premier Led Zeppelin cover band, will play at the event.

CSIS to Tackle NatGas Supply, Demand Issues – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will hold a forum on Tuesday February 18th offering a reassessment of gas supply and demand prospects as well as a discussion of the path forward. More efficient drilling, new technologies, and a deeper geological understanding have not only increased access to domestic gas resources but have also allowed for the development of an updated profile of the resource itself. The rapidly evolving nature of U.S. unconventional gas development has rendered resource estimates made only a few years ago already out of date. At the same time, opportunities for new demand growth have also increased. Yet challenges to realizing the full potential of this resource remain.

USEA to Discuss Smart Grid – The U.S. Energy Association will host a discussion on Tuesday, February 18th at 10:00 a.m. to familiarize participants with Smart Grid concepts and solutions, including Distribution Optimization, Transmission Optimization, Asset Optimization, Demand Optimization, Smart Meters and Communications, and Workforce and Engineering Design Optimization. Smart Grid industry standards efforts will be discussed, including SGIP 2.0, IEEE, CIGRE and IEC. The impact of policy on Smart Grid technology investment will be shown globally. An overview of recent Smart Grid deployments will be given, including the lessons learned.  GE Energy’s John McDonald will speak.

Discussion to Look at Political & Ethical Issues with Geo-Engineering – The George Washington University Climate and Water Security Initiatives the Elliot School will host a discussion on Tuesday, February 18th at 5:30 p.m. Elizabeth Chalecki, Visiting Research Fellow from the Stimson Center, will discuss this topic.

Panel to Look at China, Renewables – The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars China Environment Forum (CEF) together with WWF will hold a panel on Wednesday, February 19th at 9:00 a.m. that delves into china role for coal in its economy and a transition to renewables. The discussion will be anchored by a new WWF and Energy Transition Research Institute (Entri) report China’s Future Generation: Assessing the Maximum Potential for Renewable Power Sources in China to 2050 that assesses the scenarios at which China can technically transition to majority renewable electricity over the next 36 years.  The analysis shows that with existing commercially available technology and aggressive policies shifting the country away from energy-intensive industries, around 80 percent of China’s electricity generation can be met by renewable sources by 2050. The report will be released the day of this meeting and available online. The panel of industry, research, and NGO representatives will reflect on the near-term opportunities for businesses and the gaps that NGOs and other stakeholders could fill to accelerate this transition.  Our friend Ethan Zindler, Global Head of Policy Analysis of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, will be among the speakers.

Moniz to Address Press Club Luncheon – U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz will speak at the National Press Club Luncheon on Wednesday, February 19th at 12:30 p.m.  Moniz, the former MIT faculty member and this year’s designated SOTU “survivor” is wrestling with the challenges posed by unprecedented domestic supplies of energy and the demands in some quarters to push for more exports.  He will address that and many other topics.

BP Energy Outlook 2035 Released at JHU Forum – The Johns Hopkins University will host BP for the release of its annual BP Energy Outlook 2035 Wednesday, February 19th at 4:30 p.m.  Mark Finley, general manager of Global Energy Markets and U.S. Economics at BP, and Wil Kohl, founding director and senior adviser of the Energy, Resources and Environment Program at SAIS, will discuss the report.

Segal, Holmstead Featured in ELI Debate on GHG Issues – The Environmental Law Institute will host a debate on Thursday, February 20th at 12:00 p.m. regulating emissions outside the facility fenceline under Clean Air Act Section 111. Whether U.S. EPA and states can regulate emissions outside the facility fenceline is a critical factor in shaping the regulatory response to climate change using Clean Air Act Section 111. There has been much rhetoric about the ability of states and EPA to create regulatory tools such as an emissions trading of greenhouse gasses, but policy experts and professionals need a more definitive answer.  To address this topic, ELI announces its second seminar in a debate format. Loosely following an academic debate structure, two expert teams will argue the resolution, ask questions of the other side, and identify points of agreement and disagreement. Following the debate, the discussion will open to audience questions. We hope this format will help to crystallize issues and separate fact from rhetoric.  Debaters in the AFFIRMATIVE include Megan Ceronsky of EDF and NRDC’s David Doniger while debaters in the NEGATIVE will include Bracewell’s Jeffrey Holmstead and Scott Segal.

Chamber Sets Transpo Summit – On February 20th, the U.S. Chamber will gather leaders and experts from all sectors of transportation for the second annual Let’s Rebuild America Transportation Summit-Infrastructure Intersection-to examine the important role transportation infrastructure plays across major sectors of America’s economy. At the summit, presenters will explore five key infrastructure intersections-Energy, Manufacturing, Agriculture, Technology, and Healthcare-and how each sector requires well-functioning transportation infrastructure systems to realize its full potential.

Vilsack, Ag Economist Glauber, Trade Rep Froman to Headline USDA Forum – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will hold the 2014 Agricultural Outlook Forum on February 20th and 21st at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel, Arlington, Va.  Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will moderate two general session panels on the Future of Agriculture.  Speaking in the first panel will be Administrator of the U. S. Agency for International Development Rajiv Shah; President of the Produce Marketing Association Cathy Burns; and Kellee James, founder and CEO of Mercaris, a market trading platform for organic agricultural commodities.  The second panel focuses on young farmers and includes Executive Director of the Farmer Veteran Coalition Michael O’Gorman; Joanna Carraway, a young Kentucky farmer who won the 2013 Top Producer Horizon Award; Greg Wegis, who operates a 17,600-acre vegetable and nut farm in California; and the Interim Director of the National Young Farmers Coalition, Emily Oakley.  USDA’s Chief Economist Joseph Glauber will deliver the 2014 Agricultural & Foreign Trade Outlooks. The Forum’s dinner speaker will be U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman.

Steyer to Speak at Climate Leadership Conference – Leaders from business, government, academia and nonprofits will share innovative ways to address climate change through policy and business solutions at the 2014 Climate Leadership Conference February 24th to the 26th in San Diego.  Climate philanthropist Tom Steyer, EPA Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation Janet McCabe, California Air Resources Board Chairman Mary Nichols, and Penn State University climate scientist Michael Mann will be among more than 75 speakers. For more information, contact press@climateleadershipconference.org

Maisano Media Seminar Reset for February 25 – For those of you focused on media relations and policy communications, I am conducting a webinar Tuesday February 25th at 1:00 p.m. focused on creating a successful media strategies for the policy environment.  We will look at the nexus between policy communications and government affairs, as well as crisis management.  Finally, we will offer some of the tools of the trade.  We can also help you with a discount if you want to join in.

Consumers to Rollout Auto Issue at WAPA Lunch – The Washington Automotive Press Association will hold a forum at The National Press Club on Tuesday, February 26th at noon, where Consumer Reports will announce their Top Picks for 2014 and offer their insights into today’s most pressing automotive consumer and industry questions. Each spring, consumers and auto industry insiders alike look to Consumer Reports’ Auto issue for its Top Picks in cars and trucks.  From best and worst in fuel economy, safety and overall value to special tips to get the most car for the money in this economy, the issue provides the ratings, recommendations, and advice that will influence consumer purchases.  Which manufacturers are making the best cars? Consumer Reports auto issue also features its annual car brand report card that take an in-depth look at which brands offer the most for consumers combining scoring for test performance, reliability and safety across their entire product line.

Interior Sects, former WY Gov Headline CO Law Forum – The University of Colorado Law School will host the inaugural Martz Winter Symposium on February 27th and 28th in Boulder.  People from different disciplines and backgrounds will discuss the specific challenges confronting efforts to operationalize sustainability in the context of natural resource industries. The symposium will discuss the idea of sustainability and how it is taking shape in particular places and sectors; rigorously explore current efforts to re-organize certain business practices under the rubric of sustainability; and endeavor to identify practical, meaningful actions to deepen ongoing efforts to make sustainability a central tenet of our economic, social, and environmental future.  Speakers will include Jeff Bingaman, former Chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and U.S. Senator from New Mexico, Deputy Secretary of the Interior Designate Michael Connor, former Governor of Wyoming Dave Freudenthal, former Interior Secretaries Gale Norton and Ken Salazar.

CA Clean Energy Roundtable Set – The Environmental Markets Association and PG&E will hold the first Thought Leader Round Table of 2014 on Friday, February 28th in San Francisco at the offices of PG&E.   EMA’s Regional Round Tables are designed to promote open discussions between industry professionals and regulatory officials. With 30-50 attendees at each of the Round Tables, presenters and attendees come away with a new knowledge and understanding of issues and potential solutions.

AWC Speakers to Address Offshore Wind Conference in Boston – The 5th annual Green Power Offshore Wind Conference will be held in Boston, Mass on February 26th and 27th at the Hynes Conference Center.  Speakers will include AWC exec Bob Mitchell and AWC funder John Breckenridge of Bregal Energy.  Other speakers are Interior’s Tommy Beaudreau and DOE’s Dan Poneman and Peter Davidson, as well as Jim Gordon of Cape Wind, Jeff Grybowski of Deepwater and Abby Hopper of the Maryland Energy Administration.

CERA Week Set – March 3-7th will be CERA week in Houston.  CERAWeek 2014, presented by IHS Energy, will focus on the accelerating pace of change in energy markets, technologies, and geopolitics—and the emerging competitive playing field. The competitive landscape is evolving rapidly, affecting countries, companies, sources of supply, fuels for end-use markets, investment, logistics, human capital, and technological innovation. Companies face considerable risk as they seek to invest to support long-term growth.  Again, CERAWeek has a crazy list of speakers including Valero CEO Bill Klesse, Duke CEO Lynn Good, EPA’s Gina McCarthy, Energy Sect Ernie Moniz, EIA’s Adam Sieminski, Sen Energy ranking member Lisa Murkowski, BHP Billiton CEO Andrew MacKenzie, Chesapeake CEO Doug Lawler and many, many more.

Methanol Forum Set – The Methanol Institute, the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security and the U.S. Energy Security Council will host the 2014 Methanol Policy Forum in Washington, D.C. on March 18th at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill.  The event will bring together industry leaders, energy policy experts, executive branch officials, Members of Congress, academics and the media to share information about methanol’s potential as a liquid transportation fuel against the backdrop of the shale gas revolution and a resurgence of domestic methanol production.  The event will kick-off with a panel of CEO’s representing the growing number of methanol producers opening plants in Louisiana, Texas and beyond. It will provide the most up-to-date information on methanol fuel blending around the globe, with experts from China, Israel, Australia and Europe. Officials from the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency will join with technology innovators to discuss how to unlock our vehicles to methanol. Plus, there will be a special luncheon discussion with members of the U.S. Energy Security Council — a “who’s who” of Washington policy leaders — on fuel choices. Speakers will include former Louisiana Sen. and Energy Committee Chair J. Bennett Johnston, former National Security Advisor, Robert McFarlane and former President of Shell John Hofmeister.

WCEE to Honor GE, Deloitte Energy Leaders –The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment will hold its 33rd Annual Woman of the Year Reception and Dinner Gala on Wednesday, March 26th at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington DC.   WCEE said that its members have voted to honor Deb Frodl, Global Executive Director at GE, ecomagination as WCEE’s 2014 Woman of the Year.  Frodl leads GE’s business strategy and commitment to “accelerate innovation and growth in a resource constrained world through efficient and resilient solutions.”  Committed to encouraging the success of women in her field, Frodl also serves as Executive Champion of the Minneapolis GE Women’s Network and is a member of the Executive Steering Committee for GE Commercial Women.   WCEE is also honoring Greg Aliff, Vice Chairman and Senior Partner of Energy Resources at Deloitte LLP, is WCEE’s 2014 Champion.

Energy Update Week of January 13

Friends,

Last night, the Golden Globes were entertaining…And out just in time for the 11:00 news.  I thought the winners were a good mix that showed what a quality year it was for film and TV.  The funniest part of the excellent low-key hosting from Tina Fey and Amy Poehler was watching Poehler make out with Bono.  How great are the members of U2 to still be such important players on our cultural and political scene after all these years.  Pretty impressive.

Many people are focus on the chemical spill in West Virginia.  While some in the enviro community played their usual political theater, our friend David Biello at Scientific American has a terrific, matter-of-fact piece that discusses the issue and the potential hazards.

The Senate jumps back in this week with a hearing on the President’s Climate Plan on Thursday as a birthday gift to me.  While I love going to EPW to celebrate, unfortunately some of the expert witnesses are scientists like Georgia Tech’s Judy Curry, so who knows what they will be saying about the President’s Policy.  Usually, most scientists will steer clear of the policy game (in the past, Curry has tended not to be one of them).  Of course, that may be a bit of the plan for Chairwoman Boxer, if our past experience of these climate hearings bears out.

In town this week, we continue the 2014 preview events after last week’s Chamber of Commerce and API speeches.  On the docket, the US Chamber’s 21st Century Energy group will roll out Energy Works For US, its new plan to move the energy revolution forward on Wednesday.  That same day, ACCCE/Real Clear Politics holds a 2014 energy preview and Black & Veatch releases its Electricity Market Perspective in the evening.  The US Energy Assn’s State of the Energy Industry event will be at the Press Club on Thursday afternoon.   Finally, given the recent incidents, more people might be interested in the 8:30 a.m. Friday meeting hosted by DOT and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) that will look at current and future research projects.

The North American International Auto Show in Detroit opens today with previews for press, government officials before public opening tomorrow. Earlier talk is focused on EVs and lighter weight material use, such as aluminum, in additional to the usual concept cars and product lines.  Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx attends today with Vice President Biden, Commerce’s Penny Pritzker, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy attending later in the week.  Of course, they will also play a bigger role later this month when the products move to DC for the Washington Auto show, which has become the auto policy version of the Detroit Product show.   Speaking of Auto Policy, keep your eyes peeled for a BGov even next Tuesday on the subject.

 

Finally, in case you missed it last week, I am re-sending the top 14 issues for 2014.  Call with questions.

Frank Maisano
(202) 828-5864
c. (202) 997-5932

 

Top 14 Issues for ‘14

As you know, each year for the first update of the year, I highlight a number of important issues for you to put on your agenda for the year.  So here we go with the Top 14 issues for 2014:

1) Politics, Politics, Politics – In 2014, the year will be impacted greatly by the politics of the mid-term election in November.  More so than usual, there is great uncertainty about who has the advantage heading into this key year.  Expect most of the air in the room to be taken up between health care politics and continued budget battles that will play out in 2014, but there will be energy issues that invade the limelight, especially regionally and when key decisions are made like the Keystone pipeline decision and the Supreme Court’s expected Spring ruling on power plant emissions.   Conventional wisdom reminds that that Democrats are defending the majority of the vulnerable Senate seats and the mid-term of a President’s second term are usual difficult for his party, but also Congress is at all-time low approvals.

2) New Personnel Might Changes Some Minds, Approach –  1) Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu: Speaking of vulnerable Senate seats, Landrieu is among them, but the appointment on Max Baucus to be ambassador to China and Ron Wyden’s expected move to Finance might give Landrieu an early gift as chair of the Senate’s Energy Committee.   2) John Podesta: Podesta’s move to the White House to head the President’s Energy team will create some credibility that this Administration has not had to date.  While Podesta is definitely in line with the enviro community and will be their advocate, he also has significant political and process knowledge that will make him a much more powerful force than either Heather Zichal or Carol Browner.   3) FERC Chair:  With Wellinghoff out and Bins sacked, who steps up next will be another interesting question for 2014.  Look for NARUC power broker Collette Honorable of Arkansas to be at the front of the line.

3) NatGas 2014 – One of the biggest issues on the energy front this year will be the continued role of natural gas in the energy sector.  Its availability will remain the most important question, but other issues including state/federal regulations, political battles and legal fights will create additional potential problems. EIA says in a new report that Shale energy production will “continue to lift domestic supply and reshape the U.S. energy economy” and will result in near-historic levels of domestic crude oil production, higher levels of natural gas production, and dramatically reduce our reliance on imported energy.  All the more reason why we are in a better position that even just a few short years ago.

4) Key LNG Decisions – The chipping away of application approvals continues to be a steady drip despite some strong internal industry competition and opposition.  The key won’t be whether more applications are approved though.  The key for 2014 will be whether one of those already approved beats litigation and opposition to finally makes it to the finish line and starts exporting.

5) RFS: To Cut or Not to Cut – Expect this to remain an interesting talking point this year after the EPA issued a proposal to reduce the amount of ethanol.  While both sides have hammered each other for years, there are two key players to watch: environmental groups and Valero.  Valero is the largest independent refiner in the US, but also one of the largest ethanol manufacturers so they carry extra credibility.  As for enviros have never been enamored with the RFS.  For years they really looked the other way and hoped that second gen biofuels and cellulosic industries would emerge, but they haven’t.  Adding to the challenge for ethanol, the industry has lost much of its clout, both in politics and in the marketplace.  It has been some years in the making, but combined with the lack of development of the 2nd gen/cellulosic, they have lost a lot of credibility.  The politics just aren’t as favorable as they used to be for ethanol, especially since this election year doesn’t run through Iowa.

6) Keystone – Is it finally time?  That is the question.  Why this has become such a flash point for some environmental activists may be an even more important question.  Most expect the President to approve the pipeline, but look for a good cop/bad cop approach with Secretary John Kerry and a heavy dose of focus on implementing the new GHG rules, which would have a much more dramatic impact on the environment and the economy.

7) Focus on Crude Transportation – Speaking of transporting crude, given a number of incidents, expect a wider, more detailed focus on the infrastructure issues surrounding transportation of oil.  Enviro activists who have at times struggled to rally support against Keystone may be able to mainstream themselves with other enviros who have stayed in the background on the Keystone fight.  The first shot in this battle was the recent revelation from PHMSA saying that Bakken oil may be more flammable than traditional crude. (that won’t move to the top of the activists’ key talking points…oh it already has?)

8) Crude Oil Exports? – Speaking of Keystone, there is a growing debate over whether we should be exporting crude oil.  The fire was stoked by Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz when he suggested revisiting the ban on almost all oil exports.  Expect this to be a key point for the oil industry and I expect it to come up tomorrow at API’s State of the industry event.   Don’t kid yourself though: this one doesn’t break down along the typical party lines and politics 2014 (and the usual gas price increases in the summer) may ice this issue to another future time.

9) Vogtle Nuclear Success – Last year, we pegged action on some nuclear projects as a key for the future of expanding nuclear power.  While others have fallen off the radar screen, the brightest shining light continues to be Southern’s Vogtle Plant, which is currently fighting through the challenges, crossing significant milestones and will soon be at the point where we know it will happen.  Keep a close eye on Georgia, especially now that several older coal plants are also timelined to close in a few years, which makes Vogtle that much more important.

10) Loan Guarantee Successes – As I mentioned in the blurb about 60 Minutes, the DOE Loan Guarantee program will be seen in a different light after 2014.  Already, several important projects are just going on-line and will generate some real-world successes for the program.  They start with Tesla and several solar projects in California like Ivanpah.

11) PTC Deal in Larger Tax Reform – While the Production Tax Credit (PTC) expired quietly on January 1st, not much noise was made given the change in status that allows the trigger point to be “commence construction”  rather than “in-service. “  That change gave developers another year or so to finish projects already started.  But this leads to a larger question:  Will it be renewed again?  I suspect the answer is yes in the long-time tax extenders package that is expected to run along with the mandatory debt ceiling legislation which is required sometime in the first quarter of 2014 (depending on whom you ask).   Most experts think it may take the form of a longer-term phase out, maybe 4 or 5 years.  A key player to watch is Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley.

12) Impacts of Mexican Energy Reforms – Energy is the most contentious and challenging reform for the Mexican government. With declining oil revenues and increasing dependence upon imports of refined oil and gas from the United States, the Mexican government will need to significantly reform its national oil company PEMEX, as well as modify the role played by international oil and service companies. While constitutional reforms approved in December 2013 are a necessary precondition, forthcoming enabling legislation and its implementation will determine the shape and success of Mexico’s energy reforms.  And it will have an important impact on what we do here, especially in the Gulf of Mexico. The reform will open investment opportunities for American energy and service infrastructure companies seeking new energy markets as well as access to Mexico.

13) Offshore Wind Will Blow in This Year – We have been saying to watch this for a couple years now, but this IS the year for offshore wind.   With the litigation, delays and construction challenges finally getting resolved, most experts really expect that we will see our first offshore wind projects finally completed. There is no doubt that 2013 saw significant progress for the fledgling industry. With strong government leadership at the state and federal levels working together with the innovators on the front lines of the economic and technical development, we are closer than ever to really starting an entirely new industry that promises revenue, jobs and clean energy, all in one.  This year will finally be time to get a project in Rhode Island, Delaware or New Jersey or Massachusetts in the water and operating.

14) The Biggest and Most Important: GHG regulations – This will be the epic battle of 2014.  So much to say…  This will not be resolved this year, but nearly every fight starts with this issue.  This year will feature the released draft rule, the comment period and more EPA hearings.  It is also expected to have the release of rules for existing plants (one year from the President’s Summer 2013 Georgetown Speech).  Most experts say the challenges will be much more difficult, more costly and legally questionable.   They also say the timelines may have to slip, especially in a tough political year.  Finally, as stated earlier, the SCOTUS decision on the Cross State pollution rule will also have an impact.

 

IN THE NEWS

Rockefeller, Wyden Look for Rail Investigation on Oil Incidents – In the wake of a series of explosive train derailments containing crude oil – including two in the last two weeks – Chairman Rockefeller (Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation) and Chairman Wyden (Senate Committee on Energy) wrote a letter to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz urging prompt and decisive action on crude oil transportation.  In the letter, Rockefeller and Wyden request the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Department of Energy (DOE) begin an investigation to thoroughly understand the current and future volumes of crude oil that will be shipped on railroads; evaluate the crudes to understand whether they require special precautions and handling; evaluate and update safety requirements to ensure they adequately address the risks of carrying crude oil and finalize DOT’s rule implementing the rail risk reduction program that was signed into law in 2008.

Vogtle Plant Video on Mother Nature Network – I mentioned Vogtle above in the Top 14 in ’14 as being essential to the future of nuclear power.  That being said, Southern Company and Mother Nature Network have collaborated on a video highlighting the size and scope of the Vogtle 3 and 4 project.  When completed, the Vogtle complex will be the largest nuclear generating station in the US. Walking across it will be equivalent to walking from the Washington monument to the Lincoln Memorial.  It runs for about two minutes and has a really great narrator…

UK Looking to NatGas Drilling –The French oil giant Total is on the verge of becoming the first major oil company to explore for natural gas and oil in shale rock in Britain. Under the deal, which may be announced as soon as today, Total would commit about $50 million for a roughly 40% stake in licenses held by a group of companies.  I know this won’t surprise you, but the Bracewell London Office has some of the best natgas experts in the region who are very familiar with what is happening in Britain.  I can connect you if you are interested or look here for Jason Fox, Olivia Caddy and several others.

Solar Glass Half Full, Half Empty – The LA Times’ Julie Cart has another piece today hitting the solar industry this time over the pace of utility project development.  Citing the uncertainty of the future of federal tax credits and the cost of solar power, Cart says development of big solar projects have slowed to a standstill.  While acknowledging several major projects coming on-line this year (including the innovative CSP Ivanpah project) she still strings together a number of separate facts to fit her thesis.  But while the LA Times highlights supposed woes, the business network CNBC has a very different take saying  even as the U.S. churns out more fossil fuels, evidence abounds that alternative energy in general—and solar in particular—is staging a comeback of sorts.  CNBC: “Observers credit an increase in solar capacity, falling photovoltaic (PV) costs and the extension of tax credits for renewable energy for the sector’s revival.  Rather than mounting a competitive threat to oil and gas, solar energy is instead carving a niche in creating electricity, experts say.”   The story goes on to highlight how the solar revival is sending solar stocks on a tear.  It even uses some of the same Cart stats about utility use of solar slowing.  But just shows whether you are looking at the glass half full or half empty, it matters in how you view the larger picture.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

PA NatGas Public Hearings to Look at Court Ruling, Regs – On the heels of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s recent decision that struck down key portions of the state’s oil and gas law, the PA Environmental Quality Board is holding public hearings throughout the state to accept public comment on proposed new regulations for oil and gas development in Pennsylvania. The new regulations will significantly shape PA DEP’s actions on oil and gas activities. The first hearing was last Thursday in West Chester, and tonight, there will be a hearing in Williamsport, with two others on Wednesday and Thursday in Crawford County and Cumberland County respectively.  A complete listing of hearing dates and locations, as well as other information, can be found here.

Detroit Auto Show Rolls Again after New Year – Just like the sun rising, a New Year means important college football games and the roll out of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit launches Monday through January 26th.  Now in its 26th year as an international event, the NAIAS is among the most prestigious auto shows in the world, providing unparalleled access to the automotive products, people and ideas that matter most – up close and in one place.

House Committee to Focus on Transpo Bill – The House Transportation Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow to look at building the foundation for surface transportation reauthorization.

Whitfield, Manchin GHG Legislation Gets to House Energy Mark Up – The Energy and Commerce Committee’s Energy and Power Subcommittee will mark up legislation from Chairman Whitfield and Sen. Joe Manchin that targets EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations.

NSF Meeting to Focus on Science, Math – National Science Foundation will hold a meeting tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. of the Advisory Committee for Mathematical and Physical Sciences to study data, programs, policies, and other information pertinent to the National Science Foundation and to provide advice and recommendations concerning research in mathematics and physical sciences.

BPC Forum to Look at Ukraine – The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) will hold a discussion tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. on Ukraine democracy, geopolitics, economics and energy.  Our friend and former Undersecretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky will speak along with Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to the United States Ryszard Schnepf and Angela Stent, director of the Center for Eurasian Russian & East European Studies at Georgetown University.

Brookings Event to Look at US, Japan Energy – The Energy Security Initiative at Brookings will host a discussion tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. on the overall energy security implications for Japan resulting from the hydrocarbon “renaissance” in the U.S. Panelists will include Mikkal Herberg, research director in the Energy Security Program of the National Bureau of Asian Research; James Jensen, principal of Jensen Associates, Inc.; Hidehiro Muramatsu, general manager of the Washington Office of Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation; and Shoichi Itoh, senior researcher of the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan. Senior Fellow Charles Ebinger, director of the Energy Security Initiative, will provide introductory remarks and moderate the discussion.

MIT Grid Series Continues – The MIT Club of Washington will continue its US electric grid series tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. featuring Western Electricity Coordinating Council Synchrophasor Program Manager Vickie VanZandt.  A modernized grid enables the use of renewables, which are part of the strategy to reduce the reliance on fossil fuels and reduce our carbon footprint. The discussion will focus on how the grid will incorporate the diversity of sources that may arise from our research into distributed production techniques and renewable energy possibilities.

Chamber Energy Group to Roll out Agenda – The US Chamber’s 21st Century Energy Institute will roll out its 2014 agenda on Wednesday morning.

ACCCE, RCP to Host Energy Policy Event – The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) and Real Clear Politics will host an event on Wednesday at Noon at the Newseum looking the road ahead on U.S. Energy Policy.  The event features a keynote by Senator Joe Manchin, and a panel discussion moderated by Carl Cannon of Real Clear Politics. Panelists will be Ross Eisenberg of the National Association of Manufacturers, Daniel Kish of the Institute for Energy Research, Peter Ogden of the Center for American Progress and William Yeatman of the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Webinar to Tackle Key Energy Issues for 2035 – Energy Outlook 2035 webinar will be held Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. The Energy Outlook 2035 examines the wider debate on global energy issues by asking key questions.

UN Climate Chief to Address Investor Action – Global financial leaders gather in New York at the United Nations to discuss climate change and investor actions that are needed to mitigate economic risks Wednesday.  At 1:00, they will hold a news conference to discuss the agenda.  Among those speaking will be UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres and Bloomberg New Energy Finance President Michael Liebreich.

B&V to Release 2014 Energy Market Perspective – Black & Veatch holds a briefing on Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. at the National Press Club to preview the 2014 Energy Market Perspective. The report provides an integrated long term outlook of the U.S. energy market.  Dean Oskvig, CEO of Black & Veatch, will speak.

World Bank to Hold Transportation Conference – The World Bank and EMBARQ, the sustainable transport program of the World Resources Institute, will co-host the 11th annual Transforming Transportation conference at the World Bank in Washington, DC on Thursday and Friday.  The event provides a unique opportunity for the global transport community to discuss how to achieve large-scale and widespread adoption of sustainable solutions.  This year’s conference will look at opportunities for business to help advance the sustainable transport agenda for cities.

AGA to Release New NatGas Study – On Thursday at 9:30 a.m., the American Gas Association will release a new IHS CERA study on the availability of domestic natural gas and its impact on consumers, businesses and industries.   AGA President Dave McCurdy, Chris Johns of Pacific Gas & Electric and IHS CERA gas/coal/renewables expert Tim Gardner.    The event will be held at 101 Constitution Ave.

Senate Environment to Look at Climate Plan – The Senate Environment Committee will hold a hearing on Thursday at 9:15 a.m. looking at the President’s Climate Action Plan.  Panel one witnesses will include EPA’s Gina McCarthy, CEQ Chair Nancy Sutley, GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini and Dan Ashe, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  On panel two, witnesses include former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter (who directs Colorado State’s Center for the New Economy, Andrew Dessler of Texas A&M, NRDC’s Dan Lashof, Georgia Tech’s Judy Curry and Kathleen Hartnett White of the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

Senate Banking to Look at MAP 21, Pubic Transportation – The Senate Banking Committee will meet in open session to hold a hearing on Thursday at January 16th at 10:00 a.m., providing a progress report on public transportation under MAP-21.  Witnesses will include Federal Transit Administration Administrator Peter Rogoff and GAO’s Director of the Physical Infrastructure Team, David Wise.

USEA to Host State of Energy – On Thursday starting at Noon, the US Energy Association will host its 10th Annual State of the Energy Industry Forum at the National Press Club.  Distinguished leaders from the most influential and active energy trade associations will present the priorities, issues, trends, and challenges affecting the industry in 2014.  See more here.

Brookings to Look at Mexico Energy Reform – The Brookings Institution will host a forum on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. in the Falk Auditorium to look at the future of energy reform in Mexico.  Energy is the most contentious and challenging reform for the Mexican government.  Accordingly, the Latin America Initiative and the Energy Security Initiative at Brookings will host Dr. Fluvio Ruiz Alarcón, professional counselor (independent director) on the executive board of PEMEX, for a discussion on the opportunities and challenges facing the Mexican government as it moves towards introducing future reforms. Dr. Ruiz Alarcón will be joined by Arturo Sarukhan, former Mexican ambassador to the U.S. and distinguished affiliate at Brookings. LAI Director and Senior Fellow Harold Trinkunas will provide introductory remarks and moderate the discussion.

McGinn to Focus on Powering Navy Energy Future – On Thursday at 3:30 p.m. at the U.S. Naval Heritage Center, Dennis McGinn will discuss what steps can be taken to enhance the department’s energy posture and improve operational effectiveness.  McGinn was recently confirmed as the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations, and the Environment.

Transportation, PHMSA Meeting Set to Look at Future Research – Given the recent incidents, more people might be interested in the 8:30 Friday meeting hosted by the Transportation Department (DOT); Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) that will present the results of recently completed and current research projects and to solicit comments relative to potential new research projects which may be considered for inclusion in its future work.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

WCEE Forum to Look at Stakeholder Involvement – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment and the National Capital Area Chapter of the Society for Risk Analysis will hold a forum on Monday, January 20th at 5:30 p.m. on stakeholder’s involvement through scientific reasoning.  José Palma-Oliveira, Ph.D., University of Lisbon will be the speaker.  Palma-Oliveira will focus on ways to help stakeholders without using risk communications.  The way risk communication is usually conceptualized and implemented has stakeholder persuasion as its main focus. This has failed in many cases resulting in significant stakeholder unease and stress. This talk will focus on alternative approaches of bringing stakeholders on board in projects where risk is a significant driver for decision.

EPA Science Committee Meeting Set to Discuss GHG Concerns – EPA’s Science Advisory Board will hold a teleconference on Tuesday January 21st from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. to conclude its discussion about questions board members had about the science backing EPA’s proposed greenhouse regulations for new power plants.  Late last year, the SAB raised concerns about whether EPA appropriately reviewed the issue before deciding that carbon capture and sequestration is commercially available for new coal-fired power plants.  House Science Chair Lamar Smith and other committee members highlighted the problems in a recent letter to EPA Administrator McCarthy.  Specifically, the Committee members pointed out that any EPA rule requiring the capture of carbon must address where the carbon is stored.

BGov to Hold Auto Policy Briefing – Bloomberg Government will hold Its 2014 Auto Policy Briefing on Tuesday, January 21st at 8:00 a.m.  American auto sales last year were the highest since 2007, but 2014 will bring new challenges and opportunities, especially on the regulatory front. From fuel-economy standards and infrastructure spending to the prospect of improved export opportunities through new trade deals, policymakers in Washington will have a major impact on the course of the U.S. auto industry.  BGov analysts will offer a detailed look at the policy and regulatory issues facing this important industry in 2014.

Early Stage Tech Webinar Set – ARPA-E will hold a webinar on Tuesday January 21st at 1:00 p.m. that will identify path to market for early-stage technologies.  In early 2013, ARPA-E partnered with NSF for a pilot program that put several ARPA-E project teams through the rigorous I-Corps program curriculum. I-Corps guides applied research teams through an iterative customer and business model discovery process aimed at identifying a path to market for early-stage technologies. Join us for an informative discussion about the i-Corps process and its value to researchers.  ARPA-E Program Director and Senior Commercialization Advisor Dr. Ilan Gur will moderate a session featuring first-hand accounts by Dr. Anita LaSalle, NSF I-Corps Program Officer, and Sri Narayan, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Southern California and recent I-Corps graduate.

Policy Auto Show Locked In, Ford COO to Keynote – Following Detroit, the Washington Auto Show, the automotive industry’s annual public policy show and the largest public show held in Washington, D.C., will be held on January 22nd through February 2nd.  This year, Mark Fields, chief operating officer of Ford Motor Company, will deliver the keynote address at the Newsmaker Breakfast on Wednesday to launch the event.  The Newsmaker Breakfast – co-sponsored by Washington Automotive Press Association (WAPA) and the International Motor Press Association (IMPA) – is part of the show’s Public Policy Days. The breakfast follows the Policy Days’ kickoff event on Capitol Hill. For more information about The Washington Auto Show, please visit www.washingtonautoshow.com

DOE’s Kenderdine Addresses ICF Breakfast Series – ICF International’s Energy Breakfast Series continues on Thursday, January 23rd at 8:00 a.m. when it hosts DOE’s Melanie A. Kenderdine as the keynote speaker.

Iowa to Hold Public Session on EPA Ethanol Regs – Gov. Terry Branstad is hosting a public hearing on Thursday, January 23rd in Des Moines to give Iowa citizens a chance to comment on the EPA proposal that would reduce the amount of ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply.  Wonder what they’ll say?

BPC to Look at Arctic Oil Issues – The Bipartisan Policy Center will hold a forum on Thursday, January 23rd at the Washington Court Hotel focused on navigating the oil frontier that will focus on the implications of the tight oil boom on Arctic and ultra-deepwater oil development. The topics include disaster response and spill cleanup, Arctic climate change adaptation, and the specific challenges of the Arctic’s unique geology and environment.

WRI to Look ay On-Grid Renewable Resources – The World Resources Institute will launch the first publication in the 10 Questions to Ask series on Thursday January 23rd at 4:30 p.m. The “10 Questions to Ask About Scaling On-Grid Renewable Energy” is a framework designed to facilitate multi-stakeholder engagement for improving renewable energy policy. The authors will present the framework, and WRI partners from India, Brazil, South Africa and Kyrgyzstan will discuss its relevance to their respective countries. A wine reception will follow.  By the end of 2012, 138 countries worldwide had introduced renewable energy (RE) targets, and investments in new RE capacity totaled US$244 billion that year. Globally, RE is gaining momentum, with over 480 gigawatts (GW) of installed renewable power capacity. RE is now at the forefront of many national energy development plans.  The progress made in many countries has also highlighted the complexities of increasing the rate of RE deployment at the national level. Deploying renewable energy on an economy-wide scale requires solutions to a range of short- medium- and long-term challenges. These include resolving economic questions about how the costs of new RE generation will be distributed among electricity consumers, investors, taxpayers, and other stakeholders, and technological challenges such as accommodating intermittent supply, upgrading or adding transmission and distribution grids, and addressing knowledge gaps.  Speakers will include report authors Davida Wood and Sarah Martin of WRI and Shantanu Dixit of Prayas Energy Group, India.

SEJ to Host Forum to Look at Year Ahead in Energy, Environment – The Society of Environmental Journalists, the Wilson Center and the Global Sustainability and Resilience Program will host a panel on Friday, January 24th at 3:00 p.m. at the Wilson Center to look at the year ahead in environmental and energy issues. A panel of veteran journalists will offer their thoughts on what will be the biggest environment and energy stories in the U.S. and around the world. Bloomberg BNA’s Larry Pearl will kick off the discussion with an overview of the key legislative, regulatory, and legal developments expected in 2014, followed by a roundtable with six top journalists covering local, national, and international environmental issues.  Others panelists will include Douglas Fischer of The Daily Climate, NYT’s Coral Davenport, Dennis Dimick of National Geographic Magazine, The Guardian’s Suzanne Goldenberg, Cheryl Hogue of Chemical & Engineering News and Andy Revkin, New York Times Environmental Blogger (Dot Earth) and Pace University Journalism professor.

Energy Summit Set – The 2014 American Energy Summit will be held on January 27 – 28, 2014 in Arlington, Virginia and will focus on the hundreds of billions of dollars being spent on new energy projects by the federal government, state and local governments, and by private industry.

STATE OF THE UNION, January 28th – President Obama will deliver his State of the Union Address to Congress on Tuesday, January 28th.  While healthcare and job creation are expected to get top billing, Energy is expected to play a prominent role.

SNL Conference On Energy M&A Set for NYC – SNL Energy’s 27th Annual Exnet Power and Gas M&A Symposium – an national energy conference will be held on January 28th and 29th  at the Ritz-Carlton in New York.  The Symposium is the annual go-to event for industry executives, as well as financial and legal advisors who are concerned with strategic planning, business development and the economics of the sector. The speakers and audience are comprised of industry decision-makers, plus heads of power and utility practices at leading investment banks, law firms and consultancies.

Maisano to Headline Media Seminar – For those of you focused on media relations and policy communications, I will be participating in a webinar on February 4th focused on creating a successful media strategies for the policy environment.  We will look at the nexus between policy communications and government affairs, as well as crisis management.  Finally, we will offer some of the tools of the trade.  We can also help you with a discount if you want to join in.

Bracewell to Host Environmental Symposium in Houston – On February 11th, Bracewell & Giuliani will host a forum on environment issues in Houston.  More on this in the upcoming weeks.  While it will not be open to the media, it will feature B&G experts in a series of briefings and discussions about the most challenging environmental legal issues facing the energy and heavy industries today.

Chamber Sets Transpo Summit – On February 20, the U.S. Chamber will gather leaders and experts from all sectors of transportation for the second annual Let’s Rebuild America Transportation Summit-Infrastructure Intersection-to examine the important role transportation infrastructure plays across major sectors of America’s economy. At the summit, presenters will explore five key infrastructure intersections-Energy, Manufacturing, Agriculture, Technology, and Healthcare-and how each sector requires well-functioning transportation infrastructure systems to realize its full potential.

Vilsack, Ag Economist Glauber, Trade Rep Froman to Headline USDA Forum – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will hold the 2014 Agricultural Outlook Forum on February 20th and 21st at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel, Arlington, Va.  Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will moderate two general session panels on the Future of Agriculture.  Speaking in the first panel will be Administrator of the U. S. Agency for International Development Rajiv Shah; President of the Produce Marketing Association Cathy Burns; and Kellee James, founder and CEO of Mercaris, a market trading platform for organic agricultural commodities.  The second panel focuses on young farmers and includes Executive Director of the Farmer Veteran Coalition Michael O’Gorman; Joanna Carraway, a young Kentucky farmer who won the 2013 Top Producer Horizon Award; Greg Wegis, who operates a 17,600-acre vegetable and nut farm in California; and the Interim Director of the National Young Farmers Coalition, Emily Oakley.  USDA’s Chief Economist Joseph Glauber will deliver the 2014 Agricultural & Foreign Trade Outlooks. The Forum’s dinner speaker will be U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman.

Methanol Forum Set – The Methanol Institute, the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security and the U.S. Energy Security Council will host the 2014 Methanol Policy Forum in Washington, D.C. on March 18th at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill.  The event will bring together industry leaders, energy policy experts, executive branch officials, Members of Congress, academics and the media to share information about methanol’s potential as a liquid transportation fuel. Against the backdrop of the shale gas revolution and a resurgence of domestic methanol production.  The event will kick-off with a panel of CEO’s representing the growing number of methanol producers opening plants in Louisiana, Texas and beyond. It will provide the most up-to-date information on methanol fuel blending around the globe, with experts from China, Israel, Australia and Europe. Officials from the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency will join with technology innovators to discuss how to unlock our vehicles to methanol. Plus, there will be a special luncheon discussion with members of the U.S. Energy Security Council — a “who’s who” of Washington policy leaders — on fuel choices.

Energy Update Week of January 6

Friends,

Just a short intro today because 1) I want to get to the Top 14 for ‘14 and 2) I am completely overloaded with sports.  From the Winter Classic at the Big House (105K-plus) to the football playoffs, the firing of a bunch of NFL coaches and the end of the College Bowl season with tonight’s Florida State-Auburn game, there is just so much going on.  And this doesn’t even contemplate the upcoming 2014 winter Olympics which begin next month.  (can’t wait for the Olympic Hockey and the Curling competitions.)

The other story of 2014 so far seems to be the cold weather…  While I know some of you thought I was going to make a global warming comment, but really, I just remind you that it is winter…  Have you ever been ice fishing on Green Bay in the middle of January?  I can tell you that it is pretty cold.

As regular as the ball dropping in Times Square on New Year’s Eve, this week starts the “State of the (Fill in the Blank)” events that go on in Washington every January.  Tomorrow at Noon will be the first and often most widely-attended hosted by API’s Jack Gerard at the Newseum.

Also a regular staple of January are AUTO SHOWS…Yes, the world-famous North American International Auto Show launches next week in Detroit followed closely by the Washington Auto show, which has recently become a great, policy-focused follow up to the big Detroit product car show.

Finally, last night the respected news magazine 60 Minutes did a significant and serious piece on Clean Tech issues.  Unfortunately, its title “Clean Tech Crash” and its over focus on the few high-profile failures tends to undermine the true state and significant successes of the industry.   More on this below.

BTW, Stop hording the incandescent light bulbs… They are not as good as the newer, improved (and much more efficient) light bulbs.  On to the Top 14…

Frank Maisano
(202) 828-5864
c. (202) 997-5932

 

Top 14  Issues for ‘14

As you know, each year for the first update of the year, I highlight a number of important issues for you to put on your agenda for the year.  So here we go with the Top 14 issues for 2014:

1) Politics, Politics, Politics – In 2014, the year will be impacted greatly by the politics of the mid-term election in November.  More so than usual, there is great uncertainty about who has the advantage heading into this key year.  Expect most of the air in the room to be taken up between health care politics and continued budget battles that will play out in 2014, but there will be energy issues that invade the limelight, especially regionally and when key decisions are made like the Keystone pipeline decision and the Supreme Court’s expected Spring ruling on power plant emissions.   Conventional wisdom reminds that that Democrats are defending the majority of the vulnerable Senate seats and the mid-term of a President’s second term are usual difficult for his party, but also Congress is at all-time low approvals.

2) New Personnel Might Changes Some Minds, Approach –  1) Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu: Speaking of vulnerable Senate seats, Landrieu is among them, but the appointment on Max Baucus to be ambassador to China and Ron Wyden’s expected move to Finance might give Landrieu an early gift as chair of the Senate’s Energy Committee.   2) John Podesta: Podesta’s move to the White House to head the President’s Energy team will create some credibility that this Administration has not had to date.  While Podesta is definitely in line with the enviro community and will be their advocate, he also has significant political and process knowledge that will make him a much more powerful force than either Heather Zichal or Carol Browner.   3) FERC Chair:  With Wellinghoff out and Bins sacked, who steps up next will be another interesting question for 2014.  Look for NARUC power broker Collette Honorable of Arkansas to be at the front of the line.

3) NatGas 2014 – One of the biggest issues on the energy front this year will be the continued role of natural gas in the energy sector.  It’s availability will remain the most important question, but other issues including state/federal regulations, political battles and legal fights will create additional potential problems. EIA says in a new report that Shale energy production will “continue to lift domestic supply and reshape the U.S. energy economy” and will result in near-historic levels of domestic crude oil production, higher levels of natural gas production, and dramatically reduce our reliance on imported energy.  All the more reason why we are in a better position that even just a few short years ago.

4) Key LNG Decisions – The chipping away of application approvals continues to be a steady drip despite some strong internal industry competition and opposition.  The key won’t be whether more applications are approved though.  The key for 2014 will be whether one of those already approved beats litigation and opposition to finally makes it to the finish line and starts exporting.

5) RFS: To Cut or Not to Cut – Expect this to remain an interesting talking point this year after the EPA issued a proposal to reduce the amount of ethanol.  While both sides have hammered each other for years, there are two key players to watch: environmental groups and Valero.  Valero is the largest independent refiner in the US, but also one of the largest ethanol manufacturers so they carry extra credibility.  As for enviros have never been enamored with the RFS.  For years they really looked the other way and hoped that second gen biofuels and cellulosic industries would emerge, but they haven’t.  Adding to the challenge for ethanol, the industry has lost much of its clout, both in politics and in the marketplace.  It has been some years in the making, but combined with the lack of development of the 2nd gen/cellulosic, they have lost a lot of credibility.  The politics just aren’t as favorable as they used to be for ethanol, especially since this election year doesn’t run through Iowa.

6) Keystone – Is it finally time?  That is the question.  Why this has become such a flash point for some environmental activists may be an even more important question.  Most expect the President to approve the pipeline, but look for a good cop/bad cop approach with Secretary John Kerry and a heavy dose of focus on implementing the new GHG rules, which would have a much more dramatic impact on the environment and the economy.

7) Focus on Crude Transportation – Speaking of transporting crude, given a number of incidents, expect a wider, more detailed focus on the infrastructure issues surrounding transportation of oil.  Enviro activists who have at times struggled to rally support against Keystone may be able to mainstream themselves with other enviros who have stayed in the background on the Keystone fight.  The first shot in this battle was the recent revelation from PHMSA saying that Bakken oil may be more flammable than traditional crude. (that won’t move to the top of the activists’ key talking points…oh it already has?)

8) Crude Oil Exports? – Speaking of Keystone, there is a growing debate over whether we should be exporting crude oil.  The fire was stoked by Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz when he suggested revisiting the ban on almost all oil exports.  Expect this to be a key point for the oil industry and I expect it to come up tomorrow at API’s State of the industry event.   Don’t kid yourself though: this one doesn’t break down along the typical party lines and politics 2014 (and the usual gas price increases in the summer) may ice this issue to another future time.

9) Vogtle Nuclear Success – Last year, we pegged action on some nuclear projects as a key for the future of expanding nuclear power.  While others have fallen off the radar screen, the brightest shining light continues to be Southern’s Vogtle Plant, which is currently fighting through the challenges, crossing significant milestones and will soon be at the point where we know it will happen.  Keep a close eye on Georgia, especially now that several older coal plants are also timelined to close in a few years, which makes Vogtle that much more important.

10) Loan Guarantee Successes – As I mentioned in the blurb about 60 Minutes, the DOE Loan Guarantee program will be seen in a different light after 2014.  Already, several important projects are just going on-line and will generate some real-world successes for the program.  They start with Tesla and several solar projects in California like Ivanpah.

11) PTC Deal in Larger Tax Reform – While the Production Tax Credit (PTC) expired quietly on January 1st, not much noise was made given the change in status that allows the trigger point to be “commence construction”  rather than “in-service. “  That change gave developers another year or so to finish projects already started.  But this leads to a larger question:  Will it be renewed again?  I suspect the answer is yes in the long-time tax extenders package that is expected to run along with the mandatory debt ceiling legislation which is required sometime in the first quarter of 2014 (depending on whom you ask).   Most experts think it may take the form of a longer-term phase out, maybe 4 or 5 years.  A key player to watch is Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley.

12) Impacts of Mexican Energy Reforms – Energy is the most contentious and challenging reform for the Mexican government. With declining oil revenues and increasing dependence upon imports of refined oil and gas from the United States, the Mexican government will need to significantly reform its national oil company PEMEX, as well as modify the role played by international oil and service companies. While constitutional reforms approved in December 2013 are a necessary precondition, forthcoming enabling legislation and its implementation will determine the shape and success of Mexico’s energy reforms.  And it will have an important impact on what we do here, especially in the Gulf of Mexico. The reform will open investment opportunities for American energy and service infrastructure companies seeking new energy markets as well as access to Mexico.

13) Offshore Wind Will Blow in This Year – We have been saying to watch this for a couple years now, but this IS the year for offshore wind.   With the litigation, delays and construction challenges finally getting resolved, most experts really expect that we will see our first offshore wind projects finally completed. There is no doubt that 2013 saw significant progress for the fledgling industry. With strong government leadership at the state and federal levels working together with the innovators on the front lines of the economic and technical development, we are closer than ever to really starting an entirely new industry that promises revenue, jobs and clean energy, all in one.  This year will finally be time to get a project in Rhode Island, Delaware or New Jersey or Massachusetts in the water and operating.

14) The Biggest and Most Important: GHG regulations – This will be the epic battle of 2014.  So much to say…  This will not be resolved this year, but nearly every fight starts with this issue.  This year will feature the released draft rule, the comment period and more EPA hearings.  It is also expected to have the release of rules for existing plants (one year from the President’s Summer 2013 Georgetown Speech).  Most experts say the challenges will be much more difficult, more costly and legally questionable.   They also say the timelines may have to slip, especially in a tough political year.  Finally, as stated earlier, the SCOTUS decision on the Cross State pollution rule will also have an impact.

 

IN THE NEWS

60 Minutes Focuses On CleanTech Challenges – The news magazine 60 Minutes released its long-expected story on Sunday that said tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer support for green-technology companies were wasted.  The unfortunately titled, “Cleantech Crash,” set off a furious battle over the true story surrounding clean tech issues.   While the 60 Minutes segment underscores some hard to argue facts about failures at Solyndra, A123 and Fisker, among others, it really only acknowledges successes of the program which we are just starting to see.  This one line in the 15 Minute report:  “The stimulus investment wasn’t a total bust. It helped create the successful electric car company Tesla.  A few of other companies are starting to show promise, and loans are being repaid.”  This makes the CBS timing fortunate for their story’s approach, but not reflective of the successes that will really start to be evident this year.  Our friends on both sides mention the story.  At ACORE, they pushed back during the segment on social media with their Energy Fact Check web site.  Others added that the DOE Loan Program has a 97% success rate. In July 2012, the former head of the loan guarantee program testified to Congress that funds that went to bankrupt companies represented less than 3 percent of the total Department of Energy portfolio, a far better success than the venture capitalists.  As well, solar and wind continue to play a significant role in energy generation and job creation in the US.  All fair and important points…and ones missed by 60 Minutes.   Also our friend Katie Fehrenbacher has a fair piece that looks at what 60 Minutes may have gotten right and where they went astray.

NYT:  Wall Street on Solar Craze – As I mentioned earlier on the timing of the 60 Minutes story, the timing seems to be everything…In fact, over the weekend, the New York Times focused on Solar City and its exploding interest on Wall Street.

WSJ’s Gold Releases New NatGas Book – Award-winning journalist and Pulitzer Prize finalist Russell Gold offers an insightful, no-holds-barred exploration of natural gas drilling practices in his new book that will be released this month.  Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is the process of injecting fluid into the ground at extremely high pressure in order to fracture shale rocks and release the oil and natural gas inside. It has been the subject of three major films, countless news articles, and has become a hotly contested topic both for its environmental impact and its positive effect on the economy and job creation. In The Boom, Gold examines both sides of the arguments and illuminates the truth of this frequently misunderstood technology. It is a thrilling journey filled with memorable and colorful characters: a green-minded Texas oilman who created the first modern frack; an Oklahoman natural gas empire–builder who gave the world an enormous new supply of energy but was brought down by his own success; and a cast of many. Gold melds his natural gift for engaging, in-depth storytelling and reportage with his insight into the energy industry to bring to life the fascinating history of how this major new source is changing the way we use energy. The Boom is not simply the story of fracking: It is the compelling and thought-provoking story of the modern global economy and how the United States—and the world—have been forever changed.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Forum to Look at Future Energy Trade – The Brookings Institution’s Energy Security Initiative will host Senate Energy Committee ranking member Lisa Murkowski tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. to discuss the future of U.S. energy trade and its implications on the domestic economy and national security.  The boom in American oil and gas production over recent years has generated widespread discourse on U.S. energy security and policy moving forward. In its 2014 Annual Energy Outlook, the U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasts domestic crude oil production to nearly double from 2008 levels to 9.6 million barrels per day by 2019. The report also projects the U.S. will become a net natural gas exporter by 2018. This boom in domestic energy production has raised calls for a fresh look at existing U.S. strategies surrounding its resources.  William Antholis, managing director at Brookings, will provide introductory remarks. He will be joined by Charles Ebinger, senior fellow and director of the Brookings Energy Security Initiative, for a moderated discussion and audience Q&A following the senator’s speech.

Oil Trade Group to Discuss State of Energy – API will host its 2014 State of American Energy luncheon tomorrow at the Newseum.

US Chamber Sets Business Speech – On Wednesday at 9:00 a.m., U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue will give his annual State of American Business Address to outline the business community’s top policy priorities for the year.

WRI to Look at Stories to Watch – The World Resources Institute CEO Andrew Steer will offer his perspectives on the major global developments in economics, business, natural resources and sustainability in the coming year on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. at the National Press Club’s Holeman Lounge.  Steer will look at what stories will impact people and the planet in 2014, who are the influential people and what policy decisions will take place.  Now in its 11th year, WRI’s “Stories to Watch” at the National Press Club is a go-to event for D.C.’s media, policymakers, business leaders, and consultants.

Author To Discuss Storm, Grid Resilience – The CSIS Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Program will hold a discussion on Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. focused on strengthening homeland security and disaster management to achieve resilience featuring Dr. Dane S. Egli, Author and Senior Advisor, National Security Strategies.  In the face of natural disasters such as Superstorm Sandy and man-made disasters like the Boston Marathon attacks, some have argued that there is a growing need to shift towards a posture that emphasizes resilience across all elements of the homeland security enterprise. A career Coast Guard officer and former White House National Security Council staffer, Dr. Dane Egli makes the case in “Beyond the Storms” that the nation needs to expand its focus beyond prevention and protection to a more systemic analysis of mitigation, response, and recovery.

House Resources to Look at Coal Policies – The House Resources The House Committee on Natural Resources will hold an oversight hearing on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. to look at the recent report by the Interior’s office of the Inspector General that focuses on the Administration’s coal policies.

Forum to Look at US-Japan Economic Issues – The East-West Center in Washington will host a forum on Thursday afternoon to look at innovation and growth in US-Japan economic relations in an Asia-Pacific Political Economy Seminar featuring Sean Connell.  Innovation is a key characteristic and comparative advantage of the US and Japanese economies, and it is widely recognized by policy makers, business leaders, and the broader public in both countries as essential for future growth and competitiveness. The two governments increasingly recognize innovation as an area with good potential for expanding bilateral cooperation, and in recent years this topic has risen to the fore within several joint initiatives and policy dialogues.  With Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic revitalization initiatives and Japan’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations bringing new momentum to US-Japan economic ties, increased focus on innovation offers a potentially valuable framework for identifying new opportunities to collaborate in advancing shared goals, while addressing challenges both countries face in a competitive global environment.  In his presentation, Connell will offer views on these themes, examine ongoing bilateral initiatives including related to energy technology, and explore potential areas for new engagement.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

Detroit Auto Show Rolls Again after New Year – Just like the sun rising, a New Year means important college football games and the roll out of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit launches January 13th through the 26th.  Now in its 26th year as an international event, the NAIAS is among the most prestigious auto shows in the world, providing unparalleled access to the automotive products, people and ideas that matter most – up close and in one place.

House Committee to Focus on Transpo Bill – The House Transportation Committee will hold a hearing on Tuesday, January 14th to look at building the foundation for surface transportation reauthorization.

MIT Grid Series Continues – The MIT Club of Washington will continue its US electric grid series on Tuesday January 14th at 7:00 p.m. featuring Western Electricity Coordinating Council Synchrophasor Program Manager Vickie VanZandt.  A modernized grid enables the use of renewables, which are part of the strategy to reduce the reliance on fossil fuels and reduce our carbon footprint. The discussion will focus on how will the grid incorporate the diversity of sources that may arise from our research into distributed production techniques and renewable energy possibilities.

World Bank to Hold Transportation Conference – The World Bank and EMBARQ, the sustainable transport program of the World Resources Institute, will co-host the 11th annual Transforming Transportation conference at the World Bank in Washington, DC on Thursday and Friday, January 16th and 17th.  The event provides a unique opportunity for the global transport community to discuss how to achieve large-scale and widespread adoption of sustainable solutions.  This year’s conference will look at opportunities for business to help advance the sustainable transport agenda for cities.

USEA to Host State of Energy – On Thursday, January 16th, the US Energy Association will host its 10th Annual State of the Energy Industry Forum at the National Press Club.  Distinguished leaders from the most influential and active energy trade associations will present the priorities, issues, trends, and challenges affecting the industry in 2014.  See more here.

Brookings to Look at Mexico Energy Reform – The Brookings Institution will host a forum on Thursday, January 16th at 3:30 p.m. in the Falk Auditorium to look at the future of energy reform in Mexico.  Energy is the most contentious and challenging reform for the Mexican government.  Accordingly, the Latin America Initiative and the Energy Security Initiative at Brookings will host Dr. Fluvio Ruiz Alarcón, professional counselor (independent director) on the executive board of PEMEX, for a discussion on the opportunities and challenges facing the Mexican government as it moves towards introducing future reforms. Dr. Ruiz Alarcón will be joined by Arturo Sarukhan, former Mexican ambassador to the U.S. and distinguished affiliate at Brookings. LAI Director and Senior Fellow Harold Trinkunas will provide introductory remarks and moderate the discussion.

WCEE Forum to Look at Stakeholder Involvement – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment and the National Capital Area Chapter of the Society for Risk Analysis will hold a forum on Monday, January 20th at 5:30 p.m. on stakeholder’s involvement through scientific reasoning.  José Palma-Oliveira, Ph.D., University of Lisbon will be the speaker.  Palma-Oliveira will focus on ways to help stakeholders without using risk communications.  The way risk communication is usually conceptualized and implemented has stakeholder persuasion as its main focus. This has failed in many cases resulting in significant stakeholder unease and stress. This talk will focus on alternative approaches of bringing stakeholders on board in projects where risk is a significant driver for decision.

Policy Auto Show Locked In, Ford COO to Keynote – Following Detroit, the Washington Auto Show, the automotive industry’s annual public policy show and the largest public show held in Washington, D.C., will be held on January 22, 2014 through February 2nd.  This year, Mark Fields, chief operating officer of Ford Motor Company, will deliver the keynote address at the Newsmaker Breakfast on Wednesday to launch the event.  The Newsmaker Breakfast – co-sponsored by Washington Automotive Press Association (WAPA) and the International Motor Press Association (IMPA) – is part of the show’s Public Policy Days. The breakfast follows the Policy Days’ kickoff event on Capitol Hill. For more information about The Washington Auto Show, please visit www.washingtonautoshow.com

Energy Summit Set – The 2014 American Energy Summit will be held on January 27 – 28, 2014 in Arlington, Virginia and will focus on the hundreds of billions of dollars being spent on new energy projects by the federal government, state and local governments, and by private industry.

SNL Conference On Energy M&A Set for NYC – SNL Energy’s 27th Annual Exnet Power and Gas M&A Symposium – an national energy conference will be held on January 28th and 29th  at the Ritz-Carlton in New York.  The Symposium is the annual go-to event for industry executives, as well as financial and legal advisors who are concerned with strategic planning, business development and the economics of the sector. The speakers and audience are comprised of industry decision-makers, plus heads of power and utility practices at leading investment banks, law firms and consultancies.

Bracewell to Host Environmental Symposium in Houston – On February 11th, Bracewell & Giuliani will host a forum on environment issues in Houston.  More on this in the upcoming weeks.  While it will not be open to the media, it will feature B&G experts in a series of briefings and discussions about the most challenging environmental legal issues facing the energy and heavy industries today.

Chamber Sets Transpo Summit – On February 20, the U.S. Chamber will gather leaders and experts from all sectors of transportation for the second annual Let’s Rebuild America Transportation Summit-Infrastructure Intersection-to examine the important role transportation infrastructure plays across major sectors of America’s economy. At the summit, presenters will explore five key infrastructure intersections-Energy, Manufacturing, Agriculture, Technology, and Healthcare-and how each sector requires well-functioning transportation infrastructure systems to realize its full potential.

 

Energy Update Week of October 21

Friends,

 

Now that the government shutdown has been resolved (at least until after Christmas), we can return our focus to the business at hand: the new health care law, climate change and most importantly, the World Series.   The Red Sox and Cardinals clash starting Wednesday at Fenway Park in Boston after timely hitting launched them past the solid starting pitching of the Detroit Tigers.  The Cardinals return to the World Series for the 4th time in 10 years after dispatching the Los Angeles Dodgers 9-0 in Game 6 of the NLCS.  Should be a very good series.

In case you missed it, on the policy issues there are lot of good items shaking out.  While we don’t pay that much attention to the health care law, we do follow the climate issue pretty closely last time I checked.  And last week, the Supreme Court granted a petition to hear an important case regarding the use of Clean Air Act permitting authority to advance the EPA’s carbon agenda during the court’s 2013-2014 term.

My colleague Scott Segal said by granting cert, “the Court indicates that there is real substance behind the notion that EPA may have stretched its legal authority to the breaking point in order to address carbon issues beyond what was intended under the Clean Air Act.  Given that significant and well-crafted legal challenges are doubtless on the way for the power plant rules, the EPA would be well advised to take the opportunity to develop regulations that stick to the clear intent of the Act rather than pushing the envelope in favor of a political carbon agenda.”   You can always Call Scott (202-828-5845) or Jeff Holmstead (202-828-5852) for more background and quotes.

This week is slow in Washington on Capitol Hill as the government starts to ramp back up, but there are a few good events around town, including the ELI annual dinner and forum tomorrow.  Our friend and former NY Times reporter Kate Galbraith discusses her and Austin A-S colleague Asher Price’s book, The Great Texas Windrush on Wednesday at the New America Foundation.  Also Wednesday, Hispanics In Energy will hold their Final National Energy Policy Summit in Washington DC with our friend Joe Desmond of BrightSource Energy among the speakers.  Finally, Following last week’s 40th anniversary of the oil embargo, the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz on Thursday at 10:45 a.m. to reflect on energy technology and policy changes.

On the Out-of-town scoreboard, this is AWEA’s Offshore Wind Week in Providence, Rhode Island with social events getting rolling tonight, and tomorrow/Wednesday featuring a number of great policy, technology and industry issue panels.  Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is slated to speak, following in the Ken Salazar tradition. News-wise, the Atlantic Wind Connection said today it is unveiling a new contracting portal for its New Jersey Energy Link project, the multi-year offshore transmission backbone, to help local contracting and service businesses to connect with one of New Jersey’s most exciting opportunities for new jobs.  (see below)

And with the government back on, EPA reloads its 11 public listening sessions across the country to solicit ideas and input from the public and stakeholders about the best Clean Air Act approaches to reducing carbon pollution from existing power plants with Wednesday forums in New York and Atlanta.  Last week, it cancelled its two sessions in Boston and Philadelphia, which have been rescheduled for November 4th and November 8th respectively.

Finally, the Women in Manufacturing SUMMIT 2013 will host nearly 300 leading women manufacturing executives, managers and supervisors from across the country in Dearborn, MI, tomorrow and Wednesday hosted by the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA).  Designed exclusively for women who have chosen a career in the manufacturing industry, the annual event provides a unique opportunity for participants to share perspectives and network with female executives in the manufacturing sector.

 

Call with questions.

Frank Maisano
(202) 828-5864
c. (202) 997-5932

 

IN THE NEWS

New “The Fray” Video Features Ivanpah Images – As many of you know, we  were potentially going to Host a Newsmaker with the band, The Fray, today to discuss their new record and their interest in renewable energy.  But schedules got the better of us for the short time line.  In fact, I think the Today Show (slated for Wednesday) probably won out over a nerdy, wonkish energy policy discussion at the National Press Club.  But they will be back and with a little more time, the event will be scheduled for a future date.   BTW, their show Saturday at the Smith Center was very good.  Here’s a link to their new single video “Love Don’t Die”, which was released today and has some cool images of Ivanpah.

NJ Energy Link Contractor Portal Open for Biz – A new contracting portal for the New Jersey Energy Link will help local contracting and service businesses to connect to opportunities for new jobs.  The New Jersey Energy Link is a state-of-the-art electric transmission system buried underground and under the seabed connecting southern and northern New Jersey to fix long-standing problems that are causing higher cost electricity.  Building this storm-hardened facility will require all facets of engineering and construction disciplines.   The process of building the submarine and underground cable system and related electric substations is expected to employ approximately 1,100 New Jersey workers for three to four years, plus a permanent operations and maintenance staff of about 75 workers.  Because it runs at sea through New Jersey’s wind energy area, the New Jersey Energy Link also can be used to efficiently connect and deliver power from future offshore wind farms.   The New Jersey Energy Link could become the foundation for many thousands of future jobs in a new New Jersey offshore wind industry.  According to a study by IHS Global Insight, a large, multi-year build out of offshore wind farms could create between 10 and 20 thousand jobs in the state, pump $9 billion into the State economy and bolster state and local tax revenues by $2.2 billion.  Building an offshore electrical substation platform to connect the wind turbines to the transmission system would employ an additional 500-600 New Jersey workers for two years for each platform according to estimates by Bechtel, the project’s Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractor.

NY Times Looks at Success of Solar Projects – The New York Times had a story late last week underscoring the successes of two loan guarantee solar projects, Ivanpah and Solana.  It discussed the successes and the role storage may play in expanding future endeavors in the desert.  Solana is a $2-billion project built with a $1.45 billion loan guarantee from the Department of Energy. Close behind is the Ivanpah project in California, which uses a field of mirrors mounted on thousands of pillars to focus the sun’s light on a tower with a tank. Engineers say that design could incorporate storage efficiently, because the tank reaches very high temperatures. That plant will enter commercial operation by the end of the year.

Report: Pipelines Safest Method of Oil Transportation – A new report from Canada’s Fraser Institute authored by our friend Ken Green and his colleague Diana Furchtgott-Roth says pipelines are the safest option when it comes to transporting oil.  The study says a greater reliance on pipelines is much safer that transportation on trains or trucks.  The study, Intermodal Safety in the Transport of Oil, determined that the rate of injury requiring hospitalization was 30 times lower among oil pipeline workers compared to rail workers involved in the transport of oil, based on extensive data collected in the United States. Road transport fared even worse, with an injury rate 37 times higher than pipelines based on reports to the U.S. Department of Transportation for the period 2005-2009.  The study also found the risk of spill incidents is lower for pipelines per billion ton-miles of oil movement compared to rail and road.  Resistance to pipeline infrastructure expansion is putting more pressure on road and rail systems as growth in North American oil production outpaces pipeline capacity. Petroleum production is now nearly 18 million barrels a day, and could climb to 27 million barrels a day by 2020. Road transport had the highest chance of a spill, almost 20 incidents per billion ton-miles. Rail had slightly over two incidents per billion ton-miles annually while pipelines had less than 0.6 per billion ton-miles annually.  The above report’s timing proved perfect as this weekend another CN train carrying liquefied petroleum gas and crude derailed just west of Edmonton.

Report Hits Supermarkets for HFCs – A new report from NGO, the Environmental Investigation Agency says supermarkets are major sources of hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, a potent greenhouse gas used in refrigerators and air conditioners.  It also adds that the biggest U.S. supermarkets aren’t doing enough to stop leaks or transition to alternatives.  The report is timely since Montreal Protocol implementation discussions ramp up in Bangkok (insert any Hangover II joke) this week.

Renewable Energy Provides 30% Of New U.S. Electrical Generating Capacity in 2013 – According to the latest “Energy Infrastructure Update” report from FERC’s Office of Energy Projects, renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, solar, water, wind) accounted for 30.03% of all new domestic electrical generating capacity installed in the first nine months of 2013 for a total of 3,218 MW.  Natural gas dominated the first three-quarters of 2013 with 5,854 MW of new capacity (54.62%).  Among renewable energy sources, solar led the way for the first nine months of 2013 with 146 new “units” totaling 1,935 MW followed by wind with 9 units totaling 961 MW. Biomass added 57 new units totaling 192 MW while water  had 11 new units with an installed capacity of 116 MW and geothermal steam had one new unit (14 MW).  The newly installed capacity being provided by the solar units is second only to that of natural gas. The new solar capacity in 2013 is 77.36% higher than that for the same period in 2012.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

BIOCYCLE To look at Renewable Energy From Organics Recycling – The American Biogas Council will hold the 13th annual BIOCYCLE Conference today through Wednesday in Columbus, OH at the Hyatt Regency Columbus.  Biocycle is the official conference of ABC and will have industry experts and policy makers providing the latest technological information on how to turn municipal, industrial and agricultural organic waste streams into power, renewable natural gas, vehicle fuels and high-value digestate and compost products.  For press credentials, contact Rill Ann Miller, at 610-967-4135, ext. 22, or biocycle@jgpress.com.

JHU Forum to Discuss Rare Earth Elements – The Johns Hopkins University hosts a forum tonight at 6:00 p.m. in its Rome Building Auditorium on Rare Earth Elements (REEs).  REEs are chemical elements that are critical for your mobile phones, laptops, green technologies, and even defense systems. Despite the fact that REEs are more abundant than silver and gold with known reserves in Australia and the U.S., China continues to monopolize global REE supplies, which could negatively impact the national security interests of other countries.  Leigh Hendrix, associate at Goldwyn Global Strategies, LLC; Marc Humphries, specialist in energy and mineral policy at the Congressional Research Service; and Michael Mazza, research fellow in foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, will discuss chemical elements that are critical for mobile phones, laptops, green technologies and defense systems.

EIA, World Bank Highlight AAAS Panel on Sustainability – Georgetown University’s Science in the Public Interest,  the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Chemical Society continue the Sustainability Challenge: Energy, Resilience, & Conservation series at the AAAS Auditorium tonight at 5:00 p.m.  Our friend Richard Harris of NPR hosts EIA’s Howard Gruenspecht, Rob Gardner of ExxonMobil and the World Bank’s Vivien Foster.

Lott, Dorgan Headline Global Energy Summit – DLA Piper will hold its annual energy summit today and tomorrow, featuring BPC co-chairs and former senators Byron Dorgan and Trent Lott.  BPC co-founder and former senator Thomas Daschle, will speak tomorrow on a looking at American’s energy resurgence.  It addresses a February BPC report that looked at sustaining success and confronting challenges in the energy sector. The event will be held at the Park Hyatt Washington. Other speakers include House Energy Panel Chair Ed Whitfield, BP’s Mark Finley, API’s Kyle Isakower and our friend Pete Sheffield of Spectra Energy, among several others.

NatGeo to Screen Blackout Film – National Geographic will hold a panel session and screening of its new film American Blackout.  The film examines the repercussions of a cyberattack that shuts down the electric power grid by weaving together fictional stories of everyday Americans with video from recent, real blackouts.   Following the screening is a panel discussion on the potential for an actual cyberattack, the steps power companies have already taken to prevent damage to the electric grid and what additional actions are needed to respond effectively in the event of a potential, successful attack.  Our friend Matt Wald of the New York Times moderates a panel which includes NSA/CIA head Gen. Michael Hayden.

Women-In-Manufacturing Summit Heads to Detroit, Feature Auto Speakers – Nearly 300 leading women manufacturing executives, managers and supervisors from across the country will meet in Dearborn, MI, tomorrow and Wednesday for the Women in Manufacturing SUMMIT 2013, hosted by the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA).  Designed exclusively for women who have chosen a career in the manufacturing industry, this third annual event provides a unique opportunity for participants to share perspectives and network with female executives in the manufacturing sector.  This year’s SUMMIT will include timely panel and roundtable discussions as well as valuable track sessions on topics including employee engagement, mentoring, networking, marketing, team building, online and digital training resources for manufacturers, and emerging issues in the manufacturing supply chain.  There also will be stimulating keynote presentations and a networking reception and dinner.  Featured speakers at the 2013 SUMMIT will include Carhartt COO Linda Hubbard, Toyota exec Latondra Newton,

Gwenne Henricks of Caterpillar and General Motors SVP Alicia Boler Davis.

EPA GHG Listening Sessions – The EPA cancelled its two session in Boston and Philadelphia last week , but it looks like this week’s meeting of the 11 public listening sessions across the country to solicit ideas and input from the public and stakeholders about the best Clean Air Act approaches to reducing carbon pollution from existing power plants will be on.  They will be Wednesday in New York and Atlanta.  The cancelled meetings have been rescheduled for November 4th Boston and November 8th in Philadelphia.  No word on whether requests from members from coal states, who called for more sessions in their regions (which they say was purposely left off the list) will be set..  Other meetings include Wednesday October 30th in Denver, Monday November 4th in Lexana, KS, Tuesday November 5th in San Francisco, Thursday November 7th in DC, Dallas and Seattle and finally, Chicago on Friday November 8th.  For more information on these sessions and to register online, go to EPA’s Site.

Nissan EVs to Be Focus of Oct WAPA Event – The Washington Automotive Press Association (WAPA) will hold a luncheon with Nissan tomorrow at the National Press Club.  Erik Gottfried, Director of Electric Vehicle Sales and Marketing for Nissan North America will speak about the growing adoption of Nissan LEAF in markets across the U.S. With LEAF now price competitive with comparable gas-powered cars, people can easily see the benefit of giving up buying gas and driving the all-electric Nissan LEAF.  While sales have continued to rise in the traditional EV strongholds on the west coast like San Francisco, L.A., Seattle and Portland, a new wave of EV markets in the eastern half of the country have started to emerge. Sales are growing quickly in markets like Atlanta, St. Louis, Chicago and Washington D.C., driven by a number of factors.  Gottfried will discuss this phenomenon, some of the reasons behind it for D.C. and other markets, and how factors such as infrastructure development are getting even more customers to consider driving electric

ELI Dinner to Honor Steyer, Shultz – The Environmental Law Institute will hold its annual dinner tomorrow at The Omni Shoreham Hotel, honoring political energy gadfly Tom Steyer and former Secretary of State George Shultz.  Of course, the annual event will lead off with the Miriam Hamilton Keare Policy Forum at 4:00 p.m., which will focus on the environmental and human effects of modern agriculture. This year’s Keare Forum will not only consider the potential environmental costs and benefits of the legislation, but also the effects on consumers and the 47 million Americans who depend on food assistance.  The event will also feature a forum on energy issues and big data which will include comments from Intel’s Stephen Harper, CEQ’s Gary Guzy and others.

FERC to Hold Hydro Workshop – Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff will hold a workshop tomorrow to begin investigating the feasibility of a two-year process for the issuance of a license for hydropower development at non-powered dams and closed-loop pumped storage projects in compliance with section 6 of the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2013.

Offshore Wind Conference Moves to Providence – AWEA’s 7th annual Offshore Wind Conference will be held in Providence, RI tomorrow through Thursday.  Topics will include the Federal PTC/ITC extension, DOE demonstration project funding and new state off-take mechanisms. Each day of the conference will include powerful General Sessions featuring high-level government officials, visionaries for the offshore wind industry, a panel of leading OEM companies active in the offshore market, and another panel of U.S. offshore wind developers giving the latest insights into their projects.  Interior Sect.  Sally Jewell will speak.

Galbraith Book Forum Set – The New America Foundation will hold a forum for our former NY Times reporter Kate Galbraith on Wednesday at 12:15 p.m. discussing her book, The Great Texas Windrush.  Our friends Galbraith and Asher tell the fascinating story behind Texas’ unlikely wind-energy boom. In the late 1990s the small towns of Texas were being decimated by the oil crisis and few would have thought alternative energies might be the solution. But in a state known for bristling at environmental regulation, entrepreneurs, politicians, and environmentalists – from T. Boone Pickens to George W. Bush – saw the potential and began to embrace wind farming. By 2012, Texas was generating about 9 percent of its electricity from wind, and some of those same towns are now thriving in the shadow of 300-foot-tall turbines.

Forum to Discuss Clean Energy Deployment – The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation will hold a forum on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. to discuss the roots of the Clean Energy deployment.  The Deployment Consensus, the reasons why a “deployment-first” strategy will fail, and why innovation-driven energy policies are the solution will be discussed.  A majority of clean energy advocates believe that the world has all the low-carbon technologies it needs to address climate change; what we lack is the political will to mandate and subsidize their deployment. To support this view advocates of this “Clean Energy Deployment Consensus” point to a number of studies assessing the technical readiness of clean energy technologies. Unfortunately, as ITIF shows in its new report Challenging the Clean Energy Deployment Consensus these reports often gloss over major challenges facing clean energy, including significantly higher costs, sub-optimal performance, and challenges in grid integration and storage. In addition many advocates miss the critical message of the need for innovation inherent in the literature. Without a comprehensive and aggressive innovation strategy clean energy will not be cheap enough and good enough to be adopted voluntarily around the planet.

Hispanic Energy Group to Hold National Summit – Hispanics In Energy will hold their Final National Energy Policy Summit in Washington DC on Wednesday and Thursday at the Heritage Center.  The groups launched the National Energy Policy Series in Sacramento, CA on June 24th.  Our friend Joe Desmond of BrightSource Energy will be among the speakers.

Moniz to Discuss Energy Security Since Embargo – Following last week’s 40th anniversary of the oil embargo, the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz on Thursday at 10:45 a.m. to reflect on energy technology and policy changes on the anniversary of the Arab Oil Embargo.  The embargo dramatically impacted energy policy developments in the U.S. and elsewhere, spurring  investments in energy efficiency and alternative fuels, the creation of the SPR, the establishment of the IEA, and the creation of the Department of Energy. It also put in place a framework for viewing U.S. oil and gas resources as one of scarcity and energy imports as being inevitable. With new unconventional resource development in the United States, however, the framework is shifting to one of abundance.

Georgetown Alumni Group to Hold Climate Change Discussion – In the context of President Obama’s climate change speech at Georgetown this past spring, the Georgetown Club of DC welcomes to its luncheon lecture series a panel of distinguished alumni and faculty to address policies aimed at carbon pollution reduction, health, and conservation of water resources. Lunch will be provided; event is free for current students at Clyde’s Gallery Place on Wednesday 12:15 p.m.  Featured presenters include Michelle Moore (MSFS’99), Senior Fellow at the Council on Competitiveness and former advisor at the White House Office of Management and Budget; Laura Anderko in the School of Nursing & Health Studies; and Andrew Deutz (F’91) of The Nature Conservancy.

Luthi to Address NatGas Roundtable – The Natural Gas Roundtable is hosting its October Forum on Thursday at Noon in the University Club, featuring Randy Luthi, President of National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA).  Luthi will discuss offshore oil and natural gas development, the Administration’s current 5-Year plan and views of Interior from outside.  Luthi became President of the National Ocean Industries Association on March 1, 2010 after serving as the Director of the Minerals Management Service at DOI.

Wilson Forum to Look at Greece Economy, Energy – The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will hold a forum on Thursday at 12:00 p.m. on the future economic & energy prospects in Greece & the Eastern Mediterranean.  Speakers will include Asimakis Papageorgiou, Deputy Minister for Environment, Energy and Climate Change, Hellenic Republic of Greece and Panayiotis (Peter) G. Mihalos, The Secretary General for International Economic Relations and Development Cooperation, Hellenic Republic of Greece.

World Watch to Launch Central America Renewables Report – The Worldwatch Institute will hold the launch and discussion of a new report The Way Forward for Renewable Energy in Central America.  The event will be hosted by the Embassy of Costa Rica in Washington, D.C.  The report, produced jointly by Worldwatch and INCAE Business School’s Latin American Center for Competitiveness and Sustainable Development (CLACDS), and generously supported by the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) and the Energy and Environment Partnership in Central America (EEP), focuses on the status of renewable energy technologies in Central America and analyzes the conditions for their advancement in the future. It identifies important knowledge and information gaps and evaluates key finance and policy barriers, making suggestions for how to overcome both.  Speakers will include Alex Ochs of Worldwatch Institute, Christiaan Gischler of the Inter-American Development Bank  and Mark Lambrides of the Organization of American States.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

AAAS Panel on Sustainability Continues – Following this week’s Sustainability Challenge event sponsored by Georgetown University’s Science in the Public Interest,  the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Chemical Society, NPR’s David Kestenbaum will host next Monday at 5:00 p.m.  The event will feature Bill Hooke of the American Meteorological Society,  Texas State Climatologist John NielsenGammon and Donald Preston of Swiss Re.

Shelanski to Headline Cost-Benefit Forum – The NYU School of Law’s Institute for Policy Integrity will hold a forum on October 28th in NYU’s Vanderbilt Hall to discuss cost-benefit analysis.  The event will feature leading practitioners, government officials, and academics for NYU’s 5th annual practitioners’ workshop on the federal regulatory process.  The workshop will be an introduction to economic analysis and its role in the regulatory process, as well as a nuanced look at how the technique is used by federal administrative agencies. This year’s workshop will also mark the 20th anniversary of Executive Order 12,866. Howard Shelanski, Administrator of OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs will keynote.

Argus Carbon Summit Set for Cali – Argus will hold its California Carbon Summit on October 28-30 at the Hyatt Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, California. The event will feature informative sessions that will address the business and transactional aspects of the Cap-and-Trade program including the dynamics of procuring carbon allowances at auction and in the secondary market, offset procurement and strategies, managing regulatory and market changes, among many other relevant topics.  Speakers will include our Argus friends Caroline Gentry, Kim Moore and Bill Peters, as well as Cal EPA’s Mark Wenzel, BP’s Ralph Moran, Tanya Peacock of the Southern California Gas Company and Belinda Morris of the American Carbon Registry, among others.

OPIS Event to Look at Oil Market Dynamics – The 15th annual OPIS National Supply Summit will be held in Las Vegas on October 28-30 at the beautiful Mandarin Oriental.  Speakers will include PBF Energy Executive Chairman Thomas O’Malley, Tesoro Corporation Operations VP Dan Romasko, and expert Phil Verleger, among many others.  Topics will include “re-wiring” of the North American distribution system, the architectural shifts in North American and world crude oil prices, and the inter-market and intra-market refined products price volatility.

Forum to Look at Innovation in Grid – The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation will hold a forum on Tuesday, October 29th at 9:30 a.m. on building the next-gen electric grid through innovation.  To gauge how innovation is shaping the electric grid of the future, The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, the Digital Energy and Sustainability Solutions Campaign, and the Energy Future Coalition have convened a diverse group of experts to discuss what innovative technologies are advancing the smart grid and how can policy accelerate the transition.  Presenters will include Schneider Electric’s Phil Davis, John Jimison of the Energy Future Coalition, NARUC’s Miles Keogh and David Malkin of GE Digital Energy.

Forum to Look at Nuclear Energy Policy – Nuclear Policy Talks and the Institute for Nuclear Materials Management will hold a forum at the George Washington University to look at US nuclear energy policy.  The US nuclear industry faces challenges domestically, with low natural gas prices, a post-Fukushima regulatory environment and tight capital. Internationally, the US is no longer the only supplier of nuclear technology and faces competition from State-backed suppliers. Joyce Connery, Director, Nuclear Energy Policy, Office of International Economics, National Security Council will discuss the role of the US Government in supporting the US nuclear industry and how maintaining a strong nuclear industry enhances US national interests to include nonproliferation, security, safety, commerce and prosperity.

NRDC Expert to Promote Social Cost of Carbon Change – The Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences will host an inaugural webinar on Wednesday, October 30th at 2:00 p.m. looking at the social costs of carbon and President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.  The event will be an enviro groups focus a new study of metrics for quantifying the social costs of carbon and the implications for policymaking.  NRDC’s Laurie Johnson will discuss her new article in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, “The social cost of carbon: implications for modernizing our electricity system,” covering the results in the paper and how they relate to the President’s Climate Action Plan.

EPRI to Discuss Vampire Loads On Halloween – Our friends at the Electric Power Research Institute will host a special Halloween-inspired discussion about energy efficiency focused on Vampire Loads on Thursday, October 31st at 12:00 p.m.  Vampire loads refer to the electric power consumed by electronic appliances while they are switched off.  Join us for a special Halloween-inspired brown bag event to find out what you can do to face up to this “scary” power situation.  We will discuss the occurrence and prevalence of vampire loads as well as learn about insights for dealing with them.   Speakers will include EPA’s Kristinn Leonhart – ENERGY STAR Brand Manager, ecoCoach’s Cindy Olson and EPRI’s Barbara Bauman Tyran.

Ex-Officials, Hofmeister to Address Energy Conference – The NATO Energy Security Center of Excellence and the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS) will host the Target Energy 2013 Conference on October 31st and November 1st at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. The conference will address the latest issues facing energy operations and security across NATO Member and Partner nations.   Target Energy 2013 will address energy issues ranging from how best to protect on-and-offshore infrastructure to preventing the increasingly frequent millisecond cyber-attacks against network systems and infrastructure.   The objectives are to actively stimulate civil-military co-operation and exchange on shared energy concerns, further public outreach between NATO bodies and private industry technology and solutions’ providers.  Speakers will include former EU Ambassador Boyden Gray, former CIA Director James Woolsey, former NSA head Robert McFarlane and former Shell CEO John Hofmeister, among many others.

NATO Conference Focuses on Supply Chain Threats – The NATO Energy Security Center of Excellence and the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security are holding the Target Energy 2013 Conference on October 31 – November 1st at the Omni Shorham Hotel. The event features international government officials, policymakers, defense planners, logisticians, energy industry executives, security solution providers and IT experts from NATO member and partner countries. The conference mission is to secure a 21st century energy supply chain against emerging threats.

NASEO Reschedule Winter Fuels Outlook – The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), and the National Association of State Energy Officials will host the rescheduled 2013–2014 Winter Fuels Outlook Conference on November 1st at the National Press Club.   The conference will address global oil supply uncertainty, and the effects of projected winter weather on the demand for heating and key transportation fuels.  A range of market factors that may impact the supply, distribution and prices of petroleum, natural gas and electricity this winter will be discussed in great detail by some the nation’s leading energy data and forecasting experts.

NARUC Set for Orlando – The 125th annual NARUC meeting will be held in Orlando, Florida at the Hilton Bonnet Creek, November 17th through 20th.  Speakers include NIST Director Patrick Gallagher, FCC Chair Mignon Clyburn and AWEA Tom Kiernan, among many others.

BPC, NARUC to Hold 2nd Clean Air Act Workshop – On December 6th, BPC’s Energy Project – along with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) – will host the second workshop on section 111(d), which will focus on the use of economic modeling to understand the potential impacts of GHG power plant regulation.  Stay tuned for more details in the coming days on our the BPC/NARUC websites.

Energy Update Week of October 14

Friends,

Thanks goodness it is Columbus Day, the holiday to celebrate Italian-Americans, because those of us that end in a vowel really do need more celebrating.  Speaking of ending in a vowel, (despite the fact that I’m not really a big Detroit Tigers fan, I still route for my hometown team some, especially against evil teams like Boston and New York), how about Boston catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia finishing off the big comeback last night in the 9th by singling home the winning run off Tiger pitcher Rick Porcello

Speaking of thrilling finishes (or not), the government shutdown continues but there is speculation that it may be ending this week as the debt limit deadline approaches.  Despite that activity targeted around Thursday, it will still be a busy week because – as I mentioned last week – it is the 40th anniversary of the Arab Oil embargo crisis.  This was the major focus of a Washington Post Outlook piece by Steve Mufson on Sunday looking at the history of the issue and some of the challenges that remain.  The timing of the piece raising those issues is great because they will be a major focus of an energy conference on Wednesday featuring speakers like Henry Kissinger, Madeline Albright, Leon Panetta, James Schlesinger (our first US Energy Sect) and hosted by Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE).  The conference, OPEC Oil Embargo +40: A National Summit on Energy Security, at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in DC will also feature GM CEO Dan Akerson, Fed Ex CEO Fred Smith, GE CEO Jeff Immelt, IN Gov. Mike Pence, former Clinton EPA head/Obama Climate Czar Carol Browner and many more.  Panels will be moderated by Andrea Mitchell, John Harwood and former White House CoS Mack McLarty.  Politico’s Darren Goode also does justice to the topic in another piece this morning in POLITICO PRO, which also features a one-on-one with Schlesinger.  SAFE also released its Oil Security Index today, a first-of-its-kind tool for measuring the oil security of more than a dozen countries globally. (See more below)

Over to mixing the cool (rockstar music groups) with the nerdy (policy): The popular band ‘The Fray’, best known for massive hits “How to Save a Life” and “Over My Head,” has an incredible interest in renewable energy back to their college/prep school days in Denver and has for years now offset the carbon emissions for their tours.  Last Week they went further shooting photos and video for their forthcoming album at BrightSource Energy’s Ivanpah solar project.  Next Saturday, the play the Smith Center at GWU and if schedules can work out, they may try to do a Press Club Newsmaker on Monday October 21st to discuss their focus on renewable energy policy (and maybe talk about some songs).  Obviously, as/if this comes together, we’ll keep you informed, but please pencil on to your agenda.

Finally, tomorrow morning, the Chairman & CEO of Southern Company, Tom Fanning will deliver a keynote address on energy policy at the North Dakota annual energy policy conference at Bismarck State College.  In addition to outlining his vision for a national energy policy, he will recognize the contributions North Dakota is making to help achieve North American energy security through the development of the full portfolio of energy resources.  Follow along on Social media at @SouthernCompany, @BSCedu @FrankTalk19 or @Policyrez.

Remember, EPA GHG listening sessions slated for Boston and Phily this week are CANCELLED.  Call with questions.

Frank Maisano
(202) 828-5864
c. (202) 997-5932

 

IN THE NEWS

SAFE Releases Oil Index – Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) released its Oil Security Index this morning with Roubini Global Economics. The Index, a first-of-its-kind tool for measuring the oil security of more than a dozen countries globally, measures the relative energy security of 13 countries using 7 energy and economic indicators.  It is available as a print report and interactive website. The website will include mapping and charting tools, access to data and statistics for each country, and detailed information on its ranking(s) and results.  The data driving the interactive web components will be updated quarterly and includes historical data back to 2000.  The Index is designed to enable policymakers, business leaders and the general public to easily compare the relative oil security of more than a dozen countries around the world. By clearly illustrating and measuring the core drivers of countries’ oil security, the Index provides a valuable resource for decision making in terms of public policy, investments, and more.

The Index Ranks What – The Oil Security Index uses seven metrics that reveal important information about different aspects of a country’s oil security. These metrics are organized into three categories: the structural dependency of a country’s economy on oil, a country’s economic exposure to the price of oil, and the security of a country’s oil supplies.

What Does it Say for the US – The report says the domestic oil boom and improving vehicle fuel efficiency are boosting oil security in the United States, but heavy dependence on oil pulls America back to the middle rankings of the Oil Security Index.  “Despite the domestic oil boom, America’s oil security is only middle-of-the-road,” said SAFE CEO Robbie Diamond. “This Index shows that the path to true oil security is not paved by production alone. The oil boom has generated important economic benefits, but our nation’s oil dependence leaves the economy dangerously exposed to high and volatile oil prices.”

What About the Others? – To compare the countries, results for each metric were normalized and combined to create a rank for each country. For the most recent 2013 data analyzed, the 13 countries ranked accordingly: 1 – Japan, 2 – United Kingdom, 3 – Canada, 4 – Germany, 5 – United States, 6 – South Africa, 7 – Australia, 8 – Brazil, 9 – China, 10 – Mexico, 11 – India, 12 – Russia, 13 – Saudi Arabia.

Bracewell Litigators win First Major NatGas Fracturing Case – My B&G colleagues in Houston (John Barr, Coy Connelly, Jeff Oldham and Robert Ayers) won a major victory in the first “fracking” case that was set to go to trial in the United States, Hagy, et al. v. Equitable Production Co., et al.  Plaintiffs claimed that defendants’ operations relating to the drilling, completion, and operation of a gas well contaminated their groundwater and exposed them to chemicals resulting in physical, mental, and emotional injury.  BJ Services moved for summary judgment at the conclusion of extensive discovery, which included a combined total of 28 experts for both sides.  The B&G team argued, among other things, that there was no evidence that BJ Services had acted negligently or caused any harm.   Shortly before the trial was slated to start in June 2012, a U.S. District Court in West Virginia found that there was no proof of property damage or physical harm to the plaintiffs resulting from any oil production related activities.  Just last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed the victory saying Plaintiffs “failed to provide sufficient evidence to raise a genuine issue of material fact with respect to any alleged negligence on the part of BJ Services” and failed to “connect any allegedly wrongful act by BJ Services with the harm they claim to have suffered.”

White House Says Oil, Gas Permits Slow – During the shutdown, there having been many political controversies spurring back and forths between Republicans and Democrats.  One taking heighted attention is the argument over oil and gas Permits.  The White House says applications to drill for oil and gas leases are piling up during the government shutdown, with 500 permits sitting untouched in just one North Dakota office.   Shallow Water Energy Security Coalition head Jim Noe said industry is happy to see President Obama and others are acknowledging the importance of oil and gas production in the United States, but the offshore community is a little puzzled by the point they are trying to make.  Offshore production does not cost the federal government one penny, but rather contributes money every year to the federal Treasury.  In fact, the U.S. Treasury collects at least $5-6 billion annually from energy production in the Gulf of Mexico alone — making it one of the largest revenue streams for the federal government.  By way of comparison, that is some 30 times greater than President Obama’s own fiscal 2013 budget request to run the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management that processes those permits.  Noe:  “We hope that our leaders in Washington will resolve their differences in a timely fashion and that America’s drive for energy independence is able to continue its impressive progress.”

SAFE Announces Finalists for Emerging Innovation Award – SAFE also said that Achates Power, Nostrum Energy and Virent are finalists in its Emerging Innovation Award (EIA) competition.  Achates has developed radically improved internal combustion engines that increase fuel efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and are lower cost.  Nostrum developed an internally cooled Internal Combustion cycle for engines that can double the thermal efficiency and triple the fuel-to-wheel efficiency of a vehicle.  Virent is replacing crude oil by creating the chemicals and fuels the world demands using a wide range of naturally-occurring, renewable resources.   The three finalists will present their technologies on Wednesday during “OPEC Oil Embargo +40: A National Summit on Energy Security.” The audience vote at the Summit will be factored into each contestant’s final score in the three-round competition, and the winner will be announced at the end of the day. The first-place winner will receive $125,000 in prize money, while the first runner-up will receive $35,000 and the second runner-up will receive $15,000.

MSC Releases Recommended Practices for Drilling and Completions – The Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) released its latest guidance document for Drilling and Completions – two of the most critical aspects of the shale development process. Developed in consultation with several of the MSC’s working committees, these Recommended Practices for Drilling and Completions are designed to provide guidance to operators. The issues includes guidance on planning, health and safety, well control, high pressure equipment, drilling operations, hydraulic fracturing and flow back operations.

Ford, University of Michigan Open New Battery Lab – Our friend Dee-Ann Durbin for the AP reports that Ford and the University of Michigan are opening a new battery research and manufacturing lab that will speed the development of batteries for electric and hybrid cars.  The center will bring together battery makers, car companies and researchers who will test new batteries for prototype vehicles.  The lab will coordinate research between auto companies and battery makers so that they are achieving common goals.  The aim is improve the research, moving it earlier in the development process.  The research is vital for EVs as battery costs are expected to fall over the next decade, as new materials are discovered and production increases.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Climate Officers to Launch Workshop, Training – The Association of Climate Change Officers will launch its inaugural Climate Strategies Forum Monday through Thursday at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel. The Forum will feature prominent leaders from across sectors in a plenary format, and a series of half-day bootcamps aligned with the core competencies. Plenary sessions will focus on climate and energy, and bootcamps will focus on topics including adaptation planning, implementing change management schemes, implementing a GHG management structure, and building a public-private partnership project.

Wellinghoff to Speak at MD Clean Energy Summit – Maryland will host its Clean Energy Summit tomorrow and Wednesday at the UMUC Marriott Inn & Conference Center and will focus on distributed energy.  FERC Chair John Wellinghoff will speak among others.

Koppel, Schlesinger to Discuss Energy Security – The U.S. Energy Security Council will hold an expert discussion on energy security and fuel competition tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. at the National Press Club. The discussion will feature a conversation between Dr. James Schlesinger, former Secretary of Defense (1973-1975) and the first Secretary of Energy (1977-1979), and noted broadcast journalist Ted Koppel on how the events of the Arab oil embargo of 1973 affected the energy policy discourse of the past four decades.  At the event, the Council will also launch its new report, “Fuel Choice for American Prosperity: Recommendations to the Nation on Opening the Transportation Fuel Market to Competition.” The report offers a set of fiscally conservative domestic and international policy recommendations to speed the entry of new fuels and vehicles into the market with the aim of allowing more competition in the transportation fuel sector.

CSIS Forum to Discuss Oil Markets – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a forum tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. to hear from Fereidun Fesharaki, Chairman of FACTS Global Energy.  Fesharaki will to provide insights into oil market trends and to present his near-term energy forecast. A wide range of factors, such as geopolitical risks and new supplies, are in play that will shape the short and long term view of global oil markets.  As a leading expert on the global oil market, Fereidun Fesharaki is uniquely positioned to provide a comprehensive picture of supply and demand trends, potential market disruptions, and near-term challenges facing oil markets. David Pumphrey, Co-Director and Senior Fellow with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.

Summit to Focus on Smart Grid – Several groups will hold a National Summit on Integrating Energy Efficiency & Smart Grid tomorrow and Wednesday at the W Hotel in Washington.  The forum will provide a unique dialogue on building performance and smart grid technologies.  Attendees will come from utilities, state and federal agencies, technology companies, performance contractors, service companies and many other stakeholder segments. Speakers will include experts from the program, performance, technology and policy arenas who will discuss the barriers and opportunities relative to integrating smart grid and energy efficiency – as well as demand response.  FERC Chair Wellinghoff headlines a long list of speakers.

VA Gov. to Hold Energy Forum – Gov. Bob McDonnell will hold his 4th Annual Governor’s Conference on Energy on Tuesday through Thursday at the Greater Richmond Convention Center to discuss global and domestic energy supply and demand, current market circumstances and what all of that means for securing energy security.   The forum focus will be on energy in the global marketplace, its impact on our domestic energy landscape, and the important role energy plays in Virginia’s economic development efforts.   Luncheon Speaker will be Ripudaman Malhotra, Co-author of A Cubic Mile of Oil.  Other speakers will include our friends George Hagerman of VA Tech, Wind developer Don Giecek, Dominion’s Emil Avram, EID’s Steve Everly, Charles Falter of AES and former NC Utility Commissioner Jim Kerr, among many others.

MD Gov, FERC Chair Kick Off Solar System – Standard Solar, a leader in the full-service development, construction, integration, financing and installation of solar electric systems, in collaboration with Solar Grid Storage, a pioneer in energy storage deployment, and the Maryland Energy Administration will officially activate the Konterra solar microgrid system during a ribbon cutting ceremony. Special guest speakers include Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff.   The Konterra solar microgrid project, one of the nation’s first commercial scale microgrids, is located at Konterra’s corporate headquarters in Laurel, Maryland. It is a grid-interactive energy storage system co-located with a new 1,368 panel photovoltaic canopy array. This 402 kW groundbreaking system is estimated to generate 20 percent of the building’s annual power. The canopied solar array, which includes two electric vehicle charging stations with infrastructure for four additional stations, is financed by Konterra, PNC Bank, Solar Grid Storage, and supported through a Maryland Energy Administration “Game Changer” Grant.

EPA GHG Listening Sessions THIS WEEK CANCELLED – The EPA was scheduled to begin 11 public listening sessions across the country this week in Boston and Philadelphia to solicit ideas and input from the public and stakeholders about the best Clean Air Act approaches to reducing carbon pollution from existing power plants.  Both have been cancelled because of the Shutdown even as for members from coal states call for more meetings in there region, which they say was purposely left off the list.  Other meetings are still on, but subject to change, include Wednesday October 23 in New York and Atlanta, Wednesday October 30th in Denver, Monday November 4th in Lexana, KS, Tuesday November 5th in San Francisco, Thursday November 7th in DC, Dallas and Seattle and finally, Chicago on Friday November 8th.  For more information on these sessions and to register online, go to EPA’s Site.

SAFE Oil Embargo Forum Set – Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) will hold a major national energy conference, OPEC Oil Embargo +40: A National Summit on Energy Security, at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday.  At the event, it will also award its inaugural Energy Security Prize, which aims to reward companies whose ingenuity, leadership, and perseverance are poised to advance American energy security by helping bring an end to U.S. oil dependence.   The SAFE Energy Security Prize will be divided into two categories including 1) Emerging Innovation Award (EIA), which will recognize up to three technologies not currently in the marketplace that are expected to be available for sale within five years that have the potential to meaningfully reduce long-term U.S. oil consumption; and 2) the Advanced Technology Award (ATA) will recognize up to three groundbreaking technologies already established in the marketplace today that reduce the amount of oil consumed in the United States.

Webinar to Focus 40 Years Since Oil Embargo – The American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE) is hosting a webinar Wednesday to discuss the significance of the 40th anniversary of the Iran Oil embargo and to provide an overview of changes in the nation’s energy situation during the past four decades.   Speakers will include former CIA head James Woolsey, Scott Sklar, and others.  Details about the webinar are on ACORE’s web page: www.acore.org.

Forum to Look at Nordic Country Successes, Innovation – The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation will host a forum on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. featuring representatives from Finland, Denmark and Sweden who will share insights from the successes-and ongoing challenges-these nations have experienced in crafting innovation policy and building globally competitive, 21st-century innovation economies.  Since 2000 the Nordic economies have thrived by increasing government funding for R&D and innovation, implementing competitive tax codes with lower corporate rates and investment incentives, deploying ICTs, and introducing labor flexicurity models. Moreover, led by innovation agencies including Finland’s Tekes and SITRA, Sweden’s Agency for Growth Policy and Analysis and VINNOVA, and Denmark’s Agency for Science, Technology, and Innovation, the Nordic countries have been pioneers in developing national innovation strategies and building innovation-based economies.  Speakers include Niels Heltberg, Minister Counselor, Danish Embassy in the United States; Rolf Höijer, Science and Innovation Counselor, Swedish Embassy in the United States and Jukka Salminiitty, Director, FinNode USA.

Heritage to Feature Conservative Enviro Book Author – The Heritage Foundation will Host a book event on Wednesday at Noon with Author Greg Walcher.  While many books assess the history of the environmental movement and offer perspectives of what has gone right or wrong since its inception around 1970, there is no doubt that the issue has become less about science and practical conservation as it has become more highly polarized and politicized. Property rights, the Endangered Species Act, forest management, energy, natural resource development production and other critical issues have been reduced to political footballs, while responsible efforts stall and Americans grieve dying forests and record gasoline prices.  In Smoking Them Out, Greg Walcher, President of the Natural Resources Group and an American leader in natural resource policy, offers a fresh approach. A mountain of entangling regulations have inflicted unintended consequences upon “stewards of the land” – farmers, ranchers, and landowners. Walcher presents a way out of this wilderness. He argues the solution to many of our environmental problems is simple, measurable, and sustainable both economically and from a conservation standpoint.

Webinar to Look at Wind, Property Values – Wind Powering America will be hosting a live webinar on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. focused on the effects of wind energy facilities on surrounding property values in the United States. The webinar features Ben Hoen, principal research associate in the Electricity Markets and Policy Group at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and lead author of the new report A Spatial Hedonic Analysis of the Effects of Wind Energy Facilities on Surrounding Property Values in the United States. This report builds on a 2009 study that also investigated impacts on home values near wind facilities. As part of the new study, the researchers analyzed more than 50,000 home sales near 67 wind facilities in 27 counties across nine states. The research did not find any statistically identifiable impacts of wind facilities to nearby home property values. Audio access: 888-396-0679 Participant passcode: 8466385.  You can also get Web access here.

RINs/RFS 2 Forum to Discuss Ethanol Issues – The 5th Annual Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) RFS2, RINs & Biodiesel Forum will be held on Thursday and Friday at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place in Chicago, IL.

JHU Forum to address Climate Geoengineering – The Johns Hopkins University will host a forum on Thursday at 12:00 p.m. on climate change geoengineering.  The forum will discuss the serious consideration of the potential role of geoengineering as a potential means to avert a “climate emergency,” such as rapid melting of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets, or as a stopgap measure to buy time for effective emissions mitigation responses. This roundtable will examine the ethical, legal, and political issues associated with climate change geoengineering research and development and potential deployment.  Panelists will include Hudson Institute scholar Lee Lane, Visiting Scholar, Climate Institute expert and former Clinton Climate Science Advisor Michael MacCracken and Simon Nicholson of the American University.

Forum to Look at World Nuclear Status – The Heinrich Böll Foundation, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Federation of American Scientists will host a luncheon discussion on Thursday with Mycle Schneider, the lead author of the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2013. The plummeting natural gas prices, sovereign debt crisis, proliferation concerns and improved economic conditions for renewable energy sources have created a challenging global environment for nuclear power. Contrary to beliefs that there is a global renaissance in nuclear power, the use of nuclear power around the world is on the decline. This is especially true in the United States, where operating reactors are being closed for the first time in 15 years. The World Nuclear Industry Status Report provides a vital reality check to the current situation of the global nuclear industry as well as identifying important nuclear trends.

JHU Forum to Feature BP Exec – The Johns Hopkins University will host a forum on Friday at 4:30 p.m. in the Rome Building Auditorium – The Rome Building featuring Dev Sanyal, executive vice president at BP in London.  Sanyal will discuss this “The Energy Roadmap – Setting the Direction for 21st Century Energy.”

 

FUTURE EVENTS

BIOCYCLE To look at Renewable Energy From Organics Recycling – The American Biogas Council will hold the 13th annual BIOCYCLE Conference on October 20-23 in Columbus, OH at the Hyatt Regency Columbus.  Biocycle is the official conference of ABC and will have industry experts and policy makers providing the latest technological information on how to turn municipal, industrial and agricultural organic waste streams into power, renewable natural gas, vehicle fuels and high-value digestate and compost products.  For press credentials, contact Rill Ann Miller, at 610-967-4135, ext. 22, or biocycle@jgpress.com.

Nissan EVs to Be Focus of Oct WAPA Event – The Washington Automotive Press Association (WAPA) will hold a luncheon with Nissan on Tuesday October 22nd at the National Press Club.  Erik Gottfried, Director of Electric Vehicle Sales and Marketing for Nissan North America will speak about the growing adoption of Nissan LEAF in markets across the U.S. With LEAF now price competitive with comparable gas-powered cars, people can easily see the benefit of giving up buying gas and driving the all-electric Nissan LEAF.  While sales have continued to rise in the traditional EV strongholds on the west coast like San Francisco, L.A., Seattle and Portland, a new wave of EV markets in the eastern half of the country have started to emerge. Sales are growing quickly in markets like Atlanta, St. Louis, Chicago and Washington D.C., driven by a number of factors.  Gottfried will discuss this phenomenon, some of the reasons behind it for D.C. and other markets, and how factors such as infrastructure development are getting even more customers to consider driving electric

ELI Dinner to Honor Steyer, Shultz – The Environmental Law Institute will hold its annual dinner on October 22nd at The Omni Shoreham Hotel, honoring political energy gadfly Tom Steyer and former Secretary of State George Shultz.  Of course, the annual event will lead off with the Miriam Hamilton Keare Policy Forum at 4:00 p.m., which will focus on the environmental and human effects of modern agriculture. This year’s Keare Forum will not only consider the potential environmental costs and benefits of the legislation, but also the effects on consumers and the 47 million Americans who depend on food assistance.  The event will also feature a forum on energy issues and big data which will include comments from Intel’s Stephen Harper, CEQ’s Gary Guzy and others.

FERC to Hold Hydro Workshop – Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff will hold a workshop on Tuesday October 22nd to begin investigating the feasibility of a two-year process for the issuance of a license for hydropower development at non-powered dams and closed-loop pumped storage projects in compliance with section 6 of the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2013.

Offshore Wind Conference Moves to Providence – AWEA’s 7th annual Offshore Wind Conference will be held in Providence, RI on October 22nd through 24th.  Topics will include the Federal PTC/ITC extension, DOE demonstration project funding and new state off-take mechanisms. Each day of the conference will include powerful General Sessions featuring high-level government officials, visionaries for the offshore wind industry, a panel of leading OEM companies active in the offshore market, and another panel of U.S. offshore wind developers giving the latest insights into their projects.

Galbraith Book Forum Set – The New America Foundation will hold a forum for our former NY Times reporter Kate Galbraith on Wednesday October 23rd at 12:15 p.m. discussing her book, The Great Texas Windrush.  Our friends Galbraith and Asher tell the fascinating story behind Texas’ unlikely wind-energy boom. In the late 1990s the small towns of Texas were being decimated by the oil crisis and few would have thought alternative energies might be the solution. But in a state known for bristling at environmental regulation, entrepreneurs, politicians, and environmentalists – from T. Boone Pickens to George W. Bush – saw the potential and began to embrace wind farming. By 2012, Texas was generating about 9 percent of its electricity from wind, and some of those same towns are now thriving in the shadow of 300-foot-tall turbines.

Forum to Discuss Clean Energy Deployment – The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation will hold a forum on Wednesday, October 23rd at 9:00 a.m. to discuss the roots of the Clean Energy deployment.  The Deployment Consensus, the reasons why a “deployment-first” strategy will fail, and why innovation-driven energy policies are the solution will be discussed.  A majority of clean energy advocates believe that the world has all the low-carbon technologies it needs to address climate change; what we lack is the political will to mandate and subsidize their deployment. To support this view advocates of this “Clean Energy Deployment Consensus” point to a number of studies assessing the technical readiness of clean energy technologies. Unfortunately, as ITIF shows in its new report Challenging the Clean Energy Deployment Consensus these reports often gloss over major challenges facing clean energy, including significantly higher costs, sub-optimal performance, and challenges in grid integration and storage. In addition many advocates miss the critical message of the need for innovation inherent in the literature. Without a comprehensive and aggressive innovation strategy clean energy will not be cheap enough and good enough to be adopted voluntarily around the planet.

Hispanic Energy Group to Hold National Summit – Hispanics In Energy will hold their Final National Energy Policy Summit in Washington DC on October 23-24th at the Heritage Center.  The groups launched the National Energy Policy Series in Sacramento, CA on June 24th.  Our friend Joe Desmond of BrightSource Energy will be among the speakers.

Wilson Forum to Look at Greece Economy, Energy – The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will hold a forum on Thursday, October 24th at 12:00 p.m. on the future economic & energy prospects in Greece & the Eastern Mediterranean.  Speakers will include Asimakis Papageorgiou, Deputy Minister for Environment, Energy and Climate Change, Hellenic Republic of Greece and Panayiotis (Peter) G. Mihalos, The Secretary General for International Economic Relations and Development Cooperation, Hellenic Republic of Greece.

Shelanski to Headline Cost-Benefit Forum – The NYU School of Law’s Institute for Policy Integrity will hold a forum on October 28th in NYU’s Vanderbilt Hall to discuss cost-benefit analysis.  The event will feature leading practitioners, government officials, and academics for NYU’s 5th annual practitioners’ workshop on the federal regulatory process.  The workshop will be an introduction to economic analysis and its role in the regulatory process, as well as a nuanced look at how the technique is used by federal administrative agencies. This year’s workshop will also mark the 20th anniversary of Executive Order 12,866. Howard Shelanski, Administrator of OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs will keynote.

Argus Carbon Summit Set for Cali – Argus will hold its California Carbon Summit on October 28-30 at the Hyatt Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, California. The event will feature informative sessions that will address the business and transactional aspects of the Cap-and-Trade program including the dynamics of procuring carbon allowances at auction and in the secondary market, offset procurement and strategies, managing regulatory and market changes, among many other relevant topics.  Speakers will include our Argus friends Caroline Gentry, Kim Moore and Bill Peters, as well as Cal EPA’s Mark Wenzel, BP’s Ralph Moran, Tanya Peacock of the Southern California Gas Company and Belinda Morris of the American Carbon Registry, among others.

OPIS Event to Look at Oil Market Dynamics – The 15th annual OPIS National Supply Summit will be held in Las Vegas on October 28-30 at the beautiful Mandarin Oriental.  Speakers will include PBF Energy Executive Chairman Thomas O’Malley, Tesoro Corporation Operations VP Dan Romasko, and expert Phil Verleger, among many others.  Topics will include “re-wiring” of the North American distribution system, the architectural shifts in North American and world crude oil prices, and the inter-market and intra-market refined products price volatility.

Ex-Officials, Hofmeister to Address Energy Conference – The NATO Energy Security Center of Excellence and the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS) will host the Target Energy 2013 Conference on October 31st and November 1st at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. The conference will address the latest issues facing energy operations and security across NATO Member and Partner nations.   Target Energy 2013 will address energy issues ranging from how best to protect on-and-offshore infrastructure to preventing the increasingly frequent millisecond cyber-attacks against network systems and infrastructure.   The objectives are to actively stimulate civil-military co-operation and exchange on shared energy concerns, further public outreach between NATO bodies and private industry technology and solutions’ providers.  Speakers will include former EU Ambassador Boyden Gray, former CIA Director James Woolsey, former NSA head Robert McFarlane and former Shell CEO John Hofmeister, among many others.

NASEO Reschedule Winter Fuels Outlook – The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), and the National Association of State Energy Officials will host the rescheduled 2013–2014 Winter Fuels Outlook Conference on November 1st at the National Press Club.   The conference will address global oil supply uncertainty, and the effects of projected winter weather on the demand for heating and key transportation fuels.  A range of market factors that may impact the supply, distribution and prices of petroleum, natural gas and electricity this winter will be discussed in great detail by some the nation’s leading energy data and forecasting experts.

NARUC Set for Orlando – The 125th annual NARUC meeting will be held in Orlando, Florida at the Hilton Bonnet Creek, November 17th through 20th.  Speakers include NIST Director Patrick Gallagher, FCC Chair Mignon Clyburn and AWEA Tom Kiernan, among many others.

 

Energy Update Week of July 1

Friends,

In case you missed it Saturday, le Tour d’ France’s historic 100th edition kicked off Saturday to madness with a team bus getting wedged under the finishing banner that threatened the end of the first stage and two giant pile ups in the last few kilometers that knocked out the three best sprinters from a certain stage sprint finish…and that was only the first day.  Tomorrow, the field heads from Corsica to mainland Southern France to start the trek to Paris.  The 21 stages include two brutal mountain stages at 18 and 19 that are likely to determine race while inflicting massive pain on the peloton.  Look for another update next week.

In case you didn’t notice, last week was a massive news week.  There was so much going on that big things, like the President’s climate speech, hardly registered over the din of many other more important items, such as the SCOTUS cases on voter rights and DOMA.  My colleagues Scott Segal (202-828-5845) and Jeff Holmstead (202-828-5852) answered tons of questions on climate, CSAPR and other things last week and remain at your beck and call.

This week is July 4th so little action in DC from a policy angle, but if you are in the Nation’s Capital for the 4th of July, you should try to make it over the Capitol Fourth on the mall.  It is one of the most spectacular events of the year and crosses party, political and policy lines.

Two bits of history spark this week as well.  It is the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, another place close to DC that is a special place to visit.  So much history, tragedy and strategery (as Will Farrell might say) makes the three epic days of Gettysburg one of the most interesting and historic battles ever.  Take some time to check out many of the key issues that faced each side and why it was such a turning point in the preservation of our nation.  Secondly, 60 years ago yesterday, the first Corvette rolled off the assembly line in Flint, Michigan in 1953.  Carscoops has some great facts on the ‘Vette.  Boy it still looks good and I hope I’m still that fast when I hit 60!!!

Finally, with all the news last week, you may have missed this one.  On Saturday morning, my colleague Josh Zive, who many of you know as a trade and campaign finance expert here at PRG, ventured onto C-Span’s Saturday Washington Journal, the call-in show that provides a forum for leading journalists and public policy makers to discuss key events and legislation.   NRDC’s Bob Deans and Josh battled over climate, energy and the usual miscellaneous, less-relevant topics that C-Span callers tend to offer up.  Check Out the video.

 

Call with Questions,
Frank Maisano
(202) 828-5864
c. (202) 997-5932

 

IN THE NEWS

House Passes Offshore Energy Legislation – The House passed legislation from House Resources Chairman Doc Hastings that would allow joint energy development projects between U.S. companies and Mexico’s PEMEX Gas y Petroquímica, among other items that increase production.  Our friend Khary Cauthen of API said the bill’s passage was a positive step for U.S. producers operating in the Gulf, while Jim Noe, Executive Director of the Shallow Water Energy Security Coalition and Executive Vice President at Hercules Offshore, applauded the move, saying the legislation would boost our nation’s supplies of needed oil and gas and help us move beyond our government’s continued ambivalence about what to do with the natural resources we harbor just off our nation’s coasts.    Noe: “President Obama recently reiterated support for an ‘All of the Above’ energy policy and has often voiced intent to decrease our reliance on imported energy supplies, many of which come from overseas regimes who do not share our nation’s core values.  Yet Administration policy continues to ignore the full potential of our resources offshore.  While over 20 percent of this country’s oil and gas production comes from the offshore, the Administration’s own 5-Year Plan for offshore development leaves approximately 85% of available areas off limits to energy exploration and production.   The Offshore Energy and Jobs Act addresses this apparent contradiction, and the men and women of the Gulf energy industry stand ready to implement this proactive plan.  Our nation’s economic and energy security will only benefit from optimizing available energy production today as we gradually transition to a next-generation energy portfolio.  It’s time to get to work making it happen.

Climate Politics Starts – The Game is On…The advertising has started and even the President, before launching to Africa, did his Saturday Radio Address on climate change.  While advertising and rhetoric is interesting, the larger questions on the policy include timetable, political and legal questions.   In addition, reports say that EPA has sent the White House a new draft of its proposed greenhouse gas rule for future power plants.  OMB will now review them.

Binz Nominated to FERC – Former Colorado PUC Commissioner Ron Binz was nominated to head the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.  Binz, a renewable energy proponent that served under Gov. Bill Ritter, would succeed outgoing FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff.  Binz could be controversial though.  A report from the American Tradition Institute says Binz is a “well-known anti-coal crusader.”   ATI says as Colorado PUC chair, Binz was heavily involved in pushing through the state’s “Clean Air, Clean Jobs Act,” which sought to move the state away from coal power to natural gas, only to find himself tripped up by ethical missteps revealed by his state’s Open Records Act.   As a result of his involvement with the “Clean Air, Clean Jobs Act,” Binz had serious conflict-of-interest issue charges levied against him while PUC chair.

Fellow PUCs Support, Denver Post Hits Binz – Binz’s nomination drew praise from NARUC President Philip Jones, PSEG chief Ralph Izzo, Xcel Energy head Ben Fowke and Colette Honorable, chairwoman of the Arkansas Public Service Commission who was also mentioned as a possible candidate to lead FERC.  The Denver Post, Binz’s hometown Paper had a much different take, unloading on Binz for his state travels and ethics.  According to the Denver Post, “Months before the 2010 legislative session began, [Binz] engaged in meetings with executives from the natural gas industry and Xcel Energy…By early March 2010, he was even reassuring Xcel officials on how the commission would treat cost recovery under draft language.”  The Post also said that Binz as a “consumer advocate,” would only be true if you happen to believe higher energy prices are a consumer’s best friend. In an article in The Energy Daily a few years ago, and later in an interview with the Post, Binz openly advocated for higher electricity prices as part of a comprehensive climate policy.

Macfarlane, Others Approved – In the flood of news last week, you may have missed that the Senate approved NRC Chair Alison Macfarlane Thursday night, sneaking under the June 30th wire.  Macfarlane, who replaced the controversial Greg Jaczko in the middle of his term, will now serve a full five-year term as chairwoman.  Several others were approved in the late night session before the Senate exited, including two CPSC commissioners (who were approved without hearings) Marietta Robinson and Ann Marie Buerkle, as well as OMB’s Howard Shelanski, who will become the next administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, a key reviewer of environmental regulations.

Sussman Leaving EPA – EPA senior policy counsel Bob Sussman is leaving the agency by next Monday.  Sussman served as EPA assistant administrator early in the Clinton administration and was a member of then-Sen. Barack Obama’s energy and environment team during the 2008 presidential election.  HE also focused on EPA for Obama’s transition team.  He also was a senior fellow at The Center for American Progress.

Valero to Supply Jet Fuel to DoD – Valero Marketing and Supply Co. has been awarded a $456.4 million contract to supply aviation turbine fuel to the Department of Defense.  The company is a subsidiary of San Antonio-based refining and marketing firm Valero Energy.  The Defense Logistics Agency Energy at Fort Belvoir, Va., is managing the contract.

Inconsistency in Aim to Power Africa – During his trip to Africa, the President said the US will roll out a $7 billion government-backed initiative to increase access to electric power in sub-Saharan Africa.  The President said the goal is to double access to electric power.  There remains one small problem with his approach.  Most developing country often look to coal to provide low-cost and reliable power to build up new electric grids.  The President has already directed the World Bank and other international organizations to stop funding coal projects.

 

GOING ON THIS WEEK

NOTHING… WOOOOO-HOOOO – It’s the July 4th Summer Congressional District Work Period, or Recess as some like to call it.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

Heritage to Look at Reagan Enviro, Energy Issues – The Heritage Foundation will host a forum on Monday, July 8th at 12:00 p.m. in its Lehrman Auditorium looking at Ronald Reagan’s battle with environmental extremists and why it matters today.  Reagan, with his unbridled faith in American ingenuity, creativity, and know-how and his confidence in the free-enterprise system, believed the United States would “transcend” the Soviet Union. To do so, however, as President, he had to revive and revitalize an American economy reeling from a double-digit trifecta: unemployment, inflation, and interest rates. He knew the economy could not grow without reliable sources of energy that America had in abundance.  The environmental movement was in its ascendancy at the time and had persuaded Congress to enact a series of well-intentioned laws that posed threats of great mischief in the hands of covetous bureaucrats, radical groups, and activist judges. As a conservationist and an environmentalist, Reagan believed in being a good steward. More than anything else, however, he believed in people. Specifically, for him, people were part of the ecology as well. That was where the split developed.   The event will be hosted by Edwin Meese III and will feature author William Perry Pendley, a former member of the Reagan Administration and author of some of Reagan’s most sensible energy and environmental policies.  Pendley will provide an insider’s view of how Reagan fought the new wave of anti-human environmentalists and managed to enact laws that protected nature while promoting the prosperity and freedom of man – saving the American economy in the process.

Woolsey to Address JHU Forum on Energy – The Johns Hopkins SAIS program will host a forum on Monday, July 8th at 6:30 p.m. featuring Ambassador R. James Woolsey, a former Director of Central Intelligence, in its Nitze Building – Kenney Herter Auditorium.  While our investment in alternative energy resources is improving, the US continues to be dependent on oil. Our need to import oil greatly impacts our foreign policy decisions and national security. Woolsey will share his views on how our dependence on oil, both domestic and foreign, affects our national security, and the potential for our energy policies to change in pursuit of smarter investment in energy alternatives.

Wind Hill Meeting Training Set – AWEA will sponsor its wind power on Capitol Hill event on Tuesday and Wednesday, July 9th and 10th.  The Wind Power on Capitol Hill event is designed to develop participants’ advocacy skills. Through a familiarization with current federal energy policy issues on Capitol Hill, the event offers training from advocacy experts on how to effectively communicate with Congressional offices. The event shares specific techniques on work with member of Congress and arms participants with answers to tough questions, to prepare for effective and productive Hill meetings.  Speakers will include FERC Chair Jon Wellinghoff, White House CEQ expert Jon Powers, Texas PUC Chair Donna Nelson and Cal PUC Commissioner Catherine Sandoval, among many others.

ICF Webinar to Look at NGLs – ICF International will host an energy webinar on Tuesday July 9th at 11:30 a.m. on assessing the value of natural gas liquids.  During the webinar, ICF expert Mike Sloan will discuss ICF’s long-term outlook on natural gas liquids markets and address the continual issues facing the NGL industry, including risks associated with major new investments, markets likely to face the most risk, and where the winners and losers are likely to be located.

Forum to Look at Transmission 101 – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute and WIRES (Working group for Investment in Reliable and Economic electric Systems) will host a briefing on Tuesday, July 9th at 2:00 p.m. in 2212 Rayburn about the operational basics of high-voltage transmission to help facilitate your understanding of the complex economic and policy challenges facing the grid in the 21st century. Transmission issues are a major concern for federal and state policymakers as well as your constituents.  By delving into the grid’s operation and the interstate markets for bulk power it supports, the briefing is designed to provide a foundation for discussions about cost responsibility, land use issues, transmission planning, integration of variable renewable energy resources, and other issues that are becoming more important to the future of the power industry. Speakers for this event include: FERC Director of Policy Development Jeff Dennis, Jay Caspary of the Southwest Power Pool, Clean Line Energy Partners Wayne Galli and former FERC Chairman Jim Hoecker.

Forum to Tackle Reduce Plutonium Stockpiles – The Carnegie Endowment’s Nuclear Policy Program will convene a special briefing and discussion on Tuesday, July 9th at 2:00 p.m. to look at the controversial effort to reduce plutonium stockpiles. Panelists will discuss the program’s objectives and its difficulties, as well as options for minimizing plutonium that are now being explored. Speakers include Douglas Birch and R. Jeffrey Smith from the Center for Public Integrity, who have recently published four articles on this topic, and Frank von Hippel of Princeton University. The single most costly U.S. nonproliferation program currently underway faces a cloudy future in Washington. The Obama administration has proposed to halve planned spending for a U.S. plutonium disposition program that was crafted in negotiations with Russia and has been blessed by three U.S. presidents.  DOE has begun studying alternatives, creating uncertainty about the future of a $7.7 billion nuclear fuel factory in South Carolina that lies at the U.S. end of the bargain. Lawmakers who wish to keep the project alive held up Ernest Moniz’s confirmation as energy secretary for a month and have threatened to block other nominations unless it proceeds.

Wyden, Upton Headline ACCF Speaker Events – The American Council on Capital Formation (ACCF) will hold a summer economic speaker series starting Tuesday, July 9th at 8:00 a.m. when Senate Energy Chair Ron Wyden will speak to the group at Johnny’s Half Shell.  Other speakers will include Rand Paul on Tuesday, July 16th and House Energy & Commerce Chair Fred Upton on July 25th.

Demand Response Meetings Set – The National Town Meeting on Demand Response and Smart Grid will be held on Tuesday-Thursday, July 9 – 11th at Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, focuses on the business and policy aspects of demand response and its enabling technologies and applications. It devotes an entire day to roundtable discussions featuring experts in demand response and smart grid, who discuss with each other and with the audience the latest trends, issues, and business developments.

Boustany to Discuss LNG Exports at CSIS – The Center for Strategic & International Studies Energy and National Security Program and Wadhwani Chair in U.S.-India Studies will host a discussion on Wednesday, July 10th at 8:30 a.m. on expanding U.S. trade markets and liquefied natural gas exports.  The U.S. will soon become an exporter of liquefied natural gas into global markets. In addition to potentially changing the global energy map, liquefied natural gas exports will add to the shale gas revolution’s stimulus for the US economy, reduce trade deficits, and provide new sources of revenue to all levels of government.  Rapidly growing Asian economies will need energy of all types creating a major opportunity for US gas exporters to provide clean natural gas and deepen the commercial relationship between our country and the Asian region.  Congressman Charles Boustany will discuss his state’s efforts to expand energy exports and the importance of the Asian region to the North American gas market.   He will be joined by CSIS experts Ambassador Karl Inderfurth, and Sarah O. Ladislaw, Co-director and Senior Fellow in the Energy and Security Program.

DOE to Discuss Solar Financing – The Energy Department will present a live webcast on Wednesday, July 10th at 2:00 p.m. looking at innovation and success in solar financing.  The webcast will feature recent developments in solar project financing and customer acquisition models. The discussion will include an overview of recent developments in third-party solar financing, community shared solar, bulk purchasing, and Clean Local Energy Accessible Now/feed-in-tariff programs.

CSIS Discussion to Look at Intelligent Transportation Systems – On Wednesday, July 10th at 3:00 p.m., the Center for Strategic and International Studies will host James A. Lewis, CSIS scholar, and Dr. Hiroyuki Watanabe, Chairman of the ITS World Congress, for a conversation on the ways rapid investment in intelligent transport systems (ITS) and global trends in urban transformation are driving an exciting new era for economic development.  The USA, Japan and Europe stand at the doorstep of new industries and jobs, disruptive technologies, environmental improvement, and enhanced community resilience. Later this year, over 90 nations will be represented at the 20th ITS World Congress in Tokyo, Japan. Detroit, Michigan and Bordeaux, France will host the 2014 and 2015 World Congress, respectively.

State Dept Expert to Address Economists – The National Economists Club will host conversation with the State Department’s Jennifer Harris on Thursday, July 11th at Noon at the Chinatown Garden Restaurant.  Harris is a member of the Policy Planning Staff at State and is responsible for global markets, geo-economic issues and energy security.   Prior to joining Policy Planning, Jennifer was a five-year member of the National Intelligence Council, where she helped to produce National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs) and the NIC’s Global Trends 2025 Report. A Truman and a Rhodes Scholar, she holds degrees in Economics and International Relations from Wake Forest University (B.A.) and Oxford University (M.Phil), and a J.D. from Yale Law School.

Forum to Look at Military Biofuel Benefits –On Friday, July 12th, the National Capital Chapter of the National Assn for Energy Economics will hold a discussion with Dr. Joel Yudken to discuss his recent study assessing the economic consequences of military’s investment and purchase of advanced biofuels to meet its goal of replacing petroleum-based fuels with alternative fuels over the next decade. He will also speak on the state of the advanced biofuels market, the economic impact of advanced biofuels investments and the challenges the industry will face in its ability to reach commercial scale production.

Senate Energy on Fuels – The Senate Energy Committee is expected to hold a hearing on gasoline issues on July 16th.  More details on this next week when We may know More about witnesses, etc.

NACo Conference Set For Ft Worth – The National Assn of Counties will hold its 78th Annual Conference and Exposition on July 19th in Fort Worth, TX.  The Annual Conference provides county officials with the opportunity to vote on the National Association of Counties’ (NACo’s) policies related to federal legislation and regulation; elect officers; network with colleagues; learn about innovative county programs; find out about issues impacting counties across the country; and view products and services from participating companies and exhibitors.

NARUC Summer Meetings Focus on Cyber, Broadband, Climate, Safety Policies – Cyber security, broadband adoption, climate policy, pipeline safety, and much more will take center stage during the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ Summer Committee Meetings July 21-24 in Denver.  The meetings will bring in federal and State policymakers, industry officials, consumer advocates, and many critical stakeholders to the Denver Sheraton Downtown. The agenda, still under development, is available online.  Topics under discussion include: measuring cybersecurity; national broadband policies; integration of renewable energy; addressing climate mitigation and adaption; electricity and gas interdependencies; and much more.  Featured speakers include Federal Communications Commission member Jessica Rosenworcel, National Telecommunications and Information Administration Administrator Larry Strickling, Xcel Energy Chairman, President, and CEO Ben Fowke, and Questar Chairman, President, and CEO Ron Jibson. A complete list of speakers confirmed to date is available online.

 

Energy Update Week of November 26

Friends,

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.  I was in Cancun, Mexico looking for the UN Climate Meetings, but they are in Doha this year (Oh, thanks, right…)  Anyway, it was a great way to spend Thanksgiving week even though we didn’t get to discuss the climate and eat a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner (probably saved some pounds).

We did return in time for my 9-year-old Olivia’s lacrosse tournament Sunday where they pounded a bunch of Virginia teams in the Woodson Fall Brawl.  Liv scored 7 goals in the four games, including two the “champions” game as she called it.  Also, for those of you missing hockey, north of the border it’s going to really get slow now as last night the Toronto Argonauts beat the Calgary Stampeders 35-22 to win the 100th Grey Cup (the CFL’s Super Bowl).   Toronto is coached by former Maryland QB Scott Milanovich, who took the Argos to the Cup in his first season as head coach. 

So, I also have my Soundgarden tickets for the kick off show of the 2013 “King Animal” tour in DC on January 18th.  Looking forward to that return after nearly 15 years.  It’s also the 50th anniversary of the Rolling Stones kick off and they have stared a tour with three shows at London’s 02 Arena.  After seeing The Who before Thanksgiving and getting most of the way through Pete Townshend’s Who I Am book (which I highly recommend and features lots of back stories about the Stones, Clapton , Jimi Hendrix, others), I wonder if they will be as good.  We’ll see in NYC with three upcoming shows in December. 

As Time Goes By, it is also the 70th anniversary of the American film classic Casablanca.  It is one of my all-time favorites and for those of you who don’t like it, you may be “trying to convince yourself of something you don’t believe in your heart.”  I can talk about more, but “Play it, Sam, Play it.” 

Of course, while running a saloon was Rick Blaine’s business, you’ll excuse me, gentlemen to return to our business of politics.  To that end, Congress returns this week for at least two weeks of wrangling over the Fiscal Cliff, which is actually great because it gives all of us (my reporter friends, politicians/their staffs and us on the lobby/PR side) something to do for the next few weeks until the Holiday parties begin.  Don’t expect much this week, but the key will be to watch movement among House Republicans, not Senators like Lindsay Graham and Bob Corker.

The UN Climate meetings also begin this week in Doha so I suspect we’ll round up the usual suspects and get the bunch of stories about how important climate change is and how the UN process can fix it.  Again, nothing ever happened until the second week anyway, but again keys to watch will be China (which has already said they’re rejecting emissions limits and are demanding that developed countries do more).  Perhaps they missed the EIA report that says our emissions are approaching 1990 levels because of our sputtering economy and conversation to low-cost natural gas.  Anyway, more on this next week. 

As for events, there are three MUST ATTENDS for you over the next week or so.  Tomorrow, BPC will hold an energy event tomorrow giving us an early look at recommendation for a 2013 report for the President.  On Wednesday, RFF will hold an event to discuss the next decade of US energy policy featuring experts including my colleague Jeff Holmstead. 

Finally and most importantly, next Monday, our friends at Securing Americas Future Energy (SAFE) will release a portfolio of policy recommendations intended to reduce U.S. dependence on oil, which the Council says is a paramount threat to the national, economic and fiscal security of America.  Speakers at the SAFE event at the Newseum will include Sen.  Lamar Alexander,  FedEx CEO Fred Smith, former Director of National Intelligence Admiral Dennis C. Blair and Waste Management CEO David Steiner, among others. 

All great stuff…and there will be a few others as well which are detailed below.  As for Congress, we are tracking closely and will be available to address your questions, provide background about the session or next year’s agenda so don’t hesitate to call. 

Frank Maisano
(202) 8282-5864
c. (202) 997-5932

IN THE NEWS 

LA Times Assault on CA Wind Projects Continues – The Los Angeles Times has continued it assault on the solar projects of California with another story that raises questions about economic impacts on Host counties.  The Times reports that an economic consultant hired by Inyo County, who is hosting the $2.7 billion Hidden Hills solar project, almost absurdly found that property tax revenue would be a fraction of the customary amount because portions of the plant qualify for a solar tax exclusion. Fewer than 10 local workers would land permanent positions — and just 5% of the construction jobs would be filled by county residents. And, shockingly, construction workers are likely to spend their money across the nearby state line, in Nevada.  

California Energy Commission Has Different Facts – The facts in the Inyo projects situation are quite different that the Times has portrayed.  Our friends at BrightSource Energy, the project developer, point to an independent California Energy Commission study on the socioeconomic impacts which shows significantly higher economic benefits than that claimed by Cart and Inyo County’s consultant.   The CEC report says the economic impacts from the project occur in two phases and show reasonably foreseeable scenario for increased employment, earnings and output, or product and services sold, within Inyo County.  It shows County earnings rising by $12.1 million for the Construction period and by $25 million over the life of the project.  

Blogger Hammers LAT’s Cart for Unfair Coverage – It seems Clean Energy bloggers have had enough as well.  After the last story, Grist’s David Roberts hammered solar opponents .  This time, Clean energy blogger RL Miller unloads on Cart and The Times in a DailyKos piece (it will be up on Climate Progress too) calling her out for an anti-solar bias.  Miller says the Times is effectively the national paper of record for the California desert.  Miller also reviewed its site for all 170 stories written by Cart (many on unrelated topics) and reviewed them all, saying all of her solar stories portray the solar industry in a bad light. As only one example, today’s story could – but doesn’t – note the negative impacts of climate change on Riverside and Inyo counties, the health burdens of relying on other older energy sources or  whether Inyo County’s worries about the impact of Big Solar on its roads is overblown.

Capito to Take on Rockefeller – An interesting campaign development for the 2014 Senate races already with impacts in the “war on coal” arguments.  Popular WV Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito will announce today she plans to run for Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s seat in 2014.  Rocky has been considered vulnerable given the state’s make up and his less-than-stellar support for the coal industry.   Should be interesting. 

EPA Mercury Rule Rolled Out – Over the holiday week, the EPA rolled out its Mercury Air Toxics rule.  The new proposal is a reconsideration of part of the agency’s rule that applies to new sources.  After the agency finalized the full rule last December, it received several petitions asking the agency to take another look at the standards. EPA agreed to reformulate the regulations for new power plants.  The proposal slightly lowers the legal limits on several harmful pollutants for new coal- and oil-fired plants, including mercury and acid gases. However, EPA insisted that the overall health benefits will not be reduced because new plants will still need to install the same pollution control technologies in order to meet the new standards as they did with the original regulations.  EPA said it would finalize the MATS changes by next March. My colleague Jeffrey Holmstead, a former EPA air administrator who led the challenge to the rules, said new plants can’t go forward without knowing whether they can meet EPA mercury standards.  He said the agency had no choice but to agree to the changes, which he called largely technical corrections, That’s the same terminology EPA used to describe the proposal.  “The earlier standard would have prevented any new coal plants from being built.” 

THIS WEEK’S GOINGS ON  

BPC to Discuss Energy Future – The Bipartisan Policy will hold an event tomorrow in the National Press Club’s Holeman Lounge with Former Senator Byron L. Dorgan, former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, retired General James L. Jones, and former EPA Administrator William K. Reilly.  They group will address bipartisan recommendations for executive branch organization in energy policy-making developed as part of a comprehensive report to be released in early 2013.  The Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) Energy Project co-chairs will discuss their experiences in the executive and legislative branches, reflect on the experiences that led to the development of these recommendations and describe the changing state of the American energy landscape and the opportunities it presents for the country.  Margot Anderson, executive director of BPC’s Energy Project, will open the event and Jason Grumet, president of BPC, will lead a question and answer session with the audience after the co-chairs’ remarks. 

Company to Announce New Investor for Transmission Project – Clean Line Energy holds a news conference tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. in the National Press Club’s Lisagor Room to announce a new investor, part of a multimillion-dollar equity investment that will help “build more than 2,800 miles of HVDC (high voltage direct current) transmission lines to bring wing energy to market.  CLE President Mike Skelly will lead the effort. 

Panel to Look at PTC Denial – The Heritage Foundation will hold a forum in its Lehrman Auditorium tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. discussing the production tax credit.  For 20 years now the wind industry has received an annual subsidy worth billions of dollars in the form of a production tax credit. Set to expire this year, PTC supporters are fighting to extend it and politicians on both sides of the aisle are joining their fight.   A panel of opponents will discuss including Exelon’s David Brown, Jonathan Lesser of Continental Economics and Heritage’s David Kreutzer.  

IEA Expert to Look at World Energy Outlook – Johns Hopkins University’s Energy, Resources and Environment Program Global Leaders Forum will host a briefing on 2012 World Energy Outlook at its Bernstein-Offit Building – Room 500 tomorrow at 4:00 p.m.   The event will feature Maria Van Der Hoeven, executive director of the International Energy Agency, who will discuss the findings of the recently released International Energy Agency’s 2012 World Energy Outlook report. 

Solar Forum Features Woolsey – The MD-DC-VA Solar Energy Industries Association will host the 6th annual Solar Energy Focus conference at the Marriott at Metro Center, tomorrow and Wednesday.   Solar Energy Focus 2012 is the leading business-to-business solar event on the East Coast. This year’s post-election conference promises to the most expansive event to date, and features a packed schedule filled with notable speakers including founder of the U.S. Energy Security Council R. James Woolsey, Solar Energy Industries Association President & CEO Rhone Resch, Senior DOE Advisor to the Energy Secretary Richard Kauffman, and solar visionary and champion Jigar Shah. The conference will have a variety of breakout discussion sessions and opportunities for high-level networking with hundreds of key professionals and decision makers in the renewable energy sector. Seating at the conference is limited, register today to ensure your attendance at one of 2012’s most important solar industry gatherings  Solar Energy Focus gets underway on the 27th with a VIP Dinner, Silent Auction and keynote address from Former CIA Director R. James Woolsey. Wednesday the 28th will be a packed day of plenaries, breakout sessions, and high-level networking with hundreds of industry professionals, key renewable energy decision makers, and other stakeholders. 

RFF to Look at Future Energy Issues, Holmstead to Speak – Resources for the Future will hold an RFF First Wednesday Seminar on Wednesday at 12:45 p.m. to discuss the next decade of US energy policy.  This seminar will highlight the future of five key fuels—oil, coal, natural gas, renewables, and nuclear—over the next decade, while also considering the future of energy efficiency. In the past few years, several factors—including the shale gas and tight oil revolutions, US Environmental Protection Agency regulatory activities on carbon dioxide and conventional pollutants, and the Deepwater Horizon and Fukushima disasters—have combined to create a highly uncertain picture of future US energy supply and use. This uncertainty, in turn, leads to a challenging environment for both policy and investment decisions.  The session will begin with a brief overview of the US Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) projection for each fuel, setting the stage for remarks by panelists on what market and policy drivers may influence or change those projections. This 90-minute event will offer insight into the future of energy use in the United States, including what additional research is needed to best understand the US energy outlook in 2020.  Speakers will include opening remarks from RFF President Phil Sharp and EIA projections from EIA’s Michael Schaal.   Other panelists will include former NRC Commissioner Richard Meserve of the Carnegie Institution for Science (Nuclear), Frank Verrastro of CSIS (Oil), RFF’s Alan Krupnick (NatGas), NREL’s Doug Arent (Renewables) and RFF’s Karen Palmer (Energy Efficiency).  The will also have a coal Speaker as well. 

KKR Speaker to Highlight Green Portfolio – November’s meeting of the Wharton Club of DC’s Green Business Roundtable will be held Wednesday at Noon at Oppenheimer’s offices (in the B&G building at 2000 K) and will feature speaker Elizabeth Seeger, Principal at KKR.  Seeger will discuss responsible investment in private equity and KKR’s Green Portfolio Program.  Elizabeth Seeger joined Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co (KKR) in 2009 to help oversee the management of environmental and social responsibility issues and opportunities across KKR’s portfolio, including through KKR’s Green Portfolio Program. Elizabeth was previously a Project Manager in the Corporate Partnerships Program of Environmental Defense Fund. Prior to EDF, Elizabeth was a consultant with the Corporate Executive Board, where she advised companies across a broad range of industries in Europe and the United States. Elizabeth was also an Associate at the Environmental Law Institute, a non-profit organization focused on environmental law and policy research and education. 

PRG Among Those Named FT InnovatorsThe Financial Times will roll out its annual innovative companies, Lawyers etc for 2012.  This year Bracewell Giuliani’s Policy Resolution Group will be among those honored.  PRG’s innovative work  has been ranked in the Financial Times Innovative Lawyers report 2012.  There over 300 submissions from 60 of the top US law firms in the Am Law 100. These are all thoroughly validated by client and expert interviews by The FT and RSG Consulting.  The report will be launched on Wednesday night in NYC at the Bryant Park Grill. The event is for the law firm and corporate counsel innovators who have been ranked in the 2012 report. It will be hosted by Martin Dickson, the FT’s Managing Editor. Advance copies of the report will be released on the evening and will be available on www.ft.com.  Past winners include those with the Atlantic Wind Connection, the innovative offshore wind transmission project that was honored in 2011.  

Whitfield Continues CAA Forums – Rep. Ed Whitfield, Chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power, has scheduled a third, bipartisan Clean Air Act forum for Thursday at 10:00 a.m. in 2123 Rayburn.   The third forum continues the theme of the first two events: “State, Local, and Federal Cooperation in the Clean Air Act.”  The forum series is intended to provide an opportunity for members of Congress to hear a broad range of perspectives from experts about their experiences in implementing the Clean Air Act.  Speakers will include Montana DEQ’s David Klemp, Seyed Sadredin of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, Tennessee DEC Commissioner Robert Martineau, Jr., Arturo Blanco of the Houston Department of Health and Human Services, Martha Rudolph of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, PA DEP head Michael Krancer and Gila River Indian Lieutenant Governor Stephen Roe Lewis.

Hawaii Gas President to Address NatGas Roundtable – The Natural Gas Roundtable is hosting Jeffrey Kissel, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Gas Company (Hawaii Gas) as the guest speaker at its next luncheon on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. at the University Club.  Kissel became president and chief executive officer of The Gas Company in December 2007. He came to the company from the energy and engineering industries with experience in oil trading, commodity risk management, and large scale construction in the US and abroad. Prior to joining the Gas Company he worked with companies in North America, Europe and Asia in global finance, operations and growth strategy.    

Forum Looks at Challenges of the Changing Climate for Russian Perspective – George Washington University’s IERES will host a forum Thursday at 4:00 p.m. in its Voesar Conference Room featuring Oleg Anisimov, Professor of Physical Geography, Hydrological Institute (Russia).  Oleg will lay out the climate changes that have occurred in Russia so far. It will define the critical climate thresholds beyond which the environmental impacts require adaptation and examine what they mean for Russia in socio-economic terms. In this regard, the speaker will talk about the interplay of potential climate-related benefits and threats for Russia. The talk will conclude with the geopolitical implications of the climate impacts, particularly associated with the changes in the Arctic, including the fight for the Arctic shelf, remilitarization of the Arctic and other issues. 

Canadian Officials Look at Energy, Arctic – George Washington University’s Latin America and Hemispheric Studies Program and the Embassy of Canada will host a panel on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. looking at Canadian Perspectives on Hemispheric Issues related to the environment, energy and the Arctic.  Speakers will include Canadian Embassy officials Catherine Godin and Sebastian Tirado. 

Platts Global Awards Set for NYC – The 2012 Platts Global Energy Awards will be held on Thursday at Cipriani Wall Street in New York.  Over the past 13 years, the Global Energy Awards have honored and recognized those who have transcended the status quo in the name of excellence in leadership, innovation and performance in the energy industry.  See the Finalists here.  They include Southern’s Tom Fanning, PJM’s Terry Boston for top exec, Chesapeake and Southern for Industry Leadership, Opower for Company Rising Star, Tony Clifford of Standard Solar for Individual Rising Star, BrightSource, Chesapeake, NRG, Exelon and Peabody for Strategic Deal.  There are also a bunch of other awards for projects, commodities and leading technologies. 

Forum Looks at Data Center Efficiency – Congresswoman Anna Eshoo will host an informative briefing on Friday at 9:00 a.m. on innovative approaches to promoting energy efficiency at data centers. Data centers are a critical part of our national infrastructure, found in nearly every sector of the economy from banking and financial services, to media, manufacturing, education, healthcare and government.  The increased use of electronic information has increased the use of data centers and the power needed to run them. Supporting appropriate data center energy efficiency measures will not only save energy, it will save money.  A diverse group of speakers representing the leading edge of the effort will discuss policy proposals, emerging technologies and practices, and potential benefits and challenges for improving data center energy efficiency. The briefing will include Opening Remarks by Eshoo and panelists including John Tuccillo of Schneider Electric, Ebay’s Dean Nelson, NRDC’s Pierre Delforge and EMC’s Kathleen Winkler. 

House Science to Look at Energy R&D – The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee’s Energy and Environment panel will hold a hearing on Friday at 9:30 a.m. exploring tapping America’s energy potential through research and development. 

AMS Panel to Look at Fire Causes, Aftermath – The American Meteorological Society as part of its Climate series will host a briefing on Friday at 11:00 a.m. in 328A Dirksen on Capitol Hill to look at the causes and aftermath of the 2012 forest fires.   Speakers will include University of Montana Nobel Laureate Dr. Steven Running and Us Forest Service Fire and Aviation Asst Director Dr. Elizabeth Reinhardt.

ELI Forum to Highlight Green Business Issues – The Environmental Law Institute will host a forum on Friday at Noon to look at defining, encouraging and supporting green business.   This seminar will address whether green business is green and, if so, how policymakers should encourage it. Speakers will review the empirical literature on voluntary green business practices, assessing whether corporate initiatives truly benefit the environment or whether they are more properly characterized as green washing. The discussion will identify ways that law and policy can promote green business, assess the regulatory strategies proposed thus far—as well as some that have not yet been considered—and examine which will best encourage companies to go green in a meaningful, verifiable way. The seminar will provide cutting-edge thinking on the relationships among green business, law, and policy and will offer ideas for how policymakers can best move forward in this important area.  Speakers include Dennis Hirsch of the Capital University Law School, Jennifer Nash of Harvard, BP’s Karen St. John and UConn Law School’s Kurt Strasser. 

Speakers to Look at Energy, Water Challenge – Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, Asian Development Bank, The George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs and Georgetown University Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service all will host a forum on Friday at 12:30 p.m. looking at water and energy.  The event at JHU’s Rome Building, will feature Tanvi Nagpal, professorial lecturer in the SAIS International Development Program, and Amy Leung, chair of the Water Community of Practice at the Asian Development Bank.  

FUTURE EVENTS 

SAFE Report to Highlight Plan to Oil Independence –  On Monday, December 3rd, members of Securing America’s Future Energy’s (SAFE) Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC) will release a portfolio of policy recommendations intended to reduce U.S. dependence on oil, which the Council says is a paramount threat to the national, economic and fiscal security of America.  The Council will unveil its report, “National Strategy for Energy Security: Harnessing American Resources and Innovation,” at the Newseum in Washington, DC.   The Council’s recommendations will focus on three major goals:  Increasing domestic production by taking full advantage of American oil and natural gas resources; Reducing domestic oil consumption through innovation and the adoption of new technologies; Invigorating initiatives in both production and consumption by reforming and streamlining the regulatory process.  The report will also discuss more internationally-focused developments on the horizon which could significantly impact America’s energy security outlook.  Speakers will include FedEx CEO Fred Smith, Sen.  Lamar Alexander,  former Director of National Intelligence Admiral Dennis C. Blair, Waste Management CEO David Steiner, former USMC Commandant General James Conway and former Goldman Sachs Asset Management Co-CEO Eric Schwartz. 

New NARUC President Hosts Media Briefing – New National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners President Philip Jones of Washington will be hosting a Media Briefing on Monday, December 3rd at NARUC’s Washington headquarters.  The event will start at 12 noon and run for approximately one hour. A light lunch will be provided on a first come, first serve basis.  This event will focus on energy issues.  Please RSVP to NARUC Director of Communications Rob Thormeyer by Friday, if you plan on attending so they can have an accurate headcount for lunch. 

Sachs to Address Sustainability GWU – George Washington University’s Institute for International Economic Policy will host Columbia University’s Jeffrey Sachs in its City View Room, 7th Floor, on Monday, December 3rd at 4:00 p.m.   Sustainable Development is emerging as the defining challenge of our generation, and it will critically require a new kind of interaction between policy and research. The Sustainable Development Forum is a series of talks by leaders in academia and in policy which will attempt to set the research agenda for sustainable development following the Rio +20 conference. What will sustainable development entail? What are the most crucial questions we need to be asking? How should academia go about searching for answers that will actually inform real action and policy changes? 

Forum to Look at GrowthThe Atlantic’s Forum on Conservation, Efficiency, and Growth, taking place Tuesday, December 4th  at The W Hotel in Washington, DC.  The forum will feature expert discussions on corporate sustainability initiatives, and convene panels to explore how sustainable business practices influence our economy, our workforce, and America’s ability to compete in the global marketplace.

Forum to Look at 20 Years of Energy Policy Act of ’92 – The Compete Coalition will host a policy forum on Wednesday, December 5th at 8:30 a.m. at the  Phoenix Park Hotel on the Energy Policy Act of 1992, commemorating the 20th Anniversary of a landmark statute.  Key architects of the legislation and today’s electricity industry leaders will look back (and look ahead) at the ongoing impact of EPAct ’92 on competitive electricity markets and the benefits those markets are delivering for our nation’s electricity consumers.  Speakers will include former Senators Bennett Johnston and Don Nickles, former FERC Chair and Deputy Secretary of Energy Betsy Moler, former FERC Commissioner Bill Massey, former U.S. Secretary of Energy Federico Peña and former Deputy Secretary of Energy Linda Stuntz, among others. 

McAuliffe to Headline 2012 VA Renewable Meeting – Potential VA Governor candidate Terry McAuliffe will be joining the Virginia Renewable Energy Assn for its annual meeting in Richmond on December 5th.  McAuliffe has been a leading voice and entrepreneur in the Renewable Energy Industry and has recently announced his intentions to run for Governor of Virginia in 2013.  

WAPA , Buick to Hold Ride, Drive – The Washington Automotive Press Assn (WAPA) and Buick will hold a Holiday Buick Encore ride-and-drive and happy hour on Wednesday, December 5 at Indigo Landing in Alexandria, VA.  Buick is on pace for its best retail sales year since 2006, thanks to a product line-up that features the style, performance and technology luxury buyers expect and demand.  For the 2013 model year, along with a redesigned Enclave and a new high-performing, turbo-charged model for Verano, the all-new Buick Encore luxury crossover will begin arriving in dealerships soon and we’d like you to be among the first to drive it.  In addition to the ride-and-drive, Buick marketing and engineering executives including Roger McCormack, Director Buick Global Marketing will be on-hand to provide perspective on the Encore.  Buick Encore is the second of four new or significantly revised Buick vehicles to be introduced in the next 12 months, and is a beautiful, quiet, comfortable 5-passenger crossover with the right balance of performance and purposeful technology.  Encore also continues to expand the Buick portfolio by appealing to a whole new audience of luxury buyers as we expect the segment to grow more than a half million units by 2015.

RFF Panel to Look at Markets, Enviro Regs – Resources for the Future will hold its December First Wednesday Seminar on Wednesday December 5th at 12:45 p.m. looking at markets for environmental regulations.  Over the past 60 years, environmental economists have pioneered the idea of market-based approaches to solving environmental problems. Regulators have implemented market-based programs for air pollution, water pollution, land management, and other environmental policy problems at local, state, federal, and—in the case of greenhouse gas regulation—international levels. Some applications hew more closely than others to ideal market-based policy design, as defined by economic theory, and programs have met with varying degrees of success. As part of RFF’s Resources 2020 lecture series—our 60th anniversary exploration of how economic inquiry can address future environmental challenges—panelists at this seminar will discuss what we can learn from successful and unsuccessful applications of market-based policy and its desirability, feasibility, and design in the future. The panel includes RFF experts on environmental markets for air, water, and land, as well as leaders in the policy community with diverse experience on these issues, including former Clinton OMB Director Sally Katzen, NRDC’s David Doniger, former Bush 41 White House Counsel C. Boyden Gray and RFF experts Dallas Burtraw, Art Fraas, Margaret Walls and Leonard Shabman. 

German Chamber Sets Wind Energy Conference – For the 5th time since 2007, the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest is bringing a delegation of German wind energy companies to Chicago for the German American Wind Energy Business Conference.  This conference on December 5th will provide attendees with the chance to learn about the wind technology innovations and supply chain and service practices that German manufacturers use to stay competitive. Current wind energy opportunities and programs in Illinois will also be addressed.  Attending the conference provides an excellent opportunity to connect with the German wind energy delegation companies to discuss business and partnership opportunities. 

Forum to Look at Iranian Oil – The Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center will host a discussion on Wednesday, December 5th at 2:00 p.m. entitled “Can the World Live Without Iranian Oil,” with Sara Vakhshouri, president of SVB Energy International; and Denise Natali, Minerva Chair, Institute of National Strategic Studies, National Defense University.  Over the past year, Iranian oil production and exports have declined drastically to levels last seen at the end of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war. Yet the price of oil has remained relatively constant at around $100 per barrel or lower. Increasing oil production in neighboring Iraq and new discoveries in the United States and elsewhere, coupled with sluggish demand, raise the question of whether the world can live without Iranian oil and what that means for Iran’s ability to pursue a provocative nuclear program.  The Iran Task Force, co-chaired by Atlantic Council Chairman Senator Chuck Hagel and Ambassador Stuart E. Eizenstat, seeks to perform a comprehensive analysis of Iran’s internal political landscape, its role in the region and globally, and any basis for an improved relationship with the West. 

Transmission Conference to Look at New Year, Agenda – Energy Central and TransmissionHub will host a symposium on December 5th in Washington, DC to Look at Transmission policy in the new year.  TransForum East is the second of three regional gatherings of key industry decision makers that Energy Central kicked off in April 2012 with TransForum Texas.  It is an event focused just on the Eastern Interconnection.  I will speak on the “Implications of the 2012 Presidential Election on Electric Power Policy,” at 2:00 p.m.    Other speakers include Trans-Elect/AWC CEO Bob Mitchell, Michael Skelly of Clean Line Energy and many others.  

Houston Conference to Look at Regional Wind Issues – AWEA holds its Southwest Regional Wind Energy Summit on December 5th and 6th in Houston at the Hyatt Regency.  The conference will provide a comprehensive view of all critical aspects of wind energy in the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) and Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) regions of the United States, and delve deep into the most important present and forecasted issues facing wind energy development in these regions.  Former Bush Administration official Jimmy Glotfelty will chair the event and speakers include former FERC Chair Pat Wood, SPP’s Carl Monroe and EDF Renewables CEO Gabriel Alonso. 

Commerce to Host Webinar on Exporting Renewable Technology – The Department of Commerce/Commercial Service is holding a webinar on Thursday December 6th looking at export finance for Renewable Energy Technologies.  This webinar will feature an update of USG export finance programs (Ex-Im, OPIC,TDA) for renewable energy technologies as well as export finance best practices from a private-sector perspective.  Speakers include Craig O’Connor of the , Ex-Im Bank of the United States, Brian O’Hanlon of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, Andrea Lupo of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency and Ed Sappin of the Willowbrook Company. 

Panel to Look at Carbon Tax, Fiscal Cliff – Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies will hold a Panel on Thursday, December 6th at 5:00 p.m. in its Rome Auditorium, #806 looking at Carbon prices and the fiscal cliff.  With the looming threat of the ‘fiscal cliff,’ and effects of super-storm Sandy, there is renewed talk in policy circles of the benefits of putting a price on carbon, as a means of dealing with the federal deficit while tackling climate change.  Leading experts about the viability of carbon market mechanisms throughout North America, like the Western Climate Initiative involving Québec and California will discuss the realities of a federal clean energy standard and the application of a national carbon tax in the context of simultaneously addressing emissions reductions and fiscal constraints.  Panelists include Brookings Adele Morris, Richard Caperton of the Center for American Progress and Manik Roy of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.  This event will be held in collaboration with the Québec Government Office in Washington, the Association for Canadian Studies in the United States, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Québec in Montréal (Chair Raoul-Dandurand).

Panel to Look at National Security, Election Coverage – The National Security and New Media Journalism Project will present its National Security and New Media Conference panel and  Mightier Pen Award Luncheon on Tuesday, December 11th at the Union League Club in New York.  The Project was established to provide professional development for the next generation of national security journalists in an objective environment informed by the burgeoning opportunities of the new Media.  It will honor Monica Crowley of FOX News.  Panels prior to lunch will discuss new media, national security and the election.  Panelists will include Rich Miniter of Forbes Magazine, former Washington Times security expert Bill Gertz and NRO Columnists Andrew McCarthy, among others. 

Annual POWER-GEN Conference Tackles Key Issues – The annual POWER-GEN Conference will be held in Orlando, Florida on December 11-13 at the Orange County Convention Center. Nearly 200 industry experts will present new solutions and innovations for the future in 36 conference sessions broken up in 12 tracks. Click here to download the Conference-at-a-Glance PDF.  The conference sessions are organized into multiple concurrent session tracks including industry trends / competitive power generation, environmental issues, emissions control, fossil technologies, gas turbine technologies, on-site power and plant performance.  There will also be separate Tracks on Nuclear, Renewable and Geothermal power. 

RFF to Host Geoengineering Lecture – Resources for the Future will continue its 60th anniversary Resources 2020 Nobel Laureate lecture series on Thursday, December 13th featuring Thomas Schelling, 2005 Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences, who will discuss Geoengineering and some gentle experimentation.  

Chamber to Host Farm Innovation Forum – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Chamber Foundation will co-host a program on Wednesday, December 19th highlighting the innovations and emerging opportunities that today’s agriculture industry are presenting. This program will identify many of the latest innovations and advances in agriculture and show how America’s agriculture community continues to feed an ever growing global population while at the same time supporting American job creation and competitiveness.  Speakers include USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, Secretary, Chamber President Tom Donohue, former Education Secretary Margaret Spellings (current President of the National Chamber Foundation), Peter Klein  of the University of Missouri, AEI’s Nick Schulz, John Deere FarmSight Director Jerry Roell and Blake Hurst of the Missouri Farm Bureau.

Post-Election: Electric Transmission

By Frank Maisano and Catherine McCarthy

President Obama’s re-election is a positive development for supporters of and investors in renewable energy and therefore a significant development for the transmission policies that will be required to implement clean energy. Of course, a robust transmission policy impacts all electricity generation and will benefit all consumers and regions with more reliable power, and eventually, lower overall costs. With the current challenges facing the Northeast following the recent storms, transmission infrastructure’s importance becomes a more essential priority each day.

We have an aging U.S. electric transmission system in need of upgrade and expansion to meet the demands of a new economy. Investments in repairing, upgrading, and expanding the electric transmission grid creates jobs, improves electric reliability, promotes competitive markets, fuel diversity, and supports economic growth.

Some progress was made in 2005 when legislation was passed to study and develop a plan to improve transmission siting though national corridors of importance. In 2007, two National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors were designated, but they were invalidated by a federal appeals court in 2011. Since then, we have also had seven projects designated under the Administration’s Interagency Rapid Response Team for advancement of transmission. Already, this process has allowed transmission developers to receive fast track treatment which has allowed new projects to move forward more efficiently and effectively. The President’s re-election will help this process continue for the current and future projects.

It is important to remember that we have been looking for a way to better improve our transmission siting/development process for a long time, including even legislative efforts like the national corridors that have been ineffective though the political and legal process. The bottom line is, no matter what these efforts are or entail, they are looking for solutions to a major problem which dogs us to today: how can we more effectively build a much-needed transmission infrastructure to best accommodate our ever-growing needs.

One key issue to watch is whether FERC can be consistent in granting or denying transmission incentives. Under Chairman Wellinghoff, FERC has already issued a Notice of Inquiry to examine its transmission incentives policy and industry will watch closely to see whether a new policy emerges that is more consistent region to region. For example, since 2008, we have seen smaller ROE adders for proposed transmission projects. In New England, there has been major transmission investment and healthy ROEs (including adders) have been part of the story. The ISO-NE market has benefitted from reduced congestion. New England is in contrast to New York where there has not yet been transmission investment (for a variety of reasons) and significant congestion still remains.

As to the abandonment incentive, we are watching FERC’s treatment of companies seeking recovery for prudently incurred costs for abandoned projects relying on the abandonment authority FERC granted in earlier transmission incentives proceedings. One notable case is the Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline (PATH) project’s recent FERC filing seeking recovery of $121 million (costs plus a return). PATH expects that amount might decrease as it sells some of its existing assets – such as land acquired in anticipation of the project.

Third, as to base ROE for transmission, it is important to watch a number of complaints pending against transmission owners. The New England Transmission Owners are scheduled to have a hearing on their base ROE in 2013 and there are complaints pending against Southwestern Public Service, Florida Progress, and National Grid (Niagara Mohawk) with complainants seeking to lower the company’s base transmission returns. The investment community currently views FERC’s ROEs very favorably, reflecting reliance that project will be granted favorable returns (relative to those ROEs typically set by state commissions). If FERC were to lower base ROEs, counter to investors’ expectations in any of these cases, it could send the wrong message to the market. There are also a number of other ROE cases in the settlement context that are not initiated by complaints and when considering these ROEs, FERC’s actions could surprise the investment community or diminish investors’ confidence in FERC investments in transmission.

Finally, FERC will likely continue with its efforts to implement Order No. 1000’s requirements. Although a number of issues still need to be worked out, Order 1000 provides directional certainty for planning and investing in transmission projects. Its reforms should lead to more opportunities for transmission investment, especially in transmission projects designed to bring renewable energy resources onto the grid.

One last key item has gotten much-needed attention over the last two years. In order to stand up a new offshore wind energy industry in the U.S., but especially off of the Atlantic Coast, the Administration has been very aggressive at working with private companies to invest in a transmission network that can support such a massive effort.

Already, the Atlantic Wind Connection (AWC) backbone transmission project, an essential foundation to the new industry, has made strong progress toward enabling the production of thousands of megawatts of clean power with strong support from FERC, the Department of Energy, and the Department of the Interior. In May 2012, Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), which oversees the industrial development of offshore US waters, decided to move ahead with an environmental review of a corridor in the Atlantic Ocean where the transmission line would be laid.

The Administration faces many political, technical, and policy challenges on transmission policy: from security to siting to reliability. Already, they have established strong momentum that will present the framework for continuing recent progress.

Congress will likely continue to play a strong oversight and advisory role as well. After having previous legislation designating national corridors rejected by courts, it is likely they will revisit transmission infrastructure issues, alongside an ongoing effort to beef up grid security. Additionally, House Republicans are widely expected to remain vigilant in their effort to protect reliability though a secure grid, but also though protecting sources of generation like coal, which seem to be facing significant market challenges and the Administration’s regulatory crosshairs.  In addition to protecting more pieces of an “all of the above” energy approach to generation and infrastructure, the Republican House has focused on making sure any federal action to support the development of transmission infrastructure should strike the appropriate balance between the various stakeholders, including preserving the proper roles of state and local governments. This approach is likely to continue to be an important part of its agenda.