Energy Update Week of September 17

Friends,

L’Shana Tova…Yesterday at sundown, Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year 5773, began. It is the first of the High Holy Days.  Since my wife is Jewish and my kids are half, I took off half the day and atoned for half of my sins (of course, half of zero, is zero).  I’ll get the rest at confession, if there are any.  

I can’t believe I forgot mention this last week, but I hope somebody managed to get to the Bruce Springsteen show at Nationals Park on Friday night.  Through the grapevine, I heard the show was most excellent.  Of course, I was teetering between my DeMatha/Loyola football game that I was officiating (a 47-0 blowout for the Stags) and my son’s Crofton 12U game, of which I caught the 4th quarter thanks to the running clock in my game.  Either way, I wasn’t able to see The Boss so I’m relying on your updates. 

With the passage of the CR to get past election day in the House, it now looks as if the Senate will act on the legislation to close out the pre-election session with a whimper.   As I mentioned to many of you last week, it is increasingly unlikely that the Senate will take up tax extenders package, which includes the wind production tax credit. House Republicans made it clear they’re not considering any tax extenders package until after the election.  It is funny how the “divided” Congress can come together in order to get home to run for re-election.  The House did manage to squeeze in the No More Solyndras Act Friday thank Goodness… and it looks as if the legislation is working already, before Harry Reid has even rejected it.  Several current loan guarantee projects like some I know (hmmmm can you guess?) are actually successful: employing workers, getting ready to generate clean energy and soon then returning money to the taxpayer.  Can’t wait for Wednesday while they ping-pong final action on the CR:  that’s when the House will likely vote on the Stop the War on Coal Act.  Pretty sure you can guess where that one is going and also pretty sure Reid will rush that one through as well. 

There are lots of events this week so look below for a full listing.  As for the future, GRID WEEK hits and CSIS looks at offshore drilling in the first week of October, AWEA hosts its Offshore Wind Conference in VA Beach the following week and then the Society of Enviro Journalists meet in Lubbock at Texas Tech in the 3rd week of October.  All those events, plus Halloween, football weekends, field hockey, fall lacrosse…and all of a sudden, its Election Day. 

Finally, after a couple of setbacks, the National Zoo looks like has a winner with a new panda cub, setting off panda-monium (I know I’m not the first on to use that term) in DC, threatening to derail the Romney campaign (oh, Stuart Stevens already did that) and the President’s Jobs recovery (which still seems to be missing despite all the rosy advertisements and talking-point spouting surrogates).

We’ll be tracking it all…  50 days to the election.  Call with questions.

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

IN THE NEWS

Holmstead Hits Platts Energy Week on Campaign Energy Segment – Continuing his torrid pace on energy TV, Bracewell expert and former EPA Air Administrator Jeff Holmstead was featured on Sunday’s Platts Energy Week, an independent all energy news and talk program aired weekly in Washington D.C., and Houston that reaches industry executives, lawmakers, policymakers, traders and investors, regulators and other stakeholders in energy.  Holmstead and EDF’s Elgie Holstein, energy adviser for the Obama campaign, discussed each candidates energy policy.

House Approves No More Solyndras – The House approved the ‘No More Solyndras Act’ in a 245-161 largely party-line vote. The legislation is the culmination of a yearlong investigation launched by House Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.  While they have finished, the House Oversight Committee keeps moving forward with its investigation.  Of course, as stated above, there is no chance anything will happen on this in the Senate.  

OMB Looks at Sequestration Impacts – The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released its report on the effects of sequestration on Friday and it isn’t going to be pretty.  Overall, the cuts will have dramatic impacts on many programs.  For energy and environment, the cuts will be difficult, but not as bad compared to some others.  The report was both a political and accounting document,  so it should be viewed through both lenses.  However, it provides specific details of how the Administration would cuts every budget category to satisfy the Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012 (STA).  Specifically on energy and environment, EPA sees 8.2% cuts (total amount of cuts).  Some details include State and Tribal assistance grants ($293 million), science and technology spending ($65 million), environmental programs and management ($200 million, $44 million is exempt), buildings and facilities ($3 million), the Office of Inspector General ($3 million, $11 million is exempt), pesticide registration fund ($1 million), spending by the hazardous substance superfund ($119 million, $10 million is exempt), leaking underground storage tank trust fund ($9 million), inland oil spill programs ($1 million, $41 million is exempt).  One thing that is entirely exempt: payment to hazardous substance superfund payments, working capital fund.  The DOE also sees 8.2% cuts (total amount of cuts).  They are in the Title 17 innovative technology loan guarantee program ($3 million), FERC ($24 million), fossil energy research and development ($44 million, $8 million is exempt), EIA ($9 million), SPR ($16 million), electricity delivery and energy reliability ($11 million from nondefense, $2 million from defense), nuclear energy ($63 million), energy efficiency and renewable energy ($148 million, $276 million is exempt). 

GAO: DOE Nuke Report Costs Increase – A new GAO report Friday afternoon says DOE has increased its estimate for how much the federal government will owe for future nuclear waste liabilities by 24%.  Taxpayers have already paid $1.6 billion to utilities because the federal government failed to begin collecting commercial nuclear waste in 1998, but new estimate says that another $19.1 billion — up from $15.4 billion — will be paid by 2020. GAO also expects that the amount of stranded nuclear waste will double to 140,000 metric tons without a solution to store the waste.    Last week, nuclear industry officials told Congress that new legislation requires a more comprehensive framework to successfully fix the federal government’s moribund program for managing used nuclear fuel.  As well, our friends at NARUC have been bitter about this issue and can happily address it.

Marshall Institute Report Looks at Climate, National Security – The George C. Marshall Institute releases a new report today discussing the linkage between anthropogenic climate change and U.S. national security.  Driven by dire predictions derived from the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, concerns about the impacts of anticipated climatic changes have burst onto the national security agenda. Climate and National Security: Exploring the Connection considers the evidence for the assertion that changing environmental conditions brought on by human emissions of greenhouse gases will negatively impact U.S. national security.   In summary, efforts to link climate change to the deterioration of U.S. national security rely on improbable scenarios, imprecise and speculative methods, and scant empirical support. Accepting the connection can lead to the dangerous expansion of U.S. security concerns, inappropriately applied resources, and diversion of attention from more effective responses to known environmental challenges. The danger of this approach is that it offers a sense of urgency which may not be warranted, given the gaps in the current state of knowledge about climate, the known flaws in the methods used to construct the scenarios on which these security scenarios are based, and confusion over the underlying causes of those security concerns.

THIS WEEK’S GOINGS ON

LeVine to Speak at GWU Group – Our Friend Steve LeVine of the New America Foundation, Contributing Editor at Foreign Affairs and Author of “The Oil and the Glory” will speak at George Washington University tonight at 6:00 p.m. in Lindner Family Commons, Room 602 on the geopolitics of energy.  Looking at geopolitics through the lens of energy, author Steve LeVine will offer insight on the shifts in geopolitical power in the 21st century as it relates to previously untapped sources of existing fossil fuels, advancements in new energy technology, and the countries and corporations competing to dominate these markets.

Maryland to Hold Clean Energy Summit – Maryland will hold its 2012 Clean Energy Summit tomorrow and Wednesday at The BWI Airport Marriott.   The program over the two day conference covers our theme topic from the perspective of big corporate giants to small star- up ventures. Speakers from within and outside of the state bring best practice models and present case studies to more broadly inform Maryland energy industry stakeholders.  The list of speakers includes MD Comptroller Peter Franchot, O’Malley Energy Advisor Abby Hopper and White House Energy advisor Dan Utech, among many others.

Carper, Svinicki Headline CSIS/BPC Nuke Forum – The Bipartisan Policy Center and the Center for Strategic and International Studies will hold an expert discussion of the key challenges facing nuclear power in the United States tomorrow morning starting at 8:30 am at CSIS.  The forum will also discuss policy options to maintain U.S. global leadership in nuclear energy. During the past year, CSIS, the Bipartisan Policy Center, and Third Way have each undertaken bipartisan studies of nuclear energy policy. This event will highlight the recommendations of the Third Way and Idaho National Lab New Millennium Nuclear Energy Partnership, discuss the findings of the BPC Nuclear Initiative, and explore the ongoing work of the CSIS Commission on Nuclear Energy Policy.  Speakers for the event include NRC Commissioner Kristine Svinicki and Sen. Tom Carper.  Others include Blue Ribbon Commission Co-Chair Brent Scowcroft, NEI President Marvin Fertel, Idaho Nation Lab Director John Grossenbacher, former DOE nuclear official Pete Miller and former Constellation Nuclear CEO Mike Wallace.

NASA Head to Talk Future of Space – NASA Director Charles Bolden will address the World Affairs Council tomorrow at Noon at the National Press Cub’s Holman Lounge to discuss the future of US space exploration and international cooperation surrounding it.  Brian Kelly, editor of U.S. News and World Reports, will moderate the discussion and questions following Bolden’s presentation.

Forum to Look at Cybersecurity Issues – NDN is hosting a panel discussion with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners tomorrow to look at how to develop a cybersecurity expertise that both protects our national security and provides reliable electric service.  In today’s world, the electric power industry is increasingly incorporating information technology (IT) systems and networks into its existing infrastructure. These IT systems need to be  implemented securely or our electric grid  could be extremely vulnerable to attacks which could jeopardize our national security. Miles Keogh, Director of Grants and Research for NARUC and  author of the recently released report, ‘Cybersecurity for State Regulators’ will lead the discussion.  This panel on the national grid and cybersecurity is the 13th in our “Clean Energy Solution Series” to showcase the leaders, companies, ideas and policies who are hastening our transition to a cleaner, safer and more distributed energy paradigm of the 21st Century.

Gerard, Dorgan, Davenport to Look at Energy Independence – The Week Magazine will present a forum on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. at Acadiana Restaurant on  what energy independence would mean and what it would take.  The event will feature API head Jack Gerard, former ND Sen. Byron Dorgan (now co-chair of BPC’s Energy Project), John Lyman of the Atlantic Council and our friend Coral Davenport of National Journal.  West Wing Report founder and columnist for TheWeek.com Paul Brandus will moderate.

UCS to Look at Access to Government Science Data – The Union of Concerned Scientists’ Center for Science and Democracy will hold a forum series tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. focused on barriers to citizen access to governmental scientific information—such as data about air quality around Ground Zero, the location of coal ash dumps, or the prevalence of toxic chemicals in the FEMA trailers provided to Hurricane Katrina victims. To kick off the series, UCS will host a webinar to highlight the consequences of inadequate information and recent attempts to restrict access.

Bracewell to Hold Texas Air Discussion – Bracewell & Giuliani’s environmental team will hold a morning briefing in the Houston office’s conference center Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. to address a number of issues that face industrial project developers.  B&G experts Jeff Holmstead, Rich Alonso, John Riley Tim Wilkins and Chris Thiele will all provide expertise on topics from TCEQ permits to national GHG issues. 

EPA to look at CA Clean Vehicle Program – EPA is holding a hearing Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. in Washington, DC on the state of California’s request to proceed with the latest iteration of its landmark advanced clean-car program.  According to my alter-ego, CleanAirFrank (which I often to refer to myself as nowadays) O’Donnell, the hearing should be pretty much a formality.  Health and environmental groups will turn out to support California’s request, while auto dealers will protest.

RFF Seminar Look at Forest Health – At its October First Wednesday Seminar on October 3, Resources for the Future will look at the Forest Health Initiative (FHI)—a broad endeavor sponsored by the US Endowment for Forestry and Communities, the US Forest Service, and Duke Energy to explore new tools to address forest health challenges in the 21st century.  Does modern biotechnology have a role to play in forest health? Are there situations for which genetic modification should be considered to protect US forests? These and related questions will be highlighted at this seminar, where panelists will consider forests and the FHI, as it seeks to determine whether biotechnology could be used to address forest health issues related to climate change, insects, and diseases. The goal of the three-year initiative, which culminates at the end of this year, is to develop a plantable tree, resistant to blight, that is socially acceptable, economically feasible, and meets regulatory muster. A diverse group of scientists, environmentalists, policymakers, professional organizations, social groups, and industry have participated in the process.  RFF expert Roger Sedjo will moderate a panel of experts that includes Institute of Forest Biotechnology President Adam Costanza, Carlton Owen of the US Endowment for Forestry and Communities and US Forest Service R&D Deputy Chief Jim Reaves.

Forum to Look at Renewables in Indonesia – The US-ASEAN Business Council will host a briefing and roundtable discussion on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. at Citi’s DC offices on renewable energy opportunities in Indonesia.  Officials from the U.S. Embassy Jakarta, USAID, MCC, USTDA, and DOE will brief companies, take questions, and engage in discussion on the market opportunities, policy developments, and challenges in Indonesia’s renewable energy sector today, as well U.S. government investments in the sector which may create commercial opportunities for your company.

EPA to Host Webinar on Renewable Energy Procurement – EPA’s Green Power Partnership (GPP) will host a webinar on Wednesday addressing barriers to renewable energy procurement. The use of clean energy is a key component of many organizations’ sustainability goals. However, the process of procuring clean energy at a meaningful scale has proven to be difficult for corporations.  This webinar will examine some of the common challenges including market access, deal terms, and risk management requirements that companies have encountered when trying to source clean energy for facilities or power portfolios, and present solutions that Fortune 100® companies have followed to overcome these barriers in a meaningful and cost effective way.  Speakers include EPA’s Green Power Partnership Program Director Blaine Collison and Charles Esdaile and Chris Hayes, Co-Founders and Managing Partners at Altenex.

DOE’s Hoffman to Headline Energy Breakfast – ICF International continues its Energy and Environment Breakfast Series on Thursday at 8:00 a.m. with Pat Hoffman, one of the most senior officials at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE),   Hoffman will discuss the energy world to come—and what it will take to get there, as well as the prominent role DOE is playing in fostering a cleaner energy future and in meeting long-term energy challenges and near-term energy needs.

Corbett, Koppel Headline NatGas Conference – Following last year’s inaugural success, the Marcellus Shale Coalition will return to Philadelphia’s Pennsylvania Convention Center to host the SHALE GAS INSIGHT™ 2012 Conference on Thursday and Friday to offer insights on natural gas development in in the region.  Industry and policy experts from top producing, midstream, and supply chain firms; academia; government; and the NGO community will provide the latest insights and analysis on state and federal policies, technological advancements in the industry, and much more.  Speakers will include veteran newsman Ted Koppel, PA Gov. Tom Corbett, our WSJ friend Russell Gold and many more.

Groups Launch New Climate Report – On the occasion of the 42nd Annual Legislative Conference of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, the Commission to Engage African Americans on Climate Change, and Ecotrust will host a panel discussion on Thursday at 3:00 p.m. The event will also launch a new report: Cooling the Planet, Clearing the Air: Should Climate Policies Give Extra Credit for Maximizing Short-term Health Benefits? It will be presented by its authors, James Boyce, Ph.D. of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Manuel Pastor, Ph.D. of the University of Southern California. Opening remarks will be given by special guest South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn.

RFF to Host Academic on Air Quality Costs – Resources for the Future will hold an academic seminar on Thursday at Noon on Uncertainty and Variability in Social Costs for Air Quality featuring Presenter Elisabeth Gilmore, Assistant Professor at the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland-College Park.  Gilmore will argue that choosing between alternative products, processes and policies requires credible information on both their private and social costs. For air quality, an impact pathway approach, which traces the emissions through to the monetization of the associated effects, is frequently employed to estimate this social cost. An important step in this process is transforming the emissions to their equivalent ambient concentrations. The assumptions in the air quality models, however, are rarely evaluated and may introduce error into the reduced form literature values. Here, we develop new estimates of the social cost for air emissions in $/ton for generic area and point sources in US urban and rural locations. We use a ‘state of science’ 3-D chemical transport model, the Particulate Matter Comprehensive Air Quality Model with extensions (PMCAMx). By using this model, we attempt to better account for variability and inherent uncertainties in the effects of emissions as it relates to precursor species, season, location and source type in the model to better constrain the value of particulate matter control in terms of social cost. We calculate social costs that differ from other literature values by a factor of two to more than ten for both reactive and non-reactive compounds. This suggests that model variability in transport and chemistry can have an important influence on the estimates. Our results recommend caution in the use of literature values for the social cost of air quality emissions for benefit-cost analysis and externality pricing.

Cato Book Forum Looks New Book Critical of Rachel Carsen — The Cato Institute will host a Book Forum at Noon on Thursday on the upcoming CATO Book Silent Spring at 50: The False Crises of Rachel Carson.  The event will feature co-editor Andrew Morriss of the University of Alabama.  Cato’s Jerry Taylor will host and moderate questions.  Widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement when published 50 years ago, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring had a profound impact on our society. While Carson was not the first to write about the dangers of pesticides or to sound environmental alarms, her book captured and retained the attention of the public. As an iconic work, the book has received little critical inquiry, but this landmark anniversary provides an opportunity to reassess its legacy and influence. In Silent Spring at 50: The False Crises of Rachel Carson, experts explore the book’s historical context, the science it was built on, and the policy consequences of its core ideas. The conclusions reached by the authors make it clear that the legacy of Silent Spring is highly problematic. Carson made little effort to provide a balanced perspective and consistently ignored key evidence that would have contradicted her work. Thus, while the book provided a range of notable ideas, a number of Carson’s major arguments rested on what can only be described as deliberate ignorance. Silent Spring at 50 reveals the dangers of substituting sensationalism for fact, and apocalyptic pronouncements for genuine knowledge. 

Briefing to Discuss Nuclear Opposition – The Coalition Against Nukes is hosting a Congressional Briefing Thursday at 2:00 p.m. in 121 on the medical effects of nuclear power. This briefing will include medical testimony on the effects of radiation from Dr. Catherine Thomasson of Physicians for Social Responsibility, testimony from Alice Slater of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation on the relationship of nuclear weapons to nuclear power, testimony on the state of our decrepit nuclear fleet in the United States from Michael Mariotte of NIRS and testimony from Beyond Nuclear‘ s Paul Gunter on the Freeze Our Fukushima’s campaign and why it is imperative that we immediately close all of our dangerous GE Mark 1 and Mark 2 boiling water reactors in the United States.  Arne Gundersen will give testimony on the Fukushima catastrophe and reactor #4.

Forum, Report to Look at Geopolitical Implications of Asia’s Rising Oil, Gas Demand – The National Bureau of Asian Research and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will launch NBR’s 2012 Energy Security Report, “Oil and Gas for Asia: Geopolitical Implications of Asia’s Rising Demand,” on Thursday at the Reserve Officers Association in Washington, D.C.  The event will convene senior policy and industry leaders, and Asia energy specialists, for a discussion of how Asia’s rising energy demand, coupled with angst over prices and the reliability of future oil and LNG supplies, is shaping the strategic and economic agendas of Asia’s major powers.  The 2012 Energy Security Report launch will feature remarks from Congressman Charles W. Boustany Jr. (co-chair of the U.S.-China Working Group and member of the House Ways and Means Committee) and U.S. Under Secretary Robert D. Hormats (Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment). The event will also include a panel discussion of the NBR report by Edward Chow (Center for Strategic and International Studies), Erica Downs(Brookings Institution), S. Chander (Asian Development Bank), and Mikkal Herberg (The National Bureau of Asian Research).

Conference to Look at Opportunities in Green Economy – The Institute for Policy Analysis will hold a for on Thursday and Friday at Hillyer in the Dupont Circle area looking at entrepreneurs in the green economy.  The event will raise awareness about market opportunities for profit-driven solutions to climate change.  Speakers will include NRDC’s Ed Chen, Cold Cool Cash Climate author Jon Koomey of Stanford’s Steyer Center, Joe Sibilia of CSRWire, Information Technology and Innovation President Robert Atkinson and Jim Conlon of Elysian Energy.  

Gingrich, Noble, Conway on Energy from Federal Lands – In a forum at the National Press Club’s Zenger Room on Friday at 9:30 a.m., former House Speaker Newt Gingrich will address how North American energy independence is possible thanks to new innovations in oil and gas development — meaning millions of new jobs, lower energy prices and greater national security for every American — and the danger the agenda of President Obama poses to that vision.  He will be joined by Scott Noble, owner of one of the largest royalties management companies in the country and Chairman of the New American Energy Opportunity Foundation, who will discuss their study of what poor management of federal lands is costing US taxpayers. In addition, pollster Kellyanne Conway, President of the Polling Company, Inc., will discuss new polling data that sheds light on what the American people want from US energy policy.

FUTURE EVENTS

Burcat, Miles Speak at WV Wind Forum – Marshall University and the WV Wind Working Group will host a West Virginia Wind Forum on September 25th in Davis, WV at Canaan Valley.  There will be a pre-conference site tour on the afternoon of Sept 24th of the AES Laurel Mountain wind and energy storage facility. This annual wind forum is held to examine the barriers to wind energy development and potential solutions for reducing these barriers. Updates on wind energy-related issues around the state are on the agenda.   Our friends Bruce Burcat of the Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition and Jonathan Miles of JMU will speak among others.  Updates from PJM on integration and Invenergy on Beech Ridge will also be on the agenda.

KS Energy Conference Set – The Kansas Department of Commerce will hold an energy conference on September 25-26th in Manhattan, KS Conference Center.  Items on the agenda include transmission, biofuels, wind development and supply chains, solar power and transportation.   NASEO’s Dave terry and BP Wind CEO John Graham will be among the speakers.   

Great Lakes Wind Issues Highlighted at Forum – The Great Lakes Wind Collaborative’ s (GLWC’s) 5th Annual Meeting will be held on September 25th in Erie, PA and will bring together representatives of U.S. and Canadian federal agencies, state/provincial and local governments, the wind industry, electric utilities, nonprofit organizations, academia, and other interested stakeholders to discuss and address issues regarding the sustainable development of wind energy in the binational Great Lakes region.

Google’s Needham, Others to Address REFF-West Conference – Renewable Energy Finance Forum West (REFF-West) returns to San Francisco on September 27-28th for its fifth edition.  The event will discuss the latest trends in renewable energy financing as well as practical takeaway advice on how to move projects forward. Covering a range of renewable and clean energy technologies, with a particular focus on developments in the Western US, topics covered at REFF-West include project financing, venture capital, renewable power generation, emerging commercial technologies, financing smaller projects, equity financing and established technologies. The conference also offers an unparalleled networking opportunity, allowing you to meet senior representatives from both the energy and financial sectors who are focusing on renewables and clean technologies.  Speakers will include former ARPA-E head Arun Majumdar, ACORE President Dennis McGinn, CEQ’s Jonathan Powers and our friends Rick Needham of Google and Dan Reicher of Stanford University’s Steyer-Taylor Energy Center, among others.  

Geothermal Energy Forum Set for Reno – The GEA Geothermal Energy Expo will be held on September 30th through October 3 at the Peppermill Resort in Reno, NV.  The event is the world’s largest gathering of vendors providing support for geothermal resource exploration, characterization, development, production and management. 

Jackson Hole Forum to Look at CO2 Solutions – The University of Wyoming’s Center for Energy Economics and Public Policy (CEEPP) and the School of Energy Resources (SER) will host a forum on October 1st and 2nd focused on power generation and the environment in Jackson Hole’s Teton Village.  This symposium will focus on solutions to CO2 emissions from coal-generated electricity, the economic implications of alternative control options, and the costs of alternatives to coal-fired generation.  The event will convene scholars and experts in economics, engineering, policy, and science to evaluate the technological and economic viability of various solutions to CO2 emissions. The keynote speaker for the symposium is Samuel Fankhauser, Co-Director of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, member of the UK Committee on Climate Change, and Deputy Director of the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy. A handful of other academics will also speak including Joe Aldy of Harvard and RFF’s Josh Linn. 

Forum to Look Emission Trading Issues – The International Emissions Trading Assn will hold its Carbon Forum on October 1st and 2nd in Washington, DC at the Marriott at Metro Center.  Speakers will include UN climate chief Christine Figueres, Eileen Claussen, Dirk Forrister, Alstom’s Bob Hilton, NREA’s Anne Smith, Shell’s David Hone former DOE official Victor Der, former EPA air official Bill Wehrum, ELI President John Cruden, CARB Chair Mary Nichols and our friend at Argus Media Bill Peters and E&E TV’s Monica Trauzzi. 

Bromwich, Watson, Statoil Headline Drilling Forum at CSIS – The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS )will hold an energy and security forum on Tuesday, October 2nd at 10:00 a.m. to discuss advancing offshore safety by sharing research, information and best practices on safety and environmental protection.  Speakers will include Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement Director James Watson, Charlie Williams of the Center for Offshore Safety, Statoil’s Svein Erik Eide, EDF’s Elgie Holstein and former BOEMRE  head Michael Bromwich.

GridWeek Set for DCGridWeek 2012 is set for the Washington DC Convention Center on October 2nd through the 4th and will tackle the challenge of deriving value from this complexity — gathering utility, policy, regulatory and consumer experts to approach the topic head-on. As grid-modernization and smart grid efforts provide the energy industry with more information, a broader system view, and more efficiency and control, we are faced with increasing complexity. The challenge lies in deriving value from that complexity — for all stakeholders.  Providing a mix of in-depth panel discussions, value-focused case studies, and a forward look at how the ever-changing energy landscape will impact the electrical grid, GridWeek will explore three key themes:  1) Stakeholder value, 2) Managing complexity and 3) Smart energy policy.  Speakers will include DOE’s David Sandalow, NIST’s Patrick Gallagher, EEI’s Ton Kuhn and many others. 

Encana’s Hock to Headline Energy Communications Conference – The 3rd annual Energy Crisis Communications Forum will be held on October 3rd and 4th at the Royal Sonesta Houston and will focus on navigating current media trends and regulatory policies to achieve effective communications plans.  Our friends Doug Hock of Encana, Buddy Eller of STP Nuclear and many others.  This conference will focus on adapting and implementing an effective crisis communications plan in order to enhance, maintain, or rebuild organizations’ bottom line, reputation, and brand.

NY Shale Gas Conference Set – West Legal EdCenter will hold a Shale Gas Drilling operations conference on October 3rd in New York City.  The Conference is chaired by litigation lawyer who has attacked companies over the years, Marc Bern of Napoli, Bern, Ripka, Sholnick.  Despite this fact, many of the panels look to be balanced including one on Parker County and Dimock.  Of course, in each of those cases, the facts have proven that drilling operations were wrongly targeted by opponents and money-hungry trial lawyers. 

USEA to Host Energy Supply Forum – The US Energy Assn will hold its 5th annual Energy Supply Forum on Thursday October 4th at the National Press Club.   Representatives from both the public and private sector will gather to discuss topics ranging from unconventional energy supply resources to onshore exploration and production to technologic advances in the supply sector.   Issues will include domestic production, energy policy-post election, energy efficiency-demand response, energy exports and new policy initiatives.

RFF to Host Lecture on Environment Policy – Resources for The Future will hold an event celebrating its 60th anniversary with the Resources 2020 lecture series on Friday, October 5th at 2:00 p.m. at the National Association of Home Builders featuring Joseph Stiglitz, 2001 Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences, discussing inequality and environmental policy.  Stiglitz is University Professor at Columbia University, the winner of the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2001, and a lead author of the 1995 IPCC report, which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. He was chairman of the US Council of Economic Advisers under President Clinton, and chief economist and senior vice president of the World Bank during 1997-2000. Stiglitz received the John Bates Clark Medal, awarded biennially to the American economist under 40 who has made the most significant contribution to the subject. He was a Fulbright Scholar at Cambridge University, held the Drummond Professorship at All Souls College at the University of Oxford, and has also taught at MIT, Yale, Stanford, and Princeton. Stiglitz helped create a new branch of economics, “the economics of information,” exploring the consequences of information asymmetries and pioneering such pivotal concepts as adverse selection and moral hazard, which have now become standard tools not only of theorists, but also of policy analysts. His work has helped explain the circumstances in which markets do not work well and how selective government intervention can improve their performance.

AWEA Offshore Conference Set for VA Beach – AWEA will host its annual offshore wind conference in Virginia Beach on October 11-13th.  Stay tuned for more details, but  BOEM’s Tommy Beaudreau will kick off the event and AWC President Bob Mitchell will speak on Thursday morning, providing a development update on the project and its implications for accelerating offshore wind in the Mid-Atlantic.

Utility, Fuel, Renewables to Address RETECH Forum – RETECH 2012 is set for Washington DC on October 16th-19th at the Omni Shoreham.  RETECH is the premier business, policy and technology conference and exhibition for the entire renewable energy industry and will host renewable energy leaders from government, utility, finance and technology.   RETECH 2012 is the only event dedicated to delivering coverage on EVERY discipline of renewable energy technology.  RETECH’s conference sessions will focus on current trends, the newest technologies and important up-to-date information on the changing legislative and regulatory landscapes.  Among the speakers will be EIA’s Adam Siemanski, as well as our friends Yvonne McIntyre of Calpine Corporation, SEIA’s Rhone Resch, former DOE energy advisor Larisa Dobriansky, Drive NatGas Executive Director Kathryn Clay, DTF’s Allen Schaeffer and EPRI’s Bryan Hannegan. 

SEJ Ready for Lubbock – SEJ Kicks off at Texas Tech in Lubbock on October 17 through the 22nd.  Bracewell will of course be sponsoring its Thursday night event, so we hope to see you there. 

Book, Maisano Headline OPIS Fuels Conference in Vegas (Yeah!!!) – The Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) will hold its 14th annual National Supply Summit on October 22nd  to 24th at the Mandarin Oriental in Las Vegas’ City Center.  Just a few weeks before the election, Kevin Book and I will host a panel on elections, the next Congress and fuels which will definitely be the highlight of the event.  Other speaker s will include Delta’s Jon Ruggles, ConocoPhillips’ Greg Garland and Chad Martin of Eco-Energy. 

Giuliani to Headline Chamber Legal Forum – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will hold its 13th Annual Legal Reform Summit on Wednesday, October 24th in Washington, DC featuring Keynote speaker NYC Mayor and B&G partner Rudy Giuliani.  The summit, which is recognized as the nation’s paramount comprehensive legal reform symposium, will feature a keynote address by former Giuliani and remarks by Thomas J. Donohue, President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  Additionally, the Summit agenda will feature a variety of timely panel discussions on developments and trends in litigation impacting securities and mergers & acquisitions, the political landscape and the 2012 elections and many other topics. 

MD to Hold Water Technologies Conference – The Maryland Department of the Environment will hold its Second Annual Clean Water Innovations Trade Show on Wednesday, October 24th in Annapolis.  Professionals and stakeholders from around the State will display innovative stormwater management and water quality management techniques, exchange information and promote the protection of Maryland’s resources. The event is free and refreshments will be provided.  Government agencies, consultants, developers, environmental advocates and the building industry can learn more about the latest best management practices in stormwater management, wetland creation and restoration and other green technologies.  Additionally, during the event, MDE will recognize the winners of the 2012 Smart, Green & Growing Award for Infrastructure and Innovations in Stormwater Management.  The trade show promises to be informative for both those with ideas and products to offer and those faced with the challenge of improving water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Special Update – August 17

Friends,

It is unusual that I send a Friday note, but since it is August recess and I expect not to be reporting back on Monday, I wanted to quickly reach out on a few items of importance, including today’s E15 US Court decision, yesterday’s GAO report on reliability conflicts, recent EIA emissions data showing more GHG declines and BrightSource Energy hitting the 50% completion/Peak Employment (more than 2,000 workers) at its Ivanpah Solar project. 

Also, I added a few new post-convention/post-Labor Day events including a Retail Energy Symposium in Baltimore on September 12, an oil spill containment conference in Trinidad featuring our friends at Helix and my expert colleague Kevin Ewing (I think I should be there to flack for them, don’t you?) on the 13th and an Ohio Shale gas conference that covers both the 12th and 13th featuring our friends at Chesapeake Energy. 

In case you missed it, one other good policy battle is brewing over the last couple of days.  Council on Foreign Relations energy expert Michael Levi argued in a New York Times op-ed yesterday that the US should allow LNG exports while guarding against downside risks to the local environment and low-income consumers.  Turns out, enviros like the Center for American Progress’ Joe Romm blasted the piece, saying exports are bad for the climate and a poor long-term investment.   Making it A Perfect Circle, Levi responded to Romm’s critique for our entertainment, saying (with tons of footnote, citations and evidence) blocking natural gas exports won’t drive money into zero-carbon energy like good policy that prices carbon. In the end, Levi says that should be clean energy advocates’ focus rather than endangering the global trading system over a quixotic fight to restrain exports. 

Finally, start getting your SEJ on…  Things are shaping up for the Society of Environmental Journalists annual meeting in Lubbock, Texas on October 17-21 at Texas Tech.  We will again be hosting our usual Thursday extravaganza.   It is not far away…Call with questions. 

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

IN THE NEWS

Court Rules against Food, Refiner Groups on Ethanol – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit today rejected an attempt by food, auto and petroleum industry groups to challenge the EPA decision allowing the use of E15 ethanol blends by a 2-1 decision.  The court said that none of the groups suing had legal standing to sue EPA for issuing waivers that allow up to 15% ethanol in gasoline for newer cars.  Grocery Manufacturers Association, the Alliance of Automobile  Manufacturers and the American Petroleum Institute, among other food and refining trade groups, sued EPA over its 2009 ruling to allow the blend for cars.  Originally it was only through models years 2006, but it later expanded it to MY 2001.  The decision removes one of the potential legal obstacles to the roll-out of E15, although a number of challenges remain, including logistics, distribution, or even liability protection against potential performance issues.  In a dissent, Judge Brett Kavanaugh wrote that “two enormous American industries will be palpably and negatively affected” by EPA’s decision and that “in granting the E15 partial waiver, EPA ran roughshod over the relevant statutory limits.”  American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers President Charlie Drevna said the Court’s ruling upholds EPA’s irresponsible decision that puts consumers at risk, harming every American who owns a car, truck or small engine equipment. “AFPM members want to ensure that all fuels sold into commerce are safe for consumers, effective and reliable, but today’s decision confounds our ability to do so. Vehicle testing has confirmed that E-15 damages certain engines. In fact, vehicle manufacturers have begun to include warnings on their gas caps that E15 could void vehicle warranties.”

GAO Report Warns About Regional Reliability, Cost – A new report from the General Accountability Office requested by Sen. John Rockefeller says Federal agencies aren’t doing enough to make sure regional electricity supplies can be sustained as utilities grapple with meeting new environmental regulations.  GAO predicted that electricity prices are likely to rise in some coal-dependent regions as utilities shutter or retrofit coal plants or convert to gas.  Rockefeller and EPA supporters pointed to GAO’s comments that widespread power outages were unlikely during the industry’s historic shift to natural gas.  But FERC, EPA and DOE are still woefully short in developing a formal process for ensuring that likely challenges and regional shortages are resolved.  Next week, FERC will begin holding conference on coordinating such efforts where stakeholders will weigh in.  My colleague Scott Segal, ERCC director said the GAO report reaches some of the same conclusions ERCC has for a long time.  Segal: “While the exact number of retirements is often difficult to predict – GAO itself expresses a range of conclusions varying by a factor of 6 – it is unmistakable that there will be significant retirements of power generating facilities in certain regions of US directly attributable to EPA regulations.  As a result, certain regions are likely to experience significant increases in electricity prices and job losses because of this lost capacity.  Further, given that power plants back up one another in regions, the loss of any key plant can have substantial impacts on electric reliability for households and businesses in the affected service territory.”  He also pointed to testimony to Congress earlier this year that questions whether the most expensive of these new EPA rules – the mercury and air toxics standard, or MATS – produces any real benefits at all.  Segal concludes by saying it remains to be seen whether or not the potential threats to reliability and energy prices found by GAO, and the job losses they imply, are really worth it.”

EIA Says Emissions Growth Declines in 2011 – The Energy Information Administration said in its annual greenhouse gas emissions inventory that carbon emissions declined in 2011 by 2.4% and were 526 million metric tons (9 percent) below the 2005 level. Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions have declined in the United States in four out of the last six years.  After two years of declining carbon dioxide emissions (2008 and 2009) and one year of increasing emissions (2010), carbon dioxide emissions in 2011 fell, but at a less dramatic rate than in 2009. Unlike 2009, the 2011 decline occurred during a year of positive growth in the GDP.  EIA attributes some of the decline to slower economic growth.  In 2011, GDP grew by 1.8%, but emissions decreased by 2.4% (136 million metric tons). This indicates that the carbon intensity of the economy declined by about 4.2%.  Weather and natgas-coal switching also weighed into the analysis.  Weather is an important factor in residential energy consumption variations from one year to the next. In 2011, cooling degree-days were slightly higher than in 2010. This would tend to put upward pressure on electricity demand and related emissions. On the other hand, heating degree-days fell by 3.2% and residential sector energy consumption declined.  Transportation-related carbon dioxide emissions fell primarily due to higher fuel costs, improvements in fuel efficiency and a reduction in miles traveled due to the economic slowdown.  Finally, the carbon intensity of the energy supply declined in every sector in 2011, influenced by the electric power sector. The share of non-carbon emitting generation in the electric power sector grew from one percent in 2011, while hydropower generation increased by 25%.  Wind power generation increased by 26%, solar energy from both thermal and photovoltaic systems increased by 49%, but from a small base.   Natural gas generation (the lowest carbon intensity per Btu of the fossil fuels) increased 3%, while coal (almost twice as carbon intensive as natural gas) declined by 6%.

BrightSource Solar Project hits Peak Construction – NRG Energy, Google, BrightSource Energy and construction partner Bechtel announced that the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System has reached the halfway mark of construction on the world’s largest solar thermal project. Ivanpah has also reached its peak construction workforce, with more than 2,100 construction workers and project support staff on-site. The $2.2 billion project is on-track to be complete in 2013.  The 370MW solar power facility is located on approximately 3,500 acres of federal land in California’s Mojave Desert managed by the U.S. Department of the Interior‘s Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The three individual power plants at Ivanpah will feature BrightSource Energy’s solar thermal power tower technology to produce clean, renewable energy from the sun. When completed in 2013, the facility will nearly double the amount of solar thermal electricity produced in the US.  Power generated from the plants will be sold under separate contracts with Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) and Southern California Edison (SCE). The first unit will begin supplying power to PG&E in mid-2013, with units two and three delivering power to Southern California and PG&E respectively by late of 2013. In total, the project will power more than 140,000 homes and businesses in California. Ivanpah will help its customers PG&E and SCE meet the state of California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requirements, legislation requiring each investor-owned utility to procure 33 percent of its energy portfolio from renewable resources by 2020.

Energy Visions Prize Launch to Honor Media Projects – The American Clean Skies Foundation (ACSF) announced the inaugural Energy Visions Prize this week which will award prizes worth a total of $250,000 to creators of outstanding media and innovative digital works that advance a vision for America’s energy security and a cleaner, low carbon environment.  The Energy Visions Prize will reward media projects that have a public impact on U.S. energy: videos that feature engaging stories and compelling visuals about America’s home-grown clean energy – natural gas, renewables and biofuels – and apps that enable the production or use of clean energy innovations. Films, videos, and mobile or web-based apps should address at least one of the following goals: 1) End America’s unsustainable dependence on oil from foreign sources; 2) Generate and distribute cleaner electricity; or 3) Bridge political and geographic divides on energy policy.  At a gala to be held in December 2012 in Washington, DC the first place winner in each of the three categories will receive $40,000. Runner-up prizes of $20,000 also are expected to be awarded in each category together with one or more “special award” or “best of show” prizes.  Awards will be chosen based on the recommendations of a distinguished group of judges composed of media, creative, technology and policy experts. 

EVENTS

FERC Sets Conferences on Coal-NatGas Coordination – FERC has set the schedule for four regional technical conferences to explore coordination between the natural gas and electric industries, including two in Washington on August 23 and August 30th.   They will also hold on in Boston on August 20th and Portland Oregon on August 28th.  These conferences will each include a staff presentation on infrastructure in that region and an opportunity for a staff and industry discussion of national and regional issues such as better communications and information sharing, electric reliability, and market structures and rules.  As the retirement of more coal-powered generation is anticipated and the reliance on the use of natural gas to generate electricity is expanding because of the boom in natural gas extraction from shale resulting in low prices, and as back-up power for renewables, there are some concerns about how the interlinked gas and power markets will actually work, how new pipelines will be funded and how electricity reliability will be assured. Further, there could be more potential for market manipulation as the harmonization between the two markets becomes more complex. There are also fundamental differences between the pipeline industry and the power sector, with pipelines seeking firm contracts from their customers and electricity generators trading by the minute in response to bids.

O’Malley, Wellinghoff to Headline Retail Energy Event – Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Jon Wellinghoff are featured speakers at the Retail Energy Supply Association’s 2012 Energy Competition Symposium in Baltimore on Sept. 12. The half-day event will explore the state of play for retail energy competition nationally. Other featured speakers include Douglas Scott, chairman of the Illinois Commerce Commission, Douglas Nazarian, chairman of the Maryland Public Service Commission, Todd Snitchler, chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, Rob Powelson, chairman of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, William Massey, former FERC commissioner and counsel to the COMPETE Coalition, and Itron’s Daniel Pfeiffer.  The symposium will feature panel discussions on the value of customer choice in retail energy markets, the future outlook for customer choice in energy, and an overview of the innovative product and service offerings being developed in competitive retail energy markets. The afternoon event will close with a cocktail reception.

Ohio Shale Gas Conference to Look at Successes, Challenges – Infocast will host Black Gold Ohio, a conference focused on shale gas development in the Utica Shale region at the Westin Columbus on September 12-13th.  The conference will look at the revival of Ohio manufacturing with the Utica and Marcellus booms.  As a result, Ohio has seen a significant rise in demand for steel mills, surveyors, pipe makers, tankers for hauling water, trailers for transporting frac sand and other supporting manufacturing and development.  It’s predicated that by 2015, the Utica and Marcellus shale booms will have created 200,000 jobs, generated a $12 billion growth in overall wages in the State and increased $22 billion in economic output of the Ohio State.  Speakers will include the Ohio Oil & Gas Assn head Tom Stewart and Chesapeake Energy’s Scott Rotruck, among many others. 

Spill Containment Conference Set for Caribbean Drilling – OPEN FORUM and the Energy Chamber of Trinidad will hold the first-ever regional conference on emergency response issues for offshore drilling in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Thursday, September 13th.   The event will focus on the critical issues related to emergency spill response procedures and protocols following the BP/Deepwater Horizon incident two years ago. Speakers will include former BOEMRE chief Michael Bromwich and John Slaughter of the U.S. Coast Guard.  Among other experts, our friends at Helix, former IADC head Lee Hunt and Bracewell’s very own Kevin Ewing.  Hunt, who joined with Helix to organize the conference said “While the international focus has been largely an effort by the United States to protect its shores, this conference will give Caribbean nations the opportunity to focus on how they can learn from each other and work together to build deepwater response capabilities.”

Corbett, Koppel Headline NatGas Conference – Following last year’s inaugural success, the Marcellus Shale Coalition will return to Philadelphia’s Pennsylvania Convention Center to host the SHALE GAS INSIGHT™ 2012 Conference on September 20-21 to offer insights on natural gas development in in the region.  Industry and policy experts from top producing, midstream, and supply chain firms; academia; government; and the NGO community will provide the latest insights and analysis on state and federal policies, technological advancements in the industry, and much more.  Speakers will include veteran newsman Ted Koppel, PA Gov. Tom Corbett, our WSJ friend Russell Gold and many more.

Energy Update Week of February 21

Friends,

I returned from Florida yesterday even though pitchers and catchers were reporting, having given up on any last-minute hope that the Yankees would sign me to a one-year deal for the season.  I know they’ve been shopping for crafty, veteran left-handers, so I was remained hopeful until the last minute.   Spring training in Florida is a pretty awesome time if you have never ventured down there.    It’s overtones of hope for the upcoming season and its precursor status for summer all make us feel a little better.  Kind of like Congress.

Of course, many others are celebrating the end of Mardi Gras today as “Fat Tuesday” arrives.  Our own Scott Segal, a regular Krewe member on a Bacchus Parade float will have a full account upon his return Friday. (As you know it takes Scott a few more days than normal to return because he takes Amtrak).  I am looking forward to the stories from Sunday’s parade as the Bacchus “King” this year was Will Farrell.  (Here is a list of previous Kings)  While it is not unusual to have not heard from him with one night to go, we’re always keeping our fingers crossed that he’ll be back.  

We have started to hear the rumblings of energy stories and their impact on politics this week.  The media seems excited about the regular run up to the $5 gasoline story for the summer, yet we are still almost four months away.  Just today, NBC’s Today Show did their first story with a reporter standing at a California gas station with the $5 sign behind him.  NY drivers also paid a higher average last week ($3.82/gallon), the highest in the country according to the Lundberg Survey. People gassing up in Colorado and Wyoming paid $3.03 on average, the lowest in the country.  The price difference is due in large part to the abundance of Canadian oil that is flowing in the central part of the country: Put that in your Keystone pipeline and smoke it. 

Both sides are ramping up the rhetoric on energy though.  Over the weekend, Presidential candidates blasted President Obama’s energy/environmental policies with Santorum getting the most heat for attacking the President’s environmental orthodoxy.  Also, here is a blast from the Daily Caller on energy when Ginny Thomas interviewed IER’s Dan Kish.  DC also had a recent story on Keystone that follows the money similar to a series of stories we have been hearing about with the Sierra Club and natural gas, again featured in yesterday’s Washington Post.  I question whether these rhetorical blasts will matter over the long-term, but the reality is as long as gas prices are a story (which they seem that they will at least for a while) these sharp, but political, unsubstantive responses will be par for the course.

In case you haven’t noticed, I have steered clear of the latest “Climategate-type” document stealing/exposes on the Heartland Institute.  While I don’t want to make as much of it as many of my friends on both sides of the climate debate and in the energy trade media, I will say I have some historical perspectives on these type of issues with my experience over the years on climate issues if you want to hear them.   

In Washington, talk of the budget and the Congressional hearing schedule surrounding it will be the central focus for the next few months.  We get a brief break this week with the Congressional recess, but last week’s previews with Secretary Chu at Senate Energy and Interior Secretary Salazar at House Resources were just an appetizer.

Speaking of the end of Mardi Gras, the hotel boom will likely continue in NOLA because the Deepwater Horizon trial starts next Monday. (Maybe)  I know you won’t have a problem finding a lawyer in NOLA next week.   Also next week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit will hear two days of oral argument to review four of EPA’s greenhouse gas emissions rules: the “timing” rule, the “tailoring” rule, the “endangerment” rule, and the “tailpipe” rule starting February 28th.   The court’s rulings on these four rules have the potential to halt, delay, modify, or greatly increase the scope of greenhouse gas regulation under the CAA. The stakes are among the highest in recent environmental litigation.  Our experts are up on both cases. 

By the way, if you catch our BNA reporter friend Ari Natter bleary-eyed or dozing off at the press table during these riveting budget hearings in the next few weeks, it is not because he doesn’t care.  He and his wife Mandy are not sleeping because they welcomed their first born, Noah, on Feb 2nd.  Congrats Ari, start saving now for college.   Also congrats to long-time LA Times Reporter Tom Hamburger who is moving over to the Washington Post starting today, where he’ll do lots of things, including some election coverage. 

Finally, even though they received three consecutive Gold Mouse Awards from the Congressional Management Foundation, the Senate Energy Committee has updated/upgraded its bipartisan website.  Check it out… Call with questions.

Best,

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

BUDGET TIME

Hearings – The parade of hearings started last week but after taking a recess break, picks up next week… A tentative list of hearings for next week: 

Interior at Senate Energy – Sect. Salazar, Tuesday, Feb 28 at 10:00 a.m.

BLM, National Parks at House Resources Panel – Jarvis, Abbey, Tuesday Feb 28 at 10:00 a.m.

DOE at House Approps Energy & Water– Sect. Chu, Tuesday, Feb 28  at 2:00 p.m.

National Science Foundation at House Science –NSF’s Suresh, NSB’s Bowen, Tuesday, Feb 28  at 10:00 a.m.

Power Admins at House Resources Panel – WAPA, Bonneville, SWPA, SEPA, Tuesday, Feb 28 at 2:00 p.m.

EPA at House Approps Panel on Interior, Environment – Lisa Jackson, Wednesday, Feb 29 at 1:00 p.m.

DOE Research at House Science – Brinkman, Thursday March 1 at 9:30 a.m.

Issue Experts Available to Discuss Budget – As usual, we have an entire list of experts available to discuss you budget questions: 

•         Appropriation/Budget Process: Ed Krenik (202) 828-5877

•         Environment/EPA – Scott Segal (202) 828-5845; Jeff Holmstead (202) 828-5852

•         Enforcement: Rich Alonso (202) 828-5861

•         Interior/Drilling – Mike Olsen (202) 828-5868

•         Energy/Loan Guarantees/Stimulus Funding/Nuclear: Salo Zelermyer (202) 828-1718

•         Taxes: Mike Pate (202) 828-5841

•         Natural Gas Issues: Jason Hutt (202) 828-5850, John Riley (512) 542-3970

•         SEC Climate Risk: Kevin Ewing (202) 828-7638

•         SEC Regulatory: Paul Maco (202) 828-5821

•         FERC/Transmission: Greg Williams (202) 828-5815

•         CFTC, Trading: David Perlman (202) 828-5804.

IN THE NEWS

Markey Says Vogtle Riskier than Solyndra – Rep. Ed Markey, a top Democrat on House Resources and House Energy/Commerce, urged DOE Secretary Steven Chu to implement of all recommendations made in the just-released White House-ordered review of the Energy Department’s loan guarantee program prior to awarding any further loan guarantees, either on a conditional or final basis. The proposed nuclear loan guarantee to the Southern Company is one of the largest of any previous loan guarantee under the DOE program and is more than 15 times larger than the loan guarantee granted to Solyndra.  While there is no factual basis for the nonsensical claims about the loan guarantee for the new advanced-design reactors that will be constructed at Plant Vogtle, Markey, an opponent of nukes, is clearly looking to undercut the effort to build the first new plant in 30 years.  Solyndra was a start-up manufacturing company competing in the global solar panel technology market. It had no assets, was working with an unproven technology with no customer base or steady revenue stream and obviously no profits.  I’d say Southern is pretty solid on its balance sheet.  Last week, the NRC voted 4-1 to approve the issuance of the Construction and Operating License (COL) for Southern Company’s Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4, the first such license ever approved for a U.S. nuclear plant.  Already, several environmental groups have sued mimicking the NRC Chairman Greg Jackzo’s lone dissent about needing more reforms after the Fukushima disaster despite the newest technology being used and substantial differences in location and risk when compared to Fukushima.   Southern and DOE agreed to terms last year, with final approval  conditioned on a number of key regulatory approvals.  DOE Secretary Steven Chu said in a recent visit to Southern that they will finalize an $8.3 billion loan for the project in the next month  or so. 

VT Starts Legal Fight to Shut Down Yankee – Speaking of nuclear, Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell said that the state would appeal last month’s federal district court decision allowing Entergy to continue operating its Vermont Yankee nuclear plant. In January, the courts ruled in favor of Entergy, preventing Vermont from being the first state to shut down a nuclear power plant.  The Vermont legislature had hoped to shut down the plant by March 21 but will now have to take its case to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City.  For more information, you can call our friends at the Vermont Law School through John Cramer (802-831-1106).

NE Refiners Shuttering Because of Costs, Regs – With the discussions over gas prices, one thing you are hearing mentioned as an issue after Iraq, global crude issues and the demand of an improving economy are refineries closures/limitations.  While some are temporary for fires (like in CA) and for maintenance/summer gas switches, there also is a recent push in Congress to look at closures of refineries in the Northeast, specifically a developing battle over closure of a couple of refineries in Pennsylvania.   Some others exited East Coast refining as early as 2009 because they realized the East Coast would struggle to compete with refined products brought up via pipeline from large, efficient Gulf Coast refineries, and with low-cost gasoline imported from Europe because of the increased regulatory burdens in the region.   You may recall that was the case when Valero’s Delaware City refinery closed because it was losing more than $1 million per day. Refining is a globally competitive business, and refineries need to be low-cost, efficient operators in order to compete.   Additionally, the economic downturn in North America and Europe has reduced demand for refined products in those markets. There are many refineries up for sale or subject to closure in North America, Europe and the Caribbean with very few willing buyers (despite pressure from politicians saying they want Sunoco and ConocoPhillips to try harder to find buyers).   In fact, many worry that similar problems (especially regulatory burdens) may soon impose a similar challenge on West Coast refining operations as well. 

PTC, Boiler Delay Left out of Payroll Tax – The payroll tax compromise dealt a huge blow to the Production Tax Credit last week when it didn’t include the measure in the final deal.  Unfortunately, there was a deal on the table for the PTC’s inclusion with the price being inclusion of the legislation to delay EPA’s boiler rule, but Senate Democrats rejected it.  EPA already asked for the delay in the boiler rule and , even reconsidered its original rule when enviros rejected the request to delay the rule.  Recently, a court tossed out the rule’s stay while EPA reconsiders throwing compliance into complete uncertainty.  It is hard to believe that Senate Democrats didn’t take that deal given the importance of the PTC to the success of the renewable industry.  As you may know, each time the PTC is set to expire, industry activity grinds to a halt.  Right now the industry is creating much-needed clean energy jobs.  EPA admits that Boiler MACT needs to be delayed and the Senate has a bipartisan push to do just that.  The PTC is hugely important to wind developers, and it should have been included.  Next up, there is a possible tax entenders bill that will have to be considered.  Other than that, it looks like it may be headed for action in the lameduck session of Congress at the end of 2012.

US, Mexico Agree on Drilling Expansion – The U.S. signed a deal with Mexico to cooperate on the development of the Gulf of Mexico’s oil and natural gas resources. The agreement, which requires legislative approval, would provide greater access to areas in the Gulf, including 1.5 million acres on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf.  Signed at a meeting in Los Cabos, the agreement would set a process that U.S. companies and Pemex could use to jointly develop waters that straddle the nations’ maritime border. It also would provide for the U.S. and Mexican governments jointly to review applications and safety inspections in cases of drilling in the boundary-straddling waters, where oil spills could affect both nations.  While this is another positive development showing more willingness by the administration to look for more resources, it would have been just as easy to open up more areas that are US-based that we know have oil that are off-limits.   Our own Mike Olsen (202-828-5868), a former Interior official and House Resources staffer, can answer your questions, as well as our friend Jim Noe (713-301-6797) of Hercules Offshore.

Automakers Letter Calls for New Gas Regs – With the increase the gas prices expected, global automakers weighed into the fight over new EPA Tier 3 regulations for gasoline, urging support for the new regs that will reduce sulfur content, but increase costs on refiners dramatically.   It is not surprising that some in the auto industry would try to curry favor with EPA on something that will totally undercut another industry.  They have a long history of throwing sand in other industry’s faces especially when the significant costs and infrastructure burdens are on someone else.  What they forget is that ultimately, driving consumers will end up paying the price for this political gamesmanship. EPA is preparing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPR) that will lower the sulfur content in gasoline from 30ppm to 10ppm.  It is estimated that the price tag of Tier 3 will be $17 billion in initial capital costs and $13 billion in annual operating and maintenance costs.  These costs will certainly be passed on to consumers in the form of higher gasoline prices.  A recent letter to EPA from a bipartisan group of Senators said Depending on the stringency of the proposed rule, Tier 3 standards, “could add 12 to 25 cents to each gallon of gasoline.” 

Merger Leads to Cape Wind PPA – Just as Exelon and Constellation did in Maryland in providing a push to offshore wind, NSTAR and Northeast Utilities have reached comprehensive merger-related agreements with both the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources and the Massachusetts Attorney General.  As part of the agreements, NSTAR will enter into a 15-year contract to buy 129 MW of offshore wind power from the Cape Wind project.  The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) has already approved a 15-year power purchase agreement for National Grid to buy 234 MW from the Cape Wind project.  Cape Wind’s president, Jim Gordon, says this is a big step for the offshore wind project, which now has contracts in place for approximately 78% of the wind farm’s output.  Including Cape Wind in this utility merger settlement agreement is likely to ensure that Cape Wind will supply up to 500,000 homes with local windpower. Both settlement agreements call for a one-time $21 million rate credit to be directed to customers of NSTAR Electric, NSTAR Gas and Western Massachusetts Electric Co. (WMECo).

THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK:

Forum to look at Enabling Electricity Access – Green Biz and the Aspen Institute will host a forum today at 3:30 p.m.  to look at business solution to enable energy access.  About 1.3 billion people around the world do not have access to electricity and 2.7 billion people rely on traditional biomass for cooking and heating. Up to a billion more have access only to unreliable electricity networks. Lack of access to energy is a major barrier to economic and social progress and must be overcome to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.   Business is a critical actor in addressing global energy challenges. It is a primary solution provider, bringing to the table innovative products and services, efficient service delivery, essential technologies, management and technical capabilities, and financial resources. Learn what leading companies are doing to scale up access to clean energy in developing countries, how they are tackling the associated challenges, and their perspective on the role of public policy, regulation and financing to catalyze business investment in clean energy access  Featured Speakers will include Amy Ehlers of Novozymes, AEP’s Paul Loeffelman, American Electric Power and Sam Tumiwa of the Asian Development Bank, among others.

ASE to Focus on EE Investments – The Alliance to Save Energy will host is EE Noon lunch on Wednesday looking at global trends in energy efficiency investments.  According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s most recent report, clean energy investment experienced record investment in 2011. The panel will discuss how these investments impact energy efficiency and can we expect more in 2012.   Ted Hesser, clean energy analyst for Bloomberg New Energy Finance and Alfred Griffin, director for Citigroup Global Markets will discuss the important role energy-efficient investments can play in the U.S. and beyond.

Forum to Discuss Rio+20 – The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will hold a forum on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m.  at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center on the upcoming Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development.  A panel will discuss the developing agenda that includes DOE’s David Sandalow, Robert Engelman of the Worldwatch Institute and Reid Detchon of the United Nations Foundation.

Hoffman to Speak on DOE Role at Forum – ICF International will continue its Energy Breakfast series with a forum on Thursday morning featuring DOE’s Assistant Secretary of the Office of Electric Delivery and Energy Reliability Patricia Hoffman who will focus on the agency’s role in fostering a cleaner energy future and in meeting both our long-term energy challenges and our near-term energy needs.  DOE’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability is conducting key work in expanding our electric transmission resources (both within and across our borders); enhancing our physical and cyber system security in the energy industry; and promoting the technological innovation that will meet our energy requirements in a digital age.

WCEE Forum to Look at Enviro Justice – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) and the Catholic University School of Law will hold a forum on Thursday at 5:00 p.m. at National Press Club on how environmental justice principles can be effectively advanced and applied in weak economic times.  Environmental justice is a broad concept, generally accepted to mean that we seek a society where all people – regardless of race, color, national origin, or income – are protected from environmental and health hazards, are meaningfully involved in the regulatory and decision-making process, and that no subpopulation bears a disproportionate share of environmental risks and burdens. When the economy is strong, environmental controls are more likely to be funded and community requests and needs are more likely to be considered by corporations, developers, and governments. Similarly, in a robust economy, the government and private sectors are more likely to support in programs to support community participation and education.  Given today’s strained economy – both domestically and abroad – this expert panel will hold a substantive and productive conversation on critical and important issues related to environmental justice. The speakers will touch on the impacts of the economic downturn on low-income and minority communities in the United States and in developing nations; steps the U.S. federal government is taking to advance environmental justice domestically; and important private sector initiatives.  The panel will feature EPA General Counsel Scott Fulton, Susan Parker Bodine of Barnes & Thornburg LLP, WRI’s Carole Excell, Daria Neal of DOJ’s Civil Rights Division and Alexandra Dunn of Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law

Oil, Gas Properties Expo Set for Houston – The North American Prospect Expo (“NAPE”) will be from tomorrow through Friday at the George R. Brown convention center in Houston.  NAPE is the world’s largest E&P expo and provides a marketplace for the buying, selling and trading of oil and gas prospects and producing properties via its exhibits.  NAPE is also an excellent E&P networking venue, bringing together in one location prospects and producing properties, corporate development, capital formation, as well as services and technologies.

CSIS to Look at Iran Policy – The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and TCU’s Schieffer School of Journalism will hold a forum on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. focused on U.S. policy options on Iran.  The event will be moderated by CBS news chief Bob Schieffer.  Panelists will include former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General James E. Cartwright, USMC (Ret.), former Commander, U.S. Central Command  Admiral Bill Fallon, USN (Ret.) and NY Times correspondent David Sanger. 

Forum to Look at Bioenergy, Climate – Johns Hopkins University’s Energy & Environment Club Speaker Series will host a forum on Thursday at 6:00 p.m. featuring Jae Edmonds.  Edmonds,  a Chief Scientists and Laboratory Fellow at the Pacific Northwest National laboratory’s (PNNL) Joint Global Change Research Institute, will address bioenergy as a potential solution to climate change.

Business Energy  Conference Set – The Business Response Conference 3.0 and Career Fair will be held this Friday at George Washington University’s Jack Morton Auditorium looking at the evolving energy profile of Business.  The Business Response Conference is a student-organized conference that will explore how forward thinking businesses seize market opportunities for clean technologies.  The event will discuss energy demand growth and our future energy profile, the role of public policy in the production and consumption of energy, current and future energy investment trends amongst different industries as well as the origination of the investments and the future energy profile and potential businesses costs and supply uncertainty.  The speakers include Michael Ware, founder of Advance Capital Markets, a private investment firm with a long and successful track record in the energy and power industries and Michael Kagan, President of Retail Power at Constellation Energy Group, Inc., since January 2010.

THE WEEKS AHEAD:

Clinton, Chu, Gates to Address APRA-E Energy Innovation Summit – DOE and ARPE-E will hold its 3rd annual Innovation Summit at the Gaylord Hotel in Maryland on February 27-29.  Keynote Speakers Include Former President Bill Clinton, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, , Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, MIT President Susan Hockfield, ARPA-E Director Arun Majumdar, Ursula Burns of Xerox, FedEx’s Fred Smith and Former Walmart CEO Lee Scott, among others. 

Consumer Reports to Announce Top Picks at Press Club – The Washington Automotive Press Association will hold a forum at the National Press Club on Tuesday, February 28 at noon featuring David Champion, senior director, Auto Test Center, and Rik Paul, Automotive Editor.  They will announce Consumer Reports’ Top Picks for 2012 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 car and trucks picks. 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.

Forum to Look at Benefits, Challenges of Synthetic Biology – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) and the National Capital Area Chapter of the Society for Risk Analysis will hold a forum on the emerging risks of synthetic biology on Tuesday February 28 at 6:00 p.m.  at the George Washington University Law School’s Environmental Law Program.  The event, in the Burns Building, brings together students and professionals in risk, law, policy, environmental management, energy, regulation, biotechnology and public policy to learn about synthetic biology and the diversity of issues associated with its development, governance, and application.  Speaker include Theresa Good of the National Science Foundation, Todd Kuiken of the Woodrow Wilson Center, Eric Hoffman of Friends of the Earth, Jennifer Kuzma of the University of Minnesota and Lynn Bergeson of Bergeson & Campbell.  Synthetic biology combines principles of engineering and information technology to create biological components and systems that do not exist in nature and to re-engineer existing ones from scratch. However, as with any emerging technological innovation, it poses some unique policy and governance challenges.

Air Rule Oral Arguments Set for Feb 28 – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit will hear two days of oral argument to review four of EPA’s greenhouse gas emissions rules: the “timing” rule, the “tailoring” rule, the “endangerment” rule, and the “tailpipe” rule.  Our experts will be happy to preview.  Jeff Holmstead (202-828-5852).

Bracewell to Host Oil, Gas Symposium – Bracewell & Giuliani’s Energy Regulatory Team is hosting the Oil & Gas Regulatory Symposium on March 1st in Houston focused on regulatory issues. This invitation only event will bring together oil and gas executives and general counsel to discuss the most pressing regulatory issues facing energy companies today. Sessions will be led by industry experts and Bracewell & Giuliani attorneys on Strategies for implementing the CFTC’s Dodd-Frank requirements; Emerging trends in the development of oil and gas pipeline infrastructure; Commercial and regulatory challenges associated with exporting domestic gas; Federal and local regulatory hurdles for hydraulic fracturing; New requirements associated with offshore energy development; and other breaking topics.

Forum to Look at Court Arguments on Clean Air Rules – Environmental Law Institute,  Jones Day, International Emissions Trading Association, Georgetown Climate Center, DC Bar Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources Section  and the Climate Change, Sustainable Development, and Ecosystems Committee of the ABA’s Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources will host debrief of the DC Circuit’s Oral Arguments on EPA’s GHG rulemakings on Thursday, March 1ST AT 8:30 a.m. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit will hear two days of oral argument to review four of EPA’s greenhouse gas emissions rules: the “timing” rule, the “tailoring” rule, the “endangerment” rule, and the “tailpipe” rule. These four rules are EPA’s response to Massachusetts v. EPA and represent the bedrock of EPA’s regulation of greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act (CAA). The court’s rulings on these four rules have the potential to halt, delay, modify, or greatly increase the scope of greenhouse gas regulation under the CAA. The stakes are among the highest in recent environmental litigation.  The distinguished panelists, many of whom participated in the arguments, will describe and dissect the previous days’ oral arguments and discuss the implications of the potential outcomes.  Speakers include our friends Bill Brownell of Hunton &Williams and Kyle Danish of Van Ness Feldman and Duke University Nicholas Institute expert and former EPA official Rob Brenner, among many others.

CERA Week – The 31st Annual CERAWeek 2012 begins on March 5th through 9th at the Hilton Americas in Houston, Texas.  The annual event will focus on energy’s new role in rebuilding the global economy and providing stability in a volatile time for the international political order.

WCEE Honors NOAA Head as Woman of Year – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold its annual Woman of the Year Reception and Dinner Gala on March 8th at the Capitol Hill.  The groups will honor NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco as its 2012 WCEE Woman of the Year.

Methanol Forum Set – The Methanol Institute, the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS) and the United States Energy Security Council will hold Methanol Policy Forum 2012 Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.  This first-of-its-kind conference on methanol that 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.  Methanol Policy Forum 2012 will highlight market trends and pricing, potential of natural gas, coal, renewable, and other resources to serve as methanol feedstocks, global vehicle technology and methanol fuel deployment and public policy drivers.

Energy Update Week of January 23

Friends,

Riveting football action yesterday sets up Super Bowl XLVI (46 for you Roman numeral deniers) featuring two old hands: the New England Patriots and the New York Giants.  It’s kind of hard to root for either Boston or New York, so I will just support the Referees (It’s generally what I do anyway).  Amazingly, the Giants actually lost twice to the Redskins this year.  It’s also too bad both Harbaugh’s were done in by field goals.  I was really hoping for a Harbaugh v. Harbaugh rematch, but I guess it was not to be.  I do feel bad for Ravens’ kicker Billy Cundiff.

Life was also busy last week with more head-spinning action on Keystone, which was widely reported, and from EPA on natural gas drilling in the Dimock, PA area.  In Dimock, EPA has now had a position, reversed and then finally Friday, re-reversed it again.  If you are asking yourself what side that puts them on now, who knows?  My bet is that they are with the handful of protesting residents, trial lawyers,  Gasland Producers or the Environmental Working Group.  Oh, those are actually all the same….   See more on this issue in detail below.  On Keystone, what can you say.  I expect the President’s decision will make a good 30-second ad this summer when gas prices are at their peak in the $4/5-plus range and EPA is moving tougher, more expensive  gasoline regulations for sulfur.   

We kick off tomorrow with the State of the Union.  While we don’t expect that much in terms of energy issues, look for the President to take two tracts: one in which he defends himself from recent attacks against his actions on things like Keystone and onerous EPA rules; but also one where he continues to promote his “clean energy jobs” vision which could entail discussions of electric vehicles and a Production Tax Credit (PTC) extension for wind (a highly-coveted need for the wind industry as it expires at the end of 2012).  With interest from Senate Finance Chair Max Baucus in making the PTC part of the payroll tax deal at the end of February, it seems to have a place in the discussions.  While the Prez could include discussions of a Clean Energy Standard, I suspect that will fall by the wayside given its emphasis last year, its failure to go anywhere and the issues still unresolved regarding Fukashima, Japan.   I also wouldn’t look for any discussion of climate change rules. 

During today’s E&E TV OnPoint, our friend Jim Noe, general counsel and chief compliance officer at Hercules Offshore, discusses the state of the offshore drilling industry in the Gulf. He explains why his company has seen a 27% jump in stock price in the last quarter and talks about future growth as the industry moves toward more deepwater operations.

Finally, EIA rolled out its 2012 energy outlook this morning, saying the US will reduce its dependence on foreign oil and become a net exporter of natural gas by 2021.   Howard Gruenspecht, Acting EIA Administrator, who released “The Energy Information Administration’s 2012 Annual Energy Outlook Release” at the Johns Hopkins University said natural gas and renewable energy sources will gain “an increasing share of U.S. electric power generation, domestic crude oil and natural gas production growing, reliance on imported oil decreasing.”  The EIA report also adds that projected decreases in dependence on foreign oil are predicated on estimates that the economy will grow at only a moderate pace.

Happy to help with anything, including the State of the Union response.  We will be available.  Call with questions.

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

IN THE NEWS

Dimock Case Twists Again – The EPA threw another twist into the Dimock natural gas drilling saga that has been ongoing since the beginning of the year.  I won’t go into the longer (including its appearance in mockumentary Gasland) history, but since December EPA has been under fire for saying it would give water to residents after Pennsylvania DEP told Cabot the water was restored and they could stop deliveries.  Of course, then they reversed that decision and drew the outrage and protests of a handful of heavily-lawyered activist/residents.  They then reversed-reversed course again last week and said they were opening an new investigation and providing water to four homes (shockingly, the squeakiest of the heavily-lawyered wheels).  On cue, the Environmental Working Group, another wing of the Tort bar, issued statements over the weekend talking about the “human carcinogen” arsenic found in drinking water near gas drilling operation there.  Shockingly, arsenic has been there all along. 

Cabot: EPA Zig-Zags Cause Confusion – Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation has been equally confused by EPA’s zigging and zagging on Dimock.  They said they look forward to continuing our efforts to coordinate with the Dimock community and with state and federal regulators to address concerns regarding shale development in the area, but are disappointed that the federal EPA has undertaken a course regarding water sampling that seems inconsistent with what is known about Dimock and what was recommended by state regulators. “EPA’s zig-zag approach has caused confusion that undermines important policy goals of the United States to ensure safe, reliable, secure and clean energy sources from domestic natural gas.”  Here are four important points to consider:  1) EPA has presented no credible evidence to suggest that its new sampling initiative is a wise use of resources given the collection and analysis of over 2000 water wells that has already occurred in the area. More than ten thousands pages of this data have been provided to EPA; 2) EPA’s concerns are inconsistent with the findings of state regulators who have concluded after extensive investigation that Dimock drinking water meets regulatory standards. State regulators are closest to the facts, and most familiar with ground water and geological formations in the area. 3) EPA’s initiative marks a change in position for the Agency, unsupported by any new facts. As recently as December 2011, EPA told Dimock residents that their drinking water did not present a health threat and 4) What is needed is an objective approach to dealing with community concerns – something missing in recent EPA actions. EPA’s changing posture on sampling in Dimock is indicative of a broader problem of inconsistency with scientific process and a lack of cooperation with state and private sector parties.  Cabot hopes that we can work with EPA to further review existing data and to establish a firmer basis for Agency decision making.

EID Weighs on the EPA “Two-Step” – Finally, the good folks at Energy in Depth put this issue into perspective this morning in a blog post that is worth reading.  I know they are avid supporters of the natural gas industry, but the post does make some pretty revealing points about the EPA’s tortured process in Dimock. 

Senators Blast EPA of Pavillion Gas Drilling Study –Speaking of EPA flubs, a group of Senator blasted the agency in a letter for Its mishandling of another natural gas driller situation in Pavillion, Wyoming.  Ten Senators (including Sens. Inhofe, Murkowski, Crapo, Sessions, Boozman, John Cornyn, Coburn, Rubio, Roberts and Wicker) sent a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson requesting the agency consider its investigation on hydraulic fracturing and groundwater near Pavillion, Wyoming a Highly Influential Scientific Assessment (HISA), which means that it would be held to the highest scientific standards as well as the most rigorous peer review process. 

NJ: Keystone Decision Hurts US Production in ND, MT – With the Keystone pipeline decision, the Administration closed the door on quick approval of the pipeline that would bring Canadian Oil to the US.  While much as already been written on the issue, our friend Amy Harder at National Journal had a great take that I haven’t seen explored yet.  While most have focused on the lost access to Canadian oil, Harder looks at how President Obama’s denial of the Keystone affects the politics and policy of America’s Bakken oil formations.  Summary: “By rejecting the pipeline that would have carried Canadian oil to the Gulf Coast, President Obama is also making it harder to exploit some of America’s own oil. Almost a quarter of the pipeline’s capacity would have been oil from the recently discovered Bakken shale formation that spans North Dakota and part of Montana. Although it probably wasn’t intentional, Obama’s denial of the Keystone permit has made it more difficult for some U.S. companies to do what his administration and reelection campaign are taking credit for: increasing domestic oil and gas production. It’s an ironic twist, considering that the Bakken oil link likely sweetened the project for the administration initially.”  I can send you the full article if you can’t get it. 

Valero Strikes Back on Keystone – Despite the uncertainty and political fighting over the Keystone XL pipeline, our friends at Valero said they continue to invest in their U.S. refining operation.  In 2011, Valero spent nearly $3 billion on projects, and for 2012 our capital expenditure budget is over $3 billion. These expenditures are keeping employees on the job and putting additional people to work.  At Port Arthur, Texas, Valero has 1,600 contractors working on an expansion project, and at St. Charles Parish, Louisiana, they have another 1,000 contractors working on a separate project.  Valero’s Bill Klesse: “This illustrates why the federal government’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline is so absurd. There are pipelines in every neighborhood all across America. The administration’s decision was not about pipelines, it was about the misguided beliefs that Canadian oil sands development should be stopped and that fossil fuel prices should increase to make alternative energy more attractive. Instead, we should be impressed with how well the oil sands engineering and recovery technology has advanced, and the economic benefits this development brings.  Having more oil available in the marketplace has the potential to lower prices for consumers.  As an independent refiner, Valero buys all of the oil we process. Due to the administration’s misguided policies, refiners like Valero will have to buy more oil from other sources outside the U.S. and Canada. Consumers will bear the additional shipping cost, not to mention the additional greenhouse gas emissions and political risks.  With all the issues facing our country, it is absolutely unbelievable our federal government says no to a company like TransCanada that is willing to spend over $7 billion and put Americans to work on a pipeline.  The administration’s decision throws dirt into the face of our closest ally and largest trading partner.”

Wind Health Study Shows No Issue – For years, wind opponents have questionably argued that wind turbines have health effects, but a new study from an independent panel of scientists and doctors commissioned by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection says there  is little evidence that wind turbines pose health hazards to people living nearby.  The panel concluded in the 164-page report that there is no rigorous research to support such claims.  The panel did not conduct original research or investigate specific complaints. Instead, it surveyed the existing scientific studies. The panel acknowledged that the available scientific literature on the topic is limited and that previous studies have had shortcomings, including self-reported symptoms and problems with singling other factors that could account for the health effects.

MD Offshore Wind Bill Ready for Introduction – Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley is introducing his offshore wind legislation sometime this week.  The proposal will be different from last year’s power purchase agreement legislation that required utilities to purchase offshore wind.  The new proposal will guarantee that any wind subsidy would increase residents’ rates no more than $2 per month.  It also will limit increases for the state’s largest commercial and industrial businesses to 2.5%.  It will require state regulators to hire an independent analyst to assess whether the costs to ratepayers would be offset by potential benefits such as new construction jobs, lower reliability costs and reduced emissions.

The approach copies a model is currently being used in New Jersey and has been supported by Republican Gov. Chris Christie.  It is also similar to earlier efforts in Maryland creating renewable energy credit requirements that subsidize solar power generation. 

Just In Case You Care – While we don’t really engage too much in Presidential politics, I did get an interesting e-mail over the weekend as former Speaker Newt Gingrich was winning the South Carolina primary from former Gingrich confidante/House Chief Administrative Officer, Scot Faulkner.  I recently worked with Faulkner at a National Press Club Newsmaker on an political education issues that he started with actor Richard Dreyfuss.  Following the Gingrich Victory Sunday morning, Faulkner sent the following e-mail: “I have extensive and detailed information on Newt Gingrich.  My book about his Speakership (“Naked Emperors”) documents how Gingrich destroyed his own revolution in order to cover-up his affair.  Gingrich uses “rolling reality” and “selective relevance” to promote himself and defend against attacks.  I can clearly explain this and provide recent examples.  I am available to talk on the record.  I am not affiliated with any campaign.  I simply want the voters to know Gingrich’s complete record.  Sincerely, Scot Faulkner.  It also provides his contact info at smf53@aol.com and o. 304-535-2757/c. 703-598-5548.  While I don’t endorse or condemn any outreach, I do send it along in case you or any of your colleagues covering the Presidential Campaign may find it interesting or worth pursuing.

Repsol Rig Ready for Cuba – Cuba drilling is again in the news as the drilling rig that Spanish Company Repsol plans to use has arrived in Cuba.   The Scarabeo-9 rig will start exploring next week and should know within a couple of days if the island nation’s reserves are as rich as predicted.  The project has run into troubled political waters in the US though as the anti-drilling, anti-Cuba Florida delegation has been raising concerns about spills.  A U.S. trade embargo prohibits U.S. companies from conducting business with Cuba and threatens sanctions against foreign companies if they do not agree to do the same.  So it seems a bit absurd that well intervention company Helix, who has developed the only working containment system (used in the Macondo spill in 2010), has still not received licenses to provide Repsol with the very same containment services that it provides the company when it drills in US waters, actually further away from US shores.  

Ford Leaves US CAP – In an old school, “Ozone Action” move, the Ford Motor Company has withdrawn its membership in the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), a pro-climate legislation corporate-environmental lobby organization that has supported  federal laws limiting greenhouse gas emissions.  Ford CEO Alan Mullaly committed to reconsidering his company’s membership in USCAP after being pressed on the matter publicly at the company’s 2011 stockholder meeting and in subsequent private conversation by the conservative National Center for Public Policy Research.  It is reminiscent to the Ford pull out of the Global Climate Coalition from the year 2000 when they bowed to pressure from environmental groups to leave the group that opposed the Kyoto Protocol.  Just as with the hullabaloo that was made of its GCC departure, don’t expect the enviros to make much of this one.  US CAP, while still in existence, doesn’t carry the weight it did in 2009 when Congress was attempting to pass climate legislation.  

THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK:

Reilly, Izzo, Carper. Others Headline WRI Forum – The World Resources Institute is hosting a roundtable discussion today at 3:00 p.m. that will be moderated by U.S. Senator Tom Carper and feature former EPA administrators, elected officials, and business and health leaders on “The State of the Clean Air Act: Past, Present and Future.” The participants will discuss the law’s significant accomplishments and the challenges that lie ahead.  The event will feature former EPA Administrators William Ruckelshaus and William Reilly, PSEG CEO Ralph Izzo, and two health experts: Dan Greenbaum of the Health Effects Institute and Dr. Sumita Khatri, Co-Director of the Asthma Center for the Cleveland Clinic. U.S. Senator Tom Carper will moderate the discussion.

Forum, Report  to Focus on Shale Gas – The Brookings Institution will hold a forum in its Saul/Zilkha Rooms at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow evaluating the prospects for natural gas exports from the US.  The shale gas “revolution” has transformed the U.S. energy landscape in recent years. New volumes of this unconventional natural gas have caused gas prices to plummet and obviated the need to import the large quantities of liquefied natural gas (LNG) considered essential less than a decade ago. The newfound abundance of gas resources has been a boon to domestic consumers, in the electricity, industrial and manufacturing, and transportation sectors.  Accordingly, the Energy Security Initiative at Brookings will release “Evaluating the Prospects for Liquefied Natural Gas from the United States,” an interim report of a year-long study examining the feasibility and implications of U.S. LNG exports. Senior Fellow Charles Ebinger, director of the Energy Security Initiative and lead author of the report, will present the findings. Following his presentation, three panelists will address the issues surrounding natural gas exports and will look ahead to the second part of the Brookings study, which focuses on the implications of U.S. LNG exports.   Panelists will include James Jensen, Kenneth Medlock of Rice’s James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy and CRS Energy Policy Analyst Michael Ratner.

Pershing to Headline Post-Durban Forum – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a post-Durban briefing on tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. that will feature Jonathan Pershing, Deputy Special Envoy for Climate Change, U.S. Department of State. Pershing will provide an update on the latest round of climate negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change that recently took place in Durban, South Africa and offer some thoughts on next steps.

House Science to Look at ARPA-E – The House Science, Space & Technology Committee’s Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight will convene a hearing Tuesday, January 24th at 2:00 p.m.  reviewing the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy. Witnesses will include ARPA-E Director Dr. Arun Majumdar, DOE IG Gregory Friedman and GAO , Energy and Science Issues Director Frank Rusco.

State of the Union Speech – President Obama will make the state of the Union Speech tomorrow at 9:00 p.m.  While we don’t expect that much in terms of the energy issue, look for the President to take two tracts: one in which he defends himself from recent attacks against his actions on things like Keystone and onerous EPA rules; but also one where he continues to promote his “clean energy jobs” vision which could entail discussions of electric vehicles and a Production Tax Credit (PTC) extension for wind (a highly-coveted need for the wind industry as it expires at the end of 2012).  With interest from Senate Finance Chair Max Baucus in making the PTC part of the payroll tax deal at the end of February, it seems to have a place in the discussions.  While he could include discussions of a Clean Energy Standard, I suspect that will fall by the wayside given its emphasis last year, its failure to go anywhere and the issued still unresolved regarding Fukashima Japan.   I also wouldn’t look for any discussion of climate change rules. 

House Energy to Look at Energy Jobs – The House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power has scheduled a hearing on Wednesday at 8:00 a.m. on legislation focusing on North American Energy Access.  Expect the President’s Keystone decision to be the major focus.  

Washington Auto Show – The Washington Auto Show and Capitol Hill Auto Summit Begins on Wednesday.  Where the automotive industry meets public policy, The Washington Auto Show is known as the “public policy show” on the global auto show circuit. Produced by the Washington Area New Automobile Dealers Association (WANADA), The Washington Auto Show convenes thought leaders in government and industry for two Public Policy Preview Days that launch with a Capitol Hill summit.

NJ to Hold Panels on Auto Industry – Speaking of the Washington Auto Show, the National Journal will hold a live Policy Summit.  Created for The Washington Auto Show, the National Journal Live Policy Summit will take place from 8:00-10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, January. 25th at the Cannon House Office Building. Entitled “Driving Innovation “The Role of the Auto Industry in the Green Economy,” the Summit will feature a multi-panel conversation on restoring strength to the auto industry through sustainable strategies.  The panels will be moderated by the National Journal’s Economics Correspondent Jim Tankersley and Energy and Environment Correspondent Amy Harder.  As policymakers debate ideas to boost job creation and American manufacturing, advances in technological innovation, global competition and changing public attitudes are accelerating the demand for more environmentally sustainable automobiles. What is the state of manufacturing in the U.S. auto sector? What are the latest trends in green technology?  And, how are they affecting the auto industry’s financial health and historic reliance on fossil fuels? This Summit will feature a panel of members of Congress, industry leaders, and experts exploring job creation and innovation in the automotive industry today.

House Oversight to Look at Chevy Volt Fire – The House Oversight & Government Reform Committee’s Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs, Stimulus Oversight and Government Spending will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. looking into issues surrounding the fires on Chevy Volts.  General Motors CEO Dan Akerson is scheduled to testify, as is National Highway Traffic Safety Administration head David Strickland.

Wind Executives Discuss Urgency of Extending the PTC – Environmental Law & Policy Center will host wind executives on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, Room SVC 201 to discuss the need to renew the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC). Industry leaders are predicting massive cutbacks if the PTC is allowed to expire – in jobs, from 78,000 in 2012 to 41,000 in 2013, and in investment, from $15.6 billion in 2013 to $5.5 billion in 2013. Extending the PTC will provide necessary continuity and confidence in this growing global manufacturing industry, keeping jobs and investments in the U.S. Wind energy industry executives will report from the field on the importance of an extended Production Tax Credit (PTC) to keeping manufacturing jobs in the U.S. The PTC is a proven tool that puts Americans to work while keeping electricity rates low, spurring clean energy projects, creating economic development, reducing air pollution and promoting energy security.   Speakers will include Acciona’s Joe Baker, Iberdrola’s Rich Glick, Brendon Hoeft of Broadwind, Karen Torrent of ELPC and Scott Viciana of Ventower Industries.

Kammen, Katz Featured at Forum On Sustainable Solutions – The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will hold a forum on Wednesday in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center at 3:00 p.m. to look at sustainable solutions for the planet’s energy challenges.  The environmental challenges of climate change, energy demands, and natural resource loss continue to mount. World population hit seven billion on Halloween and is projected to go to ten billion if not more. The first decade of the 21st century was the warmest in 130 years of recorded global temperatures and 2010 was the warmest year yet recorded. Extinction rates are 1000 times base rates. The Amazon had the greatest drought in recorded history in 2010. Droughts, floods, wildfires, and probably intense tropical storms are becoming more frequent. These challenges call for action at a planetary scale.  The “Managing Our Planet” seminar series — developed jointly by George Mason University and the Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program and Brazil Institute — addresses planetary scale problems and solutions.   Speakers will include Cal Berkeley’s Daniel Kammen, former Chief Technical Specialist at the World Bank and 2008 Obama campaign advisor and Greg Kats of Good Energies and author of “Greening Our Built World.”

Author to Look at Future Nuclear Issues – The Nuclear Policy Talks and Institute for Nuclear Studies  will hold a forum on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. looking at the future of nuclear energy at George Washington University’s State Room (1957 E Street, NW) featuring Charles Ferguson, President of the Federation of American Scientists.  Ferguson is the author of “Nuclear Energy: What Everyone Needs to Know.”  He will discuss the global prospects for nuclear energy. Topics will include the possibility of a revival of nuclear power, safety of nuclear facilities following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, and the danger of nuclear proliferation and the future of international safeguards. 

World Bank Transportation Conference Set –The World Bank will host its ninth annual “Transforming Transportation” event Thursday and Friday starting at 8:30 a.m.  This year’s conference will focus on big ideas to scale up sustainable transport best practices in cities worldwide. In previous years, we highlighted challenges facing urban transport and key projects that were good examples to emulate. The aim in 2012 is to reflect briefly on past successes and ongoing challenges of implementing sustainable urban transport and development, and then to turn our attention to scaling up for the future.  The plenary session on Day 1 will discuss the future of the city, and on Day 2 we will look beyond the transport sector for inspiration on how to scale up best practices. Other sessions will include moderated panel discussions and rapid presentations of innovative ideas. The agenda also features screenings of urban transport videos and a cocktail reception to honor the late Dr. Leon “Lee” Schipper.  Transforming Transportation 2012 is open to the public. Our guests will include about 300 of the world’s leading transport and urban development experts from national and local governments, multi-development banks, foundations, civil society organizations, research institutions, and private companies and associations.

Local CA Air agency to Host Conference – The South Coast Air Quality Management District, LA’s pollution control agency, is holding a conference on transportation infrastructure, environmental policy and green technologies on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. at the Sheraton Four Points Hotel.  The conference’s panel will include speakers from DOE’s Clean Cities Program, Electrification Coalition, Georgetown Climate Center and the South Coast Air Quality Management District.  California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District will hold panel discussions regarding the latest development of clean energy and transportation technologies and how public and private sector cooperation can promote their deployment.  Both states and local communities have begun to do what they can to cut back on pollution from mobile sources by integrating new technologies that either reduce or prevent emissions. This presentation will explore current efforts and technologies that are being implemented or tested to reduce emissions from marine vessels, locomotives and other mobile sources.   Panelist include SCAQ Executive Director Barry Wallerstein, Vicki Arroyo of the Georgetown Climate Center at GU’s Law Center, DOE’s Co-Director of Clean Cities Program Linda Bluestein, Robbie Diamond of the Electrification Coalition and Anupom Ganguli of the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

World Bank to Release Transportation Report – The World Bank will unveil the conclusions of its new report, Turning the Right Corner: Ensuring Development Through A Low-Carbon Transport Sector Thursday at Noon at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.  The Report argues that in addition to protecting the environment, efficient transport systems advance development objectives. The report examines the intersection of transport, growth, and carbon emissions, including the differences in transportation sectors in developed and developing countries, options for pricing transportation, and the need for broad sector reform.  Andreas Kopp of the World Bank and Carnegie’s Daniel Sperling will discuss the policy implications of the new report.

Beaudreau to Headline ELI Arctic Drilling Forum – The Environmental Law Institute will host a forum on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. looking at offshore oil & gas in the Arctic over the next five years.  U.S. demand for energy resources continues to increase, along with growing concern about the short- and long-term impacts of domestic oil and gas development and consumption. In few areas is this tension so clearly exemplified as in the U.S. Arctic. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) recently published a mean estimate that the Alaskan outer continental shelf contains 26.6 billion barrels of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and 131.45 trillion cubic feet of such gas.  In this seminar, panelists will discuss the draft leasing program and aspects such as science needs and availability, expected activity impacts, and how the program may align with other ongoing ocean management processes, such as coastal and marine spatial planning.  Speakers will include new Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Director Tommy P. Beaudreau, Eleanor Huffines of the Pew Environment Group and Jessica Lefevre of the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission.

AEI Forum Looks at Energy Markets – The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research will hold a forum on Friday at 4:00 p.m. looking at energy markets and political strategies.  Efforts to regulate the natural gas economy began with Emerson McMillin’s call for public-utility regulation of (manufactured) gas distribution before the American Gas Light Association in 1890. It continues today with T. Boone Pickens’s call for passage of the New Alternative Transportation to Give Americans Solutions (NAT GAS) Act of 2011. What has transpired in the 120 years between these two calls for legislative action concerns all phases of the natural gas industry, from the wellhead to the burner tip.  How much of these developments has been driven by industry and how much by outside interests (the “bootleggers and Baptists” question). And what have been the consequences? The new book “Edison to Enron” describes the development and politics of America’s electricity and gas industries from a free-market perspective.  AEI and the Institute for Energy Research will host a lively discussion of America’s history of gas regulation and thoughts about our natural gas future featuring AEI’s Ken Green and Steven Hayward as well as Ken Malloy of CRISIS and Energy Markets and Robert Bradley of the Institute for Energy Research. 

THE WEEKS AHEAD:

Senate Energy to Look at Global Energy Outlook – The full Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing Tuesday, January 31st to receive testimony on the U.S. and global energy outlook for 2012.  EIA and other are expected to testify. 

House Science to Look at Pavillion, Nat Gas Drilling – The House Science, Space & Technology Committee’s Energy and Environment Subcommittee will hold a hearing on Wednesday, February 1st at 10:00 a.m. examining EPA’s approach to ground water research on the Pavillion, WY Case. 

Chamber Economist Will Discuss Economy, Outlook – GFI Group will Hold its Quarterly Economic Roundtable Series for the 4th Quarter in Thursday, February 2nd at 9:00 a.m. at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  The Forum will feature Martin Regalia, the Chamber’s Chief Economist, former CBO head Douglas Holtz-Eakin, GFI Chairman/CEO Michael Gooch.  This is the fourth event of a series of quarterly economic briefings hosted by GFI Group  and The National Chamber Foundation (NCF)and led by Regalia.  Regalia will deliver a keynote address based on GDP data released by the U.S. Department of Commerce from the previous quarter, before leading a panel of chief economists representing crucial sectors of the economy. The goal of these briefings will be to offer the business community better insight into the impact of policies on their industries as well as to offer solutions to potentially negative effects.    

Senate Energy to Look at Panel’s Final Nuclear Report – The full Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources will convene Thursday, February 2nd to receive testimony on the final report of the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear.>  Expect members of the Commission like RFF President Phil Sharp to testify.  Future.

NARUC Winter Meetings Set for DC – On February 5-8th, Federal policymakers, congressional staff, and top industry officials will address the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ Winter Committee Meetings in Washington. The meetings, along with the February 8-9 National Electricity Forum, will be held at the Renaissance Washington Hotel.  Featured speakers at the meetings include Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu (Wednesday), IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates Chair and renowned author Daniel Yergin (Tuesday), National Cable and Telecommunications Association President and CEO Michael Powell (Monday) and many more.  In addition, EPA Air Administrator Gina McCarthy is scheduled to address the first meeting of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission-NARUC Forum on Reliability and the Environment on Tuesday, along with FERC Commissioners Cheryl LaFleur and Philip Moeller (See below) . Other participants in this discussion include representatives from the Energy Department, regional transmission organizations, and electric utilities.  Panel discussions on nuclear-waste policy, hydraulic fracturing, and much more will be held throughout the week.

FERC, NARUC to Hold Meeting on Meeting New EPA Rules – Speaking of the Winter meetings, Federal and State energy regulators will hold a forum on February 7th to explore reliability issues stemming from new and pending environmental rules for the power sector.   The Forum, consisting of membership from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), will coincide with NARUC’s three yearly meetings. NARUC is the national organization representing State public service commissioners.   The first meeting of the FERC-NARUC Forum on Reliability and the Environment will take place during the NARUC Winter Committee Meetings in Washington. FERC Commissioners Cheryl LaFleur and Philip Moeller will be the Federal co-chairs of the workshops, and NARUC First Vice President Philip Jones of Washington and Treasurer David Ziegner of Indiana will be the State co-chairs.   FERC and NARUC will hold a forum as part of an effort to determine how prepared the electric utility industry will be to meet upcoming rules and requirements on emissions reductions. With significant investment predicted in utility infrastructure predicted over the next several years, the Forum will let Federal and State regulators discuss these issues in an open and transparent venue.   The workshops follow a recent NARUC resolution that called for a dialogue among FERC, the States and the Environmental Protection Agency to allow for a meaningful assessment and response to reliability issues.

Annual National Electricity Forum to Feature Chu, Utility CEOs, Others – The National Electricity Forum will be held February 8-9 at the Renaissance Washington Hotel.  The Forum is the preeminent public policy forum offering an in-depth, timely examination of public policy issues related specifically to the nation’s electric power delivery system infrastructure.  Speakers at the National Electricity Forum—a joint meeting sponsored by NARUC and the Department of Energy—will include Secretary Chu, Dominion Chairman, President, and CEO Thomas Farrell, Edison International Chairman, President and CEO Theodore F. Craver, Jr., NRG President and CEO David Crane, and PSEG Group Chairman, President, and CEO Dr. Ralph Izzo.

Oil, Gas Properties Expo Set for Houston – The North American Prospect Expo (“NAPE”) will be from February 22-24 at the George R. Brown convention center in Houston.  NAPE is the world’s largest E&P expo and provides a marketplace for the buying, selling and trading of oil and gas prospects and producing properties via its exhibits.  NAPE is also an excellent E&P networking venue, bringing together in one location prospects and producing properties, corporate development, capital formation, as well as services and technologies.

CERA Week – The 31st Annual CERAWeek 2012 begins on March 5th through 9th at the Hilton Americas in Houston, Texas.  The annual event will focus on energy’s new role in rebuilding the global economy and providing stability in a volatile time for the international political order.

Methanol Forum Set – The Methanol Institute, the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS) and the United States Energy Security Council will hold Methanol Policy Forum 2012 Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.  This first-of-its-kind conference on methanol that 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.  Methanol Policy Forum 2012 will highlight market trends and pricing, potential of natural gas, coal, renewable, and other resources to serve as methanol feedstocks, global vehicle technology and methanol fuel deployment and public policy drivers.

Energy Update: Week of November 28

Friends,

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and enjoyed a few days off. I did a little shopping, but stayed Black Friday injury free even though I did go to a Wal-Mart. Fortunately, as I arrived around Noon to a relatively calm store, I asked the check-out clerk why it was so slow. Her response was: “I think most people are sleeping it off…You should have been here at Midnight.”

Kudos to the 11-0 Packers who stomped on the Lions on Thanksgiving Day. Apparently, Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh stomped back and was ejected because that kind of activity is frowned upon in the NFL establishment. Unfortunately, I missed most of the exciting second half of the Cowboys-Dolphins game and most of the evening Harbaugh v. Harbaugh battle because of a turkey coma after eating a record 4,000-calorie Thanksgiving plate (with an extra mound of stuffing). That was one big plate. Talk about sleeping it off, I had to do a double spinning class on Friday morning.

Today, the UN Climate meetings kick off in Durban, South Africa. Even with the scrambling over the latest version on the IPCC report and more leaked e-mails from climate skeptics, the more significant news may be that Canada is pulling out of the Kyoto Treaty. While this is no surprise since our northern neighbors have badly missed their targets, it finally seems to admit the reality that large UN treaties are not the best way to address climate issues. Interestingly, our friend Jim Connaughton, former Bush CEQ chair and now exec at Constellation Energy, seems to be channeling my thoughts of the past few years telling Juliet Eilperin that the UN’s global approach has never been weaker.

Speaking of the COP, our good pal Chris Holly of The Energy Daily will be providing Durban coverage starting next Monday, December 5th. The coverage is free to all comers on their Web site, including nonsubscribers of course because it is sponsored by AEP, NextEra Energy and Covanta. Seems like an early holiday present for us greenhouse gas junkies everywhere who can’t get enough UN Climate.

Tomorrow and Wednesday, FERC starts its EPA rule/reliability conference. I suppose it’s never too late to discuss the impact of EPA rules on reliability, but FERC’s forum will be taking comments until December 9th – a scant week before the EPA is due to finalize the rule and hardly enough time for comments to be sensibly incorporated into a final work product. Of course, the Clean Energy Group (they support the rules) says there will be no problem in a “report” today, an argument that is dismantled below.

Also on Wednesday, I would like you to stop by the Press Club at 3:00 p.m. for the offshore wind transmission newsmaker I’m hosting with AWC, Google and former Iowa Governor Chet Culver, who some see as a possible Energy Secretary should Secretary Chu leave at any point. It will be a detailed look at the transmission infrastructure approach that will create a market for large-scale offshore wind development. Just last week, another company copied the AWC Mid-Atlantic “backbone” concept for Massachusetts.

Finally, in case you missed over the holiday, here was Grist’s Dave Roberts take on the new PRG Group that Bracewell recently announced and kudos to PRG researcher Caitlin Andrews, who will be honored Wednesday by PR Week as one of the “15 to Watch” under 30 in the PR business. BTW, on Saturday if you happen to be in Baltimore around Noon, I will be on the field at M&T Bank (Ravens) Stadium officiating the MPSSAA 1A State Championship featuring defending champion Dunbar of Baltimore and casino-rich upstart Perryville – Small schools but big hearts. It may be an opportunity for some of you to really yell at me unfettered. That’s why my wife and kids are coming.

Please call with your policy questions, media requests, political inquiries or questions about firing your hockey coach in November.

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

IN THE NEWS

Clean Energy Group Releases “Report” on Reliability – In advance of tomorrow’s FERC reliability conference, the Clean Energy Group released a new report from MJ Bradley and the Analysis Group on the reliability implications of US EPA rules on the power sector. Unsurprisingly, the report finds that the rules have little impact and seems to just be a collection of CEG member comments to EPA. My colleague Scott Segal, head of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council (ERCC) suggested a few things to consider (you can attribute these comments to him for the record should you want to).

1) Segal strongly disagrees with the reports position on the role of reserve margin. The generation and transmission of power takes place on an interrelated grid. Reserve margin assessments are based in part on the ability to back up power from one location with power from another. To say that the impact of a plant’s retirement is within reserve margin fails to take into account the probability that the plant’s continued operation – even if only occasional – may be necessary for the stability of operations elsewhere.

2) The report gives no greater certainty that areas most reliant upon coal-fired capacity can avoid profound price, supply, and reliability concerns.

3) The report does not adequately address extraordinary events. Only the additional peak-load capacity supplied by coal-fired facilities are likely to provide the resilience necessary to address potential weather-related blackouts or even cyber-security threats to critical infrastructure. And last, the facile reliance in these reports on EPA emergency authorities fails to take into account the continued disagreements between EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy regarding whether or not emergency orders actually forestall Agency enforcement actions.

4) The report cites NERC analyses as authoritative on reserve margins. Of course, we understand that NERC intends to update their reliability scenario assessment this week. In the past, NERC analyzed the combined impact on reliability of four key EPA rules (Utility MACT, interstate transport rule, 316(b), coal combustion residuals disposal regulations) and concluded that as much as 78 GW of generating capacity is at risk for retirement by 2015.

5) Those on the frontlines do not agree with this report. Concern with reliability is widely shared by some 27 states as reflected in briefs filed in the deadline case regarding Utility MACT, letters from governors, and rulemaking comments filed by public service commissioners and other state officials. For example, attorneys general representing half the states noted that Utility MACT “has the potential to undermine significantly the reliability of our Nation’s electrical supply and significantly increase the cost of electricity to the consumer.”

6) Grid operators disagree. The Midwest ISO (MISO), on October 31, 2011, released a new study reviewing the impacts of four major EPA rules, including the Utility MACT. The costs of complying with these rules over the next two decades would be as high as $33 billion in the Midwest region and would impact some 200 coal-fired units representing 32 GW of capacity –resulting in retirement of up to 12,652 MW of that capacity. Joint comments on Utility MACT were filed by MISO, along with four other RTOs (ERCOT, NYISO, PJM and SPP). In part, they observed that “if the impact of the EPA rulemakings increases retirements to the point of creating reliability violations without providing for adequate time to respond to the reliability concerns, this could undermine the reliability of the electric grid for an unacceptable prolonged period.

NRC Releases Biofuels Report – Our friend Wally Tyner at Purdue led a National Research Council report that was recently released on the economic and environmental consequences of increasing biofuels production as a result of Renewable Fuels Standard, as amended by EISA (RFS2). The report describes biofuels produced in 2010 and those projected to be produced and consumed by 2022, reviews model projections and other estimates of the relative impact on the prices of land, and discusses the potential environmental harm and benefits of biofuels production and the barriers to achieving the RFS2 consumption mandate. Wally Tyner’s Presentation about the Nat’l Academy of Sciences Study on the Economic and Environmental Impacts of Biofuel Policy on 11/18/11 is now on the internet. You can download his PowerPoint or view the video here.

FutureGen Alliance Negotiating for Advance Coal Power Site – The FutureGen Alliance said today that it is negotiating an option to purchase portions of the Meredosia Energy Center from Ameren. The purchase option would provide the Alliance with the assets it would need to continue the development of the FutureGen 2.0 clean coal power program in Morgan County, Illinois. In addition to the purchase option, the Alliance will prepare an application requesting DOE approve the Alliance to take over Ameren’s cooperative agreement with the agency. Ameren has indicated that it will not continue with its cooperative agreement beyond 2011; however, it has pledged to provide continued environmental permitting assistance and to maintain the power plant required for the FutureGen 2.0 program in a retrofit-ready condition. Late this summer, Ameren and the Alliance submitted preliminary cost and design reports to DOE. The preliminary total project cost estimate is $1.65 billion: $1.1 billion to repower the Meredosia generating unit, and $550 million for the CO2 pipeline and storage site. The program participants have identified several hundred million dollars in potential cost reduction opportunities that will be evaluated over the coming months. DOE has granted no cost extensions of the existing cooperative agreements to allow for completion of the design work and cost estimate. The Alliance expressed its appreciation to DOE for the extensions, and acknowledged the opportunity that the Alliance would have in leading the program and making a number of enhancements to improve its overall economics. The FutureGen Alliance is a non-profit membership organization created to further the development and demonstration of near-zero emissions coal technology. FutureGen 2.0 would be a first-of-its-kind near-zero emissions power plant. The program involves upgrading the Meredosia Energy Center’s Unit 4 with oxy-combustion technology to capture approximately 90 percent of the plant’s carbon emissions. Using safe, proven pipeline technology, the CO2 would be transported and permanently stored underground at a nearby storage site. The FutureGen 2.0 technologies have the potential to repower the world’s fleet of coal-fueled power plants in a manner that achieves near-zero emissions of all regulated pollutants, spurs job creation and substantially advances clean energy technology around the globe.

Canada to Pull Out of Kyoto Treaty – Canada will announce next month that it will formally withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol. The announcement may occur toward the end of the year. The developments come as Environment Minister Peter Kent prepares for a climate conference in Durban, South Africa that opens today. Delegates from 190 countries are seeking a new international agreement for cutting emissions to follow up Kyoto. Canada wants any new deals to focus on all major emitters.

Sustainable Energy Organizations Directory Completed – The SUN DAY Campaign has just completed and released the 12th edition of its National Directory of Sustainable Energy Organizations. The 124-page directory provides a zip-coded listing of more than 1,000 U.S. non-profit sustainable energy organizations and trade associations. The listed organizations are promoting renewable energy and/or energy efficiency technologies, opposing commercial nuclear power, or addressing climate change and related environmental issues. Technology areas covered include biomass/biofuels, fuel cells, geothermal, hydrogen, solar, wind, and water power as well as those designed to improve energy efficiency in buildings, appliances, lighting, transportation, and industrial processes. All entries include each organization’s names, mailing address, and one or more e-mail addresses. Most entries also include one or more staff names, telephone and fax numbers, and web page address. However, the directory does not include descriptive information. You can find out More on this and how to purchase a copy by calling Ken Bossong at 301-270-6477 x.11.

THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK:

COP Meeting Set for South Africa – The UN will hold its 17th annual COP meetings in Durban, South Africa, starting today and running through December 9th. See more on the meetings here.

EV Documentary at E St Cinemas – Today through Thursday, the Landmark “E” Street Cinema will be showing the documentary film Revenge of the Electric Car which is narrated by Tim Robbins. In 2006, thousands of new electric cars were destroyed by the same car companies that built them. Yet, less than 5 years later, the electric car is back… with a vengeance. In Revenge of the Electric Car, director Chris Paine (Who Killed the Electric Car?) takes his film crew behind the closed doors of Nissan, GM, and the Silicon Valley start-up Tesla Motors to chronicle the story of the global resurgence of electric cars. With almost every major car maker now jumping to produce new electric models, Revenge follows the race to be the first, the best, and to win the hearts and minds of the public around the world. The film features CEO and President of Renault and Nissan Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Tesla Motors Elon Musk, Former Vice Chairman of GM Bob Lutz and EV do-it-yourselfer Greg “Gadget” Abbott.

FERC Reliability Forum Set to Discuss EPA Rules – I suppose it’s never too late to discuss the impact of EPA rules on reliability, but FERC will hold a two-day forum on the topic tomorrow afternoon and all-day Wednesday. The conference discuss issues regarding reliability of the bulk power system. The conference also will discuss emerging issues, including processes used by planning authorities and other entities to identify reliability concerns that may arise in the course of compliance with EPA regulations, and the tools and processes (including tariffs and market rules) available to address any identified reliability concerns. Interestingly, final written submissions are due to FERC on December 9th – a scant week before the EPA is due to finalize the rule and hardly enough time for comments to be sensibly incorporated into a final work product. To date, FERC’s only analysis of the EPA rules found that 81 gigawatts of generating capacity is ‘very likely’ or ‘likely’ to be taken off line by 2018 due to coal plant retirements and downgrades resulting from the rule.

NatGas Roundtable to Host Klaber – The Natural Gas Roundtable will host Kathryn Klaber, President and Executive Director of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, as the guest speaker at the luncheon tomorrow at Noon in the University Club. Klaber works closely with elected leaders, regulators and the civic community to realize the responsible development of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale geological formation. She will discuss how Pennsylvania’s economy is benefiting from the extensive supply of this clean-burning energy source.

Forum to Look at TCSA Reforms – The Environmental Law Institute holds a conference call briefing and webinar, beginning at noon tomorrow on “Risk Management” to examine reform of EPA authorities to control the sale, distribution, releases and use of chemicals, as part of the TSCA (Toxic Substances Control Act) Reform Series. Participants include the Environmental Working Group’s Thomas Cluderay, Bill Rawson of Latham & Watkins; American Cleaning Institute CEO Ernie Rosenberg and Linda Breggin, director of the Nanotechnology Program at ELI.

CATO Hosts Enviro Book Author – The CATO Institute will hold a Capitol Hill briefing tomorrow at noon in B-339 Rayburn that features Todd Myers, Author of Eco-Fads: How the Rise of Trendy Environmentalism Is Hurting the Planet, and CATO’s Patrick J. Michaels. As environmentalism has become socially popular, public policy has become increasingly geared toward cultivating a green appearance rather than helping the environment. From “green” buildings to biofuels, we too often fall for trendy environmental ideas that waste resources on approaches that fail. Join us for a discussion of how Congress can avoid eco-fads and create sound environmental policy that focuses on achieving real environmental results.

Seminar to Look at Polar Science – The Canadian Embassy and the Polar Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences will host the International Polar Year seminar tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. at the National Academy of Sciences Keck Center. The seminar will look at issues that polar scientists and representatives of the polar region will discuss on the International Polar Year 2007-2008, as well as the upcoming conference in Montreal. The seminar will be followed by a reception at the Koshland Science Museum’s new climate exhibit.

House Science to Tackle Energy IG, EPA Science Policies – House Science panels will host two hearings on Wednesday when the Oversight panel reviews the stimulus bill concerns with GAO’s Frank Rusco and DOE IG Gregory Friedman at 10:00 a.m. Then at 2:00 p.m., the Energy and Environment panel meets for a hearing on EPA’s science policies, where focus will be on the research used to support the agency’s endangerment finding for greenhouse gases, as well as a host of air quality regulations. Other witnesses for the morning Include Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board director Michael Wood, Director, Commerce IG Todd Zinser and NSF IG Allison Lerner.

House to Vote on Farm Dust Rule – The House Energy and Commerce meets Wednesday for a committee vote on a measure to block the EPA from regulating farm dust despite the fact the agency Administrator Lisa Jackson has repeatedly said she has no interest in making any ruling. Opening statement will be made the day before. The Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act authored by Rep. Kristi Noem, R-N.D., was approved in the Energy and Power Subcommittee earlier this month, and Committee Chair Fred Upton has said he wanted to get it to the full House this year. EPA has said it will not impose regulations on airborne particulates from agriculture, but Republicans and farm groups have still sought legislation to ban future regulations.

PR Week Honors PRG’s Andrews as Young PR Gun – PRG researcher Caitlin Andrews has been honored by PR Week as one of the “15 to Watch” under 30 in the PR business. Caitlin will be honored at the annual awards luncheon at the National Press Club on Wednesday at Noon. PR News honors the 15 budding PR leaders and creative practitioners age 30 and under. The event will also recognize the PR People and Top Places to Work in PR winners.

Climate Ethics Statement Released – On Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. in 406 Dirksen, the National Climate Ethics Campaign will release a “Statement of Our Nation’s Moral Obligation to Address Climate Change.” Speakers representing a wide range of constituencies will offer their views about our nation’s ethical and moral obligations to address climate change and will include Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley, Virginia State Senator Mary Margaret Whipple (state perspective) Stonyfield CEO Farm Gary Hirshberg, Tim Warman of The National Wildlife Federation, Jim Ball of The Evangelical Environmental Network, Joe Uehlein of the Labor Network for Sustainability and several others. There are over 650 signers now on the climate ethics statement.

UN Report on Sustainability To Be Released – The University of California Washington Center holds a discussion on Wednesday at Noon looking at sustainability and equity, a United Nations Development Program (UNDP) 2011 Human Development report. Participants will include UN Assistant Secretary-General and Director of UNDP’s Bureau of Development Policy Olav Kjorven; William Orme, chief of communications and publishing at the UNDP Human Development Reporting Office; Andrew Deutz, of The Nature Conservancy and our friend Elizabeth Shogren of NPR.

Aspen to Look at Manufacturing Strategy – The Aspen Institute holds a discussion on Wednesday at Noon looking at whether the US needs a national manufacturing strategy. Participants will include former Congressional Budget Office director Douglas Holtz-Eakin, AFL-CIO chief economist Ron Blackwell and Clyde Prestowitz of the Economic Strategy Institute.

Alternative Aviation Fuel Expo Set – The Commercial Alternative Aviation Fuel Initiative (CAAFI) Exposition will be held on Wednesday and Thursday at the Georgetown University Hotel and Conference Center. The event will focus on the next critical steps in making mass alternative aviation fuel production a practical reality. The event takes place amid key industry developments that have boosted aviation in the position of “first mover” in the next generation of green biofuels. Crucial developments that have set the stage for industry development include Issuance of the White House Blueprint for a Secure Future (the Administration’s framework for reducing dependence on foreign oil) (March, 2011) focusing administration biofuels development and deployment on military and commercial aviation. Formal approval of a second biofuels type for commercial aviation biofuels use (July, 2011). Introduction of biofuels into commercial service at Lufthansa, KLM and other airlines (summer 2011), among other items.

Renewable Transmission Newsmaker to Feature AWC, Google Execs – The National Press Club’s Newsmakers’ Committee will host a Forum on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. to look at Offshore wind development and the infrastructure needed to allow the industry to develop. Speakers are expected to include a representative from the Atlantic Wind Connection and one of its key funders, Google.

MD Town Meetings for Offshore Wind Continue – in preparation for the upcoming state legislative session, the Sierra Club’s Maryland Chapter continues its town hall meetings across the state on offshore wind. Advancing state legislation to promote offshore wind was considered last year and in an on-going summer session. It is expected to be revisited again next year. The meetings roll on Wednesday in Baltimore City at St. Mark’s Church. They will also hold one on December 5th on the Eastern Shore at Salisbury University and December 13th in East Baltimore County. They are also expected to host a meeting in Baltimore City the week of November 28th. meetings we already held in Baltimore, Montgomery and Prince Georges Counties.

GovGreen Expo Set – The Center for Environmental Innovation and Leadership’s GOVgreen Conference & Exposition programming will be held on Wednesday and Thursday at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in DC. The event will showcase federal leaders and private sector experts addressing the challenges of transforming green policies into actionable plans to meet the mandates from President Obama’s Executive Order 13514.

EPA Rules Expected – EPA is expected to issue by two rules on mercury standards for industrial boilers and the 2012 renewable fuels standards for corn-based ethanol and advanced ethanol like cellulosic by Wednesday, the November 30th mandated deadlines.

Bracewell ESG Expert to Headline EPA Webinar – B&G Environmental Strategies Group partner John Riley will speak at an SNL Center for Financial Education webinar on “EPA Compliance: Explaining the Alphabet Soup” Thursday at 1:00 p.m. John will be joined by fellow panelist John Egan, Founder and President, Energy & Utility Communications. The webinar will discuss the major EPA policies, where utilities are doing a good job communicating with these stakeholders and where they need improvement – and how those who are charged with explaining these complex policies can do it .

ELI Forum to Look at Climate Adaptation Issues – The Environmental Law Institute will host a forum on Thursday at 3:00 p.m. to look at federal climate change adaptation and current efforts, political debates and future potential. In 2009, President Obama signed an executive order which, in part, required participation of federal agencies in an interagency task force to address climate change adaptation. A memorandum issued by the CEQ in 2010 instructed agencies on consideration of climate change effects in NEPA implementation. Specific agencies, such as the Department of the Interior, have also declared their intentions to develop and implement climate change adaptation policies. In October 2011, the Federal Interagency Task Force released a progress report addressing, among other things, the Integration of Adaptation into Federal Government planning and activities. Victor B. Flatt will review what has happened so far in climate change adaptation at the federal level, what legal authority exists for further adaptation policy, and the current political debate surrounding the issue which could affect federal policy making. Professor Flatt is an ELI Visiting Scholar, the Tom & Elizabeth Taft Distinguished Professor of Environmental Law, and the Director of Center for Law, Environment, Adaptation and Resources at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Law.

Blue Ribbon Nuclear Commission Meeting Set – The Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future (the Commission) will hold its next meeting on Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. at the JW Marriott Washington, DC. The President directed that the Commission be established to conduct a comprehensive review of policies for managing the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle. The Commission will provide advice and make recommendations on issues including alternatives for the storage, processing, and disposal of civilian and defense spent nuclear fuel and nuclear waste. The Commission submitted its draft report and draft recommendations to the Secretary of Energy on July 29, 2011. The report is due in January 2012. This is the eighth open full Commission meeting. Previous meetings were held in March, May, July, September, and November 2010, and February and May 2011. The meeting will allow the Co-chairs of the three Subcommittees—Reactor and Fuel Cycle Technology, Transportation and Disposal, and Disposal—to review with the Commission proposed revisions to draft subcommittee recommendations formulated as a result of public comment. The full Commission will discuss the proposed revisions. The second purpose is for the Commissioners to be briefed by the newly-formed ad hoc subcommittee that has been investigating the issue of comingling of defense and commercial wastes. The agenda will include presentations by the three subcommittees of the Commission. The subcommittee presentations are expected to begin at 9 a.m. and end at noon. After a break for lunch, the meeting will resume with the presentation from the Commission staff and discussion among the Commissioners. Public statements will begin at approximately 3 p.m. and conclude at approximately 4 p.m.

AGA to Give Gas Outlook for 2012 – The American Gas Association (AGA) will hold a discussion on Friday at 9:00 a.m. looking at expectations for natural gas in 2012 and how natural gas will continue to meet the nation’s energy needs in the future. Speakers will Include AGA CEO Dave McCurdy and incoming AGA board chairman Larry Borgard of Integrys Energy Group.

House Energy Panel to Look at Keystone Delay – The House Energy and Commerce’s energy and power panel meets for a hearing on Friday at 10:00 a.m. looking at the Keystone XL Pipeline. The panel is putting the Obama administration decision to delay action on the proposed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline under the microscope. The hearing will occur three weeks after the State Department said it would analyze alternative routes for TransCanada Corp.’s proposed Alberta-to-Texas pipeline to avoid the ecologically sensitive Sand Hills region of Nebraska. While nearly everything has already been said, why not say it again….

AAAS Forum Looks at Extreme Weather Impacts – The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) will hold a briefing on Friday at 12:30 p.m. on extreme weather impacts on the economy and society. Speakers will include Texas A&M climatologist and professor of atmospheric sciences John Nielsen-Gammon, Princeton professor Michael Oppenheimer and Frank Nutter, president of the Reinsurance Association of America.

THE WEEKS AHEAD:

ACORE Hill Forum Set –ACORE will hold its annual Congressional Meeting on December 6th and 7th on Capitol Hill. This year’s renewable energy national policy conference takes place at a critical juncture. Our nation’s economy teeters on the balance as Congress and the public await the recommendations of the Super Committee to reduce the massive budget deficit. Accompanied by rapidly declining costs and intensified international competition, the U.S. renewable energy market is accelerating, fostering much needed investment and jobs. The Department of Defense is investing heavily in renewable energy while regulatory policies are opening new market opportunities in the utility and transportation sectors. Panels will focus on the next generation of energy issues and their future possibilities.

Annual Rate Forum Features Federal, State Regulators, Comms Experts – SNL Financial will hold its 4th annual Utility Rate Case Symposium on December 6th and 7th at the Marriott at Metro Center to discuss the environment surrounding rate cases. Speakers will include FERC Commissioner John Norris, Missouri PSC Commissioner Jeff Davis, Larry Brenner of the Maryland PSC and our communications colleagues Andy Hallmark of Potomac Communications and Chet Wade of Dominion, who will do a special forum on communications issues surrounding a rate case.

Forum to Look at Electric Car – NDN/New Policy Institute will host a forum on Tuesday December 6th looking at the progress and promise of the electric car and electric vehicle industry. This lunchtime discussion will highlight the recent emergence of the electric vehicle in today’s economy and showcase how innovations in clean energy have opened doors for growth and opportunities of the electric car. Leading this discussion will be a group of well-known leaders and opinion makers in this arena, including EPRI’s Barbara Baumann Tyran, NARUC’s Miles Keogh, Genevieve Cullen of the Electric Drive Vehicle Association, Kyle Davis of MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company and GM’s Mary Beth Stanek. The panel on the burgeoning commercialization of electric vehicles will coincide with the DC premiere of Chris Paine’s highly acclaimed new documentary, ‘The Revenge of the Electric Car’. This Electric Vehicle Panel is the fifth in our “Clean Energy Solution Series” to showcase the leaders, companies, ideas and policies who are hastening our transition to a cleaner, safer and more distributed energy paradigm of the 21st Century.

Webcast to Focus on GHG Reporting – Environmental Leader will host a webcast on December 7th at 2:00 p.m. on greenhouse gas reporting. Recently, EPA delayed rules impacting GHGs. When it proposed the GHG Mandatory Reporting Rule, the EPA stated that a key aspect was to help the agency understand the breadth and scope of GHG emissions such that it could make informed decisions about regulatory options for GHG in the US. Subsequently, EPA initiated three GHG regulatory pathways: vehicle standards to address emissions of GHG from transportation sources; PSD and Title V applicability for new major sources (The Tailoring Rule and related PSD actions); New Source Performance Standards (required of the agency via consent decrees in settlement of lawsuits initiated by states and environmental groups). The webinar will focus on background and timeline information of the EPA GHG Regulations, impacts of these regulations to US companies, takeaways from the last two years under the current Administration in regards to GHG regulations and considerations on the path the EPA might take in regulating GHG emissions. Speakers will be AEP’s John McManus and Greg Gasperecz of Enviance.

CSIS Forum to Look at Bakken Shale Development – On December 7th, the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will convene a group of experts to discuss the resource and production potential of these plays as well as many of the key infrastructure and local/regional impact challenges that must be addressed to make this promise a reality. Topics for discussion include: resource and production outlook, the NPC white paper, infrastructure and transportation, local impacts, concerns and policies, and tight oil development beyond the Bakken.

Small Biz Forum to Look at Job Opportunities – The Atlantic will hold a High Growth Business Forum on December 7th in Washington with a keynote address by Karen Mills, Administrator of the US Small Business Administration. The Forum will also host panel discussions and case studies demonstrating the power of high-growth businesses in fueling the economy.

Forum to Look at Offshore Drilling in Canada, U.S. – The Canada Institute will hold a launch in Washington Thursday, December 8th at 9:00 a.m. at the Wilson Center for Scholars of the 14th publication of our One Issue, Two Voices series, which compares the topic of offshore drilling regulation in the United States and Canada. Authors Alexander MacDonald, a partner in the St. John’s office of Cox & Palmer, and James Coan, a research associate at Rice University’s Baker Institute in Houston, will discuss the issue. David Longly Bernhardt, with Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP, will moderate the discussion.

ELI Forum To Look at Jobs, Economy, EPA – The Environmental Law Institute will host a forum on Friday, December 9th at Noon on the effect of the EPA on the economy and jobs. Expert panelists will discuss the economic ramifications of EPA’s regulations, whether regulations create or kill jobs, and recent legislative attempts—such as the REINS Act, the Regulatory Accountability Act of 2011, and the use of the Congressional Review Act—to increase Congressional oversight and restrain EPA action. Speakers include AEI’s Ken Green, CEQ’s Gary Guzy and Isaac Shapiro of the Economic Policy Institute.

Power-Gen Conference Set – The POWER-GEN International Conference is set for the Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV on December 13-15th. POWER-GEN International is the industry leader in providing comprehensive coverage of trends, technologies and issues facing the generation sector. As the need to operate more efficiently and cost-effectively becomes increasingly important, no other event bridges challenges with solutions like POWER-GEN International. More than 1,200 companies from all sectors of the industry exhibit each year and more than 19,000 attendees come together at POWER-GEN International for a horizontal look at the industry with key emphasis on new solutions and innovations for the future. Speakers will include Mitsubishi Power Systems’ David Walsh, Don Karner of ECOtality North America and NRC’s Jack Grobe.

EPA Utility Mercury Rule Due – December 16th

Current Continuing Resolution Expires – December 16th

Hanukkah Begins – December 20th and runs through December 28th

Christmas – December 25th

Renewable Tax Credits Expire –The 1603 grant program – which qualifies renewable developers for dollars in lieu of future tax credits will expire on December 31st. Production Tax Credits have one more year until 2012.

Energy Update: Week of August 8

Friends,

No real important issues are moving today in this first full recess week, other than the debt downgrade (bad) and a sinking global oil price (good).  So while we watch the stock market sink, I have decided to offer you some great reading material from the comments on EPA’s recently-closed Utility MACT rule.  We have comments from several major utilities (Southern, Progress, Exelon, Luminent, etc), state agencies, transmission grid operators, key trade associations and other industry /manufacturing groups.   We start it off with some scathing comments from the Small Business Administration.  Looks like no one checked with the White House before sending those comments (see below).  The SBA comments are also part of the reason Lisa Murkowski’s fight, highlighted last week in a conversation with FERC regarding reliability, underscores how important agency reviews of rules will continue to be.

Special congrats to our friends Jim Owen and Brian Farrell at EEI.  Owen, senior director of media relations, was been promoted to executive director of member relations and meeting services, and Farrell, director of member relations, has been promoted to the position of senior director, member relations.

Latest rumors are that the EPA ozone standards will not be released by August 12 thanks to additional questions from OMB, but look for the DOE’s natural gas subcommittee’s report on shale gas to likely be ready later this week.    Stay tuned.

Finally, there is no rest for the PR guy…As evidence, my son had his PR guy in full mode at the beach this week as he competed in the Jr. Lifeguard Olympics in Rehoboth Beach.  Somehow, he managed to get in two of the four pictures in the Cape Gazette. See the action shots in the Link. 

Don’t hesitate to call with your questions. 

Best, 

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

Utility MACT Review

We shared the ERCC’s comments on EPA’s Utility MACT proposal with you last Thursday.  As a follow up today, we are sharing summaries of many of the other comments that were submitted.  We have pdfs of all of these comments should you need them.

Small Business Administration Blasts Obama UMACT Plan – The comments filed by the Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy on the EPA’s proposed Utility MACT are pretty devastating to EPA’s view that this plan will have little or no impacts.  The Office of Advocacy comes right to the point in the very first paragraph:  “Advocacy believes that EPA has not sufficiently complied with the requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act or adequately considered the impact this rulemaking would have on small entities.  In addition, because of the haste with which EPA has engaged in this rulemaking, EPA has not given itself the opportunity to engage in meaningful outreach and consultation with small entities.  Advocacy therefore strongly recommends that EPA seek to revise the court-agreed deadlines to which this rulemaking is subject, re-convene the Small Business Advocacy Review panel, prepare a new initial regulatory flexibility analysis, and issue it for additional public comment prior to final rulemaking.  Comments such as these have not borne tremendous weight in the past with EPA, so we’ll see what happens. 

Joint Regional Transmission Organizers – The Joint RTO groups says EPA’s proposed rule may accelerate the number of generation retirements as generation asset owners assess the costs of complying with this rule in the context of a host of new environmental imperatives being imposed on them.  If the impact of the EPA rulemakings increases retirements to the point of creating reliability violations without providing for adequate time to respond to the reliability concerns, this could undermine the reliability of the electric grid for an unacceptable prolonged period.  The JRTOs’ comments do not take a position on the merits of the proposed rule itself or the EPA’s findings as to the long term health and societal benefits of compliance, but are focused on addressing potential reliability impacts resulting from the Proposed Rule which cannot be remedied in time to meet the strict compliance deadlines proposed.  They add the final rule should contain a narrowly-drawn reliability “safety valve” such that a retiring generator could be granted an extension for the time needed to implement reliability solutions to replace the subject resource.

PJM Interconnection – The Mid-Atlantic grid operator says the current compliance timeframe could severely impact reliability unless “Reliability Critical Unites” are provided a limited extension of time to comply.  “Reliability Critical Units” are those generating units whose retirement/deactivation would result in violations of applicable reliability criteria unless appropriate transmission or resource reinforcements are forthcoming.  A 1-year extension, and potentially a further extension beyond 1 year if necessary for reliability, should be allowed under the following circumstances: 1) Asset owner provides notice to PJM and the EPA no later than the earlier of 12 months after the effective date of the Final Rule, or by January 1, 2013 that it intends to retire; 2) PJM determines, through its public planning process, that the unit is a Reliability Critical Unit; 3) Transmission reinforcements or alternative resources in the form of replacement generation (not necessarily at the same site), dispatchable demand response or energy efficiency targeted to the affected locations are being installed to ensure continued compliance with applicable reliability criteria.  The PJM folks also said analysis of reliability impacts contained in the rule does not take into account the full spectrum of reliability issues, including local reliability impacts, associated with plant retirement decisions.  In a key note, PJM says by limiting its reliability analysis to resource adequacy and a representation of transmission limited to transfers between regions, the rule understates its impact on system reliability.

Alabama – The Alabama PSC says EPA should complete a comprehensive cost analysis, with industry input, of all rules and regulations recently promulgated or in progress in order to consider the total reliability and cumulative cost impacts.  They also say the public should be advised of the potential rate increase and job losses which will impact Alabama.  APSC is also concerned about a negative impact on electric generation reliability.  Alabama DEM said an extension is necessary to implement rule.  EPA should either grant existing sources an additional two years for compliance (five total years from the rule promulgation) or allow states to grant compliance extensions for up to two years.

Arizona — Arizona Department of Environmental Quality says the rule is expected to significantly increase the cost of power in most regions of the country, potentially threaten the reliability of the grid system, precipitate significant jobs losses in many regions and greatly dampen the prospects for the creation of new jobs and lacks a cumulative impact assessment from EPA is unclear whether the collective benefit justifies the collective costs.

Florida – The Florida PSC says the rule should avoid compromising system reliability and sufficient time.  They also point out that Florida’s unique weather, customer base, and high reliance on electricity for cooling and heating, make increases to the cost of electricity a particular concern.  Costs should be minimized by allowing each utility the flexibility to choose compliance options that best fit the utility’s unique system and customer base. They also add that EPA should not increase utility costs with one-size-fits-all mandates.  Finally, they add that utilities should be allowed to retain existing coal capacity without installing air compliance measures, if the utility commits to retire or repower the unit in the near future.

Indiana – The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission says insufficient time is given for compliance and the compressed timeline will cause competition for scarce resources which will drive up costs for consumers.  The Indiana Department of Environmental Management also weighs in saying EPA should reconsider the rule under the doctrine of absurd results.  There is a lack of calculated benefits from the control of hazardous air pollutants through this rule which requires between $1,211 and $2,180,000 to be spent per dollar of mercury reduction benefit.  EPA should allow states to work with companies to develop alternate compliance plans to ensure both timely compliance and minimal adverse impacts to consumers.

Michigan – The Michigan Public Service Commission says the longer compliance timeline assessed by EPA which allows for some installations to take up to 4 years and provides for a one year extension should be used in order to reduce compliance costs and therefore taxpayer rates. They also say replacement power and transmission upgrades necessary for reliability purposes should be allowed to qualify for the extension.

North Dakota – The ND Public Service Commission says the rule does not adequately account for other proposed or anticipated interrelated rulemakings and their cumulative effect on the industry and the economy.  They also say that EPA’s approach to this rule does not comply with Executive Order 13563 which requires agencies to “take into account, among other things, and to the extent practicable, the costs of cumulative regulations.”  The rule’s HAP-by-HAP approach to setting standards for new units makes the construction of new coal-fired power plants virtually impossible.  The rule does not offer a reasonable time for compliance.  The case-by-case approach does not provide enough certainty for strategic planning for investments and outages.

South Carolina – The SC Department of Health and Environmental Control says EPA should eliminate the requirement of delegated authorities to approve implementation plans for facilities choosing to demonstrate compliance by the emission averaging option.  EPA should instead develop an emission averaging certification mechanism within the Notice of Compliance Status (NOCS).  They also offer a number of other specific suggestions to improve the rule.  

Virginia – The Virginia Office of the Governor said EPA’s original 60 day period for comments and extension of 30 days, instead on the congressionally requested 60 days, has not provided adequate time for comment.  The need for conducting cumulative impact analysis and for careful consideration of public comment provides the “good cause” required for an extension of the court supervised deadline for the adoption of a final rule. The lack of cumulative cost analysis of all EPA’s numerous completed, pending, and expected rulemakings contradicts President Obama’s Executive Order 13563.  The limited timeframe for compliance will not allow for a smooth transition.  Too many shutdowns at the same time could compromise the reliability of the national electric grid.

West Virginia – The WV Department of Environmental Protection – Division of Air Quality said the limited timeline for compliance will be difficult to meet given the number of affected sources requiring controls from a limited universe of manufacturers and limited labor pool with the necessary skills.  EPA should follow the precedent set by the Marine MACT and grant an automatic waiver of one year.  EPA should reconcile the various overlapping regulatory requirements affecting the electric utility sector to allow for more efficient use of agency resources in planning, modeling and rule development with no loss in the level of emissions reductions achieved or health benefits realized. EPA should revise the “best of all possible plants” approach which establishes the Utility MACT floor on a pollutant-by-pollutant basis.

Wyoming – The WY Department of Environmental Quality says EPA should, at the minimum, extend this rulemaking one year to allow for a review of economic benefit calculations and assumptions used to justify this rule.  Delay will allow for an analysis of the cumulative impacts of this rule and other all other rules and standards aimed at the electric power generation sector to be conducted. Delay will allow for an exploration of ways to allow states more discretion in the implementation of these rules.                 Uncertainty is caused by other recently imposed controls – not knowing how all of the various controls will compliment or confound each other.  The Governor’s office said EPA should adhere to President Obama’s Executive Order 13563 and consider the cumulative effects of the host of proposed and recently final rules to the power utility and manufacturing sectors as well as to rate payers and others.  A cost-benefit analysis must be conducted to calculate the total direct and indirect costs associated with the numerous and overlapping rules.  The rules neither promote economic growth, competitiveness, nor job creation and there is woefully insufficient analysis of the impacts, and will have a severe negative net effect on jobs and the economy.  US power sector has reduced air emissions substantially under existing programs while electricity use and electricity from coal generating facilities has grown tremendously.  Additional regulations will derail these efforts.

National Association of Manufacturers – The NAM says Federal policymakers should create conditions that will lead to economic expansion and not stifle industrial and manufacturing vitality or the ability to create jobs and spur innovation.  Unduly strict mandates on the manufacturing sector will not accomplish any of these objectives.  The cost of energy is enormously significant to the manufacturing sector. Any regulation to the electric utility sector will ultimately impact industrial rates.  Uncertain whether utilities can realistically finance, engineer, permit and build required control technologies while maintaining electricity reliability in the required time frame.  A NERA study shows costs for the electric sector to comply with the two rules will be $18 billion per year. Study estimates that average retail electricity prices nationwide will rise by 11.5%.  Heavy manufacturing states can expect prices to rise by approximately 23%.  Study predicts that the United States will lose 1.44 million job-years (where one job is for one year) by 2020.  Finally they add that the public comment period was insufficient and EPA should slow promulgation of the final rule.

Council of Industrial Boiler Owners – CIBO says during calendar years 2010 – 2011, EPA has proposed the most costly Clean Air Act regulations in history, which will directly or indirectly affect all energy consumers across the nation, and in particular, industrial consumers of energy.  Utility MACT rule will adversely affect the cost-effective operation of industrial energy operations. Converging compliance timeframes of the Utility MACT, Boiler MACT, the Cross-State Air Pollution Reduction Rule, and several other EPA Clean Air Act rules will drive up compliance costs for all sources and complicate sources’ ability to comply within tight deadlines.

Southern – Southern Company said in its preliminary assessment of proposed federal regulations for coal-fired power plants and determined that the proposed rules would significantly impact customers and the overall U.S. economy as a result of higher costs for electricity and reduced reliability.  Southern’s evaluation suggests that it would expect to: 1) install new emissions reduction equipment on approximately 12,000 megawatts (MW) of coal-fired generation, accounting for approximately 60% of the coal fleet, 2) retire approximately 4,000 MW of coal-fired generation; 3) change fuel for 3,200 MW or more of coal- and oil-fired generation to other fuels such as natural gas; and 4) replace more than 1,500 MW of coal- and oil-fired generation with natural gas-fired generation.  Southern says these actions would result in approximately 40% of the coal fleet being either retired or transitioned to natural gas.  They also say that through 2020, the estimated capital cost for the company’s operating subsidiaries to comply with the full range of proposed rules for coal-fired generation – including air emissions, water and coal ash – would be between $13 billion and $18 billion.

Progress – Progress Energy says the EPA has provided insufficient time for the Agency to develop a technically sound rule.  They say it is neither appropriate nor necessary to regulate EGUs under section 112.  EPA is relying on a determination that is over ten years old when current data demonstrate that EGUs are no longer a significant source category of HAPs.  EPA used a flawed standard-setting approach in developing the proposed MACT limits.  End result is a set of MACT floors that do not represent the emission controls achieved by an actual, best-performing unit.  Instead, end result reflects the performance of a hypothetical, ideal unit that does not and could not exist in the real world.

Luminant – With Luminent is also blazing over its inclusion in EPA’s Cross State air rule, it also blasted the MACT rule. They say EPA should revise the proposed rule to reflect the realistic operation of electric generating units, and to be consistent with prior EPA determinations and practice, and with the CAA.  Among many specifics, Luminent says EPA’s proposed three-year compliance deadline (with a possible one-year extension) is inadequate given the scope of nationwide retrofit projects, permitting requirements, and lead times for design, purchase, installation, and testing.  Based on actual construction experience, Luminant estimates a single retrofit project may take almost five years to complete.  Finally, the proposed rule, considered in conjunction with other rules proposed by EPA aimed at EGUs, has the potential to disproportionally impact the Texas economy and to jeopardize reliability and affordability of electricity as well as jobs at power plants and lignite mines.

Exelon – Exelon Corporation says the utility industry can comply with the EPA’s proposed Rule within the required three-year period while maintaining the reliability of the nation’s electricity grid and protecting Americans from higher electricity prices.  Toxics Rule provides the industry with the regulatory certainty it needs to unleash many billions of dollars in clean energy investments.  Investments have already been delayed for a decade due to a lack of regulatory certainty and will spur new electric generation, enhancements to existing generation, and development of abundant, domestic shale natural gas resources.  Exelon has anticipated the Toxics Rule and other environmental rules for years and made the necessary clean energy investments to prepare. When the rule takes effect in 2015, electricity prices in many areas, including Exelon’s service territories, will actually be lower than they were in 2010.

The Edison Electric Institute – The trade association for the utility industry while no two companies will be impacted in precisely the same way, EEI has prepared comprehensive, consensus-based comments reflecting extensive deliberations among EEI and its member company CEOs.  They strongly encourage EPA to use the flexibility tools currently available under the Clean Air Act to address both timing and technical issues in order to hold down costs to consumers and avoid possible reliability impacts in some areas.  The power sector already has invested tens of billions of dollars to achieve substantial air emissions reductions.  We’ve reduced annual emissions of both sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) by about 70% since 1990. These reductions also have led to substantial cuts in other emissions, including mercury and other HAPs. During this same period electric generation has increased 38%, and real GDP, literally fueled in large part by electricity, has increased 65%.  EEI’s main concern with the proposed rule is the timeframe for implementation and compliance. While EPA acknowledges that some generating units may require more than three years to meet the new standards, we urge the agency to use its existing authority under the Clean Air Act to extend the compliance deadline an additional year for all units installing new pollution controls, being replaced or repowered, or requiring expanded transmission capacity.   The number of generating units needing additional time likely will be sufficiently large that a case-by-case review of individual requests for extensions could actually delay overall compliance. Allowing for this additional time up front will help protect reliability and achieve compliance in the most cost-effective manner possible.  In addition, because some units may require more than four years to achieve compliance, we urge the President, as authorized by the Clean Air Act, to issue an executive order to allow additional time in instances in which the utility is continuing to take diligent, good-faith measures to achieve compliance; the needed emission control technology is not available; and the appropriate regional transmission organization (RTO), the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), or appropriate state regulators certify that an extension of time is necessary to address reliability  and economic impact issues.   EEI’s concerns about the timeline are shared by the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), whose July 20, 2011, policy resolution concluded that “a retrofit timeline for multimillion dollar projects may take up to five-plus years” and that “[t]imelines may also be lengthened by the large number of multimillion dollar projects that will be in competition for the same skilled labor and resources.” In addition, time is needed for environmental permitting, public utility commission approvals, and, in some cases, additional transmission and natural gas infrastructure.

THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK:

House Energy/Commerce Panel to Hold Field Hearing in Orlando – The House Energy Committee’s panel on Oversight and Investigations will hold a field hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. to address EPA’s takeover of Florida’s Nutrient Water Quality Standard Setting and its impact on communities and job creation. This is the sixth hearing in the subcommittee’s series on regulatory reform. The hearing will take place at the University of Central Florida’s Alumni Center, 4000 Central Florida Boulevard, Building 126, Orlando, Florida.

“Love Shack” at the National Zoo – The 80’s new music rock band, the B-52s, are playing in a benefit concert Wednesday night at the National Zoo at 7:00 p.m. to raise money for animal care, conservation science, education and sustainability programs at the zoo.  The event is sponsored by the Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ).  Tickets are available at ticketmaster.com.

Event to Discuss Alexandria Power Plant Future – The American Clean Skies Foundation will have a major announcement on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. at the National Press Club’s Lisagor Room to discuss the potential for repurposing the sites of coal-plants likely to be retired in coming years, including the Potomac River Generating Station (PRGS) in Alexandria, VA.

DOE Nat Gas Report Released This Week –  A draft of the DOE’s Natural Gas Subcommittee report will release its report no later than this Thursday and will be made available at http://www.shalegas.energy.gov and http://www.energy.gov/seab.  On Monday August 15th, the DOE Secretary of Energy Advisory Board  is holding a teleconference meeting to discuss the report and make initial recommendations.

NREL to Host Hydrogen Fuel Cell Workshop – The National Renewable Energy Laboratory will host a workshop on Thursday and Friday at the Renaissance Hotel to discuss the critical issues facing manufacturing of hydrogen and fuel cell products.  During the workshop, topics discussed will be the current status, barriers and research and development needs of the manufacturing processes for hydrogen.  The focus will be on key technical challenges to the manufacturing of today’s systems and identifying priorities for future R&D that will making the process cost-competitive.

Eilperin, Other Ocean Authors Featured at Forum – At Noon on Wednesday, the Ocean Program of the Center for American Progress will host authors of books focused on the stories and the breathtaking images of the species that populate our oceans and help sustain life on this blue planet. The forum  will feature a panel of renowned ocean experts, each of whom has a new book about ocean life in various forms.  Oceans cover more than 70% of the Earth’s surface and support a web of life so vast and unknown that a 10-year census effort completed in 2010 found 20,000 new species and estimated that at least 750,000 yet undiscovered creatures could dwell in the depths. Interactions with ocean species are fundamental to life on land as well, including human life. While sea creatures have sustained us for millennia, today we are failing dramatically in our responsibility to take care of them. Pollution, overfishing, and human-induced global climate change are destroying habitat, decimating populations, and causing extinctions of entire species.  Featured speakers include our friend Juliet Eilperin of the Washington Post (Author of Demon Fish), Smithsonian Museum of Natural History Marine Science chair Nancy Knowlton (Author of Citizens of the Sea), National Geographic Fellow and Chef Barton Seaver (Author of For Cod and Country) and National Geographic Photojournalist Brian Skerry (Author of Ocean Soul). Copies of Demon Fish, Citizens of the Sea, and For Cod and Country will be available for purchase at the event.

Forum to Look at Taiwan Environmental Issues – The Wilson Center’s China Environment Forum and Asia Program will host a conversation on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. with Taiwan’s Minster of Environmental Protection, Dr. Stephen Shu-Hung Shen, to learn about work the EPA and Taiwan have been doing since 2010 to engage regional partners to advance global capacity in the remediation of contaminated sites, e-waste recycling and management, and reduction of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from ports. Over the past year Indonesia, India, China, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Nigeria, Ghana and other countries have engaged with Taiwan on a broad range of environmental topics, such as mercury monitoring, e-waste prevention, sustainable communities, toxic remediation sites, and environmental law compliance and enforcement. The U.S. EPA, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Japan have also lent technical experts and other forms of support to Taiwan-lead regional efforts.  Following Minister Shen’s comments, Donna Drewes, the Co-director of the Institute for Sustainability Planning and Governance and Sustainable Jersey (one of the nation’s leading sustainability programs) will present on how New Jersey and Taiwan are partnering to advance sustainability in schools, businesses, and households in both New Jersey and Taiwan.

THE WEEKS AHEAD:

Bartlett to Keynote Heritage EMP Threat Forum – The Heritage Foundation will host a forum on Monday, August 15th at 11:00 a.m. in its Lehrman Auditorium  focused on the potential of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack on the US grid.  EMP attacks have been called one of the gravest threats imaginable. With the capability to destroy America’s electrical and technological infrastructure, an EMP strike would effectively send the U.S. back to the 19th Century, to a world without cars, cell phones, computers, or any other electronics. In fact, the congressionally mandated Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack found that several potential adversaries have or can acquire the capability to conduct an EMP attack on the United States.   Because of this, The Heritage Foundation has been working to raise awareness on the electromagnetic pulse threat by calling for a national EMP recognition day for the past several years. This year’s event will coincide with the anniversary of the 2003 east coast blackout, the results of which were just as small example of the devastation that could occur from an EMP attack on the United States.   Panelists discuss current and future efforts to prevent and prepare for an EMP attack.  Keynote Remarks will be from Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, followed a discussion with EMPact America President Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy  and Dr. Drew Miller, Author of the Rohan Nation: Reinventing America After the 2020 Collapse.

Wellinghoff to Headline Geothermal Conference – The Geothermal Energy Assn (GEA) is holding the first ever National Geothermal Summit on Tuesday, August 16th and Wednesday, August 17th at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in Reno, NV.  The National Geothermal Summit will be held for GEA members, companies, and individuals in the geothermal industry with industry experts sharing real life approaches to getting geothermal projects in the ground and online. Topics for the Summit include Outlooks for Washington and the Western States, Building New Transmission Projects in the Western States, New Renewable Energy Policy Developments in CA, and Moving Geothermal Forward on Public Lands. There will also be an Expo featuring government agencies, universities and leading geothermal developers from the growing geothermal industry.  Confirmed speakers to date include FERC Chair Jon Wellinghoff, Karen Edson of the California Independent System Operator Corporation (ISO), Jan Smutny-Jones of the Independent Energy Producers Association (IEP), and many others.

Wind Turbine Guidelines Meeting Set – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will host a Wind Turbine Guidelines Advisory Committee meeting via teleconference and webcast on August 23rd from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.  This is the first meeting since the committee rolled out compromise standards that have angered conservation groups and wind turbines.

EPA Hearing on Nitrogen, Sulfur Set – EPA will hold a public hearing on August 25th focused on a proposed rule to set secondary national ambient air quality standards for nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides.  The public hearing will be from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Potomac Yard Conferencing Center. EPA intends to retain the existing standard for nitrogen dioxide at 0.053 part per million averaged annually and the sulfur dioxide standard at 0.5 ppm averaged over three hours. The proposal would set additional secondary standards identical to the 2010 primary standards. EPA said it does not have enough information to propose a multi-pollutant secondary standard addressing acid rain effects.

Giuliani to Speak at Nat’l Press Club – Our friend, partner and former two-term New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani will address a National Press Club luncheon on Tuesday, Sept. 6th.   Giuliani will assess where U.S. security stands as the 10-year anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon approaches.  Giuliani, a former Presidential candidate, received international recognition for his leadership after the September 11th terrorist attacks, will address a National Press Club luncheon on Tuesday, September 6th.  Lunch will be served at 12:30 p.m., with the speech beginning at 1 p.m. and ending at 2 p.m.

Newsmakers to host EU, NOAA Directors on Fishery Issues – The National Press Club’s Newsmakers Committee will host an event with NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco and European Union Fisheries Minister Maria Damanaki on September 7.  Together, they will discuss efforts to reverse decades, if not centuries, of overfishing and poor management. They are at similar points in their tenures and face many similar challenges. The US has much to learn from the EU, and the EU has much to learn from the US.   For Dr. Lubchenco’s part, this year is the 35th anniversary of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the seminal piece of legislation that drives fisheries management. We are just now beginning to see positive signs that the US fishing industry—commercial and recreational—is turning the corner. At stake are hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in revenue. However, there are many challenges fishermen and communities continue to face, and Dr. Lubchenco would talk about real examples of successes and challenges. She would also speak about seafood safety (including in the Gulf), consumer choices, advances in aquaculture, enforcement, and other issues.

Clean Energy Summit Set for Hawaii – The Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit and Expo will be held September 13-15th at the Hawaii Convention Center, in the heart of Honolulu at the gateway to Waikiki. Hawaii is one of the world’s leading incubators for clean technology development through strategic partnerships with Fortune 500 corporations, U.S. military energy programs and the Hawaiian Electric Industries multiple renewable and microgrid pilot programs.  Learn more or register here.

Renewable Energy Financing Conference Set – The 4th annual Renewable Energy Finance Forum-West (REFF-West) will be held in San Francisco on September 26-27 at the Four Seasons Hotel.  REFF-West will feature leading financiers, policy-makers, and CEOs from across the country, using this opportunity to develop definitive takeaway strategies to get your renewable energy projects moving. In addition to covering large-scale deals and projects, the revamped and revitalized program for 2011 will discuss financing for projects in the $9-$25 million range, offering practical advice on bridging the gap between late-stage venture capital and project finance.

Energy Update: Week of July 18, 2011

Friends,

I am still reeling from a full, four-day weekend of lacrosse and three showings of the Harry Potter finale.  (I did think it was well done)  We’ll see if we can collect ourselves for the business week, which always just seems to be more relaxing than the weekend.

A very European sports weekend – which I love by the way – with golf in England, cycling in France and Soccer in Germany.  There is nothing like waking up and flipping on golf at 6:00 a.m. on a Saturday.  It was oh-so-close for the US Women’s soccer team, but there is no doubt that Japan’s surprise victory should give the reeling nation a much-needed morale boost.  It may be as important to them as the 1980 US Olympic Hockey victory over Russia was for the U.S. at that time. Week three of the Tour moves to the key mountain stages in the Alps, and this is where the real action will be.  I am hopeful that our “Tour” correspondent Tom Carter of Calera may report in.

Debt discussions still dominate the political talk in Washington, but also keep your eye on action regarding EPA rules, which are being aggressively challenged.  There is a significant volume of information hitting the streets raising concerns about the costs and timelines of EPA’s rules.  The agency and their enviro supporters will also push back with their own studies.

One key development to follow early in the week will be the action at the NARUC Summer meetings on a resolution to urge EPA to provide increased flexibility for the implementation of the agency’s recent flood of rulemakings.

A second key issue along this line comes from our friends at Energy Daily who this morning first reported that a new study from the EOP Foundation says the EPA mercury rules for boilers and utilities would cost the government almost $3 billion dollars over 10 years in power costs and retrofits.   The study, which focuses on the EPA rules’ little noticed cost impacts on the federal government, say the rules will cost the government $166 million a year in higher power costs from utilities and $120 million annually to retrofit federally-owned electric generating units and boilers to comply with the EPA standards.    I can send a copy of the study should you need it.

Thirdly, rumors abound this week that the moderate Senators will introduce bipartisan legislation aimed at delaying the Boiler MACT rules.

FERC is also expected to release its long-awaited transmission order at its Thursday meeting.  There are expected to be a series of stakeholders briefings following Thursday’s meeting.

Finally, we devoted a significant amount of space a few weeks ago to the New York Times coverage of natural gas drilling.  After some loud industry and other complaints, as well as spirited defense of the work from Times’ editors and reporter Ian Urbina, the Public Editor weighed in yesterday on the matter. See more below.

IN THE NEWS

NYT Public Editor Weighs in on NatGas Stories – The public editor of the New York Times weighed into the heated debate over a recent series of articles on natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania and other places that has drawn rhetoric from both sides, as well as a spirited defense from Times’ editors/reporters.   Arthur Brisbane gave the editors and reporter Ian Urbina much running room in defense of the series that questioned many facets of natural gas drilling.  He also acknowledged, though, some of the claims industry groups have used attack the Times’ work.  Brisbane: “My view is that such a pointed article needed more convincing substantiation, more space for a reasoned explanation of the other side and more clarity about its focus. No question, the article challenged conventional thinking, and perhaps some of the shale gas independents will eventually founder. But the article went out on a limb, lacked an in-depth dissenting view in the text and should have made clear that shale gas had boomed.”  This morning, the editors pushed backed on Brisbane saying he fails to understand the core mission of the stories, adding they was “the opposite of a journalistic gamble; it was our responsibility” to report it.

ED: New Study Says EPA Mercury Rules Will Have Hefty Budget Impact – Our friends at Energy Daily today first reported that a new study from the EOP Foundation says the EPA mercury rules for boilers and utilities would cost the government almost $3 billion dollars over 10 years in power costs and retrofits.  The study says the rules will cost the government $166 million a year in higher power costs from utilities, while also saying it will pay $120 million annually to retrofit federally-owned electric generating units and boilers to comply with the EPA standards.  The Energy Daily points out that while the costs of the rules to utilities are controversial and hotly debate, the cost impacts on the federal government have received little notice.  I can send a copy of the study should you need it.

Drilling Permits Still Slow – Greater New Orleans, Inc. released the 14th installment of the Gulf Permit Index (GPI). When the federal government announced that it would lift the Deep Water Drilling Moratorium on Tuesday, October 12, 2010, the Business Council of Greater New Orleans and the River Region, and GNO, Inc. pledged to track and report on shallow- and deep-water permit issuance. You can see the charts tracking approved new permits for deep- and shallow-water wells here, or I have pdfs.   Deep-water permit issuance continues to lag the previous year’s average. Only 1.7 deep water permits are being issued per month since May 2011, representing a 4.1-permit — or a 71% — monthly reduction from the historical monthly average of 5.8 permits per month.  Following a brief uptick in permit approvals during the three-month period from April to June 2011, shallow-water permit issuance is once again below the historical average. In the past three months, 4.7 shallow-water permits, on average, were issued. That number represents a deficit of 2.4 permits — or 34% — from the historical monthly average of 7.1 permits per month. Raw data on number of permits issued each month is taken from the BOEMRE website. Research and analysis is performed by GNO, Inc. staff members. GNO, Inc. will continue to monitor the number of drilling permits being issued by BOEMRE.  Jim Noe, executive director of the Shallow Water Energy Security Coalition, said these reports “should give pause to the politicians and bureaucrats who continue to hem and haw over giving a green light to safe and responsible energy development in the Gulf of Mexico.  When a regional non-profit economic development alliance feels compelled to draw attention to the government’s permitting slow-down, it should be clear that what exists mainly as a policy discussion in Washington continues to have major fallout for communities along the Gulf.”

Houston Chron: Drilling Permits Need to Pick Up – Speaking of the pace of drilling permits, Noe also said in a Houston Chronicle op-ed yesterday the path forward to creating jobs, promoting economic growth and improving America’s energy security goes right through the Gulf of Mexico, where efforts to generate fossil-fuel production in both shallow and deep waters have been virtually hamstrung since the Macondo blowout of April 2010.  Noe used a recent study from the NOIA and API to stress the job impacts of the slow down, saying total employment supported by a healthy Gulf of Mexico oil and natural gas industry could exceed 430,000 jobs by 2013 – an increase of 77 percent, or 180,000 jobs, over the low levels of 2010.  Noe: “the study’s projected employment growth is contingent upon the ability of regulators in the Department of the Interior to once again issue permits for safe and responsible drilling in a timely and efficient manner – something that hasn’t been seen since last April. In other words, failure to improve the government’s offshore-permitting process will leave jobs on the table and economic activity bottled up at a time when the country is scrambling to create work and stimulate growth.”

PA Shale Advisory Group Send Recommendations to Gov – The Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission offered almost 100 recommendations to help govern Pennsylvania’s policy on shale gas drilling late last week.  I was there after breaking myself away from the lacrosse tourney in Hershey to hear his recommendations.  The biggest were the levying of a local impact fee on deep-well gas drillers and updating laws governing the pooling of gas deposits in neighborhoods. The 30-member commission chaired by Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley also approved language recognizing counties and municipalities hosting drillers are seeing an increased need for services, but aren’t taking enough extra tax revenue to meet those demands.  All of the recommendations from the working groups will be made public after they are presented to Gov. Tom Corbett this week.

Atlantic Backbone Project to Add Partner…Maybe – Many of you may have seen some reporting late last week from a press release from the Belgian-based Transmission experts Elia about the company joining the team developing the major Atlantic offshore wind backbone transmission project.  While this would be a great development and another boost to the project, no agreements have been finalized and no details exist at this time.  Talks have been underway and AWC welcomes their interest because of Elia’s vast experience with offshore wind, transmission and their role in developing Europe’s Supergrid.   AWC leaders are hopeful there may be an announcement in the near future, but any specifics have not been finalized and are still preliminary.  Stay tuned.

THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK:

Jaczko to Address Nuke Issues at Press Club – Gregory Jaczko, Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, will address the National Press Club at a luncheon today.  Jaczko will talk about lessons learned by the nuclear power industry in the aftermath of Japan’s March 11 Fukushima nuclear disaster, which stands as the most serious nuclear accident since the Chernobyl meltdown in 1986. The NRC is scheduled to meet on July 19th to consider a report on the Fukushima disaster and how it pertains to the US nuclear industry.  In May of 2009, President Obama appointed Jaczko chairman of the NRC, where he had served as a commissioner since 2005. Before Fukushima, Jaczko and the commission had been working to reinvigorate the US nuclear sector. Electric utilities had been planning to begin building nuclear plants again after 30 years of inactivity, but in light of the Japan disaster, new questions have arisen.  The July 18 luncheon will begin promptly at 12:30 p.m. and Jaczko’s remarks will begin at 1:00 p.m., followed by a question-and-answer session.

AT&T’s Stephenson, ARPA-E’s Majumdar at July NARUC Meeting – Top federal officials, CEOs from major telecommunications firms, energy producers, and renewable developers will address the nation’s State public service commissioners during National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners Summer Committee Meetings held today through Wednesday.  The meetings, held at the JW Marriott at the new LA Live! complex in Los Angeles, will feature keynote addresses and panel discussions on meeting global energy supply, building out the nation’s utility infrastructure, and the state of the U.S. telecommunications sector.  Confirmed speakers for the Summer Committee Meetings include AT&T Chairman, President, and CEO Randall Stephenson, Chesapeake Energy Chairman, CEO Aubrey McClendon, Peabody Energy Chairman, CEO Gregory Boyce, American Water Works CEO Jeff Sterba, Comcast Corp. Executive Vice President David Cohen, American Wind Energy Association CEO Denise Bode, Solar Alliance President Carrie Cullen Hitt, American Electric Power President Nick Akins, and many more.  Dr. Arum Majumdar, Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy and Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Energy, will deliver keynote remarks as well.  One of the key issues bouncing around is the resolution to urge EPA to provide increased flexibility for the implementation of the agency’s recent flood of rulemakings.

Woodruff to Headline NACo Meeting – NACo’s 76th Annual Conference and Exposition will be held today and tomorrow in Multnomah County, (Portland) Oregon. The Annual Conference’s keynote speaker will be ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff and Aron Ralston, the inspiration for the film 127 Hours.  The meeting provides county officials with a great opportunity to vote on 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.

NACD to hold legislative conference– The National Association of Conservation Districts is holding its 2011 Summer Legislative Conference beginning today and extending through Tuesday evening. The conference is being held at Washington Court Hotel, 525 New Jersey Avenue NW.  Monday’s agenda will include officials from the USDA, BLM, NRCS, USFS, and EPA giving agency updates as well as education sessions on the 2012 Farm Bill, conservational technical assistance, and Clean Water Act policies. Conference attendees will be on the Hill all day Tuesday for meetings with several lawmakers.

Forum to Look at Climate, Security, Mitigation – The Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars will host a forum today at 3:00 p.m. in it Reagan Building offices that will look at efforts to address climate change through mitigation and adaptation often fail to include analysis of the conflict or peacebuilding potential of such actions. Developing this analysis will help provide practical input to decision-making in a variety of arenas: choosing among alternative energy technologies in specific settings; implementing conflict-sensitive ecosystem services schemes; sourcing inputs to green technologies; strengthening natural resource management institutions for adapting to greater variability; or negotiating use norms for large-scale technology deployments.  Through a series of convening and publishing activities entitled Backdraft, the Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program is facilitating a debate on the conflict and peacebuilding potential of climate change responses. Join us for a discussion with three authors featured in a forthcoming set of Backdraft articles from the Environmental Change and Security Program Report. The Wilson Center’s Geoff Dabelko will lay out the case for incorporating these conflict considerations into mitigation and adaptation decision-making. Drawing from their analyses of specific interventions, Dennis Taenzler from the Berlin-based Adelphi Research, will analyze Reduced Emissions through Deforestation and Forest Degradation schemes through a conflict lens, and Christian Webersik, author of the 2010 book Climate Change and Security, will examine the impacts of biofuels, carbon capture and storage, and nuclear energy.

Forum Looks at Next Farm Bill – The Environmental Law and Policy Center (ELPC) and Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will hold two briefings tomorrow on the energy title of the Farm Bill, with a special focus on the Rural Energy for America Program.  The first will be at 10:00 a.m. in 1300 Longworth and the second will be in 188 Russell at 2:00 p.m.  Big decisions loom in the next Farm Bill, including for key farm energy programs. The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) incentivizes a broad range of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies for all agricultural sectors across the country. As a result, thousands of rural producers and businesses are slashing energy costs with energy efficiency and renewable energy. They also are earning new income from renewable energy and creating new jobs, income, and wealth across rural America. This briefing will provide an overview of the Farm Bill Energy Title, as well as specific examples of dairy and poultry producers, rural electric cooperatives, and other rural producers and small businesses from across the country that have benefitted from the REAP program.  Speakers will include Bill Midcap of the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, Bennie Huchins of Mississippi’s Ag Energy Resources, former Natural Resource Conservation Service chief Bruce Knight and Andy Olsen of the Environmental Law & Policy Center.

Hydro Conference Set for Sacramento – HydroVision International will be held on tomorrow through Friday in Sacramento, CA and will address the effects, solutions and the plan for advancing sustainable hydropower throughout the world.  HydroVision International will highlight perspectives on the role of hydropower, explore issues affecting hydro resources, and help participants develop a vision to meet challenges and ensure the future sustainability of hydro. This event will bring together a broad range of global hydro professionals with environmental, technical, social, and regulatory perspectives.

Senate Energy to Talk NatGas, MIT Study – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources will hold a hearing on natural gas issues tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. hearing from MIT scientists on their recent study on natural gas.  The study was chaired by former Clinton Energy Department official Ernest Moniz and MIT veteran management professor Henry Jacoby.  Witnesses include EIA acting administrator Howard Gruenspecht, Moniz and George J. Biltz, vice president, energy and climate change, Dow Chemical Co.

Energy Research Group to Meet – The U.S. Department of Energy will hold a meeting on Wednesday morning of the Secretary of Energy’s Advisory Board on basic and applied research, economic and national security policy, educational issues, operational issues and other activities of the DOE. Energy Secretary Steven Chu delivers opening remarks.

Senate Environment to Look at Yellowstone Pipeline Issues – The Senate Environment and Public Works’ transportation panel holds a hearing Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. on ExxonMobil’s pipeline oil spill into Montana’s Yellowstone River.

NASA scientist lectures at LOC – NASA scientist Robert Bindschadler will deliver a lecture on Wednesday morning at 11:30 a.m. in the Pickford Theatre at Madison Building of the Library of Congress on ice sheet data and why it is a big deal.  Bindschadler is an expert on glaciers and ice sheets and will discuss the science behind and environmental effect of the quickly melting ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica.

Ford To Talk Fuel Efficiency at WAPA Lunch – The Washington Automotive Press Assn (WAPA) will host its July luncheon on Wednesday at Noon in the National Press Club.  Ford’s Susan Cischke, Group Vice President of Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering, will discuss fuel efficient products and safety innovations.

Senate Commerce to Look For Oil Spill Lessons – The Senate Commerce Committee’s Oceans panel will hold a hearing Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. to look back at last summer’s BP oil spill to look for lessons in future spill recovery, prevention and response. The hearing will examine the ongoing response to and lessons learned from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. In addition, the hearing will focus on the continuing challenges relevant agencies and stakeholders face in the wake of the spill, the state of progress of damage assessment and restoration activities, and recommendations for improving the nation’s oil spill prevention and response capacity, and ensuring the long term successful restoration in the Gulf.

Senate Energy Finally Looks To Tackle Offshore Drilling – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has again schedule time for the long-awaited markup of its offshore drilling legislation on Thursday at 10:00 a.m.  The effort has been delayed as Chairman Jeff Bingaman and ranking member Lisa Murkowski search for a compromise measure over revenue sharing for coastal states.

Forum on Cool Roofs Set – EESI will hold a briefing on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. in SVC 212/210 Capitol Visitor Center to look at the potential for solar-reflective roofs and other “cool-roofing” techniques to lower the surface temperature of buildings and entire cities. Cool roofs improve comfort on hot summer days and reduce the amount of energy used for air-conditioning – thereby reducing energy costs and improving air quality. Whitening flat roofs is a low-cost solution which, if implemented in certain cities across the globe, has been estimated to have the potential to offset the carbon emissions of 300 million automobiles. At this briefing, renowned physicist and energy efficiency expert Arthur Rosenfeld will discuss research at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) that for the first time quantifies the reflective power (albedo) of urban surfaces that would be necessary to mitigate the urban heat-island effect and offset carbon dioxide emissions. Panelists also will discuss insulated and vegetated (“green”) roofs and how different types of cool roofs may be combined or integrated with solar-roofing systems, photovoltaics (PV) and/or solar thermal technology.  Introductory remarks will be by Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE).  Panel speakers will include Arthur Rosenfeld of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, James Hoff of the Center for Environmental Innovation in Roofing, Buildings and Energy expert in NYC Mayor Bloomberg’s Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability Laurie Kerr and GSA’s Kevin Kampschroer, Director of the Office of Federal High-Performance Green Buildings.

THE WEEKS AHEAD:

Forum to Look at Transportation Electrification – IEEE will hold its 2011 Power & Energy Society (PES) General Meeting on July 24 – 28 at the Renaissance Center in Detroit, MI to look at the electrification of transportation and the grid of the future.  The meeting will feature power engineers, executives, policy makers and academics from all over the world who will promote, share, and discuss various issues and developments in the field of electrical power engineering. Speakers will include DTE’s Tony Earley and Ford’s Nancy Gioia.

Aspen Institute Security Forum Set – As we approach the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the Aspen Institute’s Homeland Security Program, in partnership with The New York Times, will hold its second annual Aspen Security Forum, July 27-30. The Forum will bring together top-level government officials, industry leaders, and leading thinkers for three days of in-depth discussions at our Aspen Meadows campus in Aspen, Colorado on the state of aviation security, maritime security, border security, mass transit security, intelligence, critical infrastructure protection, cybersecurity, counterterrorism strategy, terrorism finance, and much more. The Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, Michael Leiter, is confirmed to speak at this summer’s Aspen Security Forum.  Other speakers include Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, former DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff and many other great security experts.

RFF, EPA Seminar to Focus on CES – Resources for the Future will hold a day-long seminar on Wednesday, July 27 looking at a Federal clean energy standard and understanding important policy elements.  RFF’s Center for Climate and Electricity Policy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are co-hosting a one-day workshop to present current analysis of CES policies—drawn upon recent empirical modeling and conceptual thinking by RFF, other independent and government research institutions, as well stakeholders. Speakers and Participants will focus on regional implications of a CES policy in terms of electricity pricing, utility profitability, and regional wealth transfers; implications for future investments in generation technology and the influence of different policy designs; the role that might be played by energy efficiency crediting; and the desirability of casting a CES policy as a performance standard.

Forum to Look at Defense Department Energy Issues – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI), E3G and Operation Free will hold a briefing on Wednesday July 27th at 2:00 p.m. in SVC 212/210 Capitol Visitor Center where top military and civilian experts will discuss energy policy objectives and describe the Defense Department’s renewable energy goals.  Speakers will include Sen. Mark Udall, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy Thomas Hicks, , American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) President Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn (U.S. Navy, Ret.) and former U.S. Army Captain Drew Sloan, Iraq and Afghanistan veteran, representing Operation Free.

EU Trading Impact on Aviation Investigated – The House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Aviation will hold a hearing on Wednesday, July 27 at 9:00 a.m. to look at the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme and whether it is a violation of international law.  I recently wrote a column on this subject in SNL Financial if you are interested in more background.

Chamber Energy Group to Host Shell CEO – The Institute for 21st Century Energy and the National Chamber Foundation will hold another CEO Leadership Series luncheon event featuring Marvin E. Odum, President of Shell Oil Company, and Director of Royal Dutch Shell’s Upstream companies in the Americas on Thursday July 28th at Noon.  Odum is responsible for Shell’s exploration and production businesses in the western hemisphere, including unconventional gas and oil sands projects.

Richardson, Guzy Among Speakers at Green Conference – The National Council for Science and the Environment will hold the 2011 International Green Energy Economy Conference Thursday-Friday, July 28-29 at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel in Crystal City, VA.  The conference will focus on the interplay between clean-energy strategies and policies to secure significant technological innovation, workforce development to promulgate green jobs, and sustainability principles to guide economies and societies toward sustainability.  Speakers will include IPCC Vice Chair Hoesung Lee, Dan Kammen of the University of California-Berkeley, former  Congressman, Ambassador to the UN, and Secretary of Energy and NM Gov. Bill Richardson, and CEQ’s Gary Guzy, among many others.  The conference is organized by the National Council for Science and the Environment, the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy at the University of Delaware, the Council of Energy Research and Education Leaders, in collaboration with the Korea Energy Economics Institute.

Forum to Look at FERC Decision, Transmission for Renewables – Following FERC’s expected Thursday announcement on its Proposed Rulemaking on Transmission Planning and Cost Allocation by Transmission Owning and Operating Public Utilities, the NDN/New Policy Institute will host a panel discussion on Thursday, July 28th at noon to look at transmission policy reform and what it means for renewables.  This panel will address the implications of the ruling on the transmission of renewable energy.  NDN will be releasing more details about our panel in a few days. Stay in touch for more information about the event on NDN’s blog.

WCEE to Look at Alternative Technologies – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a forum at Johnny on the Half Shell on Friday, July 29th at 8:00 a.m. looking at enhancing America’s energy independence through electric vehicles and other modes of clean, alternative transportation  .  It is part of WCEE’s Summer 2011 Legislative Roundtable Discussion featuring key Congressional staff involved in drafting legislation that is focused on the US goal of enhancing energy security through reducing our dependence on foreign oil and the rapid promotion of clean, alternative transportation, such as electric and natural gas-powered vehicles.  This event will provide an opportunity to hear directly from, and interact with, the staff of the key authors of such legislation and to meet other experts in the field.

CIBO Meeting on Emissions Set for Portland – The Council of Industrial Boiler Owners will hold its Industrial Emissions Conference in Portland, Maine at the Holiday Inn hotel on August 1st – 4th.  Expected topics will include discussions the current policy status of Boiler MACT issues.

TX Enviro Super Conference Set – The Environmental and Natural Resources law section, a division of the Texas State Bar, is hosting its 23rd annual Texas Environmental Superconference on August 3-5 at the Austin, Texas Four Seasons Hotel. The conference will feature speakers from the EPA and Justice Department, as well as government officials and academic and legal consultants from across the country. Topics cover a broad range of issues including groundwater regulation, air quality issues, environmental impacts of energy choices, and updates on nuclear power, permitting, Boiler MACT, vapor intrusion and product stewardship. My colleague Rich Alonso will give an update on greenhouse gas regulations as well.

Energy Update: Week of July 11, 2011

Friends,

We are really back in full swing now with the sole focus of the next few weeks likely to be on the debt ceiling issue (of course, now that the Casey Anthony jury has rendered its decision and Princess Kate and her Prince husband – what’s his name – have returned back to England).  I doubt it will mean much running room for the number of energy issues we are dealing addressing, but that will not be for a lack of trying.

First, the sports report: how about those US Women’s soccer players?  Don’t want to get my hopes up yet, but that was a thrilling victory on Sunday morning.  And forget about the debt ceiling deadline, what about the football lock out deadline.  The Hall of Fame game is set for August 7th when the Bears and Rams open the season and 7 new members are inducted.  Seriously, how does Deion Sanders really make the grade?  The latest speculation for resolution is July 21st.  No worries for me though, I have already taken my required NCAA and High School Federation rules tests and plan to be on the field for a pre-season game August 25th when Suitland takes on Douglass (That is a pretty hard hitting HS game in this area.)  You may be able to get more on lockouts and free agents on Wednesday the National Press Club when our friend Ted Leonsis, majority owner of the Capitals and the NBA’s Washington Wizards will speak at 12:30 p.m.

This morning, NOIA and API released a study from independent Quest Offshore that shows the important nationwide jobs and economic impact of the Gulf of Mexico offshore oil and gas industry and reveals the effect of permitting on those figures.  According to the study, the Gulf offshore oil and gas industry supported more than 240,000 jobs across the country while contributing more than $26 billion to the nation’s GDP in 2010.  Our friend Jim Noe gave the Guv a Harrumph, (tell me if you know that movie without linking) saying: “It is hard to understand why the Administration would not act decisively to seize the benefits of an improved permitting process.  As the Quest study reveals, thousands of good-paying jobs are literally on hold in the Gulf thanks to the government’s regulatory sluggishness.”

 

The mark-up for the TRAIN and Coal Ash legislation launches today at 5:00 p.m. with opening statements after a brief delay from last week.  My Colleague Scott Segal was one of the early testifiers on this legislation.  No predictions on the Senate’s interest, but they have to get it moving soon or the EPA TRAIN may be out of the station.  Coal ash on the other hand seems to be lost in the mail at EPA until after the next election despite the catcalls of the environmental community.  That said, some analysts are also predicting increased odds for Boiler MACT and maybe even Utility MACT delays by Congress. The FY 2012 Energy and Water spending bill is also on the House Floor starting today and the open rule process will be, well, very open, so expect a lot of time consumed and lots of amendments.

Tomorrow, the Senate Energy Committee is back in action on geothermal and solar legislation.  Our friend Dan Ellis of ClimateMaster, the industry’s leading manufacturer of geothermal heat pump, will be on the panel.  On Thursday, they may turn to the long-awaited oil and gas drilling legislation.  BOEMRE head Michael Bromwich will also go to House Resources on Friday morning to discuss the current state of the agency’s reform and permitting.

On Wednesday, the SAFE National Energy Security Summit will finally launch.  There will be a CEO panel moderated by NBC’s Meet The Press host David Gregory, as well as an Oil Shockwave simulation that will take pace. I will be moderating an afternoon panel that will focus on the future of offshore drilling featuring Thad Allen, Helix CEO Owen Kratz, BP’s Michael Finley and Peter Slaiby from the Shell Alaska team.

Some baseball news beyond Derrick Jeter’s 3,000th hit and the All-Star game approaching tomorrow night in Arizona (some much for the protests about Arizona hosting the game).  Our great B&G nuclear/loan guarantee expert Salo Zelermyer proudly traveled to Boston’s famed Fenway Park last week to watch his brother Gideon sing both the Canadian and U.S. national anthems at the Red Sox-Toronto Blue Jays game on July 5th.  This is the second time Gid has lead the sporting masses in patriotic anthemness.  Last February, he did the anthem double at a home Montreal Canadians game (including the full second verse in French, nice)  See the video on the link above ’cause the dude can sing…Sources say he did not have a Red Sox kipa though.

Only three days to the Harry Potter launch of the “Final Chapter” and how great are minor league baseball promotions.  Take a look at the Fresno Grizzlies “Harry Potter” jerseys which they wore Saturday night and eventually auctioned off for local charity.  Gotta love that.

Finally, keep your eyes peeled for another new announcement some time this week on the offshore wind backbone project called the Atlantic Wind Connection.  We’ll keep you posted.  Please call with questions on this and other issues.

IN THE NEWS

NOIA, API Study Says Offshore Drilling Delays Cost Jobs – A new study released today by the National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) and API that says the Gulf offshore oil and gas industry supported more than 240,000 jobs across the country while contributing more than $26 billion to the nation’s GDP in 2010.  But offshore industry-related jobs are down from 2008, the study shows, due in part to the poor economy, the deepwater moratorium, and the continuing slow pace of new drilling permits in the gulf. More than 60,000 jobs have been lost in the Gulf States alone since 2008, according to the study. There is potential for good news, though: the study also projects that if exploration and development permitting return to historic levels and backlogged projects are processed, the Gulf offshore industry could help create an additional 190,000 jobs by 2013 for a total of more than 400,000 industry supported jobs across the United States. The Gulf offshore industry could also contribute nearly $45 billion dollars to the nation’s GDP by 2013.  The study also found that the vast majority of industry-related spending, more than 95 percent, stays right here in the United States, creating more jobs and more economic growth at home, instead of sending it overseas.

Shallow Water Energy Group Calls for Action on Permitting – Jim Noe, executive director of the Shallow Water Energy Security Coalition, said today’s Quest Offshore Resources study’s projected employment growth is contingent upon the ability of BOEMRE regulators to resume the timely and efficient permitting process last seen pre-Macondo.  In other words, failure to improve the government’s offshore permitting process will leave jobs on the table and economic activity bottled up at a time that the country is scrambling to create new jobs and stimulate growth.  Noe: “It is hard to understand why the Administration would not act decisively to seize the benefits of an improved permitting process.  As the Quest study reveals, thousands of good-paying jobs are literally on hold in the Gulf thanks to the government’s regulatory sluggishness.  The Gulf is also poised to make a major contribution to America’s energy security for years to come, but only if the regulatory climate improves. This is low-hanging fruit for the Obama administration – substantial job growth and economic improvement that benefits America’s energy security is within reach.  All that is needed is to fix the permitting process in the Gulf right now.”

Indian Point Closure Would Make NYC Dirtier, Increase Costs – A new report from Charles River Associates says that NY Gov. Mario Cuomo’s plan to close the Indian Point nuclear Power plant would hurt air quality in New York City, increase the cost of electricity and make the city more susceptible to power shortages.  The report for the City of New York says shutting down the plant would increase the amount of carbon emissions in city and state air by at least 5-10%. Carbon emissions could jump as high as 15% if none of Indian Point’s 2,000 megawatts are replaced by sustainable power sources like wind farms.  It could increase wholesale electricity prices by 10% in the state, which would translate into a 5-10% increase in prices for New York consumers. Indian Point supplies 25% of the power for a service area that includes New York City and Westchester County.

TX Inclusion in EPA Rule Sparks Controversy – The EPA announced its new transport rule last Thursday and while the rules adds another layer on the trainwreck of issues facing utilities and the energy industry, it also strikes another significant blow at the battle between EPA and State of Texas.   The Lone Star state was told they will have to follow extra rules requiring them to make a 47% cut in their SO2 emissions by next year.  It is different from what EPA proposed last year, and that has Texas fuming, especially since a major of the jobs that have been created in the U.S. recently, have been in Texas.  TCEQ Chairman Bryan Shaw testified the week prior at the Senate Environment Committee and said EPA’s own data showed Texas power plant emissions have no negative impact on downwind states and only result in negative consequences.  The also complained that EPA failed to give sufficient or adequate notice regarding the potential details of Texas inclusion. The TCEQ requested a meeting with Administrator Jackson on June 7 to address these issues, but the EPA did not respond. The TCEQ and PUC wrote a joint letter to White House Office of Management and Budget Administrator Cass Sunstein on June 9 asking that he fully consider the effects of this rule upon Texas. TCEQ is concerned this rule will result in significant increases in the cost of power as well as curtailment or shutdowns of existing coal-fired plants in Texas. Other sources of electricity will not compensate for these shutdowns, especially in light of the Jan. 2012 compliance date. A large percentage of Texas coal fired generation is lignite or lignite blended with Wyoming coal, with 18 plants totaling over 11,000 MW of generation could prematurely shut down.  The consequences will be far-reaching on energy consumers, particularly elderly and low-income populations whose health and welfare are dependent on reliable energy without which they would face increased incidences of heat stress, heat stroke, and death.

Ethanol Deal Looks Done – Late last week, Senators John Thune, Amy Klobuchar and Diane Feinstein announced they had reached an agreement to reform the $0.45/gal volumetric ethanol excise tax credit (VEETC) and the $0.54/gal secondary ethanol import duty. The deal would generate a notional budget savings of $2 billion by ending the VEETC five months before its December 31, 2011 termination and allocate roughly $1.3 billion to deficit reduction and the remainder to ethanol (and alternative fuels) infrastructure.  Our friend and super analyst Kevin Book argued that U.S. resource politics are such that ethanol might be able to get a deal even without giving up all of the VEETC. He adds though that Senator Chuck Grassley’s support for the deal suggests that the strongest veteran industry backers aren’t willing to take the risk, a likely consequence of the 73-27 Senate stampede last month to rescind the VEETC.

Offshore Wind Costs Set To Fall Over Next Decade – A report by the wind and marine energy trade association RenewableUK says the cost for offshore wind projects will drop significantly over the next 10 years.  The report, compiled by independent technical consultancy BVG Associates, examines the whole-life cost of offshore wind projects, which includes capital expenditure, operational costs and the energy yield from the wind farms.  The whole-life cost of energy from U.K. offshore wind projects is expected to be driven down by more than 15% in real terms between now and 2022 under normal market conditions. Under favorable conditions, such as increased competition, lower exchange rates and stable commodity prices, the decrease in cost would be as much as 33%, according to the report.  The report also states that growing a dedicated supply chain in and around ports would be beneficial to lowering overall costs.

Health Agencies Issue Grants to Study Gulf Spill Impacts – National Institute of Health’s Institute of Environmental Health Sciences are providing a $25.2 million, five-year federal grant to study health effects from the 2010 BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill and subsequent cleanup, with a focus on women and children.  The Louisiana State University, Tulane University, the University of Florida and the University of Texas-Galveston will conduct research to evaluate the level of potentially harmful contaminants in air, water, and seafood, and assess their relationship to health outcomes.  The studies, first reported by our friends at the New Orleans Times-Picayune, will be the first joint research effort of its kind to study the effects on the general population along the affected coastline. The NIEHS is in the subject recruitment stage of an $18 million-plus, multiyear study — the Gulf Long-term Follow-up (GuLF) — designed to track cleanup workers who had direct exposure to the crude oil or chemical dispersants. To ensure research activities are responsive to the needs of local communities in the Gulf Coast region, the universities will partner with more than a dozen community organizations to incorporate local concerns and more effectively communicate research findings.

Duke, Progress Merger Votes Set – Duke Energy and Progress Energy have scheduled meetings on August 23rd for shareholders to vote on the merger of the two utilities.  The companies are mailing a joint proxy statement to shareholders today.  The meetings will take place in Charlotte and in Raleigh, respectively.  The combined utility would be the nation’s largest electrical utility and have more than 7.1 million electric customers in six states.  Progress CEO Bill Johnson is expected to lead the new company.

NC Gov Vetoes Legislation to Speed NatGas Drilling – Speaking of North Carolina, our friend Jim Brumm reports that the latest political attempt to put North Carolina on an energy fast track on hydraulic fracturing ended last week under the governor’s veto stamp.  One of 15 bills vetoed by Gov. Bev Perdue removed existing restrictions on fracking wells drilled into shale formations known to contain natural gas and encourage exploration of the state’s offshore energy reserves, thought to be mostly natural gas.  North Carolina has 64 million federal offshore acres, the most of any East Coast state and the fourth largest acreage among the U.S. coastal states.  The legislation called for a report from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources by May 2012 on regulatory changes needed to allow development of North Carolina’s shale gas resources.  It also directed the governor to begin negotiating a tri-state pact with the governors of Virginia and South Carolina to encourage President Obama to allow offshore energy exploration. She was also directed to work with North Carolina’s Congressional delegation to advocate for state revenue-sharing for resources off the coast.

Iowa Poll Shows Strong Support for Wind – A new poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies for the American Wind Energy Association Voters in Iowa – a state where 18.8% of the electricity has been generated by wind this year – overwhelmingly approves of wind energy and the companies that make it.  Results of the survey include that 85% of voters statewide have a favorable impression of wind energy and wind power companies, including 62% with a “very favorable” impression, a majority of Iowa voters choose wind as their preferred energy source for the state (more than a 3-to-1) over all other sources and over eight in 10 voters (81%) say wind energy companies have been good for the state’s economy, while 77% say these companies have helped bring new jobs to the state.  This really shouldn’t be a surprise since wind has been a great opportunity in Iowa where it remains among the fastest growing wind state in both production and manufacturing.

THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK:

WV Wind Turbines Start to Arrive at Site – The wind turbines for the new Pinnacle Wind Project at New Page in Keyser, WV begin to arrive at the site today.  Turbine deliveries are expected to continue through mid-August. When completed later this year, the wind farm will generate approximately 55 megawatts of electricity, enough power for over 14,000 households.  Pinnacle is being jointly developed by US Wind Force and Edison Mission Energy and represents a total investment of approximately $130 million.  It will be one of Mineral County’s largest taxpayers with property tax payments of approximately $10.7 million over the next 25 years.  The project has also established a Community Benefit Fund that will provide locally-controlled financial resources for worthy community projects.

Chamber to Host Jobs Summit – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is hosting its 2nd annual Jobs for America Summit 2011 today at 1:00 p.m. to focus on new jobs and manufacturing.  It will livestreamed on Facebook.   Experts will discuss how free enterprise can be unleashed to create the jobs America needs. Speakers will include GE CEO Jeff Immelt, Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue, Speaker Boehner Chief of Staff Barry Jackson, Harry Reid Chief of Staff David Krone, Chamber experts Bruce Josten and Bill Miller and Carol Haney of Harris Interactive.

Demand Response, Smart Grid Meeting – The National Town Meeting on demand response and smart grid issues will be held today and tomorrow at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.  The National Town Meeting is a non-profit event that pulls in top stakeholders from utilities, technology companies, RTOs, Congress, federal and state agencies, environmental groups, consumer groups, and research and consulting firms. They will all be there to assess the state of the industry and, with your help, to set the agenda for the years to come.  Topics to be covered include efficiency, demand response, Smart Grid, long-term planning, data access, electric vehicles and regional policies.  New for 2011, the National Town Meeting will feature an additional day dedicated to the effort of implementing FERC and DOE’s National Action Plan on Demand Response. The NAP Day Pre-Conference Workshop, on July 12, will be hosted by the National Action Plan Coalition.  The are numerous speakers lead by FERC Chair Jon Wellinghoff, FERC Commissioner Cheryl LeFleur, Sen. Mark Udall, DOE’s Patricia Hoffman, EDF’s Fred Krupp and many others.

Coal Ash, TRAIN Act Get Mark Up – After a brief delay, the House Energy and Commerce Committee starts its markup of two energy bills that prohibit the EPA from regulating coal ash as a hazardous waste and the TRAIN act, which would set up an interagency panel to study the costs of EPA regulations.  Open statements will be heard starting today at 5:00 p.m., while the committee convenes tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. to consider amendments and hold votes.

POLITICO Experts Talk Energy – Who cares about the baseball All-Stars when you can hear from the energy media All stars?  On Tuesday morning at 8:00 a.m., our friends Darren Samuelsohn, Robin Bravender, Darren Goode and their spiritual leader Dan Berman will hold their first POLITICO Pro Energy Breakfast Briefing.  Special guest will be Senate Energy staff Director Bob Simon.  The interactive conversation will cover the policies, politics and priorities in energy today.   You can view it here.

Energy Outlook Discussion Set – SNR Denton continues its “Energy Outlook Series: Summer 2011” tomorrow at 7:30 a.m. at the National Press Club.  Participants in the discussion include Assistant Energy Secretary for Policy and International Affairs David Sandalow; Clinton Vince, co-chairman of energy, transport, and infrastructure practice at SNR Denton; Michael Yackira, CEO of NV Energy; Darren Samuelsohn of Politico; Rick Smead, director of Navigant; Christopher McGee-Osborne, co-chairman of energy, transport and infrastructure practice at SNR Practice; Diana DePinto, senior adviser at Navigant; and James Dallas, partner at SNR Denton.

CSIS Forum to Address Arctic Oil, Gas Development – The Center for Strategic and International Studies Energy and National Security Program is holding a forum on Arctic oil and gas development starting tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. in its B1 Conference Level.  It will be the final session in its Impacts of the Gulf Oil Spill Series, which will evaluate the development of Arctic oil and gas resources.  The oil and gas resources of the Arctic region represent one of the most promising, largely untapped hydrocarbon resources in the world.  A 2008 U.S. Geological Survey study estimated the recoverable oil resources of the Arctic region at 90 billion barrels, about 13 percent of the world’s remaining oil resources and the gas resource at 1,670 trillion cubic feet, about 30 percent of the world’s remaining gas resource.  These oil and gas resources are located throughout the Arctic region and each of the five Arctic nations has prospective areas.  However, the development of these oil and gas resources faces a number of daunting issues.  The conference will examine several key issue areas including: the state of play in development plans and activities in each of the Arctic countries, oil spill risks, and the possibilities for international cooperation to reduce the risk of major accidents and contain accidents that do occur.   Panel Discussions will cover 1) Development and Infrastructure Options in Alaska’s Arctic and Market Challenges; 2) International Arctic Resource Developments and Opportunities and 3) Environmental Challenges for Arctic Development.  Confirmed speakers include Senate Energy’s Lisa Murkowski, Interior Deputy Secretary David Hayes and U.S. Arctic Research Commission chair Fran Ulmer, who also served on the BP Oil Spill Commission.

Senate Energy to Tackle Solar, Geothermal – The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will convene a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 am to examine S.1160, to improve the administration of the Department of Energy, S.1108, to provide local communities with tools to make solar permitting more efficient, and S.1142, to promote the mapping and development of the United States geothermal resources by establishing a direct loan program for high risk geothermal exploration wells, to amend the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 to improve geothermal energy technology and demonstrate the use of geothermal energy in large scale thermal applications.

Senate Environment to Look at Safe Drinking Water Act – The Senate Environment and Public Works’ Environment panel will hold a hearing on the EPA’s safe drinking water program at 10:00 a.m. in 406 Dirksen to review how EPA has gone about implementing the Safe Drinking Water Act’s Unregulated Drinking Water Contaminants Program. Witnesses will include EPA’s Robert Perciasepe, GAO’s David Trimble, GWU’s Lynn Goldman of the American Public Health Association, A.W. “Butch” Araiza of the West Valley Water District, expert Joseph Cotruvo, Steven Patierno of the George Washington University Cancer Institute and Jeffrey Griffiths of Tufts University.

Resources to Markup Energy Bills – The House Natural Resources will hold mark up Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. that includes a trio of energy bills from Chairman Doc Hastings that will streamline permitting for renewable energy projects. The committee is also slated to vote on a pro-drilling bill dealing with the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, a critical minerals bill and a measure that would pave the way for Resolution Copper’s long-sought after copper mine in southern Arizona.

SAFE to Hold Energy Security Summit – Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) will hold a National Summit on Energy Security tomorrow evening and Wednesday at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington, DC.  The event will bring together military leaders, CEOs and policymakers to address the threats posed by US dependence on oil.  Event will include a welcome dinner to kick off the event and feature a discussion on the national security and economic threats posed by our dependence on oil; an executive crisis simulation call Oil ShockWave, a fast-paced wargame simulation featuring a cutting-edge graphics package and sophisticated modeling delivered in a life-like environment, including participation from Admiral Dennis Blair, USN (Ret.), former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, Cheney National Security Advisor John Hannah, former Shell CEO John Hofmeister, past US Trade Rep Susan Schwab and General Charles F. Wald, USAF (Ret.), former Deputy Commander, U.S. European Command; a CEO Forum Luncheon featuring Fred Smith of FedEx and Andrew C. Taylor of Enterprise Holdings; Moderated panel discussions on specific aspects of the energy security issue spectrum and formulate paths forward; and a Capitol Hill reception featuring members of Congress who are leaders on energy security and electrification issues.

Electric Vehicle Ride, Drive Set – Smith Electric Vehicles is holding an event tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. to showcase vehicles and educate attendees on S.1285, the “Hybrid and Electric Trucks and Infrastructure Act.” Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo) and Smith Electric CEO of Vehicles Bryan Hansel will be present. The event will take place at First and C Streets.

Brookings to Release Report on Clean Energy – On Wednesday morning July 13th, the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings will bring together business, economic development and political leaders to review the progress of clean industries, identify policy issues and opportunities, and consider how faster and broader growth of the clean economy could be encouraged at the national, state and regional level. A report and first-of-its-kind database, produced in collaboration with Battelle’s Technology Partnership Practice, will be released at the event, providing new measures of the clean economy at the national and metropolitan levels. Also featured will be an interactive web tool that will allow users to track jobs, growth, segments, and other variables nationally, by state and by region.  Brookings Managing Director William Antholis will welcome participants and Bruce Katz, vice president and director of the Metropolitan Policy Program, will present the findings of this major new report on the status of the U.S. clean economy. Panel discussions will follow, presenting the corporate and regional perspective.  Our friend, Andy Revkin of New York Times’ dotEarth will moderate a panel that will feature ARPA-E Director Arun Majumdar, among others.

NJ to Host Innovation SummitNational Journal will host an Innovation Works conference on Wednesday at the Ronald Reagan Building to look at the link between new cutting-edge innovations and the public policy environment that incubates these new technologies.   Among the speakers will be ARPA-E head Dr. Arun Majumdar, Simon Tripp of Battelle and US House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy.

ASE to Host Forum on PACE – The Alliance to Save Energy will host another noon lunch on Wednesday featuring Alan Strachan, co-founder of Ygrene Energy Fund, and Greg Caplan, Senior Program Manager for Lockheed Martin Energy Solutions, discuss an innovative financing model for Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE).  American business is poised to launch a massive Retooling America campaign, with at least $500 billion of new capital investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy retrofits of existing buildings, plants and operations, 100% privately financed, producing 5 million jobs and reducing CO2 in the process. The driver behind this is the demand represented by roughly $1 trillion sitting on the sidelines, earning extremely low returns, and needing a safe place to park. The Commercial and Industrial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C&I PACE) laws in states covering two thirds of the country’s population provide a vehicle to move that money off the sidelines and place it safely and responsibly in energy efficiency and renewable energy capital assets. Retooling America with 100% private financing will dramatically reduce the federal deficit, while simultaneously moving the country toward energy independence and reducing American business’ exposure to fossil fuel price volatility. No federal legislation or funding is required or requested.  No state or local funding is needed.

Biomass Heat Symposium Set – The Alliance for Green Heat is organizing this stakeholder symposium on Wednesday afternoon at the Yates Training room of the US Forest Service to bring together non-profits, industry, government and forestry and air quality experts to explore how America can maximize the renewable energy potential of wood and pellet heat, and minimize associated drawbacks.  At the Symposium, they will also release a new report, “Transforming Wood Heat In America: A Toolkit of Policy Options.”  While residential wood heat is the dominant player in residential renewable energy, most wood heat appliances in America are outdated and emit too many particulates. Robust deployment of modern, high efficiency appliances in Europe has succeeded in helping make substantial strides towards energy independence.  Wood heat provides 80% of residential renewable energy in America, solar PV 15% and geothermal 5%. While older wood burning appliances are common, bringing modern, low-emission appliances to scale is one of the most cost effective ways to reduce residential fossil fuel use. Wood heat enjoys a deep cultural acceptance in America but policies to harness and transform it are lacking. This symposium explores the opportunities for policy makers to maximize the potential of residential wood heat to reduce fossil fuel use in a tight fiscal climate, while minimizing its drawbacks. The speakers will cover the policy landscape, sustainability and emissions issues, state and federal case studies and results of a new study on thermal biomass incentives.

House Energy Targets Regulations – The House Energy and Commerce’s environment and economy panel will hold a hearing at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday to look at legislation intended to slim down federal regulations. The committee has been focused on trimming regulations after hearing from OIRA head Cass Sunstein.

Senate Energy Finally Looks To Tackle Offshore Drilling – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold the long-awaited markup of its offshore drilling legislation on Thursday at 10:00 a.m.  The effort has been delayed as Chairman Jeff Bingaman and ranking member Lisa Murkowski search for a compromise measure over revenue sharing for coastal states.  The agenda still remains uncertain though and my friend Bill Wicker’s words should be taken to heart: “Bills will be dropped and bills will be added right up until Thursday.”

House T&I Look at Pipeline Safety – Given the discussion around the ExxonMobil pipeline spill in Montana, the Transportation and Infrastructure meets to review pipeline safety on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. in 2167 Rayburn.  Expect a lot of discuss about this and the Keystone pipeline discussion.

Senate Ag to Focus on Rural Jobs – The Senate Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing On Thursday at 10:00 a.m. in G-50 to focus on creating jobs in rural areas.

House Science to Look at IRIS – The House Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight will hold a hearing Thursday at 11:00 a.m. to review EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS).  Those of you who remember the fuel additive MTBE may remember that the IRIS was one of the tools opponents were using to attempt to block its use.  Witnesses include EPA Office of Research and Development AA Paul Anastas, GAO’s David Trimble, Jonathan Samet and Flora Thornton of the University of Southern California (they lead a recent NAS study), ACC President Cal Dooley, Rena Steinzor of the Center for Progressive Reform; Gail Charnley of HealthRisk Strategies and Elizabeth, NJ mayor Christian Bollwage.

Ridge to Address Natural Gas – The Natural Gas Roundtable will host a forum on Thursday at Noon in the University Club featuring former PA Governor and first Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge.  Governor Ridge will discuss natural gas issues, something he has been working on with the Marcellus Shale Coalition.  Following the tragic events of September 11, 2001, Tom Ridge became the first Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and, on January 24, 2003, became the first Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Before the events of September 11th, Tom Ridge was twice elected Governor of Pennsylvania.

Nuke Panel to Address State of Industry – The US Nuclear Infrastructure Council is holding a Nuclear Roundtable luncheon at Monocle Restaurant on Thursday at noon to discuss the current on-going nuclear issues.  Participants include Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN) and Llewellyn King, executive producer and host of the “White House Chronicle” on PBS.

Forum to Look at Oil DependenceOurEnergyPolicy.org, Rep. Roscoe Bartlett and Rep. Peter Welch – co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Peak Oil Caucus – will host an expert discussion on Thursday at Noon in 2325 Rayburn to look at the economics of America’s oil dependence.  From industrial productivity to the daily commute to putting food on the table, the price of oil has a huge impact on the American people and economy. Oil prices correlate to food prices and home foreclosures; and oil price shocks tend to precede — and many suspect cause — recessions and spikes in unemployment. Factor in government incentives, geopolitical realities, environmental impacts, and the military deployments needed to keep the oil flowing, and the true cost of America’s reliance on oil starts to come into focus.  Speakers will include former Louisiana Senator J. Bennett Johnston, Co-Author of The Impending World Energy Mess Roger Bezdek, and Eyal Aronoff, Co-Founder of Quest Software.

House Oversight to Look at Mining Permit Problems – A House Oversight and Government Reform panel will hold a hearing on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. to discuss the EPA’s new standards for issuing Clean Water Act permits for mountaintop removal coal mines.

Bromwich to Appear at House Resources – The House Natural Resources Committee hold a hearing on Friday at 9:00 a.m. to review Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s plans to revamp the agency responsible oversight of offshore oil and gas development.  The hearing will focus on Interior’s ongoing efforts to separate MMS into three separate bureaus tasked with revenue collection, leasing and permitting, and environmental enforcement.  Witnesses will include Administrator Bromwich as well as others.

House Energy Panel to Look at Pipeline Safety – The House Energy and Commerce’s power subpanel meets Friday at 9:30 a.m. in 2322 Rayburn to review a draft pipeline safety bill. A draft plan released Friday by House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) echoes key provisions of a pipeline bill that Senate Democrats advanced in May while taking a stronger tack in at least one respect — requiring that companies notify the National Response Center “not later than one hour” after any spill of oil or gas along their lines.

Forum to Look at Transmission’s Economic Impacts – EESI and WIRES (Working group for Investment in Reliable and Economic electric Systems) will hold a briefing on Friday at 10:00 a.m. in the Congressional Meeting Room North of the Capitol Visitor Center to discuss how the manufacture and construction of electric transmission infrastructure can make a major contribution to reversing the nation’s stagnation in employment and economic activity. The electric transmission system is a critical and strategic asset for our nation. As policymakers focus on infrastructure development as an engine of new jobs and economic activity, this panel is a reminder that electric transmission – developed at the levels that experts project the country will need over the next two decades – is at the center of economic revitalization. This briefing will focus on WIRES’ recent study with the Brattle Group, Employment and Economic Benefits of Transmission Infrastructure Investment in the U.S. and Canada, and the work of other organizations that demonstrate that new transmission will result in hundreds of thousands of jobs over the next 20 years and that this impetus will be supplied largely by private capital. Speakers for this event include Brattle Groups principal Hannes Pfeifenberger, IBEW’s Jim Hunter, NREL analyst Eric Lantz and Randy Fordice of Great River Energy and CapX2020.

Forum to Look at Climate, Security – The Environmental Law Institute will host a brown bag lunch at 12:30 p.m. on Friday to address the security implications of climate change.  The beginning of the year 2011 was marked by climate related disasters with serious implications for human well-being. In Queensland, Australia, floods surged through the region, setting Brisbane, Australia’s third largest city, under water, and killing at least 19 people. In Brazil, more than 500 people perished when mudslides caused by heavy rain covered and destroyed their homes, making it the worst natural disaster in several decades. Politics has recognized this trend, with the UN Security Council debating the security implications of climate change in July 2011. Observed climate change is a fact, with scientists linking observations in sea level rise and global mean temperatures to increasing CO2 emissions. Whereas the science on anthropogenic climate change has advanced quickly, an analysis of the impacts for (human) security is lagging.  Christian Webersik will describe his work to fill this gap in the literature by examining the impacts of climate change on security, resource scarcity, natural hazards, and environmentally-induced migration, with evidence from sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean. Strategies to mitigate climate change, such as the production of biofuels or nuclear energy, will have unintended consequences, affecting food security and nuclear safety. These developments have been under-researched, and will play an important role if societies decide to reduce emissions drastically.  Webersik is currently working at the Centre for Development Studies at the University of Agder as Associate Professor. His general research interests are the role of natural resources in armed conflict, climate change and security, natural hazards and development, and post-conflict economic recovery.

AOL, HuffPost Execs Address Journalism Issues – Less than six months since the biggest merger in online news history, The National Press Club will hold a luncheon speech on Friday featuring AOL Chief Executive Tim Armstrong and Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington to discuss the deal, its aftermath and the future of journalism.  Since its $315 million purchase of Huffington Post in February, AOL has hired some of the biggest names in journalism (including our friend Tom Zeller from the NY Times) while simultaneously eliminating the jobs of hundreds of full and part-time writers, editors and other employees across the country.  Along with remaking its own business, AOL is reshaping the entire news industry with outlets such as Patch, Huffington Post and AOL specialty brands such as AOL Energy, AOL Defense and the planned AOL Government. AOL can now boast a news staff is as large as that of the New York Times, and recently Huffington Post surpassed the Times in unique monthly online visitors for the first time ever.   As chairman and CEO, Tim Armstrong is responsible for setting strategy and overseeing the businesses and day-to-day operations of AOL. He joined the company in April 2009 from Google, were he had been in charge of Google’s North American advertising sales. Arianna Huffington is president and editor-in-chief of AOL’s new Huffington Post Media Group, which includes the Huffington Post, AOL Media and AOL Local Properties. Her life has crisscrossed the worlds of politics and media. Remarks by Armstrong and Huffington will begin at 1:00 p.m., followed by a question-and-answer session.

Forum to Look at Defense Dept’s Energy Use – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program and Defense-Industrial Initiatives Group will hold a forum on Friday at 2:30 p.m. featuring Sharon Burke, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Plans and Programs to present key details of the Defense Department’s strategy on operation energy.  Burke’s remarks will be followed by an expert panel discussion. On Thursday, the Department of Defense released its first ever “Operational Energy Strategy” which outlines how the department can better use energy resources to support their strategic goals, the country’s broader energy security goal, lower risks to the warfighter, and more efficiency allocate and save taxpayer resources.

THE WEEKS AHEAD:

Jaczko to Address Nuke Issues at Press Club – Gregory Jaczko, Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, will address the National Press Club at a luncheon on Monday, July 18th.  Jaczko will talk about lessons learned by the nuclear power industry in the aftermath of Japan’s March 11 Fukushima nuclear disaster, which stands as the most serious nuclear accident since the Chernobyl meltdown in 1986. The NRC is scheduled to meet on July 19th to consider a report on the Fukushima disaster and how it pertains to the US nuclear industry.  In May of 2009, President Obama appointed Jaczko chairman of the NRC, where he had served as a commissioner since 2005. Before Fukushima, Jaczko and the commission had been working to reinvigorate the US nuclear sector. Electric utilities had been planning to begin building nuclear plants again after 30 years of inactivity, but in light of the Japan disaster, new questions have arisen.  The July 18 luncheon will begin promptly at 12:30 p.m. and Jaczko’s remarks will begin at 1:00 p.m., followed by a question-and-answer session.

Woodruff to Headline NACo Meeting – NACo’s 76th Annual Conference and Exposition will be held next Monday and Tuesday in Multnomah County, (Portland) Oregon. The Annual Conference’s keynote speaker will be ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff and Aron Ralston, the inspiration for the film 127 Hours.  The meeting provides county officials with a great opportunity to vote on 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.

Forum to Look at Climate, Security, Mitigation – The Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars will host a forum on Monday July 18th at 3:00 p.m. in it Reagan Building offices that will look at efforts to address climate change through mitigation and adaptation often fail to include analysis of the conflict or peacebuilding potential of such actions. Developing this analysis will help provide practical input to decision-making in a variety of arenas: choosing among alternative energy technologies in specific settings; implementing conflict-sensitive ecosystem services schemes; sourcing inputs to green technologies; strengthening natural resource management institutions for adapting to greater variability; or negotiating use norms for large-scale technology deployments.  Through a series of convening and publishing activities entitled Backdraft, the Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program is facilitating a debate on the conflict and peacebuilding potential of climate change responses. Join us for a discussion with three authors featured in a forthcoming set of Backdraft articles from the Environmental Change and Security Program Report. The Wilson Center’s Geoff Dabelko will lay out the case for incorporating these conflict considerations into mitigation and adaptation decision-making. Drawing from their analyses of specific interventions, Dennis Taenzler from the Berlin-based Adelphi Research, will analyze Reduced Emissions through Deforestation and Forest Degradation schemes through a conflict lens, and Christian Webersik, author of the 2010 book Climate Change and Security, will examine the impacts of biofuels, carbon capture and storage, and nuclear energy.

AT&T’s Stephenson, ARPA-E’s Majumdar at July NARUC Meeting – Top federal officials, CEOs from major telecommunications firms, energy producers, and renewable developers will address the nation’s State public service commissioners during the July 17-20, 2011, National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners Summer Committee Meetings.  The meetings, held at the JW Marriott at the new LA Live! complex in Los Angeles, will feature keynote addresses and panel discussions on meeting global energy supply, building out the nation’s utility infrastructure, and the state of the U.S. telecommunications sector.  Confirmed speakers for the Summer Committee Meetings include AT&T Chairman, President, and CEO Randall Stephenson, Chesapeake Energy Chairman, CEO Aubrey McClendon, Peabody Energy Chairman, CEO Gregory Boyce, American Water Works CEO Jeff Sterba, Comcast Corp. Executive Vice President David Cohen, American Wind Energy Association CEO Denise Bode, Solar Alliance President Carrie Cullen Hitt, American Electric Power President Nick Akins, and many more.  Dr. Arum Majumdar, Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy and Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Energy, will deliver keynote remarks as well.  The Summer Meetings will feature three crucial general sessions: 1) Monday, July 18: Global Energy Supply: How Will We Meet what the World Needs in a Time of Uncertainty? 2) Tuesday, July 19: The State of Telecommunications, 2011 and 3) Wednesday, July 20: The Money Pit: How do you Finance the Future, and Who Pays for It?  In addition, NARUC’s committees will conduct business meetings, consider policy resolutions, and hold a number of additional panel discussions. For a complete list, please visit the NARUC Meetings Webpage.  Please note committee agendas are subject to change.

Forum Looks at Next Farm Bill – The Environmental Law and Policy Center (ELPC) and Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will hold two briefings on Tuesday, July 19th on the energy title of the Farm Bill, with a special focus on the Rural Energy for America Program.  The first will be at 10:00 a.m. in 1300 Longworth and the second will be in 188 Russell at 2:00 p.m.  Big decisions loom in the next Farm Bill, including for key farm energy programs. The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) incentivizes a broad range of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies for all agricultural sectors across the country. As a result, thousands of rural producers and businesses are slashing energy costs with energy efficiency and renewable energy. They also are earning new income from renewable energy and creating new jobs, income, and wealth across rural America. This briefing will provide an overview of the Farm Bill Energy Title, as well as specific examples of dairy and poultry producers, rural electric cooperatives, and other rural producers and small businesses from across the country that have benefitted from the REAP program.  Speakers will include Bill Midcap of the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, Bennie Huchins of Mississippi’s Ag Energy Resources, former Natural Resource Conservation Service chief Bruce Knight and Andy Olsen of the Environmental Law & Policy Center.

Hydro Conference Set for Sacramento – HydroVision International will be held on July 19-22 in Sacramento, CA and will address the effects, solutions and the plan for advancing sustainable hydropower throughout the world.  HydroVision International will highlight perspectives on the role of hydropower, explore issues affecting hydro resources, and help participants develop a vision to meet challenges and ensure the future sustainability of hydro. This event will bring together a broad range of global hydro professionals with environmental, technical, social, and regulatory perspectives

Ford To Talk Fuel Efficiency at WAPA Lunch – The Washington Automotive Press Assn (WAPA) will host its July luncheon on Wednesday, July 20th at Noon in the National Press Club.  Ford’s Susan Cischke, Group Vice President of Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering, will discuss fuel efficient products and safety innovations.

Forum on Cool Roofs Set – EESI will hold a briefing on Thursday, July 21st at 2:00 p.m. in SVC 212/210 Capitol Visitor Center to look at the potential for solar-reflective roofs and other “cool-roofing” techniques to lower the surface temperature of buildings and entire cities. Cool roofs improve comfort on hot summer days and reduce the amount of energy used for air-conditioning – thereby reducing energy costs and improving air quality. Whitening flat roofs is a low-cost solution which, if implemented in certain cities across the globe, has been estimated to have the potential to offset the carbon emissions of 300 million automobiles. At this briefing, renowned physicist and energy efficiency expert Arthur Rosenfeld will discuss research at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) that for the first time quantifies the reflective power (albedo) of urban surfaces that would be necessary to mitigate the urban heat-island effect and offset carbon dioxide emissions. Panelists also will discuss insulated and vegetated (“green”) roofs and how different types of cool roofs may be combined or integrated with solar-roofing systems, photovoltaics (PV) and/or solar thermal technology.  Introductory remarks will be by Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE).  Panel speakers will include Arthur Rosenfeld of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, James Hoff of the Center for Environmental Innovation in Roofing, Buildings and Energy expert in NYC Mayor Bloomberg’s Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability Laurie Kerr and GSA’s Kevin Kampschroer, Director of the Office of Federal High-Performance Green Buildings.

Forum to Look at Transportation Electrification – IEEE will hold its 2011 Power & Energy Society (PES) General Meeting on July 24 – 28 at the Renaissance Center in Detroit, MI to look at the electrification of transportation and the grid of the future.  The meeting will feature power engineers, executives, policy makers and academics from all over the world who will promote, share, and discuss various issues and developments in the field of electrical power engineering. Speakers will include DTE’s Tony Earley and Ford’s Nancy Gioia.

Aspen Institute Security Forum Set – As we approach the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the Aspen Institute’s Homeland Security Program, in partnership with The New York Times, will hold its second annual Aspen Security Forum, July 27-30. The Forum will bring together top-level government officials, industry leaders, and leading thinkers for three days of in-depth discussions at our Aspen Meadows campus in Aspen, Colorado on the state of aviation security, maritime security, border security, mass transit security, intelligence, critical infrastructure protection, cybersecurity, counterterrorism strategy, terrorism finance, and much more. The Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, Michael Leiter, is confirmed to speak at this summer’s Aspen Security Forum.  Other speakers include Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, former DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff and many other great security experts.

Chamber Energy Group to Host Shell CEO – The Institute for 21st Century Energy and the National Chamber Foundation will hold another CEO Leadership Series luncheon event featuring Marvin E. Odum, President of Shell Oil Company, and Director of Royal Dutch Shell’s Upstream companies in the Americas on Thursday July 28th at Noon.  Odum is responsible for Shell’s exploration and production businesses in the western hemisphere, including unconventional gas and oil sands projects.

WCEE to Look at Alternative Technologies – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a forum at Johnny on the Half Shell on Friday, July 29th at 8:00 a.m. looking at enhancing America’s energy independence through electric vehicles and other modes of clean, alternative transportation  .  It is part of WCEE’s Summer 2011 Legislative Roundtable Discussion featuring key Congressional staff involved in drafting legislation that is focused on the US goal of enhancing energy security through reducing our dependence on foreign oil and the rapid promotion of clean, alternative transportation, such as electric and natural gas-powered vehicles.  This event will provide an opportunity to hear directly from, and interact with, the staff of the key authors of such legislation and to meet other experts in the field.

CIBO Meeting on Emissions Set for Portland – The Council of Industrial Boiler Owners will hold its Industrial Emissions Conference in Portland, Maine at the Holiday Inn hotel on August 1st – 4th.  Expected topics will include discussions the current policy status of Boiler MACT issues.