Today and this week is all about the EPA GHG rule for existing power plants. While there are many things to discuss, let me just say below I have a EPA GHG primer like no other. Scott Segal (202-828-5845) and Jeff Holmstead (202-828-5852) will be available throughout the day to comment.
Segal says EPA’s proposed rule on carbon emissions from existing power plants is expensive, controversial, and intrusive for households and small businesses. It will not decrease global warming, and may even worsen public health and electric reliability. He offers a full-throated, detailed discussion of the rule here.
Just a few thoughts on other on things going on: 1) Sad that the only “maid” in my childhood, Alice (San Antonio resident Ann B. Davis) passed away last night; 2) HBO debuted its telecast of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame concert (we discussed in an earlier update) and is worth watching; 3) Broadway meets Hollywood for Lord Stanley’s Cup as the Kings finished the defending champ Chicago Blackhawks with a Game & OT winner last night and will now face the New York Rangers (Game 1 is Wednesday); and finally 4) next week starts the World Cup of Soccer in Brazil (we will discuss more next week).
Also for your calendar, on Thursday of this week, the Chemical Safety Board is scheduled to announce at least part of its Macondo report. CSB’s findings are expected to focus substantively on deficiencies in organizational behavior and culture. If you’d like to learn more in anticipation of the report or discuss its findings, please reach out to the Bracewell team working on these issues — Kevin Ewing, Jason Hutt and Lowell Rothschild.
Lots of event on GHGs this week so make sure you scroll down to the week’s events below. Call with questions.. and tell EPA: Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!!!
THE BIG NEWS
EPA Rolls Out Rule for Existing Power Plants –EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy unveiled EPA’s proposal for new source performance standards (NSPS) for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from existing power plants. The plan hopes cut GHGs from power plants by 30 % by 2030. The rule, which is expected to be final next year, will set the first-ever national limits on carbon dioxide.
President Not There, but In Spirit – On Friday, the Administration locked up an earlier soft back track that the President would attend the announcement. Two weeks ago, McCarthy told an audience the President would attend the roll out and make the announcement because the issue was so important to him. Even as they rolled back for sure on Friday, departing Press sect Jay Carney said we own this and he’s proud to own it,” Carney said during his daily White House briefing. While the president didn’t appear, he still discussed it in his Saturday radio address and joins public health groups on a conference call this afternoon to tout the rule.
The Details – The rule would allow states up to three years to submit plans to meet the goal and will be finalized by next year. Initial compliance plans will be due June 30, 2016, but states could get a one-year or two-year extensions . For a two-year extension, states would have to join a multi-state plans. EPA will allow existing plans to count toward reductions and will have to set a state carbon intensity goal by 2020. Key elements will be aimed 1) Making fossil fuel power pants more efficient, 2) Using low-emitting power sources more frequently; 3) Expanding zero- and low-carbon power sources, such as wind, solar and nuclear and 4) Using electricity more efficiently.
President Visits Asthmatic Children, But… – While the President visited children with asthma over the weekend during his Weekly radio address, the White House calculated that a focus on sick children will play better politically. Interestingly, it was the White House itself that undercut this claim in its Endangerment Finding, which the whole regulatory edifice is built upon. “To be clear, ambient concentrations of carbon dioxide and the other greenhouse gases, whether at current levels or at projected ambient levels under scenarios of high emissions growth over time, do not cause direct adverse health effects such as respiratory or toxic effects. All public health risks and impacts described here as a result of elevated atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases occur via climate change.” That is Washington DC Political irony at its best.
Who Is Covered? – EPA says there 1,000 fossil fuel fired power plants with 3,000 units covered by the rule, EPA said. Vermont and DC are left out because they have no fossil Power plants.
Pages – The rule runs 645 pages.
The Link – You can see the actual proposed rule here: http://www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2014-05/documents/20140602proposal-cleanpowerplan.pdf
Segal React – Having undertaken an initial review of the rule, we are still deeply troubled by its potential to raise bills for families, small businesses, schools and hospitals without providing any real benefit in reducing global warming or public health concerns. The energy rationing assumed by implementation of the rule will make US manufacturing less competitive, costing jobs and harming economic recovery. Some have suggested that the 30 percent target is more reasonable than anticipated. But the truth is that the most cost-effective reductions since 2005 (perhaps the first 10 percent) have already been undertaken. What is left on the road to 2030 is increasingly more expensive and less tested alternatives. Further, we are certain that EPA will be looking for particular benchmarks in anticipation of 2030 as it goes through the process of reviewing state implementation plans. They always do – and have even been known to reject state plans sight unseen. Further, If the economy does grow as the Administration certainly would hope, so will energy demand, which will complicate the glide path the EPA anticipates. We were pleased to see that EPA has opted for a 120 day comment period, particularly given the complexities of the proposal. But much depends on implementation, and the recent EPA track record hasn’t been very good on working cooperatively with the states or the regulated community. More on that in question one of Scott’s ERCC document again.
Holmstead React – Former EPA Air chief Jeff Holmstead said the EPA rule as a practical matter would require all states to impose a cap-and-trade program or a carbon tax on power producers. Holmstead: “It is striking that the Administration justifies the rule based on concerns about temperature increases and sea level rise and “climate and weather disasters” but doesn’t say anything about what the rule would do to reduce temperature or sea level or weather-related disasters. That’s because it will do essentially nothing.” On cost, Holmstead said If we want to reduce carbon emissions, the cost of energy will increase and there will be adverse economic consequences. It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t reduce carbon emissions, but we should be honest about what this effort will mean for families and businesses. There is no way around the fact that increasing the cost of electricity will make us less competitive internationally.
ERCC Response Points
ERCC on Flexibility – Flexibility needs to be demonstrated in practice, not just in promises, and it is definitely in the eye of the beholder. However, EPA can be a little inconsistent when it comes to flexibility in implementing rules or working with states. Recently, EPA has rejected state proposals on regional haze even before those proposals were submitted to the Agency for review, disrupted a flexible air permit program it had previously approved, forcing industrial facilities to coin a whole new word to describe EPA’s behavior – to “deflex” and went all the way to the Supreme Court to defend the Agency’s right to superimpose a federal program in place of state controls. In each of these cases, EPA has shown to not be very flexible. But it is also fair to ask what EPA means when it claims to be flexible in this case. The Agency may attempt to use its alleged authority to create a cap and trade system without legislative authorization. It may attempt to force states to adopt policies that restrict energy use for households, from when you can run the air conditioner to when you can wash your clothes. It may force small businesses and factories to agree to temporary shutdowns or rationing in order to facilitate energy savings or intermittent renewable sources. It has even been suggested that EPA might use Section 111(d) to establish new taxes on energy. While Section 111(d) might be used to pursue a broad variety of goals, that is not the kind of flexibility most Americans are likely expecting or want.
ERCC on Reducing Global Warming Impacts – Based on EPA’s approach for analyzing the temperature and sea level effects of reducing CO2 emissions, a complete shutdown of U.S. coal-fired power plants is projected to reduce the average global temperature by about 1/20th of a degree F; and to reduce sea level by about 1/25th of an inch. This assumes that any power generation built to replace these plants would be carbon free – an assumption that is obviously unrealistic. If the Administration’s proposal is to reduce carbon emissions from power plants by 25%, the effects on temperature and sea level would obviously be much less – perhaps 1/80th of a degree F and 1/100th of an inch. It will be interesting to see whether EPA provides any of these estimates on Monday when it releases the proposal. But, even this almost undetectable reduction in global warming is unlikely to occur given that other nations are unlikely to follow our lead in reducing carbon emissions. US carbon emissions have been stable or declined over the last decade. By contrast, Chinese emissions have increased over 170% while Indian emissions have increased over 90%. There is little evidence that our trade competitors will “follow our lead” on carbon regulation when the competitive advantage of their industries hang in the balance. Indeed, as manufacturing moves overseas in search of more optimal regulatory conditions, even more carbon will be released as less efficient factories churn out goods that must then be transported thousands of miles back to US customers. Our trading partners with measurably worse environmental records may be the real winners when the US goes it alone with unilateral carbon regulations.
ERCC on EPA/WH Public Health Claims – Because the rule produces little if any benefits, the Administration appears to be confusing the rule with one designed to address conventional air pollution. The fact is that EPA admits that conventional air pollution has been on decline for years and the Agency has adopted a number of recent rules to address the very sort of emissions it now claims to be reducing with the carbon rule. Put another way, the Agency continues to pile on new costs but claims the same old benefits it has used before to justify other costly rules. This is called double accounting, and frankly it got some folks in serious trouble a few years ago at Enron and in the home mortgage industry.
ERCC: Rule Could Actually Make Public Health Worse – In fact, by increasing energy costs, the proposed rule could make public health worse. This is true in two ways: by increasing the cost of medical care and treatment; and by imposing real threats on human health by suppressing economic growth and the improved health it brings. With respect to treatment costs, U.S. hospitals spend $8.5 billion annually on energy, often equaling between one and three percent of a hospital’s operating budget. Furthermore, EPA estimates, in the U.S., the health sector is the second most energy-intensive commercial sector overall. Hospital administrators will have no choice but to pay attention to the cost of energy as surging energy costs will squeeze hospital budgets like never before. Without an adequate supply of affordable power, the healthcare sector and the American public can expect increasing costs that consumers can ill-afford.
ERCC on Reliability Impacts – As a result of the combination of EPA’s regulations, including the proposed rule for new and existing power plants, the country may experience a shortage of electricity, and electric reliability will face substantial risks. The loss of future coal-fired generation, investment in current coal-fired generation, and closures of existing coal- fired generation capacity that may result from the combination of the proposed rule and other EPA regulatory actions risk a variety of reliability problems. In most cases, coal-fired plants cannot be replaced overnight by natural gas plants, as the time it takes to install pipeline and other infrastructure necessary even to begin conversion of an old plant or construction of a new one is considerable.
This Winter’s Cold Snap Exposed Reliability Weakness – The cold weather this winter made it clear that coal-fired generation, much of which is currently scheduled to be retired as a result of EPA rules, is vital to the reliability of our electricity supply. In some areas, coal-fired plants thought to be obsolete were discovered to be essential to reliability, and one of the nation’s largest electricity generators reported that 89 percent of the coal-fired generation slated for retirement by 2015 as a result of EPA rules was needed to supply electricity during the cold weather. These events were not isolated, as electricity generators in Texas and the Southeast faced extreme demands and had to take measures to ensure that coal-fired generation was available, even as those plants faced retirement in the coming years. EPA’s estimates of plant closures in the context of other recent power-plant rules has proven unreliable and its consultation with reliability experts elsewhere in the federal government has been spotty at best. EPA needs to carefully consider the consequences of polices that may not allow for a flexible and reliable supply of electricity, because the impacts of reliability problems can be devastating. The downside impacts of reduced electric reliability are substantial and must be taken into account in any responsible analysis of the proposed rule.
Congress is Next – Without hesitation, the House Energy and Commerce Committee said it will hold a hearing in its Energy & Power Panel for the week of June 16 on the new GHG rule. I don’t think I need to tell you they don’t like it.
Then Public Hearings – The EPA will hold four public hearings on the proposed rule to cut power plants’ greenhouse gas emissions, according to the text of the proposed rule. The hearings will begin in Denver and Atlanta July 29, with a hearing in Pittsburgh on July 31. There will also be a hearing that week (of July 28th) in Washington, D.C. The details will be announced in the Federal Register.
Some Outside Media Analysis – My friends Zack Colman and Brad Plumer have two good pieces I wanted to forward: 1) Zack Colman in the Washington Examiner: 7 things to know about the coming EPA rule. And 2) Brad Plumer in VOX: 6 charts that show the broader context behind the EPA rule.
Former W.H. Press Sect Weighs In – Fox News personality and former Bush White House Press Sect (and B&G Friend) Dana Perino tweeted yesterday to her 504,000 followers: “Be wise: New EPA rule is $$$$, illegal, intrusive. Plus, fails global warming & health concerns. Scott Segal writes: tinyurl.com/jwe6227
Brookings on the Road to Cap, Trade – Interestingly, Brookings raised concerns about this approach leading from a 111(d) rule to cap and trade and new taxes.
Chamber Says Rule Will Be Costly – A new report from IHS for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy says EPA plans to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants will cost America’s economy over $50 billion a year between now and 2030. The report, Assessing the Impact of Potential New Carbon Regulations in the United States, estimates the economic impacts associated with an EPA regulatory regime imposed under Section 111 of the Clean Air Act and based on the Obama Administration’s emissions reduction goals. The analysis found that EPA’s potential new carbon regulations would also lead to 224,000 fewer U.S. jobs, force U.S. consumers to pay $289 billion more for electricity and lower total disposable income for U.S. households by $586 billion. Finally, the analysis found that EPA regulations would reduce overall emissions level by just 1.8%.
NRDC Says Rule will provide Benefits – The Natural Resources Defense Council says the administration’s pending rules on carbon standards for power plants will create thousands of jobs and reduce electricity bills by $37.4 billion by the end of the decade if they give states the flexibility to reduce emissions through energy efficiency. Its analysis said the standards have the potential to create 274,364 jobs in the United States and save each household an average of $103 on their electricity bills in 2020. The group said that if EPA’s proposed rules for power plants — slated for release on Monday — look anything like an NRDC suggestion to increase energy efficiency to cut carbon pollution by 531 million tons annually, the savings could mean real benefits for states.
Segal Counters Unrealistic NRDC Report – Of course, my colleague Scott Segal says the NRDC approach is based on unrealistic energy efficiency goals. NRDC concedes that carbon rules for the existing power-plant fleet will in fact increase electric rates significantly. With 30,000 megawatts of additional retirements, some 14 million households will face higher bills. Unfortunately, studies show that the lowest 10% are most impacted by these increases. Segal adds the NRDC conclusion will only pan out if, and only if, the carbon rules achieve substantial energy efficiency. The annual figure NRDC assumes is beyond what any state, no matter how green, has achieved and is wholly unrealistic. Further, the economy remains in doldrums, with growth stunted over the last five years. If economic recovery picks up – which the Administration believes is likely – counting on appreciably less energy use is a recipe for perpetual decline and is inconsistent with other Administration goals. And if you can’t achieve the energy efficiency targets, it will lead to energy rationing.
Georgia PSC Commissioner Hammers Rule – So much for State cooperation… Georgia PSC Commissioner Stan Wise blasted the proposal, saying these overreaching rules trump state authority, put energy users at risk to future price swings, ignores the investments and progress Georgians have made to improve the environment, and are a backdoor attempt to force federal renewable energy mandates. The Administration is placing all of the state’s energy consumers at risk of escalating prices and energy interruptions, with only slight reductions in carbon emissions to show for it. When natural gas commodity rates spike again, as they did over a decade ago, this fragile economic recovery could return to a downward spiral. Wise Continued “The Administration is also going beyond the authority given under the Clean Air Act in order to devise a back door attempt to federally-mandate renewable energy and energy efficiency standards, without regard to the cost on consumers. The Clean Air Act specifically reserves flexible implementation options to the states where the best overall balance can and has been struck. Although the Administration claims to offer states a wide menu of options to achieve reductions, you can only choose from two entrées – cap and trade, which translates to higher electric rates when we southerners use our air conditioners, or more renewables like solar, which is not a substitute for the base load generation that coal provides. “
Enviros are For Rule – Our friend Darren Goode had the best update on the POLITICO Whiteboard: Environmental groups hail EPA. While that is not shocking news, a coalition of environmental groups said EPA has issued a “bold” proposed greenhouse gas standard for existing power plants, said. “This bold step will help protect public health and our communities from the impacts of climate change and further spark clean energy innovation that will drive the next generation of economic growth,” said a joint statement from the Center for American Progress, Earthjustice, Environment America, Environmental Defense Fund, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council and Sierra Club. The heavyweights of the environmental movement descended on the EPA for the official announcement of the agency’s proposed climate change regulation for existing power plants. Those in attendance included: Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune, Natural Resources Defense Council President Frances Beinecke, League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski and many more.
Political Fallout – Speaking of Goode, he also has some good insights on the political implications of the rule for some Democrats this fall.
WaPo Analysis of Tim Kaine’s Reponses to the Rule – The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake looked at VA Sen. Tim Kaine’s bland statement and translated into political speak. It is quite entertaining.
Coal Group Opposed – The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) blasted the EPA following initial review of today’s proposed rule on GHGs from existing power plants. They said the rule will spur devastating economic impacts including job losses and energy costs. “If these rules are allowed to go into effect, the administration for all intents and purposes is creating America’s next energy crisis,” said Mike Duncan, president and CEO of ACCCE. “As we predicted, the administration chose political expediency over practical reality as it unveiled energy standards devoid of commonsense and flexibility. These guidelines represent a complete disregard for our country’s most vital fuel sources, like American coal, which provides nearly 40 percent of America’s power, reliably and affordably.”
ANGA: Rule Will Boost Gas Use – ANGA says the new rules could boost gas demand for electricity by as much as 45% between 3 billion cubic feet per day up to 10 billion from the rule. While the rule would help boost that demand, ANGA said because nation’s large natgas reserves, there would likely be very little impact on price. ANGA President Marty Durbin said the industry can easily produce the additional gas needed by shifting into shale plays where it can recover dry gas. Durbin also says that natgas is really becoming a “foundation fuel” for the economy beyond what the Administration and some enviro groups have call a transitional fuel.
AWEA: States Already Aggressive With Wind – A new report from the American Wind Energy Assn says wind energy reduced power sector emissions by more than 5% last year, saving the same amount of CO2 as taking 20 million cars off the road. The report found that wind energy production in 2013 resulted in carbon emissions reductions of 126.8 million tons. Some states achieved larger reductions than the national average, with 11 states reducing carbon emissions by 10% compared to 2011 levels through wind energy. Texas — a state which broke its record for highest wind generation ever in March — had the highest volume of carbon reductions, followed by Illinois, California, and Colorado.
Conservative Groups Outlines Top 10 – The National Center for Public Policy Research says the rules are unnecessary in a new paper. The paper, “Top Ten Reasons Washington Should Not Impose New Global Warming Laws or Regulations,” explains, among other things 1) new global warming laws and regulations harm people, and harm lower-income and minorities disproportionately; 2) U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions already fell 12.6% between 2005 and 2012, while worldwide emissions went up 17.7% during the same period; and 3) the climate models upon which President Obama’s belief in human-caused catastrophic global warming is based do not work – since 1979, over 96% of climate models predicted more warming by now than has taken place. And yes, there are a couple of other points that complain about the scientific consensus and warming to date.
Other Interesting Items
GAO: CRA Review Not Allowed – One thing we know won’t happen is a Congressional Review Petition before election day on the either the rule for new plants (already proposed in January) or today’s rule. Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in the middle of a high-profile re-election effort, has be adamant about fighting the Administration rule and it “War on Coal,” obviously significant in the Bluegrass State. While the politics are so blatant, especially as one who knows a bit of KY politics, McConnell wanted to push for a vote to block the regs using the CRA. Unfortunately, the GAO told Him since the regs will not be final, there can be no CRA vote until they are. And that will be too late for the McConnell re-election fight which will be decided in November.
Dems Oppose GHG Rule, Questions CCS Viability – Seven red-state Democrats sent EPA a letter last week saying its proposed rule for new power plants is “not based on technology that has been adequately demonstrated on a commercial scale. Senators, led by ND’s Heidi Hietkamp and IN’s Joe Donnelly said they “strongly recommend that you evaluate more appropriate ways to regulate emissions in order to truly support the development of CCS and other clean coal technologies. Long-term thinking is essential to ensure that every U.S. citizen will have access to affordable and reliable energy while encouraging energy solutions that lower our carbon footprint.” Others signing the Letter include Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee; Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Mark Warner of Virginia.
45 Sens Ask for Comment Period Delay – Meanwhile, 45 Senators including a number of key Democrats are asking EPA to extend the comment period for the GHG rule for new power plants. The letter says EPA should grant the request because of the “significant impact this rule could have on our nation’s electricity providers and consumers, on jobs in communities that have existing coal-based power plants, and on the economy as a whole.”
IN THE NEWS
EPA Winning Streak Takes Hit – The vaunted legal winning streak that was touted to my friends in the media by EPA lawyers and enviros seems to be taking a hit. On Friday, EPA was on the losing end of a case that EPA cannot treat pollution sources in one region differently from those in others because of an adversarial court ruling. The ruling impacts an interpretation EPA was implementing for at least 25 years and for the first time was stuck down by a court. While the decision was beneficial to a wide variety of industrial sectors, this was a big win for the oil and gas industry since it could be argued that the entire industry is interdependent because it is mostly connected by pipelines. In December 2012 after the Summit decision was final, EPA issued a memo that said the Agency would only apply the 6th Circuit’s Summit decision in the states of Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, and Michigan. The memo was challenged by an industry trade association. The D.C. Circuit concluded this uneven application of the law would be inconsistent with EPA’s regulations which require the Clean Air Act to be applied in a fair and uniform manner, vacating EPA’s memo. In doing so, the court applied the Summit decision nationwide. One of the main findings of the D.C. Cir. was that to limit the ruling to only the states in the 6th Cir. would create a competitive disadvantage to operations in other States. The practical impact of this decision is that if sources are not contiguous and adjacent, their emissions cannot be aggregated in determining whether a permit is necessary. Additionally, the decision may provide an opportunity for sources that were aggregated using the faulty interrelatedness test to call that determination into question. We would expect that EPA would seek reconsideration of the decision as it has broad implications on how the Agency works. EPA runs the risk this loss could create a national rule. Whether EPA or the Solicitor General would take this decision to the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) remains to be seen, but my colleagues’ initial impressions are that the government will not appeal this decision to SCOTUS, but try to limit the impact of this case through guidance or its practices, such as not issuing these type of memos any more. My colleague Rich Alonso (202-828-5861) can address the issue for you.
White House Energy Report Touts NatGas, Energy Independence – In case you missed in all the GHG hub bub last week, the White House released a report that said significant increases in the domestic production of natural gas and reductions in oil consumption have better positioned the United States to advance its economic and environmental goals. While there are no new conclusions, the report sees aimed at providing cover fire for the Administration as it advance new, costly regulation on existing Power plants, all-the-while taking credit for the oil and gas boom that has occurred on their watch.
FERC Revamps Approvals Process – DOE announced today that it will change its process for approving LNG export licenses to non-Free Trade Agreement (FTA) countries. In the new process, applicants must get complete their NEPA reviews at FERC and effectively get FERC approval before getting their DOE export license. DOE also announced plans to initiate a new study of the economic impacts of LNG exports up to 20 Bcf/d. This reexamination will include an update of the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) January 2012 analysis and a new economic study The text of the DOE announcement is here.
DOE Blogs it Out – DOE Fossil Asst Sect Christopher Smith blogged about the proposed change on the DOE Website, saying DOE is committed to conducting a public interest determination process that is “expeditious, judicious and fair.”
API Urges Rapid Approval For LNG Export Applications ─ API Erik Milito urged faster action: “Bipartisan support for natural gas exports is stronger than ever, and the Department of Energy’s latest efforts are an important signal that those voices are being heard,” said Milito. “It remains to be seen whether the new guidelines will improve the current process, but there’s no doubt that the system today is too slow. The economic and environmental benefits of LNG exports are well-established by numerous studies and reports, and the time for review is past. We’ll continue to work with the administration and Congress to move the process forward and lock down America’s trade advantage as the world’s leading producer of natural gas.”
Oil, Gas Jobs Growing Globally – Our friends at the Houston Chronicle’s Fuel Fix report on the Hays Oil & Gas Job Index for the first quarter which says that hiring in the oil and gas industry rose globally in the first quarter of 2014 led by Africa, Russia and North America. The quarterly job index is based on the number of open positions posted on nine oil and gas job portals worldwide. Hays did not report those job counts, but folded them into a single index number that was set at 1 in October 2010 and rose to 1.65 in the first quarter of 2014. The report came with a caveat though: A shortage of key skills in the general workforce continues to threaten the industry’s growth, as new projects and business investments demand higher headcounts. Obviously, that topic was the subject of a recent National Press Club Newsmaker that looked at addressing the problem in the manufacturing and energy sectors.
ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK
WCEE Panel to Look at Energy Priorities – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment will host a panel of thought-leaders in policy, non-profit, and industry next Monday at Noon, who will share ideas and priorities for U.S. energy policy. They will provide insight into their respective organization’s energy policy perspectives, and opportunities and expectations for the future. The event is not structured as a debate but rather as the opportunity to hear the speakers’ varying perspectives and to ask questions of the three energy policy experts. Speakers will include PG&E’s Melissa Lavinson, Janet Peace of Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) and Veronika Rabl of IEEE-USA
Senate Environment Committee to Look at Farming, Forestry, Climate – Tomorrow at 10:00 a.m., the Senate Environment Committee’s panel on Green Jobs and the New Economy will hold a hearing farming, fishing, forestry and hunting in an era of changing climate. Witnesses will include USFWS Director Dan Ashe, Director, James Walls of the Lake County Resources Initiative, Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts head Clay Pope, Daniel Cohen of Atlantic Capes Fisheries, U of Delaware climate expert David Legates and Auburn forestry professor David South.
Forum to Look at GHG Rules – Sidley Austin, FTI Consulting Inc. and Green Strategies, Inc. will Hosta forum tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. to discuss the impact of today’s GHG rule for existing utilities. The NSPS is the most important element of the President’s Climate Action Plan and the keystone of the environmental legacy of his Administration. The President has announced that EPA will finalize regulations of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from new and existing coal fired, natural gas, and petcoke power plants before the end of the Administration. EPA already has proposed standards for new utilities that have fundamentally impacted the utility sector by effectively banning any new coal fired and petcoke facilities from being constructed. The June 2 announcement will propose the first ever requirements for states to control GHG emissions from the nation’s existing utility fleet. The proposal is likely to be the most significant regulatory development for the energy sector of the Obama Administration, and could fundamentally impact the ongoing operation, cost, and reliability of the nation’s energy infrastructure. The speakers will include Roger Ballentine, former Boehner and Bush White House Staffer Mike Catanzaro, and former EPA officials Roger Martella and Catherine Karen.
Brookings Study Looks at Economic Impacts of Delays in Climate Policy – Tomorrow at 1:30 p.m., Economic Studies at Brookings will host an event to present the results of a new study on the economic effects of delaying implementation of US climate policy. Non-Resident Senior Fellows Warwick McKibbin and Peter Wilcoxen and Fellow and Policy Director Adele Morris will present the new research, which will be followed by a panel discussion. A delay in the implementation of U.S. climate policy, whether the policy is an EPA regulation or a carbon tax, could mean more stringent policies are necessary later. Brookings scholars have conducted this new economic modeling to compare the economic outcomes of modest climate policy action now with the potential consequences of more stringent policies later, including effects on consumption, investment, and labor markets.
Conference to Focus on Energy Storage – The Energy Storage Association will hold its 24th Annual Conference Wednesday and Thursday at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel. They will launch the conference with a reception tomorrow in Union Station’s Columbus Club the industry, allies, and supporters will discuss energy storage advances in policy and commercialization.
Senate Environment Hosts NRC to Discuss Fukushima Task Force Recommendations – The full Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. featuring NRC Commissioners to look at its implementation of the Fukushima Near-Term Task Force Recommendations and other actions to enhance and maintain nuclear safety. All five Commissioners will testify.
RFF to Look at Insurance – Resources for the Future will hold a seminar on Wednesday at 12:45 p.m. looking at the future of insurance. Insurance is a fundamental tool for managing risks, improving resiliency after disaster events, and opening up economic opportunities that otherwise may not be possible. Yet, not all risks are insurable. Society has struggled in the past with risks that are highly correlated among insureds, as is the case with natural disaster events, or where losses could be so severe as to be unmanageable by the private insurance market because they could threaten the solvency of companies, as would be the case with a nuclear accident. Recently, the twin forces of climate change, altering weather patterns around the globe, and globalization, in terms of increased migration, interconnected supply chains, and rapidly changing technologies, have raised the question as to whether disaster events are becoming increasingly uninsurable. Exposure is concentrating as development in risky areas continues, and systems previously thought independent are becoming linked, whether due to relationships in the climate system, deployment of the same vulnerable technology, or reliance on a single supplier. These trends are leading to ever-increasing disaster losses worldwide.
Forum to Look at Geothermal in Developing World – The Society for International Development’s Energy & Infrastructure Workgroup will hold a workshop on Wednesday at 12:00 p.m., looking at geothermal energy opportunities and challenges in the developing world. Geothermal energy production is heating up around the world, with great potential to meet growing energy needs both here and abroad. A panel of industry leaders will discuss this potential, the trends in geothermal production and the benefits it has over other energy sources. Because much of this energy is being produced in the developing world, we will discuss the challenges and opportunities of working in areas where we must adapt to often complex social, political, and economic contexts.
WCEE to Host Event with NRECA’s Emerson – WCEE ‘s Women in Leadership group will host a wine & cheese reception on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. at the Capitol Hill Club featuring Jo Ann Emerson. Emerson, a former Member of Congress who served eight-plus terms, is the CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), the national organization serving the needs of the nation’s 900-plus electric cooperatives. Emerson will share her insights and some of the “lessons learned” during her long and varied career. Come hear her thoughts about the highs, lows and “in-betweens” of Congressional life, and her transition to being the “frequent flyer” CEO of a national trade association with members in 47 states.
AAAS to Focus Summit on Governance – American Association for the Advancement of Science will hold a summit on climate change resilience in its Auditorium, Thursday-Friday. This two-day summit is for government officials and staff, civil society, community, corporate, and thought leaders, journalists, and others interested in the governance issues raised by climate change resilience. Come if you work on climate issues and want to engage more on governance. Come if you work on and want to better understand the tensions climate change may increase. Issues of governance—how collective decisions are made, interpreted, implemented, and challenged—will enable or impede activities to increase resilience.
Forum to Look at Energy, Afghanistan – The Center for Strategic and International Studies will hold a forum on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. on the energy situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan and TAPI pipeline. For nearly three decades, the availability of secure energy supplies in Afghanistan was significantly disrupted by conflict. Pakistan’s energy sector is in crisis, with endemic load shedding and governance, efficiency, and competitiveness problems. Regionally, there are significant opportunities and challenges facing cross-border energy trading throughout Central and South Asia. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has played a key role in addressing energy issues in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region, helping to bring electricity to the Afghan people and supporting reforms and investments in Pakistan’s power and energy infrastructure sector. ADB is committed to having a long-term presence and impact in the region beyond the post-transition period in Afghanistan and the energy sector is the largest component of its overall portfolio. ADB is also engaged in several regional energy projects, with benefits for Afghanistan and Pakistan beyond solely the area of energy. Experts will discuss ADB’s activities in the region, including the TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) pipeline.
Forum to Look at Carbon Storage Assessment, Potential – The US Energy Association will hold a forum on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. to discuss the national assessment of the geological carbon storage resources. USGS’s Geologic Carbon Dioxide Storage Resources Assessment Team recently completed an evaluation of the technically accessible storage resource for carbon dioxide (CO2) for 36 sedimentary basins in the onshore areas and State waters of the United States. The USGS obtained a mean estimate of approximately 3,000 metric gigatons (Gt) of subsurface CO2 storage capacity that is technically accessible below onshore areas and State waters by using a geology-based probabilistic assessment methodology. The presentation will provide the results of the national assessment and a review of ongoing USGS geologic carbon storage research.
Holmstead to Join RFF GHG Forum – Bracewell partner and former EPA Air chief Jeff Holmstead will join a panel at Resources for the future on Thursday to discuss today’s EPA GHG rule for existing power plants. Analysis by RFF researchers has shown that these forthcoming EPA regulations could be cost-effective, depending on how they are implemented. A variety of options are available to the states and EPA to help meet these new standards for greenhouse gas emissions while also meeting the needs of each state’s constituents. Speakers in addition to Jeff will include RFF President Phil Sharp and RFF climate experts Dallas Burtraw and Nathan Richardson, as well as Ben Longstreth of NRDC.
SEIA to Hold Webinar on Q1 2014 Solar Market Insight Report Overview – The Solar Energy Industries Association and GTM Research will hold a webinar on Thursday at 1:00 p.m. covering the highlights of the “U.S. Solar Market Insight: Q1 2014 Report. The U.S. solar market has burst out of the gate in 2014 by recording the second-largest quarter in history. This growth was led by the strong performance of the utility segment- both in the PV and CSP markets. The webinar will highlight emerging trends in Q1, at the national level and in some of the top state markets. The discussion will also include detailed PV and CSP market forecasts for the rest of 2014 and beyond. Speakers will include SEIA’s Shawn Rumery and Cory Honeyman of GTM Research.
Forbes Exec to Keynote Energy Capital Conference – The 7th annual Energy Capital Conference will be held June 9-10th at the Omni Houston Hotel. The event addresses effective strategies for oil and gas executives interested in expanding their knowledge of how to successfully access and deploy capital. The keynote speaker will be entrepreneur-turned-publisher, columnist, television commentator, private investor and board director, Rich Karlgaard. Karlgaard has a unique vantage point on the trends driving the business and investment climates. His insights help audiences see the global marketplace with new eyes.
USEA to Look at Role of CCS, Offshore Storage – Following its previous event on the USGS’s assessment of carbon storage potential, the U.S. Energy Association will hold a second forum on Tuesday, June 10th at 2:00 p.m. The presentation will provide a high-level perspective on the role of CCS in a variety of energy chains that are critical for future global energy markets. In addition to typical coal-fired electric utilities, topics covered include heavy oil refining, LNG, hydrogen, enhanced oil recovery, and (un)conventional gas. The second part of the presentation will cover subsurface storage and monitoring technologies, with an emphasis on the importance of developing offshore geologic storage for successful national and international deployment of CCS. Tip Meckel, Research Scientist at the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas at Austin will speak.
Forum to Focus on Grid Resilience, Gas-Electric Coordination – WIRES and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will hold a briefing on Tuesday, June 10th at 2:30 p.m. in 210 Cannon about the key challenges and opportunities facing electric transmission infrastructure development. In light of Super Storm Sandy, the attack on the Metcalf Substation in California, and growing cyber threats to the grid, transmission owners, planners, and operators are devising new approaches to ensure high levels of reliability and grid security. Second, the magnitude of the current need to ensure efficient power markets and access to diverse energy resources makes development of robust transmission infrastructure a national priority. The shale gas revolution provides an additional reason to strategically plan the expansion and modernization of the grid while addressing pipeline constraints and access to renewable resources. Finally, these developments are being dealt with in a more competitive bulk power environment, including competition to own, build, and construct important new transmission facilities. New entities and joint ventures are emerging to augment the historical role of incumbent load-serving entities with respect to strengthening the grid regionally and inter-regionally. Speakers will include NERC’s Charles Berardesco and FERC’s Director of the Office of Energy Infrastructure Security Joe McClelland, among others.
CSIS Crude Export Forum to Feature Yergin, Book – The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)will hold a forum and release a new IHS report on Tuesday June 10th at 3:00 p.m. in the impacts of lifting the crude oil ban. Over the last 5 years, the dramatic increase in U.S. oil production, especially light, tight oil from unconventional plays, has caused U.S. imports of foreign oil to plummet. As domestic production continues to grow, however, there is a growing concern about a possible mismatch between the U.S. refining capability and the lighter quality characteristics of these unconventional plays. This has led to a revisiting of the U.S. policy which prohibits export of crude oil (with some exceptions). As the export debate sharpens, a number of studies have been commissioned to explore the implications of retaining, relaxing, or removing the existing barriers to crude oil exports. CSIS convened a session exploring the infrastructure and regulatory barriers to exports and an additional session on the crude oil export issue specifically. The session will feature recent analysis completed by IHS Global, assessing the impact of the export ban and free trade on the U.S. economy. Presenting the findings of the IHS analysis will be Dr. Daniel Yergin and Kurt Barrow. Following the presentation, Frank Verrastro and Kevin Book will provide commentary on the report and discuss the policy implications of the export decision. The session will conclude with a Q/A session. Guy Caruso will moderate the discussion.
CSIS Panel to Discuss Energy with Past Administration Experts – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a roundtable discussion on Wednesday, June 11th at 10:00 a.m. looking at the evolution of the nation’s energy policy, particularly as it relates to the new energy reality and the reconciling of economic, energy security, foreign policy and environmental objectives. The event will feature a great panel of experts – each with unique and insightful perspectives – as we put some of the key issues of the day in context, review where we’ve come from, and suggest constructive pathways forward. We have specifically designed this event as a participatory roundtable and look forward to an engaging and instructive conversation. Panelists include former Senate Energy Committee Chair Bennett Johnston, former FERC Chair Charles Curtis, former Bush 41 Deputy Energy Secretary Linda Stuntz, former Bush 43 Energy official Kevin Kolevar, former Obama energy/climate Advisor Heather Zichal, for Obama NEC advisor Joe Aldy and former Senate Energy staffer and Romney Energy advisor Rebecca Rosen.
DOE to Address Solar Mapping – The Energy Department will present a live webinar on Wednesday, June 11th at 2:00 p.m. focused on solar resources and their technical potential. As part of Solar Technical Assistance Team’s Do-It-Yourself Solar Market Analysis summer series, this webinar will explain how to make your own location-specific solar resource maps from information such as real-time irradiance and meteorological data. Attendees will also learn how to effectively determine the technical, economic, and market potential in your locality using tools such as MapSearch and RE Atlas.
RFF to Host Climate Book Launch – On Wednesday, June 11th at 5:30 p.m. , Resources for the Future will host an evening with Yoram Bauman, Author of “The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change. The event will be the Washington, DC, book release of Yoram Bauman’s The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change, published by Island Press. Using information from the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, Yoram Bauman, “the world’s first and only stand-up economist,” will provide a unique and entertaining overview of climate science, predictions, and policy. He’ll cover everything from Milankovitch cycles to carbon taxes and will break down complex science and economics with accessible comparisons—-not to mention some good jokes—-to convey a practical understanding of climate change.
WAPA to Hold Chrysler Ride, Drive – The Washington Automotive Press Assn (WAPA)and Chrysler will host a ride and drive on June 12th to drive the all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 at River Farm. Simple elegance, an exhilarating driving experience, state-of-the-art technology and beautifully crafted, the all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 charts a new course for mid-size sedan customers who have earned a little luxury in their life, but demand value for their money. The Chrysler 200 team will share key information on the Chrysler 200 and answer questions.
USEA Hosts Annual EE Forum – On Thursday, June 12th at 1:00 p.m., USEA holds its 25th Annual Energy Efficiency Forum at the National Press Club. Many observers believe energy efficiency is at a tipping point. Most states have energy efficiency standards and many utilities include energy efficiency and demand response in their integrated resource management plans. At the same time, the cost to deploy new renewable and distributed energy sources may soon reach parity with the cost to develop central station power plants. Utilities are facing reduced base load energy demand, intermittent supplies of renewable power, and difficulty recovering costs for an increasingly expensive modern grid. These challenges may trip up some traditional market players, and they raise serious questions about the future of our century-old electrical grid. Consumers, regulators, technology suppliers and utilities are all seeking ways to make a smooth transition to a more efficient, resilient and distributed electrical power system while assuring reliable power at competitive prices. Come hear about the issues from the movers and shakers as they debate the role of energy efficiency in future energy systems.
House Resource to Address American Energy Jobs – On Thursday, June 12th, the House Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will hold an oversight hearing on “American energy jobs looking at opportunities for innovation.
EIA Head to Keynote International Energy Conference in NYC – Adam Sieminski, administrator of the Energy Information Administration will address the international implications of the U.S. energy renaissance at the 37th annual International Association for Energy Economics conference at the New Yorker Hotel in the big apple on June 16th. The conference goes through June 18 and also features thought leaders across business, government and academia including representatives from Statoil, National Renewable Energy Labs, IMF, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, UC Davis, Baker Hughes, Citi Research, SunEdison and many more. See the Detailed conference schedule here.
Holmstead, Tierney to Address GHG Rule at BPC Forum – On Wednesday, June 18th at 10:00 a.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center will hold a forum on the new EPA rule on GHGs for existing power plants. The panel, hosted by our friend and WSJ reporter Amy Harder, will feature my colleague Jeff Holmstead, former Assistant Administrator for Air at EPA, and Sue Tierney, former Assistant Secretary for Policy at DOE.
FERC Commissioners to Address Regional Regulators Conference – The Mid-Atlantic Conference of Regulatory Utilities Commissioners (MACRUC) will hold its 19th Annual Education Conference on June 22nd through 25th at the Hotel Hershey. Speakers will include FERC Commissioners John Norris and Phil Moeller, as well as NARUC head Colette Honorable, New Jersey Natural Gas CEO Laurence Downes, Bill Colton of ExxonMobil, Walter Lynch of American Water and Exelon Utilities CEO Denis O’Brien.
Summit to Target Crude By Rail Issues – American Business Conferences will hold a Crude By Rail summit on June 24-25 in Houston to focus specifically on how each stakeholder can cost effectively optimize safety in their operations to restore confidence and promote reliability. As the only crude by rail event specifically focused on optimizing safety, the Crude By Rail Safety Initiative 2014 host speakers from every key stakeholder group, including regulators, shippers, railroad operators, transloaders and refiners to quantify the cost-impacts of improving the safety of crude by rail operations. Expert speakers will breakdown railroad strategies for improving safety and shipper strategies for crude testing, classification and transloading, provide a cost-analysis of railcar upgrades, clarify how the emerging regulatory landscape will impact each stakeholder and examine best practice emergency response and hazmat training.