Energy Update: Week of 1/22

Friends,

Thanks for all the great birthday wishes last week. I’m truly thankful to have so many of you take time from your busy days to wish me well. It is very much appreciated. Special thanks to Stacey, Olivia, Adam and Hannah — as well as my Bracewell colleagues — for making the day extra special. Looking forward to moving through year 50 with gusto!!!

Today, we are overrun by the government shutdown, but it looks like things may be heading towards resolution at least until February 8th with the Senate vote that just occurred.  Still unclear how this will finally play out, but we will continue to follow closely.  Already impacted are DOE and EPA travel, potential focus on the impending solar tariff decisions and the President’s visit to Davos.  AP has a good primer on the overall impacts of the agencies affected.

Despite losing some DOE folks to the shutdown this morning, AHRI’s Expo starts rolls out today in Chicago, while the Washington Auto Show – the industry’s public policy show – starts in earnest Wednesday with events, including two separate Senate Field hearings, through the remainder of the week.  Our friends at SAFE are again on point and you can reach them through Bridget Bartol.  Speakers include EPA’s Scott Pruitt, MI Gov. Rick Snyder, Rep Debbie Dingell and many others.

Speaking of solar and that impending decision which may happen soon, the Heritage Foundation wrote a new blog on the solar tariff issues today and will hold a forum tomorrow at Noon at Heritage.  The blog post says Trump should pull the plug on solar tariffs for three reasons: Innovation, Competitiveness and a Health Job Market.  The event will feature conservative experts like Heritage’s Tori Whiting and R Street’s Clark Parkard, LG’s John Taylor and ETAC’s Paul Nathanson. ETAC is a group of contractors, retailers and utilities that will be impacted by higher tariffs.  And BTW, ETAC sent a letter to President Trump Friday to remind him and his trade team that this issue is an important issue to people who are end users of the solar industry while underscoring that many solar manufacturers who are facing challenges are not facing them because of imports.

Good news here at Bracewell: In addition to the great folks we’ve hired over the last year (former AGA attorney Christine Wyman, former Senate EPW staffer Anna Burhop & tax expert Liam Donovan), our friend Stoney Burke is joining the Policy Resolution Group team.  Burke is a former CoS to TX Rep. Will Hurd and prior to that worked for Southern Company and Rep Chet Edwards.  More on this later…

Patriots – Eagles in two weeks for Super Bowl LII.  Winter Olympics in 3.  And remember, NHL all-stars hit the ice in Tampa this weekend, as well as the NFL’s Pro Bowl playing in Orlando next Sunday (with activities all week).

Call with questions.  Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

 

“Trump has spoken unapologetically about unleashing the competitiveness of the entire energy sector. The best way to get there is to remove barriers, rather than create them. ”

Heritage Foundation Trade expert Katie Tubb writing about the impending solar tariff decision expected from the White House. 

 

“Absent RINs, we’re competitive with anyone in the world.”

PES CEO Gregory Gatta said in telephone interview Monday.

 

IN THE NEWS

ETAC Letter Offers Evidence of Impacts of Imports – The Energy Trade Action Coalition (ETAC) sent a letter to President Trump Friday.  The effort was another attempt to remind the Administration and President Trump that this issue is an important issue to people who are end users of the solar industry.  It also underscores that many solar manufacturers who are facing challenges are not facing them because of imports.  The letter says only 3 companies have failed due to imports, while more than 40 have failed because of manufacturing or management failures and include a series of charts that provide the evidence.

Heritage Says Trade Case Need Plug Pulled – In a blog post from yesterday, the Heritage Foundation’s trade expert says President Trump should pull the plug on solar tariffs for three reasons: Innovation, Competitiveness and a Healthy Job Market.  Heritage’s Katie Tubb said there is almost no better way to fossilize an industry than by guaranteeing prices and knocking out the competitors of a select few companies. The only innovation that this spurs is creative ways to lobby the government for new ways to interfere in energy markets. Such intervention would also punish competitive American solar companies in order to keep two failing ones afloat. Refusing new tariffs on solar imports allows the best parts of the solar industry to rise to the top.  Tubb adds Trump should protect competition, not specific competitors. The solar industry in America can provide customers the best, most affordable service to Americans when it is able to access components from the most competitive companies around the globe.  Finally, Tubb adds that there will be negative implications for the rest of the industry and the indirect jobs it creates if the administration bends over backward to shore up two failing companies.

Refiner Reported to File For Bankruptcy – Philadelphia Energy Solutions LLC, the owner of the largest U.S. East Coast oil refining complex, announced to its employees on Sunday that it plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, as reported by Reuters.  Part of the refiner’s financial troubles stem from a costly biofuels law called the Renewable Fuels Standard, which is administered by the Environmental Protection Agency and requires refiners to blend biofuels into the nation’s fuel supply every year, or buy credits from those who do.  Since 2012, Philadelphia Energy Solutions has spent more than $800 million on credits to comply with the law, making it the refiner’s biggest expense after the purchase of crude.

Coalition Says “This is What We’ve Been Warning About’ – The Fueling American Jobs Coalition, a group that includes Steelworkers, small retailers and refiners, including Holly Frontier, PBF, Delta, Valero and others said “what we’re seeing happen at PES is exactly what we’ve been warning about for many months.” The group says the RFS program forces many independent refiners to pay sky-high prices for compliance credits that they simply cannot earn themselves. “Refiners are captive buyers in the lucrative market for these RINs. Those who profit in this situation—Wall Street speculators, large integrated oil companies and large fuel retailers—consistently oppose reasonable changes to the RFS that would diminish their profit stream, even if those profits come at the price of economic pain for refiners and their workers.”  The Coalition said President Trump understands the “havoc” that poorly-designed Washington regulations can wreak on the real economy. “PES is experiencing that pain right before our eyes, and others will follow. Hard-working manufacturing workers in Pennsylvania refineries and elsewhere voted for President Trump with the understanding that he would stand up to special interests and fight for their jobs.”  The group continues to call for the President to “broker a deal among all stakeholders that will help put an end to the crisis that high RINs prices have created for the U.S. refining sector.”

Sen Toomey Calls RFS Job-Killer –U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (Pa.) responded to the news that Philadelphia Energy Solutions is filing for bankruptcy protection by saying the filing is a result of the “counterproductive, job-killing, EPA-imposed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) that requires an excessive amount of biofuel be blended into the nation’s fuel supply.”  He added while he is pleased PES is able to remain operational during this process and retain its workforce for now, “the mechanism for enforcing the RFS is the primary cause for this bankruptcy filing and it must be fixed. I’ve had extensive conversations with PES management, senior EPA officials, my Senate colleagues, and directly with President Trump in an effort to resolve this situation. I will remain engaged until we find an acceptable solution.”

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

BPC to Focus on Infrastructure – The Bipartisan Policy Center launched the BPC Infrastructure Lab and “3I” Series—Infrastructure Ideas and Innovations this morning. This new effort is aimed at providing policymakers with fact-based evidence that can shape strategies for restoring America’s infrastructure.  State and local governments across the country are struggling just to repair and maintain their infrastructure systems, let alone expand or upgrade these systems with the latest and greatest technologies. As such, the lab’s first event presents leading public-sector efforts to embed asset management concepts into municipal government practices. In the spotlight: the District of Columbia’s comprehensive asset inventory, which includes 96 percent of all assets owned, a tally of accrued deferred maintenance, and an action plan to improve the District’s infrastructure.

HVAC Expo Set – The International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo) opens today in Chicago.  The event started 86 years ago as a heating and ventilation show and is the largest HVAC event of the year for the industry.  The 2018 Show hosts more than 2,000 exhibitors and attracting crowds of 65,000 industry professionals from every state in America and 165 countries worldwide.  The Show provides a unique forum for the entire HVACR industry to come together and share new products, technologies, and ideas.  The AHR Expo is co-sponsored by ASHRAE and AHRI, and is held concurrently with ASHRAE’s Winter Conference.

WCEE to Look at 2018 Agenda – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) holds its  6th Annual WCEE Lunch & Learn Brainstorming Event tomorrow at Noon kicking off its Lunch & Learn planning, as well as deciding what topics to cover in 2018.

CSIS to Host Canada Energy Discussion – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a presentation tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. featuring the National Energy Board’s (NEB) Canada’s Energy Future 2017: Energy Supply and Demand Projections to 2040. This report, part of NEB’s annual Energy Future series, features long-term projections of Canadian energy supply and demand.  The 2017 edition examines how recent energy developments, especially in climate policy, have affected Canada’s energy outlook. The study also includes additional scenarios focusing on long-term climate policy and technology trends. Similar in structure to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook, the report is the only public, long-term Canadian energy outlook that includes all energy commodities in all provinces and territories.

Senate to Look at NE Storm Impacts – The Senate Energy Committee will convene an oversight hearing tomorrow to examine the performance of the electric power system in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic during recent winter weather events, including the bomb cyclone. Witnesses include FERC Chair Kevin McIntyre, Chairman, DOE Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability head Bruce Walker, , North American Electric Reliability Corporation Interim CEO Charles Berardesco, Allison Clement of Goodgrid, PJM CEO Andrew Ott and New England ISO head Gordon van Welie.

Heritage to Look at Solar Trade Case – Heritage will hold a forum on solar tariff issues on tomorrow at Noon.  The event will feature conservative experts like Heritage’s Tori Whiting and R Street’s Clark Parkard, LG’s John Taylor and ETAC’s Paul Nathanson. ETAC is a group of contractors, retailers and utilities that will be impacted by higher tariffs.

RFF, Stanford to Hosts Cal Climate Discussion – The Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and Resources for the Future will host a forum tomorrow at 12:00 p.m. at the National Press Club, ton insights into California’s commitment to tackling climate change and protecting its natural environment.  Panelists will discuss the process for crafting and building support for the climate law and its impacts on industry as well as lessons to be drawn for similar efforts. The panel will feature Pacific Gas and Electric’s Kit Batten, RFF’s Dallas Burtraw and Stanford’s Michael Wara.

WCEE to Hold Planning Session – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment is holding its “Come Dream with Us!” Lunch & Learn planning session tomorrow at Noon.  WCEE uses the event to decide what topics to cover in 2018.

Pruitt, Snyder, Others Headline Washington Auto Show – The Washington Auto Show launches tomorrow and runs through February 4th.  The Washington Auto Show is the Public Policy Show, where the auto industry intersects with the government officials who write and enforce the laws and rules that affect the field. This coming year, one of the focuses of the show will be on connected and autonomous vehicle technology, and the ways pending legislation could impact its development.  Major speakers include EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Sen. Gary Peters, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, and many others, including representatives from the U.K., South Korea, Japan, China, and the U.A.E. Press Day is Thursday and will feature a sneak peek of the more than 600 cars on the floor of the consumer show. SAFE’s Joe Ryan will be on a SAE panel and autonomous vehicle expert Amitai Bin-nun on will present on policy day panel.

Thune to Hold Auto Innovation Policy Hearing – Speaking of the auto policy, on policy day Wednesday at the Walter Washington Convention Center, Sen. John Thune, chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a field hearing on automotive innovation and Federal policies.  The hearing will examine self-driving and other auto technologies as well as issues on the horizon for lawmakers and regulators. Days after the hearing, the convention center will open its doors for an industry-wide auto showcase event.  Witnesses include Florida Tech President Randy Avent, Zoox CEO Tim Kentley-Klay, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, Mike Mansuetti of Bosch North America and Audi Mobility U.S. President Luke Schneider.

Trump to Head to World Economic Forum – The 48th annual World Economic Forum will be held Wednesday through Friday in Davos, Switzerland.  The Forum engages the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.  Trump is likely to discuss his recent efforts to impact trade.

Senate Energy Heads to Washington Auto Show for Hearing – The Senate Energy Committee also holds a field hearing at the Washington Auto Show on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. in the West Salon Room of the Washington Convention Center.  The hearing will look at energy innovation in automotive technologies and examine the opportunities and challenges facing vehicle technologies, especially energy-relevant technologies.

Forum to Look at Future Mobility – At the 2018 Washington Auto Show, the Global Energy and Innovation Institute (Ei2) will host a lively discussion about electric transportation and the future, addressing such questions as: When will we reach the mass adoption “tipping point” for electric vehicles? How will electric + shared mobility impact community design (roads, charging, commuting)? What new business models will emerge for ownership and fueling?  Panelists include Lyft’s Corey Ershow, David Owens of Xcel Energy, Audi’s Brad Stertz, EVgo’s Marcy Bauer, Dominion’s William Murray and Kevin Miller of ChargePoint.

SEJ to Host Annual Journalists Enviro Guide Forum – On Friday at 3:00 p.m., the Society of Environmental Journalists, George Mason University and the Wilson Center host their annual forum and report: “The Journalists’ Guide to Energy and Environment,” which previews the top stories of 2018, with comments from a roundtable of leading journalists.  For the last five years, SEJ and the Wilson Center have hosted the only annual event in the nation’s capital featuring top journalists offering their predictions for the year ahead on environment and energy. Always streamed live and always standing room only, this event is essential for anyone working to meet the critical energy and environment challenges facing our nation and the world.  Panelists include AP’s Matt Daly, Nirmal Ghosh of the Straits Times, Bloomberg Environment’s Pat Rizzuto, Wellesley alum Val Volcovici of Reuters, E&E News’ Ariel Wittenberg and several others. Marketplace’s Scott Tong moderates.

IN THE FUTURE

Senate Energy to Hold Nominee, Vote Hearing – The Senate Energy Committee will hold a business meeting next Tuesday to consider the nominations of Melissa Burnison to be an Assistant Secretary of Energy (Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs), Susan Combs to be an Assistant Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Douglas Nelson to be Solicitor of the Department of the Interior, Anne Marie White to be an Assistant Secretary of Energy (Environmental Management). Following the vote, it will hold an oversight hearing to examine the role of the Geological Survey and the Forest Service in preparing for and responding to natural hazard events, as well as the current status of mapping and monitoring systems.

WRI to Discuss Energy Access, Policy Innovation – Next Tuesday at 12:30 p.m., the World Resources Institute will host leading experts from around the world for a discussion on the political economy of energy access and innovative policy solutions.  Together, they will profile innovative reforms that policymakers around the world can adopt to accelerate progress on achieving Sustainable Development Goal 7.

State of the Union – President Trump addresses Congress at 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday January 30th.

Pruitt to Head to Senate Environment – The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt will appear before the Committee on Jan. 31st making his first return to the panel nearly a year after his confirmation.

FERC Commissioner Headlines Power Conference – The 31st annual Power and Gas M&A Symposium will be held in New York at the Grand Hyatt Midtown on January 31st and February 1st. The event is an executive conference from S&P Global Market Intelligence that brings utilities, power generators, renewables, and Wall Street together to set the tone for strategic decisions for the year.  FERC Commissioner Neil Chatterjee, my Bracewell colleague Scott Segal and EEI Head Tom Kuhn will all speak, among others.

Yergin to Discuss 2018 Outlook – On Wednesday, January 31st at 9:00 a.m., IHS Markit hosts a webinar conversation with Dr. Daniel Yergin, IHS Markit Vice Chairman, to discuss the critical issues facing the energy industry in 2018.  While the mood in the industry is upbeat, the energy industry is in the midst of a major transformation driven by geopolitical, economic and environmental forces.  In this webinar, Yergin will preview some of the major themes that will be discussed at our CERAWeek 2018.

Forum to Look at Climate Path Forward – The Goethe-Institut of Washington and the Sustainability Collaborative of The George Washington University will host an evening of reflections on Wednesday January 31st focused on the climate meetings in Paris and Bonn, the next steps forward, and the role of college students in taking those steps.

Hudson Forum to Look at HFC Issues – The Hudson Institute will hold a forum on February 5th to discuss the current status of HFC issues and the Kigali Treaty.

NASEO 2018 Energy Policy Outlook Conference Set – On February 6-9th at The Fairmont in Washington, DC, the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) will hold its 2018 Energy Policy Outlook conference.  This conference presents the work of NASEO’s members, the 56 governor designated State and Territory Energy Offices. The conference will feature a wide array of federal and private sector partners that state-level energy offices work with on a day-to-day basis, such as Federal and congressional offices; state and local planners, developers, and regulators working in energy, housing, transportation, climate, and resilience; grid operators and transmission organizations; and businesses and investors interested in clean energy economic development.  Our friends Lisa Jacobson of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and Schneider Electric’s Anna Pavlova will be among the presenters.

BCSE to Release Annual Sustainability Report – In early February, the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and Bloomberg New Energy Finance will release their annual Sustainable Energy in America Factbook.  More on this soon…

National Ethanol Conference Set – The Renewable Fuels Association holds its 23rd annual National Ethanol Conference on February 12-14 in San Antonio.  Former Presidential Advisor Mary Matalin and veteran Democratic Political Strategist Donna Brazile are scheduled to speak together at the event on Washington Politics.

EMA To Hold Roundtable – The Emissions Marketing Association will hold roundtable Thursday, February 22nd in Juno Beach, Florida at the offices of NextEra Energy.  The event will include presentations, Q&A, and networking opportunities to allow for dialogue among the attendees.

CERAWEEK Set for Houston CERAWEEK’s 2018 conference will be held in Houston from March 5-9th at the Hilton Americas.  Speakers this year include OPEC SG Mohammad Barkindo, GM’s Mary Berra, BP’s Bob Dudley, IAE’s Fatih Birol, FERC Commissioner Robert Powelson, Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan, Exelon’s Chris Crane, Energy Transfer’s Kelsey Warren, Paul Spencer of the Clean Energy Collective, Sunnova’s John Berger, and many, many more.

ACORE Renewable Policy Forum Set for Cap Hill – The annual 2018 ACORE Renewable Energy Policy Forum will be held on Capitol Hill on March 14th.  The ACORE National Renewable Energy Policy Forum is the only pan-technology renewable energy policy summit to address federal and state policy. This signature conference brings together industry leaders and policymakers to discuss energy and tax policy, debate pressing issues in the changing electricity marketplace, and identify priorities for Congress, the states, and relevant agencies.

Energy Update: Week of January 19

Friends,

As we prep for the “massive” snow headed toward the East Coast (hurry up and rush out to get your bread and milk) we should remember that it is winter.  Regardless, stay tuned and we’ll be ready to report to you next week regardless of the weather.

Keeping it short this week because I’m still on a birthday downer.  As I get older, I just see it as another day, but I feel really humbled and blessed by all the folks who took a minute out of their day to wish me well over the weekend.  Thanks for that.  Presents:  A great new USA Field Hockey pullover for umpiring and a new visor for my Hockey helmet.  Can’t ask for more than that…other than a few more grants to help pay for Hannah’s Wellesley tuition this summer.

We are two weeks away from Iowa votes and it is getting really busy including tomorrow’s annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit.  The Nation’s mayors are in DC this week for the 84th Winter Meeting so you can expect to hear about climate actions and other energy issues.

Meantime, the Senate returns this week while the House returns next .  A couple of good hearings in Senate Energy  this week with EIA’s Adam Sieminski and our friend Jim Lucier on Energy markets today and Thursday experts on auto innovations.  Tomorrow, the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee digs into Iran issues following the weekend’s moves on sanctions and swapping prisoners.  We can cover a lot of issues from human rights to Iran oil issues, so please let us know.

Off the Hill, FTC holds a panel this morning on emerging trends in the auto industry, such as car-sharing, connected cars, and autonomous vehicles, which will feature SAFE CEO Robbie Diamond following the DOT announcements last week for $4B self-driving car pilot projects over a 10-year span.

Kudos to Rep./Dr. Phil Sharp, RFF President and former U.S. Congressman from Indiana, who will receive the second Schlesinger Medal for Energy Security from Energy Secretary Moniz tomorrow at 10:30 a.m.  Cato holds a forum at 11:00 a.m. on GMOs and the future of the global food supply and medical innovations.  And the Washington Auto Show also launches it policy day on Capitol Hill that will explore how technology is making our nation’s roads and vehicles safer and infrastructure smarter and transforming the way we live, work and travel featuring Michigan Sen. Gary Peters and our friend Joe White of ThomsonReuters.   Media day will be Thursday.

Also on Thursday, US Energy Assn hosts its 12th annual State of the Energy Industry Forum in the National Press Club.  Senior leaders from the energy industry’s major trade associations will provide their outlook and overview of their priorities for 2016.

Finally, on Friday at 3:00 p.m., the Society of Environmental Journalists and the Environmental Change and Security Program at the Wilson Center will hold its 4th annual “Year Ahead in Environment and Energy” event, where leading reporters and editors will discuss the critical issues that will shape 2016.

Call if you have questions and are not snowed in…

Best,

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

 

IN THE NEWS

Industry, Advocates Reach Agreement on AC Efficiency Standard – Industry and efficiency advocates reached an agreement last week on a new energy efficiency rule for residential central air-conditioners and heat pumps. The deal will save around 2.8 quadrillion Btu over the 30-year life of the new standard (for reference, the U.S. consumed about 97 quads in 2011). The previous version was finalized in 2011 and the Energy Department is required to complete a new standard for the equipment by June 2017 or state that one isn’t economically justified given current technology. But in an effort to keep the rule on schedule, DOE organized a negotiated rulemaking process last year between industry and advocates. While the agreement is a big deal, other approvals are needed and DOE still has to turn the details into a proposed rule.

White House Proposes $4B for Self-Driving Cars – In an announcement at the Detroit Auto Show, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx says the 2017 budget proposal will include $4B for self-driving car pilot projects over a 10-year span. Among other things, the funds would cover a program to test self-driving cars on technologically advanced roads.  To encourage tests, the DOT also plans to make up to 2,500 self-driving cars exempt from some proposed safety rules for up to two years, and to work with state governments to create state regulations for autonomous vehicles.  Remember, last year in October, there was a NPC Newsmaker on the topic that including Google advisor and former GM exec Larry Burns, Domino’s Pizza EVP Lynn Liddle and Robbie Diamond, President of SAFE, who respectively spoke to the implications of driverless cars for the business community and the opportunity to reduce America’s dependence on oil.  SAFE also formed an Autonomous Vehicle Task Force, a group of leading experts that are guiding action plans to facilitate the widespread deployment of this transformative technology.

SAFE CEO Says DOT Regs Good Start – In response to DOT Secretary Foxx’s announcement of pending regulations on driverless and connected cars, SAFE President and CEO Robbie Diamond said the United States is crossing the threshold into the largest transformation in transportation since the invention of the automobile. Diamond: “Driverless, connected cars will save lives, reducing road fatalities by 90 percent. They will also encourage the mass deployment of electric vehicles and lessen America’s dependence on oil through improved fuel efficiency, diversity and drastically different ownership models.   With the government setting aside $4 billion over 10 years for pilot programs to put the rubber to the road, it demonstrates the need to test and prove this technology immediately on public streets. This does not, however, need to be a large, expensive government program. Any future rules at the national or state level should be minimal until proven necessary to give businesses the space to continue their investment in transportation innovation. Accelerating driverless vehicle technology will reduce fatalities and injuries, drastically lower healthcare costs, offer more fuel choice, cut congestion, and give mobility to millions of people who currently have none due to age or disability.”  We can find you great resources on this topic, so please let me know if you are covering it.

Solar Jobs Expanding – The Solar Foundation released its highly anticipated jobs report, which found that the U.S. solar industry employed about 209,000 people last year.  SF’s National Solar Jobs Census 2015 is the 6th annual update of current employment, trends and projected growth in the U.S. solar industry. Census 2015 found that the industry continues to exceed growth expectations, adding workers at a rate nearly 12 times faster than the overall economy and accounting for 1.2% of all jobs created in the U.S. over the past year. Our long-term research shows that solar industry employment has grown by 123% in the past six years, resulting in nearly 115,000 domestic living-wage jobs.  The solar workforce is larger than the oil and gas extraction industry, which shed 13,800 jobs in 2015 and now employs 187,200 people. The oil and gas pipeline construction industry, which employs 129,500 workers, lost 9,500 jobs (U.S. BLS) during the same period. The solar industry is already three times larger than the coal-mining industry, which employs 67,929 people (JobsEQ 2015Q3). Solar employers surveyed expect to add more than 30,000 jobs over the next 12 months. The expected increase of 14.7% would bring the count of U.S. solar workers to 239,625 by the end of 2016.

Foundation Awards Scholarships to HVACR Students, Veterans – The Clifford H. “Ted” Rees, Jr., Scholarship Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation of the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), today announced $60,500 in scholarship funds to 35 students, including five veterans, studying to become technicians in the HVACR and water heating industry.  The awards are for qualified and dedicated students that are pursuing careers in the HVACR and water heating industry that can help close the employment and skills gaps, according to AHRI CEO Steve Yurek.   Since the Rees Scholarship Foundation was founded in 2003, it has awarded almost $440,000 in scholarships to more than 250 deserving students and instructors. For a list of past scholarship recipients, click here.   The Rees Scholarship Foundation was established to assist with the recruitment and competency of future HVACR and water heating technicians by awarding scholarships to qualified students enrolled in an institutionally accredited school. Eligible students must be preparing for a career in either residential or light commercial air conditioning, heating, or water heating, or commercial refrigeration.

Murkowski, Faison Set Marker for Republican Climate Energy – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski and a conservative clean-energy advocate say there is vast untapped potential for hydropower across the country in a New York Times op-ed that ran last week. Murkowski and Jay Faison call on the president to back the energy bill for its hydropower provisions. Murkowski and Faison say they “believe climate change is a threat, and appreciate [Obama’s] offer to collaborate.” They argue that the president should back the energy bill because it clears away bureaucratic red tape that slows the growth of hydropower, a zero-emission power source that faces opposition from environmentalists and a costly relicensing process.

DOE Awards Southern to Grant to Lead Advanced Nuclear Tech Development – Southern Company was awarded up to $40 million from DOE to explore, develop and demonstrate advanced nuclear reactor technologies through subsidiary Southern Company Services.  The effort will be managed through a new public-private partnership with TerraPower, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Electric Power Research Institute and Vanderbilt University. Housed at the DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, the research will bolster the development of molten chloride fast reactors (MCFR), an advanced concept for nuclear generation.  Researchers believe MCFRs could provide enhanced operational performance, safety, security and economic value, relative to other advanced reactor concepts. The MCFR project is one of two DOE cost-shared advanced reactor concept development projects awarded $6 million in 2016, with an opportunity for $40 million each in total funding over multiple years.  A long-standing proponent of nuclear power, Southern Company – through its subsidiaries – is the only electric utility in America today developing the full portfolio of energy resources, including being one of the first to build new nuclear units in more than 30 years. The company is building the two new nuclear units at subsidiary Georgia Power’s Plant Vogtle, which are expected to provide enough emission-free generation to power 500,000 homes and businesses.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Detroit Auto Show Rolls On – The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) continues this week in the Motor City.  The official press conference schedule for the 2016 NAIAS begins with Press Preview today and tomorrow. Last week was press week and to see a the full 2016 NAIAS Press Conference Schedule look under the main Press tab.  In its 28th year as an international event, the NAIAS is among the most prestigious auto shows in the world, providing unparalleled access to the automotive products, people and ideas that matter most – up close and in one place.

Food, Energy, Water Conference Set –The Food-Energy-Water Nexus conference will be held today and tomorrow at the Hyatt at Reagan National Airport.  The conference will feature 1,200 other leaders in science, technology, government, business, civil society, and education to create strategies and initiatives that transform ideas into action.

EIA Head to Discuss Energy Markets at Senate Energy – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing this morning to examine the near-term outlook for energy and commodity markets.  EIA’s Adam Sieminski will testify along with several others including our friends Jim Lucier of Capital Alpha Partners and Ethan Zindler of Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

SAFE CEO, Others to Join FTC Forum –The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will host a one-day workshop today to explore competition and related issues in the U.S. auto distribution system, including how consumers and businesses may be affected by state regulations and emerging trends in the industry. The event will take place in Washington, D.C. at the FTC’s Constitution Center Auditorium.  The January workshop will focus primarily on exploring the competition issues arising from state level regulation of auto distribution.  It also will explore emerging trends in the auto industry, such as car-sharing, connected cars, and autonomous vehicles, with a focus on how those trends will affect the current regulatory system that governs the auto industry.

Senate Energy to Look at Energy Markets – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing today to examine the near-term outlook for energy and commodity markets.

Heritage to Look at Western Lands – The Heritage Foundation holds a discussion today at Noon on rethinking Federal Management of Western Lands. Utah House Speaker Gregory H. Hughes will be the main speaker.

Forum to Look at GMOs – Cato will hold a forum tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. on GMOs and the future of the global food supply and medical innovations.  The event will feature Monsanto’s  Robert Fraley, North Carolina State’s  Jennifer Kuzma and Marian Tupy, Editor of  www.humanprogress.org.   For thousands of years, farmers used selective breeding to produce more plentiful harvests and increase the usefulness of domesticated animals. Today, genetic engineering allows businesses to do the same—but more cheaply, precisely and speedily. Unbeknownst to most people, the use of genetically modified organisms is not limited to agriculture. GMO technology is all around us, helping to produce life-enhancing products, such as synthetic insulin, and life-saving medicines, such as cancer-fighting Avastin. Still, controversy surrounding GMOs persists. Join us to hear our two distinguished speakers discuss the risks and benefits associated with GMO science.

Energy to Hold Appliance Efficiency Meeting –  DOE and its Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy will hold a meeting of the Appliance Standards and Rulemaking Federal Advisory Committee Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.

Moniz to Present Schlesinger Energy Medal – On Wednesday at 10:30 a.m., Energy Secretary Moniz will present the “Schlesinger Medal for Energy Security,”  at Forrestal.  The James R. Schlesinger Medal for Energy Security honors an individual’s distinguished contributions to advancing our understanding of the threats, opportunities and energy policy choices impacting the domestic and international energy security interests of the United States through analysis, policy or practice.   The first Medal was given to Daniel Yergin on October 1, 2014, the 37th anniversary of the Energy Department’s formal opening in 1977.  Wednesday, Dr. Phil Sharp, President of Resources for the Future and former U.S. Congressman from Indiana, will receive the second Schlesinger Medal for Energy Security .

Washington Auto Show Sets Policy Bar – The Washington Auto Show also launches it policy day on Capitol Hill that will explore how technology is making our nation’s roads and vehicles safer and infrastructure smarter and transforming the way we live, work and travel featuring Michigan Sen. Gary Peters and our friend Joe White of ThomsonReuters.   Media Day will be Thursday.

Forum to Look at Climate, Food Security – The American Meteorological Society the American Society of Agronomy, the Crop Science Society of America, and the Soil Science Society of America will hold a briefing on climate change and food security in Russell 485 at 3:00 p.m.

Senate Energy to Look at Auto Tech innovations – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on Thursday to examine the status of innovative technologies within the automotive industry. Witnesses for Thursday include DOE’s David Friedman, AAMA’s Mitch Bainwol, Electric Drive Transportation Association President Genevieve Cullen, NREL’s Transportation and Hydrogen Systems Center Director Chris Gearhart and Xavier Mosquet of the Boston Consulting Group.

USEA Hosts State of Energy Forum – The US Energy Assn will host its 12th annual State of the Energy Industry Forum on Thursday at Noon in the National Press Club.  Senior leaders from the energy industry’s major trade associations will provide their outlook and overview of their priorities for 2016.  Speakers will include NEI’s Marvin Fertel, API’s Jack Gerard, APPA’s Susan Kelly, EEI’s Tom Kuhn, AGA’s Dave McCurdy, NMA’s Hal Quinn, SEIA’s Rhone Resch, AFPM’s Chet Thompson and INGAA’s Don Santa among others.

Brookings Expert to Look at Climate Economics – Brookings Institution Climate and Energy Economics Project Director Adele Morris delivers remarks at a National Economists Club luncheon on Thursday at Noon in Chinatown Garden Restaurant.  Morris will focus on climate change economics and policy.

Forum to Look at African Energy Finance – On Thursday afternoon, the US Africa Chamber of Commerce will hold a forum on the future of energy investment in Africa. The event will explore a variety of deep-dive topics related to energy investment and development in Africa, and will host attendance from both major players in various energy markets on the continent, as well as small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) currently operating within the energy sector in Africa and the U.S. See below for the panel schedule.

Green Car Journal to Announce Winner at Auto ShowGreen Car Journal has announced finalists for the 2016 Luxury Green Car of the Year™ and 2016 Connected Green Car of the Year™ awards that will be presented at the 2016 Washington Auto Show on Thursday . Focused on aspirational vehicles with exceptional green credentials, nominees for 2016 Luxury Green Car of the Year™ include the BMW X5 xDrive40e, Lexus RX 450h, Mercedes-Benz C350e, Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid, and Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV. Vying for the all-new 2016 Connected Green Car of the Year™ award are the Audi A3 e-tron, BMW 330e, Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid, Toyota Prius, and Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV.  Finalists previously announced for the 2016 Green SUV of the Year™ award that will also be presented at The Washington Auto Show® are the BMW X1 xDrive 28i, Honda HR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-3 and Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.  The 2016 Green Car Awards recognize vehicles that exhibit laudable environmental achievement. Along with improved environmental performance, traditional buyer touchstones like functionality, safety, quality, value, and performance are also considered. Affordability and availability are important to ensure honored models are accessible to a wide range of buyers. Honoring continual environmental improvement places emphasis on new vehicles and those in the very early stages of their model lifecycle. The Connected Green Car of the Year™ award considers these elements plus the integration of connected technologies that enhance efficiency, safety, and the driving experience.

Forum to Look at Energy, Russia Relations – The Wilson Center will hold a forum on Friday at 10:00 a.m. on how energy/environment issues impact prospects for U.S.-Russia Relations.

EPRI’s Tyrant to Address Grid Issues – On Friday at Noon at Carmines, the US Assn of Energy Economists will host Barbara Tyran of EPRI at its monthly lunch to discuss grid interconnect issues.  Tyran is the principal liaison between EPRI executive management, and Congress, the Administration, the national trade associations, the national leadership of the state public utility commissions, state legislators/regulators, and the Washington energy community.

SEJ, Wilson to Look at 2016 Enviro Issues – On Friday at 3:00 p.m., the Society of Environmental Journalists and the Environmental Change and Security Program at Wilson will hold its fourth annual “Year Ahead in Environment and Energy” event, where leading reporters and editors will discuss the critical issues that will shape 2016. Jessica Coomes, deputy news director at Bloomberg BNA, will present Bloomberg BNA’s Environment Outlook 2016, followed by a panel discussion featuring leading journalists from National Geographic, Huffington Post, Bloomberg BNA, Environment & Energy Daily, and more to be confirmed.  Speakers will Include our friends Meaghan Parker, Jeff  Burnside and Doug Fischer.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

Forum to Look at Enviro Justice Issues in GHG Plan – Next Monday at 11:00 a.m., the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will hold a briefing discussing how environmental justice (EJ) is addressed through EPA’s Clean Power Plan.  The panel will explore how incorporating environmental justice concerns into the Clean Power Plan’s implementation can impact vulnerable communities.  Speakers for this forum include EPA Senior Advisor to the Administrator for Environmental Justice Mustafa Ali.

GU Group to Look at Paris Results – Georgetown’s Mortara Center for International Studies will hold a forum on next Tuesday to assess COP 21’s results.  The panel will feature GU Prof Featuring Joanna Lewis, Vicki Arroyo, Executive Director of the Georgetown Climate Center and students Norah Berk, SFS ’15 and Alexandra Donovan, SFS ’17.

Forum to Look at Paris Event – The United Nations Environment Program and the George Washington University Sustainability Collaborative will host an event on Wednesday January 27th that will highlight key achievements of 2015: the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the outcomes of the recent Paris climate conference.  The event will provide an overview of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and what they mean for the public and private sectors with a particular focus on implementation of the environmental dimension. It will also highlight the SDGs regarding sustainable cities, sustainable consumption and production, and climate change and their relevance for North America.

Nuclear Summit Set for Newseum – Third Way and the Idaho National Laboratory are partnering with Argonne National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory to host a first-of-its-kind Advanced Nuclear Summit and Showcase in Washington, Dc on Wednesday January 27th at the Newseum.  In North America, 48 companies, backed by more than $1.6 billion in private capital, are developing plans for advanced nuclear reactors. The influx of ideas and investment into the advanced nuclear industry has made it a burgeoning part of the clean energy sector. The Advanced Nuclear Summit and Showcase builds upon the conversations sparked by the White House Summit on Nuclear Energy and the Nuclear Innovation Workshops sponsored by the Idaho National Laboratory.   Along with national policymakers and influencers, the Summit will establish that there is a robust advanced nuclear sector being developed by private companies and research institutions, and that government has a vital role to play in bringing the promise of the sector to reality.

CSIS to Look at GHG plan – On Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program is hosting a discussion on the future of the Clean Power Plan (CPP) in 2016. The expert panel will provide an overview of the state, federal and court level activity and planning that is likely to take place throughout the upcoming year.  John Larsen, Director with the Rhodium Group and Senior Associate with the Energy and National Security Program at CSIS, will highlight recent analysis from the CSIS-Rhodium Group study regarding emissions impacts and preview forthcoming work on energy sector impacts of the rule. Kathryn Zyla, Deputy Director with the Georgetown Climate Center, will give an overview of the approaches being considered by various states and the issues that matter most to their decision making. Kyle Danish, Partner with VanNess Feldman LLP, will discuss legal challenges to the CPP and the likely timeframe and pathways for resolving those challenges. Emily Holden, ClimateWire Reporter with E&E Publishing, will provide additional perspective on the various state, regional, and congressional issues that are important to watch this year.

ELI Book Forum to Tackle Coal Grandfather Issue – On Wednesday, January 27th at Noon, the Environmental Law Institute will host a book forum to anti-coal lawyer Richard Revesz.  In their forthcoming book, “Struggling for Air: Power Plants and the ‘War on Coal’”, Revesz and Jack Lienke detail the history of the Clean Air Act (CAA) and the political compromises that led to exempting existing power plants, many of which are coal-fired, from significant portions of the CAA’s regulatory authority. ELI will feature an expert panel with Revesz, Lienke,, Bill Bumpers, NRDC’s Dave Doniger, and former EPA Air Administrator Bill Rosenberg as they discuss the environmental implications of the Clean Power Plan and the ramifications of grandfathering. Hear Professor Revesz and other experts in the field discuss to what degree the Clean Power Plan really reduces pollution, and the interaction between grandfathering and pollution reduction

RFF to Look at FIP, Trading on GHG Plan – Resources for the Future will hold a forum on Wednesday, January 27th at 12:30 p.m. on the federal implementation plan and model trading rules. The comments, due January 21, 2016, give stakeholders the opportunity to provide feedback on the challenges and opportunities for state implementation of the carbon dioxide emissions guidelines for power plants.  RFF will be joined by EPRI for a special seminar focusing on a diverse set of stakeholder comments on how the federal implementation plan and model trading rules might impact the electric power sector.  This is the first event in the RFF/EPRI 2016 Clean Power Plan Seminar Series. The next event, on February 11, will highlight modeling results of how the Clean Power Plan impacts various states and regions. Speakers will include NRDC’s Ben Longstreth, EPRI’s Vic Niemeyer, RFF’s Karen Palmer and AEP’s Resource Planning Managing Director Scott Weaver.

CSIS to Host Infrastructure Discussion – On Wednesday, January 27th, CSIS will hold an expert panel discussion on meeting infrastructure demands around the world. According to the World Bank’s Global Infrastructure Facility, the unmet demand for infrastructure around the world is estimated to be above $1 trillion per year. Meeting the financing need for bankable and sustainable projects must be a priority, for both governments and the private sector, in the coming decades. In addition to financing needs, donors and the private sector must work together to build capacity and provide technical assistance that will ensure continued success long after the individual projects have been completed. Panelists will discuss ways in which infrastructure can become a driver of development and stability, and how targeted investments in smart projects and capacity building can produce measurable results to pave the way for sustainable economic growth in low and middle-income countries.

Senate Energy to Explore Innovative Nuclear Technologies – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on Thursday January 28th to examine the status of innovative technologies within the nuclear industry.

Greenest Show on Grass: Waste Management Phoenix Open – February 1st through 7th, Waste Management will host its annual PGA tour event at the Phoenix Open in Arizona.  Waste Management has been a partner of the Phoenix Open for 15 years, and is dedicated to making the Open the greenest tournament on the PGA TOUR. The tournament has also become a major platform for Waste Management Think Green solutions, including the Four Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle and recover.  As a regular part of the event, WM is hosting its 6th annual Executive Sustainability Forum which provides a platform to discuss how and why the circular economy is fractured.  The event will identify collective challenges, and approaches to overcoming these challenges through collaboration along the value chain.  Speakers will include WM CEO David Steiner, our friend Dana Perino, NYT’s John Tierney  and Bloomberg View’s Adam Minter, among many others.

Sustainability Forum Set at GMU – Leaders in Energy, Association of Energy Engineers – National Capital Chapter, and George Mason University will hold an Energy and Sustainability Extravaganza on its GMU Arlington campus on February 5th.

Wind Summit to Look at Finance, Investment – Infocast is holding its annual Wind Power Finance & Investment Summit February 9-11 at the Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego.   Now that the PTC question has been settled, the Summit will focus on the critical issues and opportunities for the wind industry, including the impacts of EPA’s Clean Power Plan on Wind, long-term outlook for natural gas prices, the outlook for tax equity and debt and many other topics.

Nuclear Innovation Conference Set – The Energy Innovation Reform Project and Oak Ridge will hold a nuclear innovation conference on February 10 and 11th in Oak ridge, TN.

Energy Update Week of January 14

Friends, 

It has been some crazy football days lately.  I was only still trying to recover from that wild Ravens-Broncos game on Saturday when in-between kids’ lacrosse and field hockey games, I managed to see the Seahawks roar back from a 20-point deficit in the 4th quarter to take the lead on Atlanta with :31 left, only to lose on a long field goal.   How incredible were all those games?  Even the other two games that weren’t as close were wild, high scoring games.

Congrats to our friend and shallow water drilling expert Jim Noe’s Alabama Crimson Tide who completed the college football season by exposing Notre Dame as the fraud that many of us native Midwesterners suspected they were.  The Tide whacked the “undefeated” and hyped Irish (who’s victory included a 3OT win over Pitt, 3-pt wins over BYU and Purdue and close victories over Michigan and Michigan St) 42-14 to claim its third national Championship in four years.  Roll Tide!!! 

So, not much happening this week in DC as members get back together for policy retreats.  We should start seeing the beginnings of some strategy on several upcoming important fiscal battles.  What we do have coming up in DC is the Second Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama, which is always an exciting event regardless of your party affiliation or political views.  Yesterday, the streets of DC were jammed with practice runs for the parade and all along the parade route, Construction Crews are busily readying grandstands and other venue items.  As well, the party notices are rolling in, with the Clean Energy Ball, the Green Inaugural Ball and, of course our old mainstay Texas State Society’s Black Ties and Boots, all set for the weekend or Monday.   I will be missing this weekend’s festivities as I will have to be in Delaware for wrestling (Adam) Saturday, Virginia Beach for field hockey national qualifiers (Hannah) on Sunday and Pennsylvania for a lacrosse tourney (Olivia) on Monday.   It is a lot of driving, but we can and will do it all. 

There is one DC event here this week that you should highlight.  The US Energy Association will hold its annual state of the energy industry forum on Wednesday (my birthday for any of you thinking about getting me something) at the National Press Club at Noon.  Speeches from leaders of each sector will set the table for the 2013 energy agenda.  Also, take notice of the jobs forum on Thursday in New Jersey related to developing manufacturing around offshore wind.  There may also be some news on development of the offshore wind transmission system that you might find interesting.  Finally, the most famous auto show in the world launches today in Detroit at Cobo Hall, buoyed by new excitement and success in the auto industry. 

Finally, if the MLK holiday weekend is not a busy enough for your typical Spoonman, we’ll  launch it on Friday with Soundgarden (in my mind the 90’s grunge-era band that has Outshined all) who kicks off its 2013 King Animal Tour out of the Rusty Cage at DAR’s Constitution Hall.  They have Been Away Too Long off My Wave after they Fell on Black Days.  Now they are back just in time to share the Ugly Truth and Blow Up the Outside World.  See you in the Superunknown of the Black Hole Sun with the other Slaves and Bulldozers,  Rowing in the Blood On The Valley Floor.    Five Days until shortened NHL season launches.  I must say I’m really looking forward to watching games on the NHL network and NBC Sportschannel every night.  

Finally, we saw that our friends at the Sierra Club Hunted Down and are launching 100 days of Action for Climate Solutions, as if it would be different from their demand for action from the last 100 days, or 100 days before that.  Please feel free to call with questions about that or any other topics. 

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

IN THE NEWS  

Rockefeller Out – Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller will not run for a sixth term in 2014.  Rockefeller formally announce his decision at an event in Charleston, W.Va. on Friday.  Already, Republican Congresswoman Shelly Moore Capito has said she would challenge Rockefeller in the trending Red state.  Potential Democrat candidates include Gov. Earl Tomblin, Rep. Nick Rahall and former Gov. Bob Wise.  Rockefeller is chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and was first elected to the Senate in 1984. 

Energy Rolls out New Nuclear Waste Storage Site – The DOE said Friday the Administration will ask Congress to approve a new national nuclear waste plan that have a pilot interim storage site by 2021 and a full-scale interim storage facility by 2025.  The plan will have a permanent geologic repository by 2048. All of the sites would be chosen with the consent of the host communities.  The response comes after the President rejected Nevada’s long-controversial Yucca Mountain as a permanent storage site.  The strategy represents the administration’s response to the recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future.  The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners President Philip Jones said at first blush, there appears to be much to like in the report.  Jones: “We are hopeful this report is accompanied by the strong leadership necessary to jumpstart our nation’s nuclear-waste policy. We look forward to working with Congress and the Energy Department so we can resolve this longstanding issue. Our government owes it to the nuclear utilities and their consumers who have been paying for this program over the last 30 years.”  Senate ENR Minority leader Lisa Murkowski said it’s important to quickly resolve the government’s outstanding liability issue with interim storage facilities, while continuing to work on a permanent solution.  Murkowski: “DOE’s study is an important and constructive step in developing a viable path forward. Establishing an interim storage facility makes a lot of sense, and the best option is to use a consent-based siting approach. I’m hopeful that Congress and the administration will work together to enact legislation that will advance our nuclear energy strategy.” 

TX’s Smitherman to Head NARUC Gas Committee – Speaking of our friends at NARUC, they have appointed Railroad Commission of Texas Chairman Barry Smitherman as Chair of the Association’s Committee on Gas.  Smitherman, who served as a Co-Vice Chair of the committee, replaces outgoing Chair Timothy Alan Simon of California, who left regulation. Ohio Commissioner Todd Snitchler will serve as Co-Vice Chair along with Rhode Island Commissioner Paul Roberti of Rhode Island.  Through panel discussions and educational sessions, the Gas Committee fosters awareness and understanding of issues affecting the transportation, distribution, and sale of natural gas safely, efficiently, and economically. Committee members work closely with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the U.S. departments of Energy and Transportation.  Smitherman was appointed to the Railroad Commission of Texas in July 2011 by Gov. Rick Perry, and was elected Chairman by his colleagues in February 2012. In November 2012, Chairman Smitherman won the statewide election to the Commission with 74% of the vote, receiving over 4.5 million votes. He is a fourth generation Texan, with a unique blend of private and public sector experience. Prior to serving at the Railroad Commission, he chaired the Public Utility Commission of Texas from 2007-2012. He was originally appointed to the PUCT in 2004. 

Statoil Adds Resources in Marcellus Shale – Our friends at Norway’s Statoil have expanded their shale position with a $590 million deal to acquire 70,000 acres in the liquids-rich portion of the Marcellus shale in Ohio and West Virginia.  Statoil entered the Marcellus in 2008 through a partnership with Chesapeake Energy Corporation. Since then the company has pursued a targeted and stepwise growth strategy to expand its US onshore holdings and develop operational and organizational capacity.  In 2010, Statoil acquired acreage in the liquid-rich Eagle Ford Shale in Texas and in 2011 the company took over ownership and operatorship for leases in the Bakken and Three Forks formations in North Dakota and Montana through the acquisition of Brigham Exploration.  In 2013, Statoil will become operator for 50% of the Eagle Ford acreage, in line with the agreement with Talisman Energy Inc. from 2010.  A majority of the net acres in this transaction are located in the liquid-rich part of the Marcellus. The market for these products is substantially better paying than the current market for dry gas in the US.   At this early stage of development the risked resource base is estimated at 300-500 million barrels of oil equivalent equity. Current equity production is approximately 5,000 barrels of oil equivalents per day. 

Manufacturing Trade Group Blogs on LNG Exports – Last week, we mentioned several times the LNG export issue.  Today, the Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition (CITAC), a Washington, DC-based trade organization with one primary objective: to ensure that consuming industries and manufacturers in America have access to reliable supplies of globally-priced materials necessary for those industries to produce their products, weighed into the fray with a blog post that says open access to raw materials creates the maximum benefit for all manufacturing.  “While the export restraint picture is more complex than import restraints, economic freedom creates more winners than restrictions do.  Economic theory (and, to be fair, most observation) indicates that restrictions on exports create similar inefficiencies as import protectionism.  Export restrictions reduce the incentive to invest in production of products and services whose prices are held down, just as restrictions on import trade reduce the incentive to invest in the protected market in favor of other markets.  In time, the price of natural gas would approach world price levels, but at a higher price in the US than if production were not constrained.” 

MD Gov Plans To Move Offshore Wind Legislation Again – Our friends at the Baltimore Sun report that after falling just short last year, Gov. Martin O’Malley is preparing once again to introduce a bill aimed at pushing offshore wind for Maryland.  And Sun reporter and SEJ veteran Tim Wheeler writes the measure may finally pass this year thanks to a shake-up in the Senate Committee that blocked it last year over differences not related to the legislation.  The measure is expected to offered a limited renewable energy credit similar to New Jersey for turbines off the Maryland coast in the Atlantic Ocean.  

Marshall Report Looks at Renewables – The George C. Marshall Institute recently released a new report discussing arguments favoring protection and subsidization of renewable energy industries.  In The Infant Industry Argument and Renewable Energy ProductionDr. Sergey Mityakov and Margarita Portnykh, both of the Clemson University Department of Economics, examine the justification for and effectiveness of government support for the production of renewable energy.  They survey the array of state and federal subsidies, tax incentives, and production mandates, noting that “current government policies provide incentives only for production of clean energy,” but “they do little to solve potential market failures” and “as a result, those policies may prove to be quite ineffective instruments to stimulate the cost reduction in clean energy.”  Mityakov and Portnykh test the renewable energy sector finding that the expected decline in costs has not materialized.  For example, in the case of wind energy, they found that despite capacity doubling between 2001-2008, a predicted decline in costs “failed to materialize.”  Energy issues are at the forefront of the nation’s agenda.  Similarly, scrutiny of public spending is intense.  The Mityakov-Portnykh study shows that production supports are both poor energy policy and wasteful public expenditures.  A more effective approach would identify and then target the underlying causes of market failure in the clean energy sector.  

Industry Says PTC Enjoys Bipartisan Support, Protects Jobs – The wind industry countered the study and many opponents general notion that the PTC hurts the US by saying wind energy – which has strong bipartisan backing from political leaders and many communities – is strengthening the economic fabric of communities across America by becoming one of the fastest growing U.S. manufacturing sectors.  The U.S. wind industry supported more than 75,000 jobs in 2011. A full 30,000 of those jobs were in manufacturing.  There are nearly 500 U.S. factories currently supplying the wind industry, up from as few as 30 in 2004, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service recently found.  A recent assessment by the U.S. Department of Energy concluded that the U.S. could supply 20% of the nation’s electricity needs through wind by 2030.  That would support roughly 500,000 good quality jobs in the U.S., with an annual average of more than 150,000 workers directly employed by the wind industry.  And it would result in energy-related cost savings to the nation ranging from $100 billion to $250 billion through 2030. 

NREL to Host Collegiate Wind Competition – DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to participate in DOE’s inaugural National Collegiate Wind Competition.  The National Collegiate Wind Competition is a forum for undergraduate college students of multiple disciplines to investigate innovative wind energy concepts; gain experience designing, building, and testing a wind turbine to perform according to a customized market data-derived business plan; and increase their knowledge of wind industry barriers. Successful teams will gain and then demonstrate knowledge of technology, finance, accounting, management, and marketing, providing lifelong technical and business skills.  The theme of the inaugural competition is to design and construct a lightweight, transportable wind turbine that can be used to power small electronic devices. A principal contest involves testing each team’s prototype wind turbine in a wind tunnel under specific conditions. Each team’s business plan and turbine will also be evaluated against other pre-weighted criteria. The third stage of the competition will be a team-to-team debate relating to current wind market drivers and issues. Teams will be judged on the members’ understanding of the issues posed to them, their communication of potential solutions, and their ability to promote constructive dialogue.  This competition is an opportunity for collegiate institutions to showcase student ingenuity and the programs that the students represent. In addition to this national recognition, the turbine from the college or university with the best overall score will be placed on temporary display at the DOE Headquarters building in Washington, D.C.

GOING ON THIS WEEK

Detroit Auto Show Ready to Roll –Global automakers have saved their best for the 2013 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) which begins with the annual press preview today at Detroit’s famous Cobo Hall.  The show is a reflection of the positive changes that are occurring in our industry according to 2013 NAIAS chairman Jim Seavitt. “Automakers from around the world continue to place NAIAS at the top of their global auto show strategies, and have committed to more than 50 vehicle debuts with the majority being worldwide unveilings, ” he said.  The official NAIAS Press Conference Schedule, features nearly 40 official events to be held at Press Preview.  Together, the more than 50 worldwide and North American unveilings are a major demonstration of confidence in the NAIAS, which is frequently compared with shows in Geneva, Frankfurt, Paris, Tokyo, and Beijing/Shanghai.    Most NAIAS press conferences will take place at Detroit’s Cobo Center, which is currently in the second of a three-phase expansion plan. Some events will take place in the new three-story glass atrium facing the Detroit River. The lone offsite press conference will be presented by Ford Motor Company at neighboring Joe Louis Arena tomorrow.  With more than 6,000 journalists from around the globe expected to attend NAIAS, the show continues to be at the forefront as a venue for manufacturers and Tier One suppliers to announce new vehicles and make industry news.  

Reicher to Headline AWEA West Event – Focusing on California and surrounding states, the AWEA Regional Wind Energy Summit – West will be held in La Jolla today providing a comprehensive and timely analysis of critical topics in Western wind, including the renewable portfolio standard, wind energy market opportunities, and regional transmission planning.  This event gives you a regional perspective, access to experts who are embedded in the industry and geographical area.  Speakers will include our friend Dan Reicher, executive director of the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance at Stanford University. He has more than 25 years of experience in energy technology, policy, and finance, including serving in the Clinton administration at the Department of Energy as Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and recently as a member of President Obama’s Transition Team. Reicher came to Stanford in 2011 from Google, where he served since 2007 as Director of Climate Change and Energy Initiatives.  Following the conference, AWEA will also hold an Environmental Health and Safety seminar and a wind project maintenance and reliability seminar as well.  

WRI Looks at Big Stories for 2013 – The World Resources Institute will hold a forum tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. at the National Press Club’s Fourth Estate Room on what stories will impact people and the planet in 2013.  Dr. Andrew Steer, President & CEO, will present his views for where the world is headed in international development, climate change, energy, sustainable business, natural resources, and more. 

USEA Holds Annual State of Energy Forum – The US Energy Association will hold its annual state of the energy industry forum on Wednesday (my birthday for any of you thinking about getting me something) at the National Press Club at Noon. Distinguished leaders from the most influential and active energy trade associations as they present the priorities, issues, trends, and challenges affecting the industry in 2013.  Speakers will include Marv Fertel (Nuclear Energy Institute), Jack Gerard, President & CEO, American Petroleum Institute), Regina Hopper (America’s Natural Gas Alliance), Skip Horvath (Natural Gas Supply Association), Tom Kuhn (Edison Electric Institute), Hal Quinn (National Mining Association), Dave McCurdy (American Gas Association), Joe Nipper (American Public Power Association), Rhone Resch (Solar Energy Industries Association), Don Santa (Interstate Natural Gas Association of America),

John Shelk (Electric Power Supply Association) and JoAnne Emerson (National Rural Electric Cooperative Association).

Forum to Look at Wildlife, Nuclear Incidents at Chernobyl, Fukushima – Nuclear Policy Talks and the Institute for Nuclear Studies will hold a forum on  Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. at George Washington University to look at differences and similarities of impacts to wildlife at Chernobyl and Fukushima.  In the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, most organisms surveyed have shown large drops in abundance with a consequent drop in overall biodiversity in contaminated regions. For example, the forest bird community has seen a two-thirds drop in total abundance and a 50 percent drop in species richness in the more radioactive areas when compared to clean areas within the zone. It seems possible that many of the effects that have been observed in Chernobyl but not yet seen in Fukushima are the product of multiple generations of exposure and consequent mutation-accumulation rather than the effects of acute exposure although a recent study of birds and insects has found significant declines in some groups, and there is conclusive evidence of genetically based mutations that have increased over time for butterflies. A key conclusion from current knowledge is that an intensive research program should be initiated to compare and contrast the effects of mutagens stemming from the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters in natural populations so that accurate predictions may be generated related to the long term consequences of radiological events and the likely risks to human populations in these regions.  Timothy A. Mousseau, Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of South Carolina will address these issues.

API’s Felmy to Headline ICF Energy Breakfast – ICF International continues its Energy Breakfast Series with an event on Thursday featuring Dr. John Felmy, chief economist of the American Petroleum Institute (API).  Felmy will draw on his unique perspective to discuss petroleum market issues and how they may affect the petroleum industry, the economy, and consumers.  We are in an unprecedented period of transition. The International Energy Agency has projected that the U.S. could be self-sufficient in petroleum supplies by 2030. Current market trends and supply developments have substantial implications for world petroleum markets, energy security, trade deficits, and our personal pocketbooks. 

NJ to Hold Offshore Wind, Jobs Forum – The New Jersey Alliance for Action will hold a forum on Thursday at the PNC Bank Arts Center’s Meyner Reception Center looking at offshore wind energy and transmission.  It will be a supply chain forum for the burgeoning wind industry.  Speakers will include AWC CEO Bob Mitchell, Offshore Wind Development Coalition head Jim Lanard and Fishermen’s Energy Chris Wissemann, among others.  

World Bank to Hold Transportation Conference – EMBARQ and the World Bank will co-host the tenth annual Transforming Transportation conference at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. on Thursday and Friday.  There is more work to be done within the transport community to achieve scale and widespread adoption of sustainable solutions.  The conference will address topics including improving health & safety in cities, capitalizing on the multilateral development banks’ $175b commitment for sustainable transport at Rio+20, integrating urban transport and development and the benefits of high quality urban design, among others. 

Green Inaugural Ball Set for Newseum – The Green Inaugural Ball will be held at The Newseum on Sunday  bringing together the broad environmental, conservation and clean tech community to celebrate the past four years and look forward to the future.  The dress code is black or Green tie.  The event is sponsored by a bunch of environmental and clean energy groups.

January 21st – Presidential Inauguration Day

Salazar to Attend Clean Energy Ball – Next Monday evening, the 7th Environmental and Clean Energy Inaugural Ball will be held from 8:00 p.m. to Midnight at Sequoia Restaurant in Georgetown’s Washington Harbor waterfront.  This black tie, bi-partisan celebration has become a Washington tradition over the past 24 years as the environmental and clean energy communities gather to welcome a new Administration and make headway towards a more sustainable future.  In 2009, guests included Energy Secretary Chu and Lisa Jackson from EPA. In 2013, U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will be a Special Honored Guest. 

FUTURE EVENTS

House Energy Committee Sets Organizational Meeting – The full House Committee on Energy and Commerce will host a Committee Organizational Meeting for the 113th Congress on Tuesday, January 22nd at 10:00 a.m. 

WRI to Host Intelligence Report Release – The World Resources Institute will host a discussion of the findings of the National Intelligence Council (NIC) report Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds on Tuesday January 22nd at 10:30 a.m.  The report explores how meta-trends such as demographic shifts, technological developments, and resource availability may shape the geopolitical landscape in the coming decades.  Presenting the findings of the Global Trends 2030 Report will be its principal author, Mathew Burrows, Counselor and Director at the NIC. Mathew will be joined by Alex Evans, Senior Fellow, NYU Center on International Cooperation, and WRI’s Managing Director, Manish Bapna, who will take turns to discuss how the international community can address questions of emerging resource scarcity. Active audience participation will be encouraged. 

Report to Look at LNG Exports – The U.S. Energy Association  will release a report on Tuesday January 22nd at 2:00 p.m. on the global impacts of exporting LNG from the United States. The report, Exporting the American Renaissance: Global Impacts of LNG Exports from the United States describes an objective, economic-based analysis of the potential impact of LNG exports from the United States on domestic and global markets. While much attention has focused on the impact of U.S. LNG exports on the U.S. market, this study from Deloitte MarketPoint LLC and the Deloitte Center for Energy Solutions analyzes the potential economic consequences of those exports on global markets. It attempts to estimate the potential price impacts, gas supply changes, and flow displacements if the U.S. exported a given volume of LNG to either Asia or Europe.  Authors Peter Robertson and Tom Choi of Deloitte will discuss. 

VA Clean Energy Day Set – Thursday January 24th will be the third annual Clean Energy Lobby Day in the state legislature in Richmond, Virginia. 

Forum to Host IEA Coal Outlook Report – CSIS will host a forum featuring International Energy Agency’s Medium-Term Coal Market Report on Thursday, January 24th featuring Laszlo Varro the Head of IEA’s Gas, Coal & Power Markets Division.   David Pumphrey, Co-Director and Senior Fellow in the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will moderate.  The Medium-Term Coal Market Report 2012 provides IEA forecasts on coal markets for the coming five years as well as an in-depth analysis of recent developments in global coal demand, supply and trade. The annual report shows that while coal continues to be a growing source of primary energy worldwide, its future is increasingly linked to non-OECD countries, particularly China and India, and to the rise of natural gas.  The international coal market is experiencing dynamic changes. In 2011, China alone accounted for more than three-quarters of incremental coal production, while domestic consumption was more than three times that of global trade. Low gas prices associated with the shale gas revolution caused a marked decrease in coal use in the United States, the world’s second-largest consumer. This led US thermal coal producers to seek other markets, which resulted in an oversupply of coal in Europe and a significant gas-to-coal switch. Meanwhile, China overtook Japan as the largest importer of coal, and Indonesia overtook Australia as the world’s largest exporter on a tonnage basis.  The report examines the pronounced role the Chinese and Indian economies will exert on the international coal trade through 2017. In the report’s Base Case Scenario, China accounts for over half of global consumption from 2014, and India surpasses the United States as the world’s second-largest consumer of coal in 2017. The report also offers a Chinese Slowdown Case, a hypothetical scenario which shows that even if Chinese GDP growth slowed to 4.6% average over the period, the country’s coal consumption would continue to grow.

SEJ, Wilson Center to Host Enviro Journos Panel – The Wilson Center’s Environmental Change & Security Program and the Society of Environmental Journalists will host a forum on Friday, January 25th at 3:00 p.m. looking at the year ahead in environment and energy.  A panel of veteran journalists will offer their thoughts on what will be the biggest environment and energy stories in the U.S. and around the world at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.  Bloomberg BNA’s Director of Environmental News John Sullivan will kick off the discussion with an overview of the key legislative, regulatory, and legal developments expected in 2013. Margie Kriz Hobson of E&E Publishing’s EnergyWire will moderate the panel, which will include top journalists covering local, national, and international environmental issues. Including SEJ members Peter Behr, AP’s Dina Cappiello, PRI’s Peter Thomson and Bud Ward of the Yale Forum on Climate Change & the Media. 

Climate Issues Likely Discussed at WEF – The World Economic Forum will be held in Davos, Switzerland on January 24-27th.  For over 40 years, the mission of the World Economic Forum – committed to improving the state of the world – has driven the design and development of the Annual Meeting program. The Annual Meeting remains the foremost creative force for engaging leaders in collaborative activities focused on shaping the global, regional and industry agendas. As expected, a portion of the discussion is expected to look at climate issues.  

NAS to Look at EV Barriers – The National Academies of Science’s Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences Transportation Research Board is hosting a meeting on Friday and Saturday, January 25-26 at NAS’s Keck Center to examine “Overcoming Barriers to Electric Vehicle Deployment.”

Oregon Clean Energy Conference Set – The 12th annual Harvesting Clean Energy Summit will be held at Oregon State University in Corvallis, OR at the Hilton Garden Inn on January 27-29th.  Participants from a diverse range of fields – from motivated farmers, ranchers and other rural landowners to professionals from agriculture and forestry associations, rural utilities, tribes, economic development agencies, and research institutions, to lenders, energy developers and consultants, and representatives of federal, state and local government will attend to discuss Clean Energy strategies.  Drawing on several dozen top-notch speakers, Harvesting Clean Energy focuses on the practical steps to successful project development, from economic and feasibility assessments, to accessing technical support and securing financing amidst tough finance markets.  Learn about wind power, a range of bio-energy technologies, solar and geothermal resources, microhydro, energy innovation in the food processing sector, and efficiency technologies to reduce energy costs and enhance profitability.  Hear about strategies to maximize local job creation and economic benefits from developing our clean energy resources. 

Washington Auto Show, Policy Forums Set – The Washington Auto Show, the policy auto show, will be held starting February 1st for 10 days.  The largest public show in Washington is scheduled from Feb. 1 -10, with January 30th and 31st serving as special preview days for media, government and industry.  On January 30th, the show will hold its annual Public Policy Day on Capitol Hill.  The Policy Summit will be presented by National Journal and The Washington Auto Show in Caucus Room of the Cannon House Office Building.  “Only The Washington Auto Show can bring together the latest in safety and technology as well as consumer promotions and lots of fun; indeed, “It is the hottest ticket” in town,” said Robert Fogarty, show chairman and CEO of Sport Automotive.  In 2013, the show will have a new floor plan and many new features, including a Luxury Showcase with 11 luxury brands together on the first level and the Exotic Car area. The Advanced Technology SuperHighway Café will house the latest innovations in safety, sustainability and technology.  At the same time, the show draws a massive, diverse and affluent audience with its showcase of stars and cars, cutting-edge technologies, contests and car giveaways.  Look for the display of more than 700 new vehicles by over 42 domestic and import manufacturers offering a showcase of cars, trucks, mini-vans, sport utility vehicles. The show fills the 750,000 square-foot space with two-levels of advanced exhibits. 

ACORE Renewable Policy Forum Set – ACORE will hold its National Renewable Energy Policy Forum on February 5th and 6th on Capitol Hill.  The form strategically occurring after the election at the start of the 113th Congress, which will chart the path forward for pro-growth, constructive and bipartisan renewable energy policy.  Renewable energy leaders from Capitol Hill and across the country will assess the volatile state of renewable energy policy and provide a call to action for policymakers for 2013 and beyond.  Some of the Policy Co-Chairs include our friends, Katie McGinty (unless she has a new job), BrightSource Energy’s Joe Desmond and Stanford’s Dan Reicher. 

AWEA To Go To Capitol Hill – On February 5th and 6th, AWEA will return to Capitol Hill for its annual lobby days.  The November 2012 elections will bring new faces to Congress and change the dynamics of Congressional committees that are key to the wind industry.  AWEA members will conduct meetings on Capitol Hill, sharing company perspectives on pressing legislative issues with legislators in whose states they live, and/or has offices, projects, or manufacturing facilities. 

Seminar to Focus On CA Cap, Trade – The Climate consultants at 427, LLC will hold a one-day training course on California’s cap-and-trade program on February 6th in San Francisco to look at carbon markets   A team of renown experts will cover everything you need to know about carbon markets in California, from the rules and program design to the price dynamics and market strategy. More information about the day’s agenda and online registration at  http://calcarbon.eventbrite.com   

February 12 – State Of The Union Speech  

Co-ops to Hold Technology Conference in NOLA – The National Rural Electric Co-op Assn (NRECA) will hold its annual TechAdvantage Conference & Expo in New Orleans on February 18th and 19th to highlight the latest technologies available to electric cooperative engineers, information technology staff, and supply chain and member service professionals. 

EIA Director to Launch US Energy Market Outlook at USDA Forum – The Department of Agriculture (USDA) will hold its 2013 Agricultural Outlook Forum, “Managing Risk in the 21st Century,” on February 21st and 22nd at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington, Va.   Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will present the keynote address, followed by guest speaker former Senator Tom Daschle, currently a senior policy advisor with DLA Piper. USDA Chief Economist Joseph Glauber will present the 2013 U.S. Economic Outlook for Agriculture.  The Forum’s dinner speaker on February 21st will be Adam Sieminski, Administrator of the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), addressing the, “U.S. Energy Market Outlook.”  A program schedule and registration are available at www.usda.gov/oce/forum.  Among the 25 breakout sessions are other risk-management sessions and 85 distinguished experts in the fields of international trade, forestry, conservation, transportation, energy, nutrition, local foods, and food safety. The Forum continues to feature the traditional USDA commodity supply and demand and food price outlooks.  USDA has hosted the Agricultural Outlook Forum since 1923 to provide farmers and ranchers, government, and agribusinesses with sound information for decision-making. Attendees are expected to include members of farm organizations, food and fiber firms, academia, foreign governments, and the news media.

Energy Update Week of January 7

Friends,

I hope everyone had a great holiday.  While we all survived the Fiscal Cliff Hurricanes, it seems as if there will be more political trouble down the road from Debt Black Hawks in Congress.  Remembers the Devils are always in the details.  While I took Flyers on the whole fiscal mess, it couldn’t nearly Bruin the controversy over the NHL lockout, which is finally resolved.   The 48-game season is set to start in a few weeks, so let’s get it on…  Too bad Nick Lidstrom didn’t keep his Red Wings for this shortened season.  I bet he would be a Predator in a shortened 48-game season.  It would have been much better for his older Jets than the long-regular season and playoffs.  Anyway, Canadians, Canucks and Maple Leafs of all stripes are finally breathing a sigh of relief that the OHL is not playing on Hockey Night in Canada anymore (they couldn’t even watch the Canadian Jrs lose to the USA at the World Junior Championships in Russia).

Speaking of Capitals, the beginning of January also signals the beginning for the Stars of the state legislatures across the nation.  Look for an Avalanche of local legislation that sometimes Ducks logic.  In Maryland, Islanders looking for new offshore wind legislation are expected to push local Senators, Kings and other officials with a new effort to reignite the issue that went up in Flames last year in the State Senator, which truly gave supporters the Blues.  Perhaps Lightning will strike this year.   Like Panthers on the prowl, we will be trying to monitor key issues, but if you Coyotes out there hear of local state legislative issues that you need us to report on or want to mention, please let me know and we’ll report with our Sabres of truth.  

We are keeping our eyes peeled for movement from the White House on a new EPA Administrator.  We were are a bit surprised as Penguins without ice to see Christine Gregoire’s name mentioned by Washington State types last week who obviously are hearing about her being vetted.  We’re only a little surprised because we were thinking she would be better for Energy with her strong past experience on Hanford/nuclear waste issues, but if she was being vetted, that wouldn’t necessary mean for which job either…Oh yes, but that’s right…the Energy Secretary job is not open…yet…  See any Sharks circling? 

Tomorrow, two good events:  API’s Jack Gerard will be presenting the Oilers’ State of industry at the Mellon Auditorium at Noon.   Secondly, a bunch of Conservative Energy Rangers will be starting a Wild new group aimed at reigniting conservative leadership on conservation and the environment at the Reserve Officers Assn at 10:00 a.m.  I’ll be breaking owwwwt my Blue Jacket for these events, so see you there. 

Finally, this week is the first Energy Update of 2013 so we are unveiling our Lucky 13 issues for ’13 to watch.  In the meantime, honk – honk – honk… (if you’ve ever been waiting in a DC parking garage after a hockey game, you’ll know what I mean…)

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

The Lucky 13 for ‘13

1. Offshore Wind is Make or Break – This is a very important year for offshore wind.  While the industry has held unchecked promise for years, it is now time to start “putting up” projects that have long been delayed.  There is no doubt that 2012 saw significant progress for the fledgling industry. With strong government leadership at the state and federal levels working together with the innovators on the front lines of the economic and technical development, we are closer than ever to really starting an entirely new industry that promises revenue, jobs and clean energy, all in one.  This year, while government pushes forward on administrative and regulatory support, 2013 will be time to get a project in Rhode Island, Delaware or New Jersey or Massachusetts in the water and operating.

2. Wind PTC Change in Timing Will Make Big Difference Going Forward – In the final Fiscal Cliff deal, the PTC was renewed for another year.  But a more significant change was made that will change the dynamic on how we go forward with wind projects.  The negotiators changed the definition of when a wind project gets the credit from “In Service” to “Commence Construction.”  That change alone will buy projects another year, but in the long-run, it will redefine the timeline for projects as they look for new ways to phase out the credit.  Look for the phase out discussion to begin as Congress starts considering major tax legislation this summer.  The industry has laid down a six-year marker to start, while even supporters in the Senate see it as maybe a little less.  The process and timeline of the phaseout will help create industry and developer certainty that will be important to keeping a strong long-term future for the thousands of manufacturing jobs created by the wind industry and its supply chains.  

3. No Nukes – Last year, we pegged action on some nuclear projects as a key for the future of expanding nuclear power.  While many lagged, some are not throwing in the towel yet.  Currently, there are five under construction by three companies and consortia, but most development remains on life support with only Southern Company advancing its effort at Georgia’s Plant Vogtle with some success.  Problems abound even for Southern as lawsuits, activist opponents and costs make these expansions more treacherous.  Keep a close eye on Georgia, especially now that several older coal plants are also timelined to close in a few years, which makes Vogtle that much more important. 

4. Nat Gas Revolution – The natural gas revolution is here and is for real.  We have heard sputtering about it from all corners of the political and policy worlds, but the numbers are in. There are abundant supplies of natural gas in the world, and many of these supplies can be developed and produced at relatively low cost. In the U.S., despite their relative maturity, natural gas resources continue to grow, and the development of low-cost and abundant unconventional natural gas resources, particularly shale gas, has a material impact on future availability and price. Unlike other fossil fuels, natural gas plays a major role in most sectors of the modern economy — power generation, industrial, commercial, and residential. It is clean and flexible. The role of natural gas in the world is likely to continue to expand under almost all circumstances, as a result of its availability, its utility, and its comparatively low cost.  There is a lot to watch, but what regulatory burdens are imposed by items like EPA’s mandated study and what opponents do through the local political and legal system could slow the juggernaut.  

5. LNG, other Energy Exports Open for Business – One of the key questions this year will be whether the US energy industry will be allowed to export energy to nations that desperately need it.  In some cases it will be China, in other cases, maybe Japan or Europe.  Whatever, this fight is shaping up to be a real battle, with the Senate Energy committee stepping into it on its very first days of the 113th Congress.  Already, they are planning hearings on LNG Exports and DOE’s recent report, as well as looking at royalties from coal exports.  Energy exports can help our trade deficit and keep jobs rolling in the US even if our demand drops, especially in light of the widely-discussed natural gas revolution.  Look for the key fight to be over price and when enough is enough.  The key group to watch is the chemical manufacturing sector.  They will be the canary in the coal mine.

6. Climate G20 – With the real expiration of the Kyoto Treaty and indifference among most nations towards replacing it with a real policy, it is likely that international discussions around climate change will take on new meaning this year.  But even with the Administration superficially focused on climate change to address its activist base, look for more aggressive focus on the new real playing field for these discussions:  the G20 economic forum process. Not only are the right people at the table, but it places the climate issue in its proper context among other major issues like the global economy, technology partnership and international competitiveness. We know activists think John Kerry’s presence at State will make a difference, but don’t count on it, unless he and the President takes the fight to the next G20 Meeting in Russia in September 2013. 

7. Low Gasoline Demand – With 2012 seeing the highest average price for gasoline ever, we are seeing changing dynamics in the gasoline market that will likely change it forever going forward.  The problem has two unknowns: the fuel economy of the vehicle fleet itself, which hinges on how many new, efficient cars replace old, inefficient cars and the vehicle miles traveled.  EPA’s “real world” vehicle efficiency estimates show that demand is shrinking to an expected 108 billion gallons per year of U.S. demand by 2022. And with new fuel economy standards likely to be implemented next year, that demand will fall exponentially more. The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute estimates that new vehicle fuel economy rose 1 mpg in 2012, with new CAFE standards and consumer choice contributing to that outcome.  Expect greater gains in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Ultimately, a smaller domestic gasoline marketplace means changing the products available for sale or intended for export – and both will involve plenty of economic and political challenges. 

8. GHGs for Everyone? – Maybe the biggest story of 2013 will be what happens with the new proposed greenhouse gas rules for new power plants that were proposed in 2012.  In addition to that, what is next in EPA’s target list?  Many experts think it will be GHG emissions at existing power plants.  There is also potential for GHGs at refiners and other manufacturing facilities, but impacts on gasoline supply and consumer goods could be a factor here in delaying these as targets.  Whatever it is, the ultimate goal seems to be wide-ranging GHG regulations that will eventually have a broad impact on the entire economy.  2013 will see the first real steps implementing this enviro vision. 

9. Solar Successes Reaping Benefits – Solar has arrived: really…2013 will be a great year as jobs continue to be created and several important projects in the pipeline become a reality.  With the mistakes of Solyndra fading away and the successes of projects like BrightSource Energy’s Ivanpah project (which will go live in 2013) and big name Utility investors like Southern Company and Warren Buffet’s Mid-American buying in, solar is really ready to burst into the positive spotlight. 

10. New Natgas Drilling Technologies Will Make Things Move Faster, Better – For years, we have quietly watched a revolution on natural gas drilling.  With louder opponents, new political battlegrounds and silly movies like Gasland, one thing you can expect the industry technologists to do is to continue to build a better natural gas drilling mousetrap to get more out with less environmental impact.  Already, new technologies on water use, land impacts and air emissions are emerging faster than opponents claim to block drilling.  2013 will be a great year to watch these technologies emerge on the big stage to keep the natgas revolution alive and strong.

11. Keystone A Done Deal? – It’s funny how the biggest political issue stays hot.  As EPA’s Lisa Jackson resigns, enviros immediately claimed that it was because of Keystone.  How convenient for their cause.  It would be more believable if EPA had more than a sidebar role in the Keystone deal.  It is probably also more believable to think she left over getting rolled on NAAQS or the potential e-mail scandal questions.  It is most likely though, she was just done after four hard years (and who could blame her).  Anyway, back to Keystone, the biggest Administration questions remaining were resolved by Nebraska so that political fig leaf is gone.  Enviros are hanging hopes on John Kerry coming into the State Department but good luck with that: the cake is already baked.  Here’s the wiggle-room catch: Look for a final decision that leaves loose ends that can foster litigation.  The President gets his cake and the enviro lawsuit machine eats it too. 

12. Lawsuits, Lawsuits, Lawsuits – Speaking of lawsuits, it is widely expected that litigation will be the new “fiscal cliff” of 2013.  With the Administration taking more and more leeway with regulation and Congress arguing at every turn, both industry and enviro groups better pack on the funding to sue and be sued.  Already we have seen significant battles over the CASPR rule, auto CAFE standards, RFS changes/requirements and other EPA mobile source rules.  These will be small potatoes when compared to upcoming fights on GHG rules or new soot/particulate standards. 

13. Drilling Will Expand, Safety Will Be Focus – New U.S. energy growth will continue to propel significant economic expansion in the US.  This growth developing our domestic resources strengthens our energy security, creates good-paying jobs and generates needed revenue for the U.S. Treasury.  Ramping up the level of safe and responsible production in our federal waters/land is critical to that increase. Long-term investment requires confidence in the regulatory regime.  While the number of permits being issued for drilling has increased over the past year, there are still insufficient approved permits in the queue to support robust rig activity. Operators are getting permits approved “just in time” as a rig moves to its destination, and there is serious concern those approvals could slip to “not in time,” resulting in idle rigs waiting for approved permits. Given the costs, look for industry to keep fighting so permits are flowing to support an influx of new rigs.  Of course, with safety as Interior’s top priority, industry hasn’t been waiting around for a policy document to build a strong safety culture.  Despite the failures that led to Macondo, 2013 will show a drilling industry at large has long since been a leader on building and maintaining a strong culture of safety to make sure its employees are protected. 

IN THE NEWS

Gore Sells Current TV to Al Jazeera – Former VP Al Gore has sold Current TV, the small cable news channel that he co-founded to Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based media company.  The acquisition gives Al Jazeera, which is funded by the Qatar government and one of the largest fossil fuel producers in the world, the opportunity to establish a footprint in the United States, where it already has an English-language version.  Al Jazeera did not disclose the purchase price, but people with direct knowledge of the deal pegged it at around $500 million, indicating a $100 million payout for Gore.  It was also reported that Gore and his partners were eager to complete the deal by December 31 to avoid being subject to higher tax rates.  Unfortunately for them, the deal was not signed until Wednesday. Aren’t both of those facts rich with irony?  I think I’ll just leave it at that. 

Promised Land Continues to Be Panned – The widely-touted Matt Damon melodrama Promised Land isn’t getting very good reviews and it’s not just natural gas companies that are complaining.  Houston Chronicle Columnist Loren Steffy said it “doesn’t live up to its promise,” while even liberal press like Grist and Huff Post hammered it as well.    Grist says it landed in theaters with a resounding “meh!”  Other pre-release showings weren’t so hot.  And Box Office Mojo said after a middling performance in limited release, Promised Land expanded to 1,676 locations this weekend but could only muster $4.3 million (good for 10th place). “While Matt Damon is obviously a star, audiences aren’t going to show up for anything he does, especially when the marketing fails to present any semblance of an interesting story. With its “B” CinemaScore, and without any Academy Award nominations (that’s an assumption based on its poor reviews and lack of any previous awards recognition), the movie should disappear quickly from theaters.”  It lost out badly to Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3-D.  That says a lot…

NY Report Finds No Harm from NatGas “Fracking” – Speaking of natural gas drilling and controversy, over the past few months frustration has mounted in New York as the state struggles to finalize its natural gas regulations. What may have originally been an attempt at a pragmatic review has quickly devolved into political theater, with each day bringing new information to light on the actions – or, all too often, inactions – of state officials who seem content to let the issue drag on indefinitely. The latest example? A secret health review from Governor Cuomo’s hand-picked Health Secretary which found that “significant adverse impacts on human health are not expected from routine HVHF operations.” 

Hagel Nominee Brings Back Byrd-Hagel Memories – While enviros groups are swooning over John Kerry’s nomination to the State Department, they have to be a bit worried over the President’s suggestion that Chuck Hagel become the Defense Secretary.  While it will really have little impact on major environmental policy issues, just the mere mention of Chuck Hagel brings up memories of the long-standing Senate resolution Byrd-Hagel’s S Res. 98 that garnered a 95-0 vote in the Senate and has guided our international climate policy since 1997 (through several administrations and much to the chagrin of enviros).  Interesting Sponsors include Jay Rockefeller, Harry Reid, Dick Durbin and Barbara Mikulski, among many others who have left the Senate and some even who have passed on.  See the list in the Link.

Kansas’ Largest Wind Farm Starts Up – The largest wind farm ever built in Kansas has started operations.  Flat Ridge 2, jointly owned by BP Wind Energy and Sempra U.S. Gas & Power, has 274 wind turbines, each with capacity to generate 1.6 megawatts of electricity or a total of 438 megawatts. That’s enough to supply electricity to 160,000 homes.   Besides being the largest wind farm in Kansas, the $800 million project is the largest ever to be built all at once, instead of in phases. 

Georgia Power to Retire Plants – Georgia Power will retire 15 coal- and oil-fired generating units at four plants totaling 2,061 megawatts (MW) over the next few years.  The request includes units 3 and 4 at Plant Branch in Putnam County; units 1-5 at Plant Yates in Coweta County; units 1 and 2 at Plant McManus in Glynn County; and units 1-4 at Plant Kraft in Chatham County.  Branch, Yates and 3 of the 4 Kraft units are coal-fired, while the other Kraft Unit is oil- or natural gas-fired and McManus is oil-fired.  Plants will be retired by the April 16, 2015 effective date of EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics (MATS) rule. Georgia Power expects to seek a one-year extension of the MATS compliance date for Plant Kraft, and retire those units by April 16, 2016.  Several factors, including the cost to comply with existing and future environmental regulations, recent and forecasted economic conditions, and lower natural gas prices contributed to the decision to close these units.  My colleague Scott Segal said it also should be noted that Georgia Power has had a number of major investments over the last several years designed to diversify the portfolio of energy sources it uses.  Segal: “In the future, Georgia consumers and businesses will benefit from investments in state-of-the-art fossil fuel facilities, renewables, energy efficiency projects – as well as one of the only new builds in the nuclear sector.  In Washington, we theorize about an all-of-the-above energy policy; for Georgia Power and the Southern family, it looks like theory is moving into practice.” 

Chinese Restart Nuke Plant Construction – We may be struggling to build them here, but China has resumed construction on a “fourth generation” nuclear power plant, suspended after the 2011 Fukushima disaster, which will be its biggest-ever nuclear facility.  Construction on the coastal Shidao Bay nuclear plant in Rongcheng, a city in eastern China’s Shandong province, resumed last month.  The plant, which will be cooled by high temperature gas, will become the world’s first successfully commercialized fourth generation nuclear technology demonstration project.  The plant, expected to begin supplying electricity to the grid by 2017, will have a final generating capacity of 6,600 megawatts with initial investment in the project will be three billion yuan ($480 million).

GOING ON THIS WEEK 

FrackNation Opens in NY – Given the poor Promised Land showings, journalist Phelim McAleer releases his documentary, FrackNation, today in New York City. FrackNation is an antidote to GasLand, and Promised Land. McAleer begins with a revealing public exchange with Fox at a GasLand screening in 2011, then visits the residents of the bucolic farmlands where fracking is done, or could be done.  Fox repeatedly refuses an interview, so McAleer executes a Michael Moore–style ambush. Fox scurries away, and gets security to remove McAleer and his team from a public building. In running, Fox only indicts himself. FrackNation eviscerates one after another of Fox’s claims, including an assertion that breast-cancer rates soared around Texas’ shale-oil fields. The AP has reported the Texas Cancer Registry shows no such fact. 

New Leadership Group to Discuss Environment, Conservation – Former Interior Secretary Gale Norton, former Secretary Of Agriculture Ed Schafer and former Deputy Secretary Of The Interior Lynn Scarlett and the new CONSERVATION LEADERSHIP COUNCIL will host a forum and lunch tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. at the Reserve Officers Association’s Top of the Hill Conference Center on how conservatives are rebuilding leadership on conservation and the environment.   The CLC will showcase a new national dialogue among conservative leaders about innovative solutions to America’s environmental and conservation challenges. The CLC event will engage political and policy leaders in an interactive conversation about conservation and stewardship through policies rooted in fiscal responsibility, limited government, market entrepreneurship, community leadership, and public-private partnerships.  The CLC also will release a set of commissioned academic papers on topics ranging from energy and water security to species protection and land management – offering a set of actionable recommendations that focus on private-sector and community initiatives as federal budgets tighten.  Invited participants include dozens of leaders from federal, state and local government, the private sector, conservation groups and academia who share an interest in advancing policy solutions that reflect the CLC’s principles. Others on the CLC include former CEQ Chair Jim Connaughton, former EPA official Mary Gade, former Energy assistant Sect Kevin Kolevar, former Augusta , Georgia Mayor Bob Young and many others. 

API to Hold State of Energy – The American Petroleum Institute will hold its state of the energy industry tomorrow at Noon in the Andrew Mellon Auditorium.  API CEO Jack Gerard will outline the new realities of energy in America and the ways the oil and natural gas industry is working and investing every day to ensure the safe exploration, production and delivery of American-made energy. Energy that is vital to creating jobs, growing businesses and ensuring our quality of life. 

Calvert’s Freeman to address GreenBiz Roundtable – The Wharton Club of DC’s Green Business Roundtable will hold its monthly meeting Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. at the National Press Club’s McClendon Room to discuss the intersection of business and our environment.  The speaker will be Calvert’s Bennett Freeman, Senior Vice President of Sustainability Research and Policy.  Freeman leads Calvert’s Sustainability Research Department and oversees its company research and analysis as well as its policy and advocacy work. From 2003 until early 2006, he led Burson-Marsteller’s Global Corporate Responsibility practice advising multinationals on policy development, stakeholder engagement and communications strategies related to human rights, labor rights and sustainable development. During the Clinton Administration he served in three positions as a presidential appointee in the State Department, most recently as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor from 1999 to early 2001. 

Utah Energy Forum to Look at All of the Above Energy – The Utah Office of Energy Development will hold the 2013 Utah Governor’s Energy Development Summit on Thursday and Friday in Salt Lake City’s Salt Palace Convention Center.  The Summit is the premier energy event for Utah and the greater Rocky Mountain area. Join Governor Gary R. Herbert and other national energy leaders as they highlight energy priorities, hot topics, and emerging energy issues. 

FUTURE EVENTS

Reicher to Headline AWEA West Event – Focusing on California and surrounding states, the AWEA Regional Wind Energy Summit – West will be held in La Jolla on January 14th, providing a comprehensive and timely analysis of critical topics in Western wind, including the renewable portfolio standard, wind energy market opportunities, and regional transmission planning.  This event gives you a regional perspective, access to experts who are embedded in the industry and geographical area.  Speakers will include our friend Dan Reicher, executive director of the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance at Stanford University. He has more than 25 years of experience in energy technology, policy, and finance, including serving in the Clinton administration at the Department of Energy as Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and recently as a member of President Obama’s Transition Team. Reicher came to Stanford in 2011 from Google, where he served since 2007 as Director of Climate Change and Energy Initiatives.  Following the conference, AWEA will also hold an Environmental Health and Safety seminar and a wind project maintenance and reliability seminar as well. 

WRI Looks at Big Stories for 2013 – The World Resources Institute will hold a forum on Tuesday, January 15th at 9:00 a.m. at the National Press Club’s Fourth Estate Room on what stories will impact people and the planet in 2013.  Dr. Andrew Steer, President & CEO, will present his views for where the world is headed in international development, climate change, energy, sustainable business, natural resources, and more. 

USEA Holds Annual State of Energy Forum – The US Energy Association will hold its annual state of the energy industry forum on January 16th (my birthday for any of you thinking about getting me something) at the National Press Club at Noon. Distinguished leaders from the most influential and active energy trade associations as they present the priorities, issues, trends, and challenges affecting the industry in 2013.  Speakers will include Marv Fertel (Nuclear Energy Institute), Jack Gerard, President & CEO, American Petroleum Institute), Regina Hopper (America’s Natural Gas Alliance), Skip Horvath (Natural Gas Supply Association), Tom Kuhn (Edison Electric Institute), Hal Quinn (National Mining Association), Dave McCurdy (American Gas Association), Joe Nipper (American Public Power Association), Rhone Resch (Solar Energy Industries Association), Don Santa (Interstate Natural Gas Association of America),

John Shelk (Electric Power Supply Association) and JoAnne Emerson (National Rural Electric Cooperative Association). 

Detroit Auto Show Ready to Roll –Global automakers have saved their best for the 2013 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) which begins with the annual press preview on Monday, January 14th at Detroit’s famous Cobo Hall.  The show is a reflection of the positive changes that are occurring in our industry according to 2013 NAIAS chairman Jim Seavitt. “Automakers from around the world continue to place NAIAS at the top of their global auto show strategies, and have committed to more than 50 vehicle debuts with the majority being worldwide unveilings, ” he said.  The official NAIAS Press Conference Schedule, features nearly 40 official events to be held at Press Preview, January 14-15th.  Together, the more than 50 worldwide and North American unveilings are a major demonstration of confidence in the NAIAS, which is frequently compared with shows in Geneva, Frankfurt, Paris, Tokyo, and Beijing/Shanghai.    Most NAIAS press conferences will take place at Detroit’s Cobo Center, which is currently in the second of a three-phase expansion plan. Some events will take place in the new three-story glass atrium facing the Detroit River. The lone offsite press conference will be presented by Ford Motor Company at neighboring Joe Louis Arena on Jan. 15.  With more than 6,000 journalists from around the globe expected to attend NAIAS, the show continues to be at the forefront as a venue for manufacturers and Tier One suppliers to announce new vehicles and make industry news.  

Olmos, Nash to Host Urban Wheel Awards at NAIAS – Emmy and Golden Globe Award winning actor, producer, director and Latino activist, Edward James Olmos, will join Daytime Emmy award-winning actress Niecy Nash to host the 17th Annual Urban Wheel Awards on Sunday, January 13, 2013 at the MotorCity Casino Hotel inside the Sound Board theatre during the North American International Auto Show’s (NAIAS) press preview week. The Urban Wheel Awards is the official multicultural event of the NAIAS.  The Urban Wheel Awards (UWA) is the only Official Multicultural Event held in conjunction with the North American International Auto Show.  The UWA brings together celebrities, automotive executives, international media, government representatives, and the multicultural community.  This year the UWA will honor women in the automotive industry.  The evening begins with a vehicle display at 4:00 p.m. followed by the Celebrity Red Carpet at 5:00 p.m.; VIP and General receptions start at 5:30 p.m., immediately followed by the awards from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.  An afterglow networking reception will conclude the evening.  Proceeds from the event support the Emerging Diversity Education Fund, which provides internships, scholarships, and mentoring to students pursuing careers in communications and the auto industry.  

API’s Felmy to Headline ICF Energy Breakfast – ICF International continues its Energy Breakfast Series with an event on Thursday, January 17th featuring Dr. John Felmy, chief economist of the American Petroleum Institute (API).  Felmy will draw on his unique perspective to discuss petroleum market issues and how they may affect the petroleum industry, the economy, and consumers.  We are in an unprecedented period of transition. The International Energy Agency has projected that the U.S. could be self-sufficient in petroleum supplies by 2030. Current market trends and supply developments have substantial implications for world petroleum markets, energy security, trade deficits, and our personal pocketbooks. 

NJ to Hold Offshore Wind, Jobs Forum – The New Jersey Alliance for Action will hold a forum on January 17th at the PNC Bank Arts Center’s Meyner Reception Center looking at offshore wind energy and transmission.  It will be a supply chain forum for the burgeoning wind industry.  Speakers will include AWC CEO Bob Mitchell, Offshore Wind Development Coalition head Jim Lanard and Fishermen’s Energy Chris Wissemann, among others.  

World Bank to Hold Transportation Conference – EMBARQ and the World Bank will co-host the tenth annual Transforming Transportation conference at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. on Thursday and Friday, January 17th and 18th.  There is more work to be done within the transport community to achieve scale and widespread adoption of sustainable solutions.  The conference will address topics including improving health & safety in cities, capitalizing on the multilateral development banks’ $175b commitment for sustainable transport at Rio+20, integrating urban transport and development and the benefits of high quality urban design, among others.

Green Inaugural Ball Set for Newseum – The Green Inaugural Ball will be held at The Newseum on Sunday, January 20th, bringing together the broad environmental, conservation and clean tech community to celebrate the past four years and look forward to the future.  The dress code is black or Green tie.  The event is sponsored by a bunch of environmental and clean energy groups. 

January 21st – Presidential Inauguration Day

Salazar to Attend Clean Energy Ball – On Monday evening, the 7th Environmental and Clean Energy Inaugural Ball will be held from 8:00 p.m. to Midnight at Sequoia Restaurant in Georgetown’s Washington Harbor waterfront.  This black tie, bi-partisan celebration has become a Washington tradition over the past 24 years as the environmental and clean energy communities gather to welcome a new Administration and make headway towards a more sustainable future.  In 2009, guests included Energy Secretary Chu and Lisa Jackson from EPA. In 2013, U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will be a Special Honored Guest. 

VA Clean Energy Day Set – Thursday January 24th will be the third annual Clean Energy Lobby Day in the state legislature in Richmond, Virginia. 

Oregon Clean Energy Conference Set – The 12th annual Harvesting Clean Energy Summit will be held at Oregon State University in Corvallis, OR at the Hilton Garden Inn on January 27-29th.  Participants from a diverse range of fields – from motivated farmers, ranchers and other rural landowners to professionals from agriculture and forestry associations, rural utilities, tribes, economic development agencies, and research institutions, to lenders, energy developers and consultants, and representatives of federal, state and local government will attend to discuss Clean Energy strategies.  Drawing on several dozen top-notch speakers, Harvesting Clean Energy focuses on the practical steps to successful project development, from economic and feasibility assessments, to accessing technical support and securing financing amidst tough finance markets.  Learn about wind power, a range of bio-energy technologies, solar and geothermal resources, microhydro, energy innovation in the food processing sector, and efficiency technologies to reduce energy costs and enhance profitability.  Hear about strategies to maximize local job creation and economic benefits from developing our clean energy resources.

Washington Auto Show, Policy Forums Set – The Washington Auto Show, the policy auto show, will be held starting February 1st for 10 days.  The largest public show in Washington is scheduled from Feb. 1 -10, with January 30th and 31st serving as special preview days for media, government and industry.  On January 30th, the show will hold its annual Public Policy Day on Capitol Hill.  The Policy Summit will be presented by National Journal and The Washington Auto Show in Caucus Room of the Cannon House Office Building.  “Only The Washington Auto Show can bring together the latest in safety and technology as well as consumer promotions and lots of fun; indeed, “It is the hottest ticket” in town,” said Robert Fogarty, show chairman and CEO of Sport Automotive.  In 2013, the show will have a new floor plan and many new features, including a Luxury Showcase with 11 luxury brands together on the first level and the Exotic Car area. The Advanced Technology SuperHighway Café will house the latest innovations in safety, sustainability and technology.  At the same time, the show draws a massive, diverse and affluent audience with its showcase of stars and cars, cutting-edge technologies, contests and car giveaways.  Look for the display of more than 700 new vehicles by over 42 domestic and import manufacturers offering a showcase of cars, trucks, mini-vans, sport utility vehicles. The show fills the 750,000 square-foot space with two-levels of advanced exhibits. 

ACORE Renewable Policy Forum Set – ACORE will hold its National Renewable Energy Policy Forum on February 5th and 6th on Capitol Hill.  The form strategically occurring after the election at the start of the 113th Congress, which will chart the path forward for pro-growth, constructive and bipartisan renewable energy policy.  Renewable energy leaders from Capitol Hill and across the country will assess the volatile state of renewable energy policy and provide a call to action for policymakers for 2013 and beyond.  Some of the Policy Co-Chairs include our friends, Katie McGinty (unless she has a new job), BrightSource Energy’s Joe Desmond and Stanford’s Dan Reicher. 

February 3rd  – Super Bowl Sunday 

AWEA To Go To Capitol Hill – On February 5th and 6th, AWEA will return to Capitol Hill for its annual lobby days.  The November 2012 elections will bring new faces to Congress and change the dynamics of Congressional committees that are key to the wind industry.  AWEA members will conduct meetings on Capitol Hill, sharing company perspectives on pressing legislative issues with legislators in whose states they live, and/or has offices, projects, or manufacturing facilities.

Co-ops to Hold Technology Conference in NOLA – The National Rural Electric Co-op Assn (NRECA) will hold its annual TechAdvantage Conference & Expo in New Orleans on February 18th and 19th to highlight the latest technologies available to electric cooperative engineers, information technology staff, and supply chain and member service professionals.

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 January 17

Friends,

Another short week this week marks the return of Congress and finally the end of the college football season.  As you already know, but only if you can stay up that late, the college BCS bowl series concluded last Monday night with the “Championship” game featuring Alabama and LSU.   While both teams were great throughout the year, the game was less than stellar and nowhere near as exciting as the great Rose Bowl game (on its traditional New Year’s Day Holiday when we could watch and weren’t sleepy) where Oregon and Wisconsin traded scores until the very last second. 

Anyway, kudos to our friend and shallow water energy guru Jim Noe, who not only attended the game but, came out a winner no matter the result.  Noe did undergrad and ran track at Bama, but got his JD from LSU.  Of course, he says he was saying “Roll Tide” all along on Monday… Maybe new BSEE Director James Watson will believe that story in their meeting tomorrow.  (Oops did I say that…should you want to talk to Noe about the meeting let me know, I can probably arrange it.)

Rumor has it that POLITICO may be looking for a new person to handle its Morning Energy gig after the 15-1 Packers were finished off by the NY Giants on Sunday.  As our friend Heather Zichal apparently said earlier this year, “no es bueno” if you are a member of Packer Nation.  ME Guru Patrick Reis isn’t taking the beat down that well apparently even though his name was by-lined this morning.  Good sources inside POLITICO say they are worried about him.  As a Packers’ owner/shareholder I am worried as well as we need all of our fans.  Hold off on sending resumes just yet, but….   Patrick, if you can read this, hope this helps: Waterfall; Nothing can harm me at all; My worries seem so very small; With my waterfall.  There, that should feel better.

Briefs were due today in the stay of the EPA’s CSAPR.  Arguments will be sometime this spring with an expected ruling by summer.  Our friends Jeff Holmstead and Rich Alonso at Bracewell are all over this issue should you need thoughts, background or comments. 

Remember, tomorrow, the United States Energy Association will host major Washington-based energy associations at the Press Club to provide presentations on the issues, trends and challenges affecting the industry.

State Legislatures really get going this week as well with Maryland, PA, Virginia, NJ, New Mexico and others jumping back in.  Among your typical tax, education and economy issues, especially in the Mid-Atlantic, state legislatures are really focused on energy, including natural gas drilling and offshore wind.    Stay tuned for individual state issues and other items.  As well, if you hear of something you think is worthy of reporting from your state legislature, let us know and we’ll get the word out. 

Finally, on Saturday as part of my weekend-long birthday celebration for MLK and myself (44 for those of you that want to send me gifts including you mom who thought I was 45), my daughter took me (well really I drove) to the Classic Albums Live show featuring Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.  CAL is a touring group that plays classic albums live on stage, note for note, cut for cut.  It was really excellent.  Sometimes in the rat-race, you forget how awesome stuff like Floyd’s DSOM or Wish You Were Here really are. 

The Tool tour started over the weekend in Reno and Las Vegas, Nevada.  The Set list is up here.  Hannah, Adam and I are cutting class on Friday February 3 to road trip to Hampton, VA for a show.   Psyched that The Pot and 46&2 made the cut.  Call with questions.

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

IN THE NEWS

Tier 3 Gas Standards Battles Picking Up Steam – A new battle is beginning to rage over EPA’s Tier 3 gasoline standards and it is starting to shape up as fight with huge political implications – especially as gas prices are expected to soar this summer.  Last week, enviros launched a letter demanding that EPA move forward with the regs, saying the rules that would reduce the amount of sulfur in gasoline and result in a significant drop in emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx).  Several key bipartisan senators pushed back the next day asking the EPA to hold off because the new rules would drive up the cost of gasoline by as much as 25 cents per gallon.  The Senators’ letter states, “Depending on the stringency of the proposed rule” Tier 3 standards, “could add 12 to 25 cents to each gallon of gasoline.”  Tier 3 could also put jobs at 147 refineries subject to these standards at risk.  Signers include Inhofe, Murkowski, Begich, Landrieu, Barrasso and Vitter.  Overall, what does it mean?  With higher prices expected this summer in the heart of driving season (which just so happened to coincide with the political silly season), the price blame game is already starting.  Look for this to have some impact on the President’s thinking around his Keystone decision, which is due on February 21.

Republicans, Industry, Labor Expected to Keep up Heat On Keystone – Speaking of Keystone, Republicans plan to keep the pressure on the President.  Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) told The Omaha World-Herald that the House will consider legislation that mandates approval of the pipeline.  Sen. John Hoeven, who delivered the Republicans’ weekly radio address, is already crafting legislation that would put the final decision on Keystone in the hands of Congress, not the White House.  And industry is taking the issue to the campaign trail with API head Jack Gerard running around South Carolina yesterday and today. American Petroleum Institute — said the powerful oil industry trade group will be traveling around the country in the coming months as part of its “Vote 4 Energy” campaign, which includes radio, television and print advertising in swing states including Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.   Some of my reporter friends are wondering if the already expected lame SOTU speech may me a good place to launch a Keystone Decision or at least the groundwork for it.  We’ll be watching closely.

Study Says Drilling Still Slow – API recently released a study by Quest Offshore Resources, Inc. “The State of the Offshore Oil & Gas Industry,” confirming that the permit slowdown is costing Americans billions in lost economic activity.  The Gulf Economic Survival Team said the Quest study is further confirmation of the cascading economic costs caused by the slow pace of permitting for deepwater oil and gas exploration since the lifting of the moratorium.  According to a similar study by IHS-CERA released in July, a more proactive approach for issuing plan and permit approvals would result in 230,000 new or retained American jobs, more than $44 billion in US GDP, nearly $12 billion in tax and royalty revenues, and a reduction of $15 billion in America’s bill for imported oil, all in 2012 alone.  GEST’s Lori LeBlanc: “Clearly, the uncertainty surrounding the current pace of permitting has stifled our domestic industry’s investment in the Gulf, and other countries are benefitting from the economic activity that Americans are losing.  Without a robust return to permitting, we will continue to lose out on the tremendous opportunity the Gulf offers us to create American jobs, increase our federal revenues and produce American energy. LeBlanc added now more than ever, America deserves the dependable source of domestic oil and gas provided by the Gulf of Mexico, and Americans need the economic stimulus provided by the offshore energy industry.

Flawed Boiler Rule Reinstated – The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled last week that the EPA “arbitrary and capricious” implementation of the Boiler MACT rule and the commercial and industrial solid waste incinerators, calling the delay and the rules long overdue.  Some industry observers speculate that without the stay, the EPA may be under more pressure to finalize the rules.  The EPA estimates that more than 200,000 boilers will be covered by the rules, with about 5,500 of the boilers, most of which are at industrial facilities, subject to emission limits. My colleague Lisa Jaeger, who represents the boiler industry, said the district court’s decision will force sources to “make immediate decisions about compliance on incomplete information” because there will be changes between the finalized rules and the reconsidered rules expected in April.  “That makes no sense.”  The recent action may also force Congress’ hand as well.  Already, a strong bipartisan group in the Senate is pushing legislation that will delay EPA’s rule as EPA requested.  A similar bill already passed in the House.

EPA Seeking Independent Experts on Controversial Encana NatGas Study – After a couple of weeks of bad press about shoddy science in its draft report, EPA is looking for experts to review the controversial draft report released last month that linked drilling operations in Pavillion, Wyoming, to water contamination in the area.  The agency is soliciting public nominations of nationally- or internationally-recognized scientists and engineers “who can conduct a scientifically thorough and unbiased review of the document.”  The announcement comes a few days after Encana – the operator of the Pavillion field at the center of the EPA’s draft report – requested a peer review on the topic.   In December the EPA said in a draft study that it had discovered synthetic chemicals associated with gas production and hydraulic fracturing fluids inside deep water wells in the region — the first time the agency had ever drawn such a link. But the study quickly came under fire from experts and industry representatives who said the study was flawed. 

EPA’s Jackson Pressured over Dimock Water Flip-Flop – Speaking of natural gas and EPA, EPA Administrator Jackson was getting heat from Dimock residents over EPA’s back and forth over water for residents.  Remember last week, we mentioned that EPA said they would deliver water after PA DEP allowed Cabot to stop delivering water saying they met their requirements.  Shortly after,  EPA retracted the water offer and promised a study, infuriating residents. So when a handful of Dimock residents showed up in protest and tried to question her, she responded by attacking the Pennsylvania DEP.  Jackson was in Philadelphia for a conference and was confronted by drilling opponents who are puzzled by EPA’s response.  Jackson said she was puzzled that Pennsylvania’s environment secretary criticized EPA’s knowledge of the situation.  She added his stance wouldn’t help the town’s residents.  Apparently EPA isn’t that helpful either given the way they handled the situation.  Way to go Madam Administrator, that was helpful…

THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK:

Detroit Auto Show Public Sessions Open – The North American International Auto Show 2012 (NAIAS) continues this week in Detroit with its public show, which actually started Saturday and will run all this week.  This year the show has expanded its footprint inside Detroit’s Cobo Center and its outreach into the social media sphere.  With an additional 25,000 square feet of main floor exhibit space, and the anticipated unveilings of dozens of the most exciting production and concept vehicles in the world, NAIAS 2012 is speeding towards two full days of press conferences. And, with an increased presence on social media sites Facebook and Twitter, the word is out wider than ever before.   NAIAS exhibiting manufacturers include: Acura, AMG, Audi, Bentley, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, CODA Automotive, Dodge, Falcon Motor Sports, Fiat, Ford, GMC, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Jeep, Kia, Lexus, Lincoln, Maserati, Maybach, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mini, Nissan, Porsche, Ram, Scion, Shelby American, Smart, SRT, Subaru, Tesla, Toyota, Vehicle Production Group, Volkswagen, and Volvo.  With more than 500 new cars and trucks displayed, families and those who simply appreciate fine automobiles can “shop” in a no-pressure, yet entertaining and educational environment.

Geothermal Forum Set – The Geothermal Energy Finance and Development Forum, hosted by the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA), will be held on Wednesday at the Marriott Marquis in San Francisco.  The event brings together an audience of U.S. and international geothermal industry leaders with the renewable energy finance community to discuss the investment opportunities that come from reliable, renewable geothermal power. The day’s agenda includes presentations and panel discussion on; state and federal policy, geothermal market trends, project and technology development, financing and investment, geothermal risk and reward, global financial markets, and government finance and incentives.

USEA Hosts Annual State of Energy – The United States Energy Association will host the State of the Energy Industry 2012 Wednesday afternoon in the National Press Club Ballroom. The event will feature speeches and panels discussions with all major Washington based energy associations, who will provide presentations on the issues, trends and challenges affecting the industry.

Yale Event to Look at Climate Policy, Canada – The Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy, in partnership with World Resources Institute and Environmental Defense Fund, will continue its series “Climate Change Solutions:  Frontline Perspectives from Around the Globe” on Wednesday at Noon in New Haven, CT.  This event will look at Climate Policy in Canada and feature Dr. Shi-Ling Hsu, Professor at the University of British Columbia Faculty of Law.  Hsu, author of the new book The Case for a Carbon Tax: Getting Past Our Hang-Ups to Effective Climate Policy, will discuss climate change policy from Canada’s perspective.      

EPA to Host Webinar on Energy Use – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Green Power Partnership will host a webinar focusing on green power use in communities on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m.  GPP will co-host this webinar with EPA’s State and Local Climate and Energy Program to highlight how municipalities from around the country are leveraging EPA programs to reduce the impacts of their communities’ energy use. EPA program managers will discuss the Green Power Community and Climate Showcase Communities programs as well as the tools and resources these programs offer participating communities.  Speakers include EPA’s Green Power Partnership Comms Director Mollie Lemon, EPA’s State/Local Climate Energy Program Lead Local Climate-Strategy Analyst Emma Zinsmeister, Emil King of the DC Department of the Environment, DC’s Energy Manager Michael Yambrach and Corvallis, Oregon Sustainability Supervisor Linda Lovett.

McCarthy to Address EPA Rules at Breakfast, Lunch – ICF International will host a breakfast on Thursday at 8:00 a.m. featuring  EPA Air Administrator Gina McCarthy  to speak on the series of air regulations moving forward at EPA.  EPA is in the midst of a series of regulations about the power sector, having recently issued standards for air toxics, NOx, SOx, and ozone (the MATS and CSAPR rules), with regulations of water, ash, and CO2 under development.  Then at Noon, McCarthy will then  roll over to the NDN/New Policy Institute to speak on the same topic.  McCarthy will spotlight the broad implications of these newly instituted standards which will require deep cuts in emissions and most likely reshape the utility industry in the process. 

THE WEEKS AHEAD:

EIA to Roll Out 21012 Energy Outlook – The Johns Hopkins University’s Energy, Resources and Environment Program will host the Energy Information Administration on Monday, January 23rd at 9:30 a.m. in the Nitze Building’s Kenney Auditorium.  Howard K. Gruenspecht, Acting Administrator of the U.S. EIA, will discuss “The Energy Information Administration’s 2012 Annual Energy Outlook Release.”

CNA’s Military Advisory Board to Discuss National Security, Oil – CNA Institute for Public Research will roll out a new study on the national security implications of shifting to alternative fuels on Monday, January 23rd at 12:00 p.m.  Speakers will include General Jim Conway, USMC (Ret.), former Commandant of the Marine Corps; Admiral John Nathman, USN (Ret.), former Vice Chief of Naval Operations and Fleet Forces Command; and Vice Admiral Lee Gunn, USN (Ret.), former Inspector General of the Navy and current President of CNA Institute for Public Research will be the distinguished speakers at the CNA National Security Seminar. They will discuss the findings of the CNA Military Advisory Board’s (MAB) most recent report that focuses on the national security implications associated with shifting the U.S. transportation sector to alternative fuels.

Reilly, Izzo, Carper. Others Headline WRI Forum – The World Resources Institute is hosting a roundtable discussion Monday, January 23rd 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.

Pershing to Headline Post-Durban Forum – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a post-Durban briefing on Tuesday, January 24th 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.

State of the Union Speech – President Obama will make the state of the Union Speech on January 24th at 9:00 p.m. 

Washington Auto Show – The Washington Auto Show and Capitol Hill Auto Summit Begins on January 25th.  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.

Kammen, Katz Featured at Forum On Sustainable Solutions – The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will hold a forum on Wednesday, January 25th 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.”

World Bank Transportation Conference Set –The World Bank will host its ninth annual “Transforming Transportation” event Thursday and Friday, January 26-27th 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, January 26th 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.

Beaudreau to Headline ELI Arctic Drilling Forum – The Environmental Law Institute will host a forum on Thursday, January 26th 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, January 27th 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. 

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.    

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.

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 January 9

Friends,

Happy Friday the 13th week.  This is the first of three Friday the 13th weeks that we will have this year (April, July are the others).  It is unusual that we have three Friday the 13th dates in a year without what I call the February/March double (as we did in 2009 and will again in 2015).  Our special 13 threesome can only occur in a leap year if the dates set up correctly with 1984 being the only other time it has occurred recently.  The fear of Friday the 13th is called friggatriskaidekaphobia in case you needed to know that at home.  It’s good for Jeopardy!.   I can think of a few other times I used Frigga (the Norse goddess the day is named for) at home and it is not always in reference to Friday.   And finally for you rock ‘n rollers, it was a Friday the 13th in February of 1970 that Black Sabbath released its self-titled classic debut album featuring a young Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward. 

As well, to this day, I think no one can argue that the original 1980 Friday the 13th horror movie classic  featuring a bunch of young actors (including Kevin Bacon) set the table for many other horror flicks that just can’t live up to its greatness.  (Maybe only bested by its predecessor and Friday director  Sean Cunningham’s inspiration, 1978’s Halloween featuring Jamie Lee Curtis in perhaps her greatest role.) 

Enough of the scary Freaky Friday (was that another JLC reference) talk, let’s look at the days before that, including today when the Supreme Court heard arguments this morning on a public lands case Sackett v. EPA that may have implications beyond the actual case, perhaps into the natural gas drilling arena.  Our experts can help with the case.

Also today, Interior finally officially infuriated many of Arizona’s public officials with its imposed 20–year ban on new mining claims on more than 1 million acres near the Grand Canyon.  Previously, they had twice imposed temporary bans while they waited for the right election-year politics. So much for the jobs argument.  Our friend Luke Popovich at NMA can probably help you address the True Lies on that issue, but here is the NMA statement

And if it wasn’t evident before, apparently Bill Daley, trying to remain Forever Young, has finally had enough and resigned from the White House officially today as Chief of Staff.  That may not bode well for the Keystone pipeline decision for you tea-leaf readers.  Again, it seems like the election political game is on in full force with the President choosing – at least in the first quarter of 2012 – his most aggressive special interest groups.   Kudos to my friend Dave Roberts of Grist for suggesting Van Jones as new Chief of Staff: not even the President would go that far Dave!!!  OMB Director and former Citigroup exec Jack Lew is Trading Places to take over.

Finally, super-duper Congrats to our friend and My Girl (or is she My Girl 2) Jen D’Louhy of the Houston Chronicle and husband Chris Doering of Reuters who  have a new baby boy.   Too bad he didn’t arrive a few days earlier to get the tax write off, but at least his birthday is close to Elvis Presley’s, which he’ll know better than Michelle Bachman…  

We are happy to help with political, policy and any background questions on issues for the upcoming year.  Don’t hesitate to call.  And sorry I couldn’t work in A Fish Called Wanda.

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

IN THE NEWS

Segal, Walke Debate EPA Rules on E&E TV – Let the battle rage on…The discussion over the Mercury rule and the Cross State Air Pollution rule rolled on this week on the Internet airwaves of E&E TV.  First, my colleague Scott Segal visited with host Monica Trauzzi to shred the EPA action on mercury.  Segal’s stand was then buffeted by NRDC air expert John Walke who strongly supported EPA’s action and challenged Segal.  It was (at least) round #3 of a long heavyweight Championship bout that will see more back-and-forth I suspect.   Of course, a tepid round one at ELI with Holmstead and Michael Bradley, then the calm, but substantive pre-Christmas Lehrer NewsHour  debate.  Now separate, but equal discussion on E&E TV.  Perhaps the National Press Club will be next? 

EPA Flipping on Water for PA – In the ever changing discussion about natural gas drilling and water in Dimock, PA, EPA abruptly changed its mind Saturday about delivering fresh water to residents whose wells are the subject of controversy over natural gas drilling.  Only 24 hours earlier, EPA said they were considering trucking fresh water to some residents.  Perhaps it reflects some concern about the ongoing SCOTUS case heard today.  The long-standing controversy centers around methane contamination, but earlier this year, the Pennsylvania DEP said the area’s water was okay.  For more than 2 years, Cabot, which took legal responsibility for some methane contamination, delivered water to residents, then met a state deadline to address the issue by installing treatment systems in some houses. Previously, a review by the EPA did not indicate that EPA had concerns about the water. Cabot is cooperating by providing water test data to the EPA that it has previously provided to the DEP and that the DEP has previously reviewed.  Both Penn State University and Penn DEP have done significant water testing in the region.  If there are gaps in the data, they exist due to lack of access to sample the water not from lack of testing.

Experts Debate Air Quality in Houston  at LWV Event – The Houston area League of Women Voters held a one-hour panel discussion on Air Quality that was televised live in Houston on MediaSource TV (a local public access station) last Thursday evening.  The event featured a representative of the LWV, Matt Tejada of Air Alliance Houston and Larry Soward, former chair of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and our Houston air expert colleague Chris Thiele.

Diamond Orders New Deepwater Drilling Rig – In further evidence that drilling activity may be heading in the right direction, Diamond Offshore Drilling said today they are entering into a contract with Keppel AmFELS shipyard in Brownsville, Texas to construct a moored semisubmersible rig.  The rig, which is scheduled for delivery in the third quarter of 2013, will cost approximately $300 million, including commissioning, spares and project management, but excluding capitalized interest.  The rig, to be named the Ocean Onyx, will be designed to operate in water depths up to 6,000 feet and will have a variable deck load of 5,000 long tons, a five-ram blowout preventer, and quarters capacity for 140 personnel.  Diamond Offshore provides contract drilling services to the energy industry and is a leader in deepwater drilling. Diamond Offshore’s fleet of offshore drilling rigs consists of 32 semisubmersibles, 13 jack-ups, and one drillship, in addition to three ultra-deepwater drillships currently under construction.

VA Launches Energy Plan – Governor Bob McDonnell recently unveiled a series of recommendations for the 2012 General Assembly session that will advance Virginia’s role as the Energy Capital of the East Coast.  McDonnell has pursued an “all of the above” strategy for advancing development of Virginia’s energy resources, through the passage of legislation, updating Virginia’s Energy Plan, and working with industry and stakeholder groups. The governor is leading in the push to develop offshore energy, supporting expansion of renewables, and advocating on behalf of traditional fuels including coal, natural gas, oil and nuclear energy in order to secure an adequate supply of affordable, reliable energy for Virginia’s future.  Since the beginning of his administration, McDonnell has been a strong advocate of offshore oil and gas development, and supported moving to alternative fuel vehicles, including compressed natural gas.  Virginia also continues to aggressively fight back against federal limitations of offshore oil and gas development and oppressive new anti-competitive federal regulatory activity that is creating obstacles to developing our domestic energy resources, leaving private capital that could be invested in expanding our domestic energy resources on the sidelines at a time when private investment in business expansion and job creation is so urgently needed to heal our ailing economy.

THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK:

Detroit Auto Show Kicks Off Year – The North American International Auto Show 2012 (NAIAS) kicks off this week in Detroit with its Press Preview today and tomorrow, industry preview on Wednesday and Thursday and Charity preview On Friday.  The public show starts Saturday and run through January 22nd.  This year the show has expanded its footprint inside Detroit’s Cobo Center and its outreach into the social media sphere.  With an additional 25,000 square feet of main floor exhibit space, and the anticipated unveilings of dozens of the most exciting production and concept vehicles in the world, NAIAS 2012 is speeding towards two full days of press conferences. And, with an increased presence on social media sites Facebook and Twitter, the word is out wider than ever before.   NAIAS exhibiting manufacturers include: Acura, AMG, Audi, Bentley, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, CODA Automotive, Dodge, Falcon Motor Sports, Fiat, Ford, GMC, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Jeep, Kia, Lexus, Lincoln, Maserati, Maybach, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mini, Nissan, Porsche, Ram, Scion, Shelby American, Smart, SRT, Subaru, Tesla, Toyota, Vehicle Production Group, Volkswagen, and Volvo.  With more than 500 new cars and trucks displayed, families and those who simply appreciate fine automobiles can “shop” in a no-pressure, yet entertaining and educational environment.

Supreme Court Hears Arguments in Lands Fight – The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments today in on a public lands case Sackett v. EPA and as many of you have already discussed with us, will likely have implications beyond the actual case.  In Sackett, an Idaho couple is seeking to sue the agency before it goes to court to enforce a Clean Water Act order.  Folks like the Farm Bureau, homebuilders, road builders and API have supported the challenge because they want broader discretion in challenging EPA.   Several outlets have previews today that discuss implications including those on GE, but Jess Bravin and Deborah Solomon  have a piece in the Wall Street Journal that extends the interest more importantly out to cases involving natural gas fracturing issues with Range Resources, where EPA ordered Range to provide drinking water to residents.  Perhaps part of the reason they may have pulled back in PA recently.   We have experts that can help on the case.

Hayes Headlines Platts Newsmaker for Tomorrow – Platts will hold its Energy Podium Newsmaker tomorrow with Interior’s David Hayes.  Do forget to ask the hard questions about offshore drilling and the easy questions about the Atlantic Wind Connection, the transmission system for offshore wind. 

WRI Expert to Highlight Enviro Issues for 2012 – Manish Bapna, Interim President, World Resources Institute, will hold a briefing for journalists tomorrow at the National Press Club’s Holeman Lounge to preview key environmental issues in 2012.  He will discuss topics such as: What does the U.S. presidential election mean for key environmental issues, including the future of the EPA? What will be the key drivers for renewable energy in 2012? What does China’s upcoming leadership transition mean? How will the expanding global population impact scarce natural resources, including forests? What will happen at the 2012 Earth Summit in Rio?  Bapna has been with WRI for five years, previously serving as its managing director. Bapna is an internationally recognized expert on environmental and sustainability issues, with a background in international development, rural poverty and natural resources.

Forum to Feature IEA Experts – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Didier Houssin, Director for Energy Markets and Security, International Energy Agency, and Laszlo Varro, Head of the Gas, Coal and Power Division, IEA, to present the IEA’s new annual publication, the “Medium-Term Coal Market Report 2011” on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. at CSIS.   Guy Caruso, Senior Adviser, CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.  Global demand for coal will continue to expand aggressively over the next five years despite public calls in many countries for reducing reliance on the high-carbon fuel as a primary energy source. Coal is already the single-largest source of electricity generation globally, and the surging power generation in emerging economies is projected to increase coal demand over the next five years.   The report, which presents a comprehensive analysis of recent trends in coal demand, supply and trade, as well as an IEA outlook for coal market fundamentals for the coming five years, serves as a reminder of the significant challenges facing efforts to transform the global energy system to one that is sustainable, secure and low-carbon. The report also raises concerns about the global implications of China’s massive appetite for coal, noting that events and decisions in China could have an outsized effect on coal prices – and thus electricity prices – around the world over the next five years. 

Nussle, Panels to Look at Energy, Water Challenges – The Hudson Institute will host a forum on Thursday at Noon to discuss the challenges and conflicts between energy needs and water quality/supply.  Some of the protests against the Keystone XL pipeline were based on fears about potential for contamination of water. Opposition to shale gas development also draws heavily on worries about water pollution. And 2011 saw power plant output threatened, not by fuel shortfalls, but by shortages of cooling water.  With the economic recession wreaking havoc on local budgets, high and rising public debt is making it far less plausible that government will be able to buy our way out of energy and water scarcity.  Former Iowa Rep and OMB Director Jim Nussle, now President & COO of Growth Energy, will give a keynote luncheon address on the subject. This will be followed by two panel discussions that will focus on the main challenges posed by the energy water nexus. The first will feature Craig Zamuda in DOE’s Office of Climate Change Policy and Technology, the Atlantic Council’s John Lyman and W. David Montgomery of NERA Economic Consulting.  A second panel will critically assess current proposed solutions and will feature UCSB’s Gary Libecap, Jes Munk Hansen of Grundfos North America, RFF’s Sheila Olmstead and Kassia Yanosek of Tana Energy Capital.

Event to Look at Rio after 20 Years – The Aspen Institute will hold a forum on Thursday at the Kaiser Family Foundation at 12:30 p.m. that will look at the 20 years since the Rio Earth Summit and the Climate Change, Population and Sustainability issues.  Twenty years after the 1992 “Earth Summit” in Rio de Janeiro, the promise of sustainable development will be revisited again in June 2012 in Rio. The 1992 Earth Summit established the three pillars – economic, social, and environmental – as the interdependent foundation to develop sustainably. But we face soaring social inequity only five years from the stated brink of irreversible climate change, and in the midst of a global economic downturn. In this time of significant global economic upheaval, it’s more important than ever to prioritize sustainable development investments that provide multiple benefits for families, communities, nations and the world. As momentum builds to address climate change and other major challenges, Rio+20 presents an opportunity to return anew to the critical question of how environmental, population and economic concerns can be joined afresh in a new vision for sustainable development.  Worldwatch President Robert Engelman will speak at the event, and will be joined by President of the Mary Robinson Foundation, Mary Robinson; the World Bank’s Vice President of Sustainable Development, Rachel Kyte; and Regional Director of the International Planned Parenthood Foundation, Carmen Barroso.

Brazilian Environment Official to Look at Rio+20 – The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will hold a forum on Thursday, at 3:00 p.m. in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center to discuss what to expect from Rio+20.  The event will feature a conversation with Brazil’s Minister of the Environment Izabella Teixeira.  After leading the Brazilian delegation at the recently concluded UN Climate Conference in Durban, South Africa, Teixeira is now focused on preparation of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20, to take place next June in the former Brazilian capital.  A biologist with a PhD in Environmental Planning and two decades of government service, Teixeira has been deeply involved in key domestic and international environmental policy deliberations in the past decade.  She will return to the Wilson Center to present the Brazilian government’s vision for the upcoming Rio+20 and discuss the prospects for the conference in the wake of the surprising progress achieved in Durban.  Paulo Sotero, Director of the Brazil Institute, will join her on the panel.

Brookings Forum Focused on Growth Strategies – On Friday, the Brookings Institution will gather the CEOs of leading U.S. businesses for a day-long series of panels addressing job creation, economic competitiveness, and innovations in technology. The program will include state and federal experts who will discuss strategies reaching from local innovation to global competition, and address ideas for reducing the budget deficit without undermining strategies to revitalize the economy. Brookings experts will lead discussions on a broad range of strategies for fostering growth and innovation.   Speakers will include Commerce Secretary John Bryson former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and former Clinton Budget Director Alice Rivlin.  Featured CEOs include Ellen Kullman of DuPont, Dow’s Andrew Liveris, Caps/Wizards Owner Ted Leonsis and US Steel’s John Surma.

Forum to Tackle China Mineral Impacts – The Wilson Center will also hold another forum on Friday at 10:00 a.m. to look at environmental and social impacts of China’s overseas oil, mineral, and gas investments.  China is now a major global player in oil, gas, and mineral extraction investments.  In 2009 and 2010, China Development Bank (CDB) extended lines of credit totaling almost $65 billion to energy companies and government entities in Brazil, Ecuador, Russia, Turkmenistan and Venezuela. Nearly all of these loans are secured by revenue earned from the sale of oil at market prices to Chinese national oil companies. Drawing on her recently released study (Inside China, Inc.), Erika Downs will discuss how CDB’s energy-backed loans demonstrate the increasingly central role the bank is playing in China’s “going out” strategy, which is facilitating the international expansion of Chinese firms to secure energy and natural resources, build national champions, and acquire advanced technologies.  Drawing on extensive case studies conducted by Friends of Earth, Adina Matisoff will give an assessment of the Chinese National Petroleum Corporation’s environmental and social policies and practices across its global portfolio. She also will discuss environmental and social trends of Chinese mining investments overseas.  Putting the China’s mining investments in a larger context will be Derek Scissors who has built the most extensive web database on Chinese investments overseas (see the Heritage Foundation’s China Global Investment Tracker). He will dig into issues related to Chinese metal mining investments in Australia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Peru, and other countries.

THE WEEKS AHEAD:

Geothermal Forum Set – The Geothermal Energy Finance and Development Forum, hosted by the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA), will be held on Wednesday, January 18th at the Marriott Marquis in San Francisco.  The event brings together an audience of U.S. and international geothermal industry leaders with the renewable energy finance community to discuss the investment opportunities that come from reliable, renewable geothermal power. The day’s agenda includes presentations and panel discussion on; state and federal policy, geothermal market trends, project and technology development, financing and investment, geothermal risk and reward, global financial markets, and government finance and incentives.

USEA Hosts Annual State of Energy – The United States Energy Association will host the State of the Energy Industry 2012 Wednesday afternoon, January 18th in the National Press Club Ballroom. The event will feature speeches and panels discussions with all major Washington based energy associations, who will provide presentations on the issues, trends and challenges affecting the industry.

Yale Event to Look at Climate Policy, Canada – The Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy, in partnership with World Resources Institute and Environmental Defense Fund, will continue its series “Climate Change Solutions:  Frontline Perspectives from Around the Globe” on January 18th at Noon in New Haven, CT.  This event will look at Climate Policy in Canada and feature Dr. Shi-Ling Hsu, Professor at the University of British Columbia Faculty of Law.  Hsu, author of the new book The Case for a Carbon Tax: Getting Past Our Hang-Ups to Effective Climate Policy, will discuss climate change policy from Canada’s perspective.      

EPA to Host Webinar on Energy Use – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Green Power Partnership will host a webinar focusing on green power use in communities on Wednesday January 18th at 1:00 p.m.  GPP will co-host this webinar with EPA’s State and Local Climate and Energy Program to highlight how municipalities from around the country are leveraging EPA programs to reduce the impacts of their communities’ energy use. EPA program managers will discuss the Green Power Community and Climate Showcase Communities programs as well as the tools and resources these programs offer participating communities.  Speakers include EPA’s Green Power Partnership Comms Director Mollie Lemon, EPA’s State/Local Climate Energy Program Lead Local Climate-Strategy Analyst Emma Zinsmeister, Emil King of the DC Department of the Environment, DC’s Energy Manager Michael Yambrach and Corvallis, Oregon Sustainability Supervisor Linda Lovett.

McCarthy to Address EPA Rules at Breakfast – ICF International will host a breakfast on January 19th at 8:00 a.m. featuring  EPA Air Administrator Gina McCarthy  to speak on the series of air regulations moving forward at EPA.  EPA is in the midst of a series of regulations about the power sector, having recently issued standards for air toxics, NOx, SOx, and ozone (the MATS and CSAPR rules), with regulations of water, ash, and CO2 under development.

State of the Union Speech – President Obama will make the state of the Union Speech on January 24th at 9:00 p.m. 

Washington Auto Show – The Washington Auto Show and Capitol Hill Auto Summit Begins on January 25th.  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.

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.

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.

Energy Update: Week of January 3

Friends,

Happy New Year to everyone!!!  I hope you were able to enjoy a few days to relax, watch some football and ring in 2012.  But now that that’s over, let’s get busy. 

As you know, each year, I try to help you decide what may be key issues for the upcoming year.  You’ll see this year is no different, as I am posting my “Top 12 issues for ‘12.”  You’ll notice, I actually got in 13 because of some clever headline writing.  Don’t worry, I know:  you didn’t write the headlines…it just happen to work out that way.  How many times have you reporters used that to respond to the complaints of a PR guy?

Anyway, not much action this week, except a good forum over at CSIS on the DOE critical materials agenda and API’s big “State of the Oil/Gas Industry”  speech tomorrow.

We’re around to follow up on the recent EPA CSAPR ruling in the DC Circuit and the California LCF ruling if you have questions.  My expert lawyer friends tell me that stays are hard to come by in the world of Clean Air Act litigation, which makes the stay of the cross-state rule all the more significant.

We are also happy to help with political, policy and any background questions on issues for the upcoming year.  Don’t hesitate to call.

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

Top 12 for ‘12

1. Keystone Cops – The biggest energy story of the first quarter without a doubt will be the Keystone pipeline.  Not only has this issue blossomed into a larger-than-reality political issue, the President has finally been boxed into a corner on the issue that will force him to choose between two major constituencies – labor and enviros – just after he thought he got the political break he needed to delay the decision, thanks to Nebraska Republicans.  Now that is quality staff work at the White House, way to go.  Nonetheless, the battle will rage as the decision approaches, but regardless of the final result after 60 days, (I’m predicting politics/jobs will throw enviros under the bus) the legal battle will likely begin then – and that will be the real fight – of course likely delaying it until after the election anyway. 

2. End of a NM Energy Era – For the better part of the 30-plus years, New Mexico has had a major role in formulating our national energy policy from a perch on the Senate Energy Committee.  But this year will be the last in that run as Senator/two-time Committee Chair/noted professorial policy wonk and all-around great guy Jeff Bingaman retires.  It will be nearly 12 years straight of either Bingaman or former NM Republican Sen.  Pete Domenici running the Committee, at times together with each as Chair/ranking member.  While I’m certain it will be a sad day for New Mexico, more likely, it may be another little notch out of the long history of great collaboration and statesmanship that the committee has exhibited during that time, including the great work done by the Committee staff as well.  Keeping my fingers crossed for 2013. 

3. NatGas Battle is Hitting Full Stride – I read today that NY drilling opponents are trying to work local elections to ban drilling, Ohio is worried about earthquakes and industry is in a full-fledged campaign mode.  All this really means is that in 2012, natural gas drilling has arrived as Led Zepplin’s “Mothership” as an issue.  No more sleepy, unchallenged decisions, leases or permits.  Game On…  As well, the big O/G giants are now sweeping in as well, with Exxon, Shell, BP and others looking to take big pieces of action on the shale plays.  Look for increased scrutiny, but also increased openness, collaboration and industry partnership.  With EPA and enviros caught in the “cleaner gas” box and the crazy job and revenue benefits hitting states like PA and OH, look for the battle to rage on as a political football.

4a. How Long Will a $4 Gas Price Survive, Part I? – Very much in line with #3, one of the major questions for 2012 will be the continued persistence of the $4 price for natural gas.  If it stays there, there will be significant willingness in the utility market to move toward gas.  But that low price will also continue to pinch drillers who in many cases are getting more for the liquids they get out shale wells.  Regardless, the price of natural gas and its ability to stay low in the face of expanding utility use, potential export and  increasing scrutiny will be a key issue for 2012.

4b. How Long Will a $4 Gas Price Survive, Part II? – One the other hand, the other $4 gas price also will pose significant problems for politicians and consumers in 2012.  Rising domestic demand as the U.S. economy improves, the regular  resource competition from China/India and the potential renewed unrest in the Middle East/Iran’s saber-rattling all create a potential for political trouble.  As you well know during an election year summer, not all the facts may be evident in the gasoline-price political/PR fight come late spring/summer.  Look for the usual suspects to make the usual calls for investigations in 2012, of course, only to be released after November and showing nothing but the regular market order. 

5. Offshore Drilling Returns…and So Do Jobs, Economic Recovery – One major issue that has lagged the last two years has been offshore drilling.  The Administration has been slow to pull the trigger on any real timely drilling because of the 2010 Macondo spill. But if 2011 was down because of reaction, look for 2012 to rebound because the President is on the ballot and jobs are important to his success.  Interior’s recent Western Gulf oil/gas lease sale attracted more than $337 million in high bids, and now they are hot to trot with 10 more.   A recent IHS study concluded that an efficient process to review and approve applications for Gulf energy activity could create over 200,000 new jobs in the U.S., one third of which would be generated in states like California, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania and New York.  The fact is, without equal commitment to running an efficient permitting regime, the objectives will be tough to meet in 2012.

6. Offshore Wind Woes Saved by Infrastructure Project – In late December, Interior Sect. Salazar held a press call to tout the Administration’s commitment to renewables, but most of the event focused on the Atlantic Wind Connection, a massive offshore transmission project that will be essential to establishing an infrastructure for new offshore wind projects and the jobs they will create.   The project has drawn backing from big players including Google, Good Energies, Marubeni Corporation and Elia and is being built by leaders from Trans-Elect.  In the face of recent  offshore wind industry struggles, like the backtrack from NRG on its Delaware project, the AWC project may be just what the budding offshore wind industry needs to make it through 2012.  Look for more key decisions starting in 60 days (end of Feb.) 

7. President, Enviros Coal Battle Finally Hitting Home – The enviros have had coal in their sites for years, and after chipping away slowly, this year they may be poised to push another step further with the slate of EPA rules pending.  With outside forcing like financial markets and low gas prices adding additional pushes, coal as a resources in the U.S. may face hard times in 2012.  Certainly it won’t matter much globally as developing countries continue to use coal in record numbers and US Companies are exporting more, but affordable energy in many parts of the country that rely on coal are truly being threatened.  With that comes the loss of jobs and economic activity in these regions.  Look for stories on the future of coal for 2012: given our current state of play, they may pose trouble in spite of the environmental community’s self-congratulations over the fight. 

8. The End of the Ethanol Political Ear-a – As you’ll see below, in the political shocker of the last several decades, Congress declined to renew both the 45-cent-per-gallon tax credit for corn-based ethanol or the 54-cent-per-gallon tariff on imported ethanol as well.  And interestingly, they did it just a few days before the nation opens Presidential politicking in Iowa.  While the ethanol industry finally (and quietly) gave up the jig, both the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, longtime critics who have rarely found agreement on other issues, celebrated the demise.   Interesting for 2012 will be how they move forward.  With cellulosic ethanol woefully short on its requirements, look for things to be stable for now even as the RFS requirements increase.  The key will be to watch for increased import from places like the Caribbean and Brazil.

9. Solar Resurgence Post-Solyndra – While the Solyndra issue has cast a pall on the solar outlook right now, it seems the worst has passed despite the best efforts of Republicans in the House.  While I expect there will be minor resurgences in the political heat of the battle, the reality for the solar industry is it has likely survived the toughest part.   Recently, GTM Resources released a report that said the solar industry achieved a new record for installations and growth in the third quarter of 2011 thanks to utility-scale project completions, a strong residential market, effective policies and the plummeting price of solar panels.  And it is happening across the board in the industry. Grid-connected PV installations grew 39% over the previous quarter and 140% over 2010. The utility PV market installed more than 200 MW in the quarter, an increase of more than 400% over the previous quarter, and the residential PV market grew 21% to reach nearly 75 MW.  While they may be slowed slightly by the loss of the 1603 Treasury grant program, the solar industry will likely be stronger in 2012 because of increasing demand for their products.

10. Nuclear Renaissance Hangs on Vogtle, Southern – With NRC’s late-year decision to approve the AP1000’s use at Southern Nuclear’s Vogtle plant, it is now getting close to “put up or shut up” time for the nuclear renaissance.  With many others who had promising projects but lacked demand, strong financial support or regulated markets now fallen by the wayside, it looks like Southern’s Vogtle project expansion may be the place where the rubber meets the nuclear future’s road.  In fact, if Southern is able to move forward, we may look back at 2012 as the key point that made future nuclear projects a reality.  There still are uncertainties like Yucca Mountain and financing that may affect the size of the long-term expansion, but right now all eyes are on Southern.  Ironically, the utilities with the most nuclear assets, and therefore the most hope for a strong nuclear future, have been busily undercutting Southern on the remainder of its fleet by supporting tougher EPA regs on coal plants.  Maybe nobody will notice…

11. Busy Courtrooms in Election Year – Well, the action has already started a few days early when EPA’s Cross State Air Pollution Rule was stayed by the DC Circuit Court and California’s LCF Standard was blocked by a District Court in Fresno.  Expect a lot more of this for 2012, and much of it will likely be welcomed by the Obama Administration who may be happy to have a reason for many of these politically unpopular hot potatoes to be put off until after Election Day.  They already tried delays with the Keystone pipeline, so with others especially like the GHG rules, look for a busy year in the courtroom.  

12. GHG Glorious Mess – What can I really say that House Dean John Dingell hasn’t already said… Delay after delay has lead us to GHGs reaching the election year.  Look for more delays this year because as my colleague Jeff Holmstead (a guy who knows something about EPA’s inner workings) told me over a year ago, writing GHG rules for everything is not an easy task, there are significant unintended consequences and it will take way longer than the political types at EPA think it will take.  Given the ozone decision released on Friday before Labor Day last year, my bet is 2012 will see the GHG rules slip as well given the political stakes. 

IN THE NEWS

EPA Rule Stayed – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit stayed EPA’s controversial Cross-State Air Pollution Rule last week, effectively postponing a cap-and-trade program for much of the eastern half of the United States aimed at aggressively slashing sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from power plants. My expert lawyer friends tell me that stays are hard to come by in the world of Clean Air Act litigation, which makes the stay of the cross-state rule all the more significant.  Stays are granted when there is a strong chance of success on the merits and when parties can be injured without preliminary relief.  According to my colleague Scott Segal: “here, the underlying rule was the subject of hasty process, poor technical support, unequal application, and substantial threat to jobs, power bills and reliability.” Segal added the court’s action is the first step to setting it right.  Segal also said environmentalist fears about increased emissions were unfounded: “even as litigation proceeds, Americans will have substantial protections in place against interstate pollution from existing Clean Air Act rules.”  The rule was to go into effect on January 1st.  One immediate issues is that Texas power company Luminant will continuing to operate its coal-fired Monticello plant as well as lignite mining operations that fuel the station in the wake of the decision.  Luminant had said they were going to close the plant which would have impacted more than 500 jobs. 

California Low Carbon Gas Rule Blocked By Court – The Fresno-based U.S. District Court struck down California’s low-carbon fuel rules because they violate the U.S. Constitution’s commerce clause by discriminating against crude oil and biofuels producers located outside California. Refiners said the decision is a victory for the millions of Californians who travel the state every day in vehicles powered by gasoline and diesel fuel.  Experts say California’s low-carbon fuel standards would have raised gasoline and diesel fuel costs for Californians, who already pay the highest fuel prices in the nation. If fully implemented, the standards would have hurt consumers by discriminating against their use of renewable fuels from the Midwest and crude oil from our neighbor and ally Canada.  NPRA President Charlie Drevna:  “If these standards had remained in place they would have done nothing for the environment and done nothing to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, but would have created a regulatory nightmare for fuel manufacturers. Different states could have followed California’s example and created a patchwork quilt of varying fuel standards that would have raised the costs of manufacturing gasoline and diesel fuel across the United States. This would have resulted in all pain and no gain for the American people.”   

Ethanol Tax Credits, Tariff Expires –While the 1603 grant program – which qualifies renewable developers for dollars in lieu of future tax credits expired on December 31st, probably more shockingly, Congress declined to renew both the 45-cent-per-gallon tax credit for corn-based ethanol or the 54-cent-per-gallon tariff on imported ethanol as well.  Both the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, who have rarely found agreement on many issues celebrated the demise of the preferred tax status and trade protections for ethanol.   

THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK:

API to Look at State of Oil Industry – The American Petroleum Institute will hold its 2012 State of America Energy luncheon tomorrow at the Newseum.

CSIS to Discuss DOE Critical Minerals Strategy – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host David Sandalow, Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs, U.S. Department of Energy, on Thursday at 10:00 a.m.  for the roll out of the second edition of DOE’s Critical Materials Strategy. For more information on the DOE Strategy, please click here.

Brookings Panel to Look at Post-Durban Agenda – The Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement will host a discussion on Friday in its Falk Auditorium at 9:30 a.m. to discuss the post-Durban way forward for climate change adaptation activities, including the Green Climate Fund, National Adaptation Plans and the Adaptation Committee. Panelists will include Andrew Steer, special envoy for climate change at the World Bank; Koko Warner, head of the environmental migration, social vulnerability and adaptation section at the United Nations University, Nancy Birdsall, president of the Center for Global Development; and Brookings Nonresident Fellow Nathan Hultman. With a focus on human mobility, panelists will also discuss the potential impacts of these decisions on displacement, migration and planned relocation, as outlined in last year’s COP16 Cancun agreement. Senior Fellow Elizabeth Ferris, co-director of the Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement, will provide introductory remarks and moderate the discussion.  Most of the debate at the recent climate change conference in Durban, South Africa-the 17th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change or COP17-focused on the future of the climate change regime after the current Kyoto protocol expires. While not at the forefront of media coverage, COP17 also took important steps on the funding and planning of climate change adaptation activities.

THE WEEKS AHEAD:

WRI Expert to Highlight Enviro Issues for 2012 – Manish Bapna, Interim President, World Resources Institute, will hold a briefing for journalists on Tuesday, January 10th at the National Press Club’s Holeman Lounge to preview key environmental issues in 2012.  He will discuss topics such as: What does the U.S. presidential election mean for key environmental issues, including the future of the EPA? What will be the key drivers for renewable energy in 2012? What does China’s upcoming leadership transition mean? How will the expanding global population impact scarce natural resources, including forests? What will happen at the 2012 Earth Summit in Rio?  Bapna has been with WRI for five years, previously serving as its managing director. Bapna is an internationally recognized expert on environmental and sustainability issues, with a background in international development, rural poverty and natural resources.

Forum to Feature IEA Experts – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Didier Houssin, Director for Energy Markets and Security, International Energy Agency, and Laszlo Varro, Head of the Gas, Coal and Power Division, IEA, to present the IEA’s new annual publication, the “Medium-Term Coal Market Report 2011” on Wednesday January 11th at 9:30 a.m. at CSIS.   Guy Caruso, Senior Adviser, CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.  Global demand for coal will continue to expand aggressively over the next five years despite public calls in many countries for reducing reliance on the high-carbon fuel as a primary energy source. Coal is already the single-largest source of electricity generation globally, and the surging power generation in emerging economies is projected to increase coal demand over the next five years.   The report, which presents a comprehensive analysis of recent trends in coal demand, supply and trade, as well as an IEA outlook for coal market fundamentals for the coming five years, serves as a reminder of the significant challenges facing efforts to transform the global energy system to one that is sustainable, secure and low-carbon. The report also raises concerns about the global implications of China’s massive appetite for coal, noting that events and decisions in China could have an outsized effect on coal prices – and thus electricity prices – around the world over the next five years. 

Brazilian Environment Official to Look at Rio+20 – The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will hold a forum on Thursday, January 12th at 3:00 p.m. in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center to discuss what to expect from Rio+20.  The event will feature a conversation with Brazil’s Minister of the Environment Izabella Teixeira.  After leading the Brazilian delegation at the recently concluded UN Climate Conference in Durban, South Africa, Teixeira is now focused on preparation of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20, to take place next June in the former Brazilian capital.  A biologist with a PhD in Environmental Planning and two decades of government service, Teixeira has been deeply involved in key domestic and international environmental policy deliberations in the past decade.  She will return to the Wilson Center to present the Brazilian government’s vision for the upcoming Rio+20 and discuss the prospects for the conference in the wake of the surprising progress achieved in Durban.  Paulo Sotero, Director of the Brazil Institute, will join her on the panel.

Geothermal Forum Set – The Geothermal Energy Finance and Development Forum, hosted by the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA), will be held on Wednesday, January 18th at the Marriott Marquis in San Francisco.  The event brings together an audience of U.S. and international geothermal industry leaders with the renewable energy finance community to discuss the investment opportunities that come from reliable, renewable geothermal power. The day’s agenda includes presentations and panel discussion on; state and federal policy, geothermal market trends, project and technology development, financing and investment, geothermal risk and reward, global financial markets, and government finance and incentives.

McCarthy to Address EPA Rules at Breakfast – ICF International will host a breakfast on January 19th at 8:00 a.m. featuring  EPA Air Administrator Gina McCarthy  to speak on the series of air regulations moving forward at EPA.  EPA is in the midst of a series of regulations about the power sector, having recently issued standards for air toxics, NOx, SOx, and ozone (the MATS and CSAPR rules), with regulations of water, ash, and CO2 under development.

Washington Auto Show – The Washington Auto Show and Capitol Hill Auto Summit Begins on January 25th.  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.