Energy Update: Week of 10/23

Friends,

Hard to believe already, but our colleague Scott Segal is back from his extended European Vacation so we’re spending most of the day hearing stories while talking CPP and ethanol, since they were both in the news so much recently.  Thought you might want to catch some of the follow ups on ethanol in the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Axios, Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil, the Washington Times and the Washington Examiner.

It is a busy week.  Comments are due today for the FERC grid study initiated by DOE. You will remember two recent hits from a large number of trade association including renewables and natgas as well as a letter last week from a number of former FERC Commissioners.  Others key filers include the Ohio Coal Association, union groups, our friends at Clearpath, grid operator PJM, the Nuclear Energy Institute and the National Assn of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC).

Also today, as the Trump administration moves forward with an ambitious energy and environmental reform agenda, the US Chamber’s Global Energy Institute launched a comprehensive Energy Tracker to help follow key regulatory, judicial, and legislative developments.  The user-friendly Energy Tracker contains a sortable database of federal energy and environmental actions tracked by date, agency, topic, and issue area.   The Energy Tracker will continuously monitor and quantify the progress of energy-related regulatory and policy reforms, including administrative, legislative and legal activity.  If you are covering, following or working on these issues, you will want to view the Energy Tracker here and sign up for updates via email.

Tomorrow and Wednesday, AWEA holds its popular Offshore WINDPOWER Conference in New York.  I will be heading up for tomorrow’s launch so I look forward to seeing you.  Lot’s going on in the space including the Deepwater Rhode Island effort, progress on the lease/projects being undertaken by Statoil, supply chain manufacturing updates and the current Administration’s approach to OSW.  AWEA turns the stage over on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday to its Finance Conference as well.

In DC, finally votes on EPA nominees in Senate EPW on Wednesday after last week’s ethanol “disagreement” delayed action.  Tax issues also remain on the agenda here, especially after last week’s Budget vote in the Senate.  Our new colleague Liam Donovan is right smack in the middle of all of it…and luckily, he is happy to help reporters interested in getting the tax low down.  You can reach him at liam.donovan@bracewell.com and/or 202-828-5847.

Finally, World Series kicks off tonight with the Dodgers and Bracewell’s home Houston Astros in what will be – if the weather forecast is right –  the warmest world series game ever.  Has to be global warming…Call with questions.

Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“I voted Donald Trump, I urged my members to vote for Donald Trump, and I urged them to ask their families and friends to vote for Donald Trump. As a union president, to support a Republican candidate for president, there was some backlash. And now we’re left out in the cold. It’s very disappointing. It feels like the government has the chips stacked against us. We’re crushed in between Big Oil and Big Ethanol. I thought President Trump would be able to see through that. Hopefully he changes his mind and goes with workers.”

United Steelworkers Local 10-1 President Ryan O’Callaghan in a Wall Street Editorial on the recent ethanol fight.

“Given the rapid pace that the administration has been working over the past ten months, we believe there is a need for an objective clearinghouse of regulatory actions.  This tool will be valuable for businesses, policymakers, stakeholders, journalists, and anyone else who would like to keep track of regulatory, legal, and policy actions on energy and environment.”

Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber’s Global Energy Institute on the release of its new Energy Tracker website

 

IN THE NEWS

Chamber Releases Energy Tracker Database – The Chamber’s Global Energy Institute has released a new user-friendly Energy Tracker that can help follow key regulatory, judicial, and legislative developments as the Trump administration moves forward with an ambitious energy and environmental reform agenda.  The user-friendly Energy Tracker contains a sortable database of federal energy and environmental actions tracked by date, agency, topic, and issue area.

What’s Included – The Energy Tracker will continuously monitor and quantify the progress of energy-related regulatory and policy reforms. At the time of launch, the Tracker includes eight executive orders, four presidential memoranda, and three public laws.  In addition, the Tracker identifies 16 energy-related regulatory and policy reforms that have been initiated or are under review, five reforms formally proposed, and 12 actions that have been finalized or completed (not including project-specific actions such as leases or permit approvals).  Also included in the Tracker is litigation pertaining to at least 15 ongoing energy actions, including seven regulatory-related court cases being held in abeyance, and three court actions that have overturned executive branch postponement of regulatory implementation.

Valuable to Check Out – This tool will be valuable for businesses, policymakers, stakeholders, journalists, and anyone else who would like to keep track of regulatory, legal, and policy actions on energy and environment.  To view the Energy Tracker, click here.  You can also sign up to receive periodic updates via email.

California Biotech Firm Gets Grants For Pest-Control Innovations – California-based biotech company ISCA Technologies will advance eight environmentally-friendly innovations to control damaging insect pests and improve crop yields thanks to grants it received this year from USDA.  ISCA Tech received six “Phase 1” grants from the department’s Small Business Innovation Research Program to develop and test five new pest control products and one that improves fruit blossom pollination rates. ISCA also received two “Phase 2” grants to prepare for the commercial market products already shown to have worked in field trials.  The Phase 1 grants are highly competitive with only 14% of the grant applicants receiving funding. Phase 2 grants are awarded competitively only after the successful completion of a Phase 1 project.  The grants will support technologies that are economical, effective and ground-breaking.

Statoil’s Hywind Project Underway – Statoil has opened the first floating wind farm in the world, has started to deliver electricity to the Scottish grid. Today the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, officially opens the wind farm.  The 30MW wind farm, is located 25 kilometers offshore Peterhead in Aberdeenshire, Scotland and will power approximately 20,000 households.  In an opening event in Aberdeen today the Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon officially opens the world’s first floating wind farm saying “Hywind will provide clean energy to over twenty thousand homes and will help us meet our ambitious climate change targets. This marks an exciting development for renewable energy in Scotland.  Our support for floating offshore wind is testament to this government’s commitment to the development of this technology and, coupled with Statoil’s Battery Storage Project, Batwind, puts us at the forefront of this global race and positions Scotland as a world center for energy innovation.” The onshore operations and maintenance base for Hywind Scotland is located in Peterhead, while the operations center is located in Great Yarmouth. Linked to the Hywind Scotland project Statoil and partner Masdar will also install Batwind, a 1MWh Lithium battery storage solution for offshore wind energy.  Battery storage has the potential to mitigate intermittency and optimize output.

ACCF Report Says Tax Plan Will Help Clean Energy – A new report from the American Council for Capital Formation says tax changes could improve the investment climate in three ways, including through enactment of lower tax rates and elimination of interest deductions.  As you may know, ACCF is the former home of Trump energy advisor George David Banks, as well as joining a chorus of other conservative voices that are looking for ways to connect on clean energy issues.  Finally, ACCF also launched a new program on energy innovation of which this report is first public release on the topic.

Report: Grid Policy Might Not Help Coal – A new report by The Brattle Group says the Trump administration’s plan to boost coal plants will ultimately disadvantage the sector because it wouldn’t curtail competition from natural gas.

FERC Commissioners Weigh In on DOE Grid Plan – A bipartisan group of former FERC Commissioners opposed DOE recent grid move to provide resilience credits for some plants.  The former commissioners’ letter to FERC said the proposal “would be a significant step backward from the Commission’s long and bipartisan evolution to transparent, open, competitive wholesale markets” and that it “would instead disrupt decades of substantial investment made in the modern electric power system, raise costs for customers, and do so in a  manner directly counter to the Commission’s long experience.”Signing the letter were former FERC chairs Betsy Moler, Jim Hoecker, Pat Wood, Joe Kelliher and Jon Wellinghoff, as well as former commissioners Don Santa, Linda Key Breathitt and Nora Mead Brownell.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Green Bonds Conference Set for NYC – Environmental Finance will host Green Bonds 2017 today at 10 on the Park in New York City.  According to the Green Bonds Database, the American green bonds market has continued its rapid growth with over 17$ billion issued in the last twelve months.

At the conference this year we will look at the drivers behind this boom and how to ensure sustainable growth as the market matures.

Forum to Look at US-Korea Nuclear Relations – The Global America Business Institute (GABI) is hosting a special Capitol Hill briefing today on Noon on opportunities for U.S.-Korea Cooperation in advanced nuclear, looking at industrial, R&D and other collaboration.  Exploring opportunities for industrial and R&D cooperation between the two countries may be an important pathway towards accelerating the development and ultimate commercialization of these innovative technologies. Former Rep Ed Whitfield offers opening remarks and comments will be made by former NRC Commissioner William Ostendorff.

WCEE to Look at Clean Energy Jobs – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) holds a brown bag lunch tomorrow in Arlington at Accenture focused on clean energy jobs, locally and globally.  Recently, there has been a boom in clean energy and, with costs decreasing and adoption accelerating, the impact on jobs has been significant. U.S. solar and wind jobs are growing 12x faster than their peer average; with the fastest growing single profession being wind turbine technician, and an increase to over 260,000 solar workers in the U.S. alone last year. Join a great WCEE panel to hear more about where growth is happening and what skills are needed; how it’s empowering women and communities, and how innovative business models are helping it scale. Speakers will provide a range of private sector to non-profit perspectives on the following topics and encourage the audience to dive in and discuss.

Forum to Look at Venezuela Oil Issues – Tomorrow at 4:00 p.m., the Cato Institute will hold a forum on how oil riches ruined Venezuela.  In the past decade and a half, the government of Venezuela received over $1 trillion in oil revenues, and yet the country is now suffering from a deep humanitarian crisis with its population struggling to feed itself. As a correspondent for Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal, Raúl Gallegos witnessed first-hand how the mismanagement of oil riches during the rule of Hugo Chávez led to Venezuela’s current misery. Gallegos will explain how mismanaged oil has created perverse incentives in the political system, the business community, and among ordinary Venezuelans. Gustavo Coronel will offer his insights on what should be the future of the oil sector in a democratic Venezuela.

Offshore Wind Conference to Feature Statoil, DOE, Others – AWEA’s annual Offshore WINDPOWER conference will also be held in NYC tomorrow and Wednesday with Statoil’s Knut Aanstad as a program co-chair.  The event will feature Denmark’s Minister of Energy, Utilities and Climate Lars Christian Lilleholt and DOE’s Tim Unruh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Renewable Power.  Statoil is expected to make a significant announcement about its NY project at the event.

AWEA Finance Set for NYC – AWEA hosts its Wind Energy Finance & Investment Conference in NYC tomorrow through Thursday at the Roosevelt Hotel.  Wind energy continues to grow and is providing jobs, community value and, solid investment opportunities.

Grid Security Forum Set at George Mason – The Schar School of Policy and Government and the College of Science at George Mason University are hosting a symposium on Wednesday on grid security.  The event will be hosted by the Center for Energy Science and Policy (CESP) to advance understanding of the opportunities and challenges connected with multiple technologies that are transforming the electrical grid. There will be two panels that address how to frame grid security for scholarship and research; and the intersection of cyber and grid security. The panelists are from the National Defense University, government laboratories and agencies, Mason faculty engaged in cyber and grid security, and the private sector. The lunch speaker will be Brigham McCown, Chairman, and Founder of the Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure.

Banks, Rep. Duncan Headline Latin America Energy Conference – On Wednesday, the Inter-American Dialogue will host a Latin America Energy Conference that will convene government officials from Latin America and the United States, corporate executives, and international and non-governmental organizations to discuss the most critical energy policy issues in the region.  Rep Jeff Duncan and White House Energy Advisor Dave Banks will be among the speakers.

Resources to Look at Sage Grouse – The full House Natural Resources Committee holds a hearing Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. on empowering state based management solutions for greater sage grouse recovery.  My Colleague Eric Washburn is in the middle of many of these discussions so please call if you need help (Eric: 202-412-5211)

Senate Environment to Vote on Nominees – After last week’s ethanol delay, the Senate Environment Committee is expected to vote Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. on EPA nominees, as well as Jan Baran for NRC and Paul Trombino to head the Federal Highway Administration.

Cato Forum to Look at Future of Public Transit – On Wednesday at 11:00 a.m., the Cato Institute hosts a forum on the future of public transit.  The nation’s public transit industry faces some of its greatest challenges: ridership has been declining; infrastructure is deteriorating; rivals such as Uber and Lyft are taking transit customers. Debaters Art Guzzetti, Vice President–Policy, American Public Transportation Association and Randal O’Toole, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute will discuss whether transit has a future.

WCEE to Host Battery Tech Leader – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) holds a Women in Leadership Forum at Winston & Strawn on Wednesday that hosts Christina Lampe-Önnerud, founder and chief executive officer of Cadenza Innovation.   Lampe-Önnerud will discuss the unprecedented development of advanced battery technology and the opportunities this presents for future innovative solutions in energy production and storage and the opportunities and challenges she faced in the competitive energy and environmental fields, and share “lessons learned” along her path to leadership.

Forum to Explore Canada’s Nuclear Fuel Management – The Global America Business Institute (GABI) will host a special event on Wednesday at Noon looking at Canada’s approach to long-term management of used nuclear fuel.  Speakers for the event will include Laurie Swami and Elena Mantagaris, both of the Nuclear Waste Management Organization of Canada.

Senate Energy to Look at Cyber Security Issues – The Senate Energy Committee holds a hearing Thursday at 10:00 a.m. to examine cyber technology and energy infrastructure.

NatGas Roundtable to Feature Trade Expert – The Natural Gas Roundtable will host USTDA’s Energy Sector Worldwide Team Lead Carl Kress on Thursday as the guest speaker at its next luncheon. Kress is the Energy Sector Worldwide Team Leader at the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, coordinating all energy-related agency programs and strategy with U.S. industry. He is also the Regional Director for East Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and Eurasia, responsible for developing and implementing the USTDA economic development program throughout these regions.

ASE Forum to Look at New EE Workforce – On Thursday at Noon in SVC 209 of the Capitol Visitors Center, the Alliance to Save Energy (ASE) will hold a forum on developing the 21st century energy efficiency workforce. The energy efficiency sector’s aging workforce coupled with a growing market for energy efficient buildings, services and products, evidences the need for skilled workers more than ever before. This discussion will bring together leaders in the energy sector to discuss how workforce development programs can help to address not only a gap in the number of workers available to meet the needs of the industry, but also combat the ever present problem of insufficient qualifications, certifications and education among energy efficiency job applicants.

AEE Experts to Discuss California Energy Policy –The Advanced Energy Economy’s (AEE) state policy team and in-state lobbyists will recap the legislative breakthroughs of 2017, and what remains to be done in 2018 in a webinar Thursday at 1:00 p.m. Topics include Cap and Trade, transportation electrification, RPS, energy efficiency, energy storage and CAISO regionalization.  Panelists include AEE’s California Policy senior director Amisha Rai, Sacramento lobbyist Andrew Antwih and state policy associate Ray Fakhoury.

IN THE FUTURE

Hansen to Speak at Climate Engineering Event – The Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment and Environment & Energy Management Institute at GWU will convene a workshop for non-governmental organizations on Monday October 30th that will focus on carbon dioxide removal and negative emissions technologies.  The event will be at GW’s Science and Engineering Hall and will be keynoted by Dr. James Hansen.

IPCC Chair to Join RFF to Talk Climate – Next Monday at 12:45 p.m. Resources for the Future hosts a conversation with Dr. Hoesung Lee, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Endowed Chair Professor at Korea University Graduate School of Energy and Environment in Seoul. Dr. Lee has chaired the IPCC since he was elected to the position in October 2015. His research encompasses the economics of climate change, energy, and sustainable development.

BPC to Discuss Grid Options – The Bipartisan Policy Center will hold a forum on Tuesday October 31st at 10:00 a.m. Sofitel Lafayette Square’s Paris Ballroom.  The featuring former FERC commissioners and stakeholders that unpacks the proposed grid reliability and resiliency pricing rule under consideration at FERC. This proposal, drafted by the Department of Energy, calls for an expedited rulemaking to support generators that provide specific reliability and resiliency services – particularly some coal and nuclear plants.  Panelists will discuss what the Trump administration has proposed and how FERC might respond.  Speakers include our friend Rich Powell of Clearpath, API’s Marty Durbin, NRDC’s John Moore, and William Murray of Dominion, as well as former FERC Chairs James Hoecker, Pat Wood and Betsy Moler.

Forum to Look at SE Renewables – Infocast’s Southeast Renewable Energy 2017 is being held in Atlanta at the Downtown Hilton on November 1st through the 3rd.  The entire southeast renewable energy community gathers to get the latest insights into the market and to learn about the key trends impacting renewable energy project development, finance and investment in the Southeast, as well as meet with utility procurement and interconnection managers.  Key speakers will include Georgia PSC Commissioner Lauren “Bubba” McDonald, Atlanta City Resilience Officer Stephanie Stuckey, Walmart’s John Federovitch, SC PSC Commissioner Elizabeth Fleming, Georgia Power’s Robin Lanier, Duke’s Gary Freeman and several others.

Expert to Discuss Financing EE Programs in New Markets – On Wednesday, November 1st at 12:30 p.m., Johns Hopkins University hosts a forum featuring a practitioner’s approach to financing energy efficiency in emerging markets.  Lack of national project-based financing represents one of the primary global barriers to energy efficiency. Drawing on her experience at the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank, Ms. Madeleine Varkay, Principal Private Sector Development Specialist, will discuss how upgrading regulatory frameworks can enable long-term investments in infrastructure and industries such as clean energy. She will examine the case study of ADB’s recent partnership with Indonesia Ex-Im Bank, which pioneered an attractive energy efficiency financing program for export-oriented industrial enterprises.

Forum to Look at Electric Vehicles – The Electric Drive Transportation Association continues its Beyond the Beltway series on Wednesday, November 1st at 1:00 p.m. at the National Press Club.  Beyond the Beltway brings together state and municipal leaders, regional coalitions and private industry experts from across the country to talk about regional strategies to accelerate the growth of electric vehicles. The discussion will feature innovative public private collaborations, consumer education initiatives, plans to expand the national fast charging network, and the latest growth projections for electric vehicles in the U.S.

Forum to Look at Carbon Programs in Latin America – The Woodrow Wilson Center hosts a forum on Wednesday, November 1st at 3:00 p.m. looking at efforts to move toward a fossil fuel-free future in Latin America.  Wilson will hold a conversation with Walter Vergara, the author of the 2016 report and an expert on climate change mitigation efforts in Latin America. Vergara will present actions that could be taken to achieve net decarbonization – including in energy, transportation, land use, and industry – assess projects already being implemented across the region, and discuss the combinations of policy, technology innovation, and economic conditions that will impact this process.

WCEE to Discuss Markets with FERC Staff – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) holds a Lunch & Learn forum at FERC on Friday November 3rd at Noon.  FERC staff Robin Broder Hytowitz will provide an overview of electricity pricing focusing on broad concepts that apply to all ISOs/RTOs. The overview will explain the concepts behind Locational Marginal Prices, uplift, and an extension used in some wholesale markets today.  Broder Hytowitz works in the Office of Energy Policy and Innovation at FERC in the area of Operation Research Analysis. Her present focus is on current and proposed pricing models for wholesale electricity.

JHU Expert to Look at Eastern Nile Energy Issues – On Friday, November 3rd at 12:30 p.m., Johns Hopkins University SAIS Global Agriculture Seminar Series and the Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy (ISEP) will present Dr. Ben Zaitchik on water, food and energy in the Eastern Nile Basin.  Zaitchik is an Associate Professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Johns Hopkins University. His research includes work on regional climate variability, water resource monitoring, disease early warning, and climate change adaptation. To address research questions in these areas, Dr. Zaitchik employs a combination of satellite data interpretation, atmospheric and hydrological modeling, and meteorological analysis.

Women Renewable Energy Forum Set – The Women of Sustainable Energy and Renewable Industries (WRISE) Leadership Forum 2017 on November 6-7 in its inaugural year under the new brand (previously WoWE). Co-located with the AWEA Fall Symposium, this event will feature keynote speakers, professional development, networking, and expert panels on key issues in the industry.

AWEA Fall Symposium Returns to New Mexico – On November 7th through the 9th, AWEA hosts its annual Fall Wind Energy Fall Symposium at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort, where key strategic decisions are made to build the future of wind energy. The event will feature new executive insights, and actionable strategic plans to power your business in the upcoming year.

CCS report to be Released – The Global CCS Institute will release its annual Global Status of CCS: 2017 report launch on November 28th, 2017. This year, the Institute is partnering with one of the top think tanks in the city, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, to promote and discuss the release of the Institute’s signature report, the globally recognized annual guide to the current progress and prospects for carbon capture and storage.

Energy Update: Week of 10/16/17

Friends,

I am still stunned over the interesting and exciting games in the MLB playoffs over the past week.  There has been some really great games.  And now, college basketball is underway with Midnight Madness across the country occurring over the weekend.

Last week, among the big stories was the withdrawal of the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan.  Our colleague Jeff Holmstead did a couple of great explainers on the CPP withdrawal.  First, he sat down with NPR’s Steve Inskeep for Morning Edition.  He also did a longer, more detailed discussion on the Bracewell podcast, The Lobby Shop, with Josh Zive.  You can listen to Jeff’s dulcet tones on NPR here and on The Lobby Shop here on iTunes and SoundCloud.  (You can sign up to receive it every week in your podcast app.)

This week, there are two events that everyone is keeping an eye on: 1) Tomorrow’s Grassley/Pruitt meeting on biofuels issues and 2) an EPA briefing today on changes to sue/settle.  On Grassley, we’ve seen a flurry of activity, including a letter from PA Senators on risk to NE refineries, another letter from more Senators on biofuels on lowering the RVO, a new RFA paper (which surprising thinks ethanol is not the problem) and pushback from the small “mom-and-pop” retailers who argue the program is unfairly slanted toward large retailers.  As for “sue/settle”, it is an issue our friends at the US Chamber have raised major concerns about with a recent report in September.  Our experts are also ready to help.

Starting tomorrow in Congress, the Senate Approps panel is moving the Interior/EPA budget with full Committee on Thursday.  We expect committee votes on in Senate Environment on EPA nominees, as well as NRC’s Jan Baran Wednesday morning.

Other events include AGA hosting a media briefing tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. to present expectations for peak month natural gas supply and demand as we move into the 2017-18 winter heating season. The ELI annual awards dinner and policy forums Wednesday as well as former DOE Sect Moniz visiting with the Bipartisan Policy Center on nuclear. Finally on Thursday, CSIS hosts forum on the history of vehicle efficiency standards and electricity regulation featuring our friends Jim Connaughton, former Rep. Phil Sharp and former FERC Commissioners Tony Clark and Joe Kelliher.

Here is a great homecoming photo from Olivia’s weekend… And she scored twice during the Friday Night Lights 4-2 field hockey victory, including the game winner.

Call with questions.  Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“As the first stewards of the environment, U.S. farmers have invested in solar energy to diversify their sources of power and reduce their impacts. They are joining a wide range of other U.S. industries who are opposed to the U.S. government intervening in the energy market to artificially raise the cost of using solar power.  It’s clear that any tariffs or price floors to protect two solar companies will cause widespread damage to many sectors of the U.S. economy.”

ETAC spokesperson Paul Nathanson on Ag Groups Opposed Solar Tariff.

“Agriculture is most prevalent in rural areas that have high energy cost or limited grid access; solar adoption has been vital to keeping many family farms competitive in this world market along with the jobs that these small communities depend upon. Tariffs would create a massive setback in this progress and potentially take away the opportunity for farmers to invest in solar.”

Roger Isom, President and CEO of California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations, emphasized the acute strain this proposed tariffs would put on rural areas.

“The proposed tariffs and minimum prices would double the cost of imported solar cells and modules used in farming operations thus jeopardizing the financial viability of planned and future solar investments by citrus growers and packers.”

Joel Nelson, President of California Citrus Mutual.

 

IN THE NEWS

Ag Groups Oppose Solar Trade Tariffs – The Energy Trade Action Coalition (ETAC) today highlighted a broad array of agricultural groups that are opposing the Section 201 solar tariff petition.  Six agricultural groups recently submitted letters to the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) opposing remedies that would raise solar energy costs.  Agricultural groups that have submitted letters to the ITC include the Almond Alliance of California, California Citrus Mutual, California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations, California Fresh Fruit Association, California Poultry Federation, and Western Agricultural Processors Association.  Kelly Covello, President of the Almond Alliance of California wrote they are deeply concerned the petition’s proposed trade remedy “would be harmful by raising energy costs while eliminating economically viable means to comply with California’s strict carbon dioxide limits, water restrictions and renewable energy mandates.”  These groups join other manufacturers, energy utilities and local, state and federal government officials who are warning about the serious consequences of solar tariffs to the American economy and to the thousands of jobs that depend on solar investments.  A sample of the letters submitted to the ITC is attached and to learn more about ETAC and its mission, visit www.energytradeaction.org.

Harnett-White Named CEQ Nominee – The White House has appointed Kathleen Hartnett White, a former Texas regulator to lead the Council on Environmental Quality. My colleague Scott Segal said White’s distinguished career as both a state regulator and as an expert on national policy development combines analytical skills with the practical thinking required of a state regulator.  As a TCEQ commissioner, she was well known to the regulated and public interest communities.  Given the importance of Texas manufacturing and energy production to the economy of the entire nation, environmental regulation in Texas must address cutting-edge concerns thoroughly, competently and pragmatically.  Dr. White was at the forefront of that process.  Segal said some have focused on particular statements attributed to Dr. White regarding climate science.  The truth is that she has written on a broader spectrum of environmental issues and has typically supported policies that advance energy, environmental and economic priorities.  I am sure her confirmation hearing will offer opportunities to further clarify her views.

Segal: CEQ Already Working Hard – Segal added on last item on the CEQ to date. “Since the beginning of the Administration, CEQ staff has done a tremendous job advancing an agenda to bring more rationality to the regulatory and permitting process,” he said.  “CEQ staff has familiarized itself with some of the real, practical challenges presented by the National Environmental Policy Act.   Dr. White joins a team already undertaking a serious-minded and capable review of the federal government’s role in energy and environmental projects.”

TX Utility to Close Two More Coal Plants – Following last week’s announcement about its Monticello Plant, Vistra Energy said today that it will close two additional coal-fueled power plants in Central Texas: its two-unit Sandow Power Plant in Milam County and its two-unit Big Brown Power Plant in Freestone County. In total, approximately 2,300 MW of nameplate power will be taken offline in early 2018.  The two plants are economically challenged in the competitive ERCOT market. Sustained low wholesale power prices, an oversupplied renewable generation market, and low natural gas prices, along with other factors, have contributed to this decision.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Wilson Center to Host Events on Resilience Week – The Wilson Center’s Global Sustainability and Resilience Program is hosting the 2017 Resilience Academy Capstone Conference this week in cooperation with the Munich Re Foundation, UN University-Institute for Environment and Human Security, and International Centre for Climate Change and Development. Among the event will be three public sessions of the Academy, covering the many ways in which resilience is vital for communities around the world.

JHU to Host Sustainable Energy Institute –Today at Noon, Johns Hopkins University’s SAIS launched its Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy (ISEP) to conduct policy analysis that will help governments universalize energy access at minimal environmental impact. Directed by Johannes Urpelainen, the Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Professor of Energy, Resources and Environment, ISEP offers bold ideas, rigorous policy analysis, and sustained engagement with policymakers and other change agents.

AGA to Discuss Winter Heating Season Report – The American Gas Association (AGA) will host a media briefing tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. to present expectations for peak month natural gas supply and demand as we move into the 2017-18 winter heating season. The annual AGA Winter Outlook takes factors such as supply, demand, temperature, weather events and pipeline capacity and calculates how these factors may impact customer bills. An open question and answer session will follow the presentation. Chris McGill, vice president, Energy Analysis & Standards and Bruce McDowell, managing director, Energy Analysis & Standards, will make the presentations.

Wilson Forum to Look at Cities, Cars, Air – The Woodrow Wilson Center’s China Environment Forum will host a forum tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. on how cities are confronting the challenges of adapting a transportation system to new sustainability concerns. Simon Ng, an independent researcher formerly with Civic Exchange, will reflect on Los Angeles’ and Hong Kong’s quests for sustainable mobility and urban livability while also shedding light on the similar challenges faced by ever-growing Chinese megacities. Drawing on years of International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) engagement in the PRD lowering vehicular emissions, Zifei Yang will introduce the increasingly effective vehicle emission control programs that Shenzhen and other PRD cities have instituted.

Senate Approps Panel to Mark up Interior Budget – The Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies will meet to markup the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018.  Full Committee mark up on Thursday.

Norway Oil, Gas Minister at CSIS – Tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. the CSIS Energy and National Security Program is hosting Lars Erik Aamot, Director General for Oil and Gas in the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy. Aamot will discuss Norway’s experiences, current activities, and future opportunities in developing the oil and gas resources of the Norwegian Arctic. Former EIA head Adam Sieminski will moderate.  Aamot has more than 20 years of experience in the oil and gas industry, primarily from various roles in the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy. Since 2009, he has been the Director General for Oil and Gas in the Ministry.

National Bioenergy Day 2017 – The Department of Energy (DOE) will celebrate its 5th annual National Bioenergy Day on Wednesday to celebrate bioenergy, a form of renewable energy derived from biomass—organic material—that can be used to produce transportation fuels, products, heat, and electricity. This is an opportunity to showcase bioenergy facilities and the bioenergy supply chain around the United States.

BPC to Host Moniz on Nuclear – The Bipartisan Policy Center will host former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz a conversation on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. with BPC President Jason Grumet to discuss the vital role U.S. nuclear energy plays in achieving national security objectives. The conversation will highlight the key takeaways from The U.S. Nuclear Energy Enterprise: A Key National Security Enabler, a report issued by Sec. Moniz’s new Energy Futures Initiative.

USEA Hosts Energy Transition Outlook – The US Energy Assn will roll out the DNV GL Energy Transition Outlook on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. in the Fourth Estate Room at the National Press Club.  The Outlook provides a balanced forecast of our energy future through to 2050 and draws on DNV GL’s independence and its broad involvement across the entire supply chain, spanning complex offshore infrastructure, onshore oil & gas installations, large-scale wind, solar and energy efficiency projects and the world’s most advanced electricity transmission and distribution grids. The report forecasts energy demand and supply globally, and in 10 world regions.

Press Club to Host Comms Summit – On Wednesday, the National Press Club will host its annual Communicators’ Summit at the Club’s First Amendment Lounge.  This year’s theme is “Content is King.” Leading experts will share insights on producing content suited to the unique strengths of different digital, online and social media channels, as well as emerging technologies. We’ll discuss the challenges of developing credible and compelling content at a time when trust in corporations, government, NGO’s and the media is being tested more than any time in a generation.  Speakers will include AARP’s Bill Walsh, AXIOS Editor Nicholas Johnston, Twitter‘s head of Global Public Policy Communications Emily Horne, Richard Levick, Scripps News Washington Bureau investigative correspondent Mark Greenblatt and several more.  The Luncheon Keynote speaker will be Richard Edelman, President and CEO of Edelman.  Special kudos to our friend Tim Brown of GE Renewable who is helping put the program together.

ELI Hosts Annual Dinner, Forums – The Environmental Law Institute holds its annual awards dinner honoring  Achim Steiner, Administrator for the United Nations Development Program on Wednesday at the Omni Shoreham in DC.  At 2:00 p.m., they will host a discussion about “cooperative federalism” and the need to ensure that environmental program administration reflects the significant expertise and experience state environmental agencies now have after decades of administrating environmental protection laws.  Panelists will include ECOS’s Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, Chevron’s Richard DeSanti, BNSF’s John Lovenburg, Todd Parfitt of the Wyoming DEQ, C2ES’s Janet Peace and Martha Rudolph, Director of Environmental Programs at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.  They will also hold the Miriam Hamilton Keare Policy Forum on cooperative Federalism, featuring GE’s Neil Kemkar, Bob Martineau of the Tennessee DEC and several others.

JHU to Look at EVs – On Wednesday at 5:00 p.m., Johns Hopkins University hosts a forum on electric cars.  Speakers will address range, infrastructure, environmental impacts and other Issues.

CSIS to Look at Vehicle Issues – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program and Van Ness Feldman are hosting a conference Thursday on the history of vehicle efficiency standards and electricity regulation in honor of the late Robert Nordhaus. This program looks at the evolution of two policy areas in which Bob made an important mark, and which raise issues of great significance today.  Panels will include former Energy Committee Chair and RFF Head Phil Sharp, former Bush 43 CEQ chief Jim Connaughton and Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers CEO Mitch Bainwol, as well as former FERC Commissioners Tony Clark and Joe Kelliher.

Hydro, Climate Discussion Set – On Thursday at 4:00 p.m., Chemonics International hosts a forum on hydropower and climate risks.  The benefits of hydropower are especially salient for smaller-scale hydro, given its smaller environmental and social footprint. New financial instruments, such as green bonds and payments for water services, along with engagement from multilateral agencies also make smaller-scale hydropower investment more attractive and feasible. But what does a changing climate mean for hydropower? Molly Hellmuth, the focal point on water and Africa for ICF’s Climate Adaptation and Resilience team, will present.

DOE, NEI Host Nuclear Forum – The Department of Energy and the Nuclear Energy Institute will host the Millennial Nuclear Caucus on Thursday at 5:00 p.m. in Washington, DC.

Forum to Look at Storage, Micro Grids – On Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at EEI, Leaders in Energy, along with Resilient Virginia, will be sponsoring a forum on improving resilience through microgrids and battery storage.  The utilization of microgrids plus battery storage is seen increasingly by public and private organizations as the wave of the future to help ensure energy reliability and security in the age of intense hurricanes and cybersecurity threats.  Topics include: technology that supports the utility/microgrid interface, tools for developers to assess microgrid viability based on existing infrastructure and regulations, how local governments in the DMV are working with private companies to make microgrid development financially feasible, and how our regional Department of Defense installations are utilizing microgrids as part of their energy security systems. Speakers include EEI’s John Caldwell, USGBC’s Brendan Owens, Dan Ton of DOE’s Smart Grid R&D and Michael Yambrach, the Energy and Sustainability director in Montgomery County, MD.

Economists to Host Weather Hedge Specialist – The National Capitol Chapter of the US Assn of Energy Economists will host their October forum with Munich Re’s Edward Byrne on Friday at Carmines.  Ed Byrns has specialized in weather hedging for many years. His talk focuses on how the new world of big data is creating innovative weather risk products to manage business exposure.

This presentation is a journey from the past to the present and on to the future. Throughout this journey, we will learn what weather risk management is, where market capabilities are today and how future solutions could target micro-level risks.

Renewable Tour Set for October Shenandoah Fall – On Saturday, JMU’s Center for Wind Energy joins the nonprofit American Solar Energy Society (ASES) and hundreds of solar-savvy installers and grassroots organizations throughout America to showcase thousands of solar-powered homes, schools and businesses in Virginia and across North America — for the 22nd Annual National Solar Tour, the world’s largest grassroots solar event. The ASES National Solar Tour shows families and businesses real-life examples of how their neighbors are harnessing free energy from the sun to generate electricity, warm and cool their homes, heat water and slash monthly utility bills.

IN THE FUTURE

Green Bonds Conference Set for NYC – Environmental Finance will host Green Bonds 2017 at 10 on the Park in New York City on October 23rd.  According to the Green Bonds Database, the American green bonds market has continued its rapid growth with over 17$ billion issued in the last twelve months.

At the conference this year we will look at the drivers behind this boom and how to ensure sustainable growth as the market matures.

WCEE to Look at Clean Energy Jobs – Next Tuesday, WCEE holds a brown bag lunch in Arlington at Accenture focused on clean energy jobs, locally and globally.  Recently, there has been a boom in clean energy and, with costs decreasing and adoption accelerating, the impact on jobs has been significant. U.S. solar and wind jobs are growing 12x faster than their peer average; with the fastest growing single profession being wind turbine technician, and an increase to over 260,000 solar workers in the U.S. alone last year. Join a great WCEE panel to hear more about where growth is happening and what skills are needed; how it’s empowering women and communities, and how innovative business models are helping it scale. Speakers will provide a range of private sector to non-profit perspectives on the following topics and encourage the audience to dive in and discuss.

Forum to Look at Venezuela Oil Issues – Next Tuesday at 4:00 p.m., the Cato Institute will hold a forum on how oil riches ruined Venezuela.  In the past decade and a half, the government of Venezuela received over $1 trillion in oil revenues, and yet the country is now suffering from a deep humanitarian crisis with its population struggling to feed itself. As a correspondent for Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal, Raúl Gallegos witnessed first-hand how the mismanagement of oil riches during the rule of Hugo Chávez led to Venezuela’s current misery. Gallegos will explain how mismanaged oil has created perverse incentives in the political system, the business community, and among ordinary Venezuelans. Gustavo Coronel will offer his insights on what should be the future of the oil sector in a democratic Venezuela.

AWEA Finance, Offshore Conferences Set for NYC – AWEA hosts its Wind Energy Finance & Investment Conference in NYC on October 24-26th at the Roosevelt Hotel.  Wind energy continues to grow and is providing jobs, community value and, solid investment opportunities. The event will also be co-located with AWEA’s annual Offshore WINDPOWER conference, which will feature Denmark’s Minister of Energy, Utilities and Climate Lars Christian Lilleholt and DOE’s Tim Unruh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Renewable Power.  Statoil, who is looking to build in NY is among the focuses of the conference.

WCEE to Host Battery Tech Leader – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) holds a Women in Leadership Forum at Winston & Strawn on Wednesday, October 25th that hosts Christina Lampe-Önnerud, founder and chief executive officer of Cadenza Innovation.   Lampe-Önnerud will discuss the unprecedented development of advanced battery technology and the opportunities this presents for future innovative solutions in energy production and storage and the opportunities and challenges she faced in the competitive energy and environmental fields, and share “lessons learned” along her path to leadership.

NatGas Roundtable to Feature Trade Expert – The Natural Gas Roundtable will host USTDA’s Energy Sector Worldwide Team Lead Carl Kress on Thursday October 26th as the guest speaker at its next luncheon. Kress is the Energy Sector Worldwide Team Leader at the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, coordinating all energy-related agency programs and strategy with U.S. industry. He is also the Regional Director for East Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and Eurasia, responsible for developing and implementing the USTDA economic development program throughout these regions.

Hansen to Speak at Climate Engineering Event – The Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment and Environment & Energy Management Institute at GWU will convene a workshop for non-governmental organizations on Monday October 30th that will focus on carbon dioxide removal and negative emissions technologies.  The event will be at GW’s Science and Engineering Hall and will be keynoted by Dr. James Hansen.

Women Renewable Energy Forum Set – The Women of Sustainable Energy and Renewable Industries (WRISE) Leadership Forum 2017 on November 6-7 in its inaugural year under the new brand (previously WoWE). Co-located with the AWEA Fall Symposium, this event will feature keynote speakers, professional development, networking, and expert panels on key issues in the industry.

AWEA Fall Symposium Returns to New Mexico – On November 7th through the 9th, AWEA hosts its annual Fall Wind Energy Fall Symposium at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort, where key strategic decisions are made to build the future of wind energy. The event will feature new executive insights, and actionable strategic plans to power your business in the upcoming year.

 

Energy Update: Week of June 13

Friends,

We start this week by thinking of the victims of the terrorist attack in Orlando.

Well, the long hockey season has come to an end with Pittsburgh’s victory in San Jose last night.  It is the Pens 4th Stanley Cup and Steel City can now celebrate.  Next up, Golden State looks to finish LeBron James and Cleveland tonight to complete back to back NBA titles.  And the Penguins weren’t the only winners last night as Hamilton collected 11 wins at the Tony awards.

The Belmont also provided some excitement on Saturday, but not the kind of excitement I was hoping for as favorite Exaggerator fell way back and blew up my superfecta.  I did manage to win a flyer on Creator, paying out at 34.80, so I was about even.  The mile-and-a-half at Belmont is always the toughest test and it showed its teeth on Saturday.

The Big News TODAY:  Former Utah Rep. Jim Matheson has been named NRECA’s new CEO.  Matheson, a Democrat who served in the House from 2001 to 2015, was a member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee.  The respect Matheson has on both sides of the aisle, and his ability to bridge political and policy divides to find common ground, will serve NRECA and all member cooperatives very well.

Three weeks to go in the official Congressional calendar and lots to do.  The Interior funding bill takes up most of the time this week, while Senate Energy will look at pipeline issues with our Friend Andy Black and others. Also tomorrow, Senate Finance will discuss Tax extenders with the Chamber Energy Institute’s Karen Harbert testifying.

This week, EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) meets tomorrow and Wednesday to finalize its report on EPA’s SDWA natgas water report.  Opponents had complained that EPA’s initial finding was too vague when they said there has been “no widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources” from fracturing.  WCEE hold events on energy security innovations (tomorrow) and international development leadership (Wed) and Carnegie host forums on driverless cars (tomorrow) and Oil prices and climate (Th).

Two other reports this week should shed some light on where energy markets are going amid low oil prices and aggressive climate policies. BP’s group chief economist Spencer Dale discusses this year’s BP Statistical Review of World Energy tomorrow morning and in the afternoon, Statoil’s chief economist Eirik Waerness will discuss energy perspectives for 2016 at CSIS.

Finally, as some of you may know, my colleague Scott Segal is finally getting hitched this weekend.  It is a great and important day.  In true fashion, I thought you might like reading this fun piece from today’s Washington Post’s Reliable Source that details the big event.

Call with questions…

 

Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“”There’s bipartisanship on this issue, and the bipartisanship is in opposition to a carbon tax”

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, following Friday’s 237-163 House vote opposing a carbon tax.

“Jim Matheson will bring to the position a broad knowledge of the issues facing rural America and will be an inspirational leader for America’s Electric Cooperatives.”

NRECA member President Mel Coleman announcing former Utah Rep. Jim Matheson will head the rural Co-Op trade group.

 

IN THE NEWS

Matheson to Head Rural Co-op Trade Group – The National Rural Electric Co-Op Assn (NRECA) said today that former Utah Rep. Jim Matheson will be its next CEO.   Matheson is replacing former Missouri Rep. JoAnn Emerson who led NRECA for three years.   He will join the association and assume his duties as CEO in July.  Matheson, currently at Squire Patton Boggs, served in the House from 2001 to 2015 where he was a member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee.  The respect Matheson has on both sides of the aisle, and his ability to bridge political and policy divides to find common ground, will serve NRECA and all member cooperatives very well.  In addition to his extensive background in Congress and public policy, Matheson worked in the energy industry for several years.  He was a project development manager in the independent power industry. He worked at two consulting companies, including his own firm, providing services to large energy consumers.

AHRI Leads Reform Effort at House Panel – A Friday hearing in the House Energy subpanel questioned the continued effectiveness of DOE energy efficiency programs.  While DOE’s efficiency program is one of the most successful energy savers in history, industry representatives who have lead the success are calling for major reforms to the 40-year-old law governing efficiency rules that they say are leading to standards that are not “economically justified.”  Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute President Stephen Yurek said Congress should require DOE to convene stakeholders to “discuss and recommend a new regulatory framework.”

Consumers Paying Price –  Yurek also said that “consumers are paying a heavy price, both in real monetary costs and in comfort and safety” because of the continuous cycle of Department of Energy (DOE) rulemakings that result in higher and higher energy efficiency levels. “When new equipment costs more than consumers can afford,” he said, “they find alternatives, some of which compromise their comfort and safety, while saving less energy or no energy at all.” Yurek told subcommittee members that while the Clinton Administration issued six major efficiency rules over eight years, the current administration issued eight such rules in 2014 alone.   Citing several examples of rulemakings in which job losses were forecast, Yurek charged that “American jobs are being lost – many of them exported – in part because of ever more stringent efficiency regulations.”

Ohio Statesman Voinovich Passes – The nation lost a great leader when George V. Voinovich, a former two-term United States senator, two-term governor of Ohio and Cleveland mayor, died on Sunday in Cleveland at 79.  Voinovich was known for his ability to bring people together and preached frugality in his personal and public life, as well as occasionally bucked the Republican establishment.

House Opposes Carbon, Oil Tax – The House passed resolutions Friday opposing a carbon Tax and a tax on oil proposed by President Obama.  One of the resolutions would express a sense of Congress that a carbon tax would be “detrimental” to the American economy, and the other opposes President Obama’s budget proposal for a $10.25-per-barrel oil fee. Six Democratic members joined their Republican colleagues in opposing a carbon tax, including Reps. Brad Ashford of Nebraska, Sanford Bishop of Georgia, Henry Cuellar of Texas, Ann Kirkpatrick of Arizona, Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. Democratic Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico voted “present.”

SCOTUS Leaves Mercury Rule – The Supreme Court will not restart EPA’s overhaul of the mercury pollution rule for power plants.  The SCOTUS remanded the rule saying it should have considered costs when it first decided it was “appropriate and necessary” to regulate.  The court rejected a request from Michigan and other states to take up a new challenge without explanation.

BH: Higher Prices Bringing Rigs Back Online – New rig data from Baker Hughes shows that oil producers brought rigs online for a second straight week last week as prices hover around the $50-a-barrel mark.  Rigs targeting crude in the U.S. rose by 3 to 328, after 9 were added last week.  The move is a watch point for reaction to the rising oil price and when companies when companies would start bringing rigs back on line.

Connecting Grids Will Increase Emissions – A new study by the California Independent System Operator says carbon emissions would likely rise across the West if a proposal to merge California’s energy market with PacifiCorp goes forward.  But operators say coordinating energy grids is key to keeping costs down, enhancing reliability and helping states meet clean energy requirements. An initial feasibility study found merging western grids could save customers almost $9 billion over the next 20 years.  Politicians like Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead worry the plan could allow California to import its policies of getting at least 50 percent of its electricity from clean sources by 2030.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Forum to Look at Climate Mitigation Issues – The Wilson Center and US AID will host a forum tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. on climate change mitigation.  As governments move to implement the commitments made at COP 21, this event will feature discussion by key decision-makers on what the Paris Agreement means for mitigation efforts globally. The panel of experts will reflect on actions being taken by developing countries and by the development community to implement countries’ international climate pledges, known as Nationally Determined Contributions. They will explore how to integrate climate change mitigation into government policies and programs and strengthen collaboration across the range of actors working on these issues.

Senate Finance to Look at Extra Tax Extenders – The Senate Finance Committee will hold an oversight hearing tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. on tax extenders and existing tax credits.  Witnesses will include our friend Karen Harbert of the Chamber’s Energy Institute, as well as AEI’s Benjamin Zycher, Bulk Handling Systems CEO Steve Miller and Susan Kennedy, CEO of Advanced Microgrid Solutions.

Panels to Mark Up Interior Budget Bill – The Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies will hold a business meeting tomorrow to 9:30 a.m. to markup an original bill entitled, “Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, Fiscal Year 2017.  On Wednesday, the full House Committee on Appropriations will meet to markup the FY 2017 Interior and Environment Bill.

Senate Energy to Look at Pipeline Challenges – The Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. to examine oil and gas pipeline infrastructure and the economic, safety, environmental, permitting, construction, and maintenance considerations associated with that infrastructure.  Witnesses will Include Andy Black of the Association of Oil Pipe Lines, NAM’s Ross Eisenberg, Sean McGarvey of the North America’s Building Trades Unions, CRS’s Energy and Infrastructure specialist Paul Parfomak and EDF’s Jonathan Peress.

EPA SAB to Meet on Findings For NatGas Drilling – The EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) meets tomorrow and Wednesday in Alexandria, VA to finalize for submission comments which found that EPA’s SDWA fracking report was too vague in its assertion of no “widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources” from fracking.  This has been a controversial process but we’ll see where they land.

Forum to Look at Hydropower in Myanmar – The Stimson Center will host a case study forum on hydropower in Myanmar tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. The Nature Conservancy, in partnership with WWF and the University of Manchester, demonstrated a system-scale planning framework that was applied in Myanmar and could be replicated worldwide, called Hydropower by Design, which seeks to compare alternative development scenarios upfront and identify those scenarios that can most effectively balance energy development with the protection of other social and environmental resources for better hydropower planning. The Stimson Center invites you to join us for a discussion. TNC’s Jeff Opperman, Director and Lead Scientist of the Great Rivers Program will discuss the Hydropower by Design approach as it was applied in Myanmar as well as the results and lessons learned from that effort. In addition, Jorge Gastelumendi, Policy Innovation Lead at TNC, will discuss the opportunity for innovative financial mechanisms that have the potential to enable and encourage this better, system-scale planning approach for hydropower. The Stimson Center’s Southeast Asia Program Director Richard Cronin will moderate and provide discussion on the opportunities and challenges in applying the Hydropower by Design approach to a transnational river like the Mekong.

Forum to Look at Transportation Sector Impacts, Changes for Climate – The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace will hold a conversation tomorrow at Noon with key thinkers on the future of driverless cars and how they could aid efforts to decarbonize the transport sector.  Former NHTSA Administrator David Strickland and Levi Tillemann, author of The Great Race: The Global Quest for the Car of the Future, which is an analysis of the rise of electric vehicles and the intersection between policy and innovation in the global auto industry, will lead the discussion.

WCEE to Look at Energy Security Innovations – Tomorrow at Noon, the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold another Lunch event on energy security issues and how technology and innovation are changing the picture.  The advance of new technologies and the introduction of new players and new potential interactions on the grid have made the industry very aware of threats and potential game changers. Cyber security and physical security are just two of the constant concerns of those who manage the industry’s assets.  Speakers at the event will be former Chief Technology Officer at DOE Pete Tseronis and Jeff Lane, former DOE Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs.

Offshore Energy Seminar Set – The American Geosciences Institute will hold a Congressional webinar tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. to explain the scientific and engineering tools that enable production in challenging environments far from land or in miles-deep water.  Speakers will also address the environmental challenges of offshore energy production.  BOEM’s James Bennett is among the speakers.

Statoil Official to Discuss Energy Market Outlook – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program is hosting a forum tomorrow at 1:00 p.m.; featuring Eirik Wærness, Chief Economist of Statoil, to present the company’s newly released Energy Perspectives 2016 publication. The report describes the macroeconomic and market outlook to 2040 including supply, demand, energy trade and CO2 impacts, as well as illustrates some of the key uncertainties that will influence these factors in the future through modeling various scenarios. This year’s report describes the possible development in global energy markets towards 2040 through three alternative scenarios, called Reform, Rivalry, and Renewal, respectively.

Forum to Look at Climate Policy, Ethics – The Wilson Center and the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy at George Mason University will hold a debate on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. between two of the most trenchant scholars on the human dimensions of climate change and the relevance of ethics in creating global climate policy. Stephen Gardiner argues that climate change is fundamentally an ethical issue. A robust response must attend to difficult issues, including justice, rights, political legitimacy, and humanity’s relationship to nature. Consequently, climate policy that ignores ethics is at risk of “solving” the wrong problem, perhaps even to the extreme of endorsing forms of climate extortion.  In contrast, David Weisbach argues that existing ethical theories are not well suited to addressing climate change because they suffer from internal logic problems and suggest impractical strategies. He argues that the central motivation for climate policy is straightforward: it is in the common interest of people and nations to dramatically reduce emissions in order to prevent terrible harms.  Gardiner and Weisbach are co-authors of Debating Climate Ethics. This is their first public appearance together since its publication this month. Following their debate, a panel of climate policy practitioners and academics will discuss the practical implications of this exchange.

BP Stat Review Set – On Wednesday at 9:30 a.m., the Atlantic Council will host the US launch of the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2016 with Spencer Dale, Group Chief Economist for BP.  Global energy markets have entered a period of accelerating volatility. The US shale revolution has upended global oil and gas markets. Alternative energy sources are bourgeoning, and climate policies are reshaping energy systems. Dale will present key trends and findings from the 2016 Statistical Review. Following his presentation, Richard Morningstar, Founding Director and Chairman of the Global Energy Center, will lead a moderated discussion.

House Science Looks at Solar Fuels, Storage – The House Science Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy will convene a hearing on Wednesday looking at innovation in solar fuels, electricity storage and advanced materials.  Witnesses will include Nate Lewis of Cal Tech, Daniel Scherson of Case Western Reserve University, Collin Broholm of Johns Hopkins University and Daniel Hallinan of Florida A&M University.

Carnegie to Release Report on Oil, Climate Issues – On Wednesday, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace will release its new report, Smart-Tax: Pricing Oil for a Safe Climate. For the first time, it is possible to estimate the value and profile of GHG emissions from oils throughout their supply chain using an Oil-Climate Index. This allows for the replacement of blunt tax designs with a smart tax that captures oil’s total emissions with minimal economic cost and maximum efficiency.  The release of the report will be followed by a panel discussion about a smart-tax design, why U.S.—and North American—involvement will be critical, and why national policymaking must catch up to the new realities of today’s oil landscape.  Speakers will include Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, former Idaho Rep. Walter Minnick of the Partnership for Responsible Growth and Deborah Gordon, director of Carnegie’s Energy and Climate Program.

WCEE Leadership Forum Tackles Women’s Role in International Development – On Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. at Clyde’s of Gallery Place, WCEE’s Women in Leadership (WIL) luncheon panel discussion will showcase some of the exciting work that federal agencies are doing globally in clean energy and climate change, and in particular how women around the world are impacted by and are tackling these complex issues. The panel will discuss how the U.S. public sector advances clean energy entrepreneurship, helps developing countries meet their COP 21 commitments, encourages women in leadership within the energy sector, and supports access to energy around the world.  Panelists will include State’s Rachel Kastenberg, DOE’s Caroline McGregor and USAID’s Kathryn Stratos.

McKinley, Welch Headline Briefing For High Performance Buildings – On Wednesday at noon, as part of High Performance Building Week, there will be a Congressional briefing on Capitol Hill featuring Reps. David McKinley and Peter Welch.  Around the country States and cities are calling for high performance green residential and commercial buildings. But what exactly are high performance buildings, why is there a demand, what tools are available to meet this demand, what challenges exist, and how can Congress help? Join us for a fast-paced series of presentations from experts on cutting-edge trends in the building industry.  Other presentations include NASEO’s Todd Sims, Kara Saul Rinaldi of the Home Performance Coalition and Efficiency First, NAHB’s John Barrows and Lawrence Schoen, Vice Chair of ASHRAEO’s Standing Standard Project Committee.

Summer Solstice Solar Event Set – The Solar Foundation will be having its Summer Solstice event on Thursday from 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. at the Capitol View at 400.  Every June, in honor of the longest day of the year, TSF hosts its Summer Solstice, a celebration of solar energy and the beneficial role it plays across many aspects of our society. We will be taking over an incredible rooftop in downtown Washington, D.C. to roll out the “yellow carpet” in recognition of all things solar. This year’s Solstice guests will be treated to great food and drinks, electrifying beats, amazing twilight views of the Capital’s skyline, and the company of many of the most eclectic personalities in solar.

Forum to Feature PJM Official on CPP Implementation – On Friday, the USAEE-NCAC will hold its next installment of our monthly lunch series featuring Paul Sotkiewicz, Ph.D., Senior Economic Policy Advisor for the PJM Wholesale Power Market.  He will discuss recent updates and results from PJM’s Capacity Market Auction, Clean Power Plan implementation, and investment decisions in PJM.

USEA Forum to Look at More Capture Technologies – On Friday at 2:00 p.m., the U.S. Energy Association will host a forum on the technical basis for direct air capture of CO2.  The event will hear from Geoff Holmes, who will address the operation of Carbon Engineering’s air capture demonstration plant in Squamish, B.C.  Holmes will discuss opportunities for commercialization and deployment of the technology.  Carbon Engineering has been developing direct air capture technology since 2009, and has innovated a process based on wet scrubbing and chemical recovery that shows great promise for deployment at industrial scale. CE is now piloting this process with a fully end-to-end 1-ton-CO2/day demonstration plant.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

Wisconsin Energy Fair Set – The 27th annual Energy Fair will be held in Custer, Wisconsin on June 17th to 19th.  The event hosted by the Midwest Renewable Energy Association in Central Wisconsin, features over 250 workshops and over 200 exhibitors, with live music, inspiring keynotes, and activities

Mann to Address Climate Lobby Conference – The Citizens Climate Lobby is holding its annual conference on Sunday-Tuesday, June 19-21 at the Omni Shoreham.  The CCL Conference trains activists to climate issues.  Their Keynote Speaker will be Penn State Climate activist Professor Michael Mann.

Dominion Official to Address AWEA Virginia Forum – On June 22nd at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) is hosting the AWEA State Wind Energy Forum – Virginia in collaboration with partners and colleagues in the state. You’ll learn about the benefits and challenges of Virginia’s potential for land-based and offshore wind industry from state policy, industry, government, and other thought leaders, as well as experts on national, regional, and state wind markets; grid integration; wildlife impacts and mitigation; economics; local economic development benefits; and water and air impacts.  Bill Murray of Dominion and our friend Jonathan Miles will speak among several others.

RFF to Look at Coal Leasing – Resources for the Future (RFF) holds a seminar on Wednesday June 22nd at 8:45 a.m. to look at the economics of coal leasing on Federal Lands, ensuring a fair return for taxpayers.  In 2015, BLM’s federal coal leasing program accounted for nearly 40% of coal production in the United States and supplied some of the lowest-cost coal available. The program has been widely critiqued in recent years for providing a poor return to taxpayers and failing to adequately address the environmental costs of coal extraction and processing. At this RFF seminar, Jason Furman, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), will unveil a new CEA report that examines the economic principles underlying the program, discusses the case for reform, and provides quantitative estimates of the effects of such changes. Furman’s remarks will be followed by an expert panel discussion on reforming the federal coal leasing program.  Among the panelists will be Michael Greenstone, Director of the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago, and James Stock of the Harvard Kennedy School.

CSIS to Host IEA Gas Outlook – On Tuesday, June 28th at 1:30 p.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Costanza Jacazio, Senior Gas Expert in the Gas, Coal & Power Markets Division at the International Energy Agency (IEA), to present the IEA’s Medium-Term Gas Market Report 2016. The annual report, which gives a detailed analysis and five-year projections of natural gas demand, supply and trade developments, examines the interaction of oversupply, low prices and upstream capital expenditure cuts. The impact on global gas markets of changing trade patterns and price mechanisms are also given special consideration. The Medium-Term Gas Market Report is part of a series of annual reports the IEA devotes to each of the main primary energy sources: oil, gas, coal, renewable energy and energy efficiency.

July 4th Holiday

Republican Convention – Cleveland will host the Republican Convention at the Quicken Loans Arena July 18-21st.  The Republican National Committee (RNC), the convention will host approximately 2,470 delegates and 2,302 alternate delegates from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and five territories.

Democratic Convention – A week later, the Democrats will head to Philadelphia for the 2016 Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center on July 25th – 28th.

Energy Update: Week of June 6

Friends,

We start today by thanking and honoring Muhammad Ali, who was the original transcender of policy, politics, sports, character and humor.  He was a giant and is well-deserving of any and all praise (especially this type of Barbershop praise) he receives for changing the way we look at athletes.

We had a very exciting weekend at the Maisano House as Hannah finally crossed the stage to graduate from Severn School with Honors.  It is a very exciting first step as she prepares for Wellesley.  In the meantime, she was appointed to umpire USA Field Hockey’s two national championships – The National Futures (best individual players) and the National Club Championships (Best Teams).  And the Cherry on the dessert:  She will be umpiring USA Field Hockey/AAU Junior Olympics in Houston in August (Houston in August doesn’t sound very fun), but she is one of only 8 umpires across the nation to be selected for the event.  It is a great honor and we are very proud of her accomplishments both in school, sports and officiating.

Of course, Saturday brings us the final Triple Crown Jewell, the 148th Belmont Stakes.  Right now (and with Nyquist out), I like the looks of a well-rested Suddenbreakingnews (with HoF Jockey Mike Smith) to chase 6-5 favorite, Exaggerator.  Another horse that is rested and should be good if the pace is slow is Governor Malibu, who recently “placed” at the Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont.  He is strong and runs close to pace.  He also fits the Belmont’s penchant for running an upset winner that hasn’t won any graded stakes.  Late closers Cherry Wine and Creator, as well as the speedy Stradivari will all challenge at the longer mile-and-a-half distance.  While all the closers benefited from the fast early pace in Baltimore, I suspect we won’t see that fast first quarter in New York.  Destin and Brody’s Cause both ran the Derby but passed on the Preakness and could be fresher than those that ran in Baltimore. Depending on weather, I’d box Exaggerator, Suddenbreakingnews and Governor Malibu for at least one trifecta.  I also might try one with Cherry Wine.  As for Superfecta, I might consider playing two, mixing the previous five or maybe swapping Stradivari in.  Straight up: A “win” flyer bet on Governor Malibu is probably worth it at 25-1, although I don’t suspect the line will stay there.   Of course, some of this may change as the positions are drawn (Wednesday), the weather forecast changes and the field firms up.  Post time is around 6:50 p.m. Saturday.

It will be a busy week in DC as Congress returns to run its final multi-week session before really breaking for the fall elections.  The main event is a Senate Environment hearing on Thursday on the SCOTUS stay of EPA’s GHG rule featuring Hunton expert Allison Wood and Tri-State Generation CEO Mike McInnes, among others.   Also Thursday, a House Foreign Affairs panel will hear from EIA Head Adam Sieminski and others on energy security in the Americas.  Tomorrow, a Senate Environment panel looks at EPA’s unfunded mandates.  Finally, Friday morning at 9:30 a.m., House Energy will host AHRI President Steve Yurek and others for a hearing on appliance energy standards.

The biggest event off the Hill this week is the US Energy Stream’s Washington Oil & Gas Conference on Thursday at the Cosmos Club featuring Republican House Whip Steve Scalise, former House Energy Chair Joe Barton and Resources Chair Rob Bishop. The Forum focuses on the international aspects of the American oil and gas industry and will address the international impact of the shale gas revolution.  Other events in town include Heritage hosting TX AG Ken Paxton on Friday while Bracewell hosts a WCEE forum on Wednesday looking at the future of Utilities.  There are also Clean Energy, Paris and oil-price events sponsored by The Atlantic, Brookings, Carnegie, USEA and Johns Hopkins throughout the week.  Everything is listed below.

Out of town on Wednesday, Kansas will host an EPA public meeting on the RFS’s RVO rule and the Geothermal industry gathers.

Finally, the US Chamber’s Energy Institute is expected to launch its International Index of Energy Security Risk sometime this week so stayed tuned for that.

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s an election year.  Between the Trump energy event last week and a Mark Drajem  Interview with Bloomberg Analyst Rob Barnett on Sander’s Presidential Fracking position, got us thinking to start paying closer attention to energy-related action on the campaign trail (which many times is a little light on substance, historical perspective and reality) so keep us as a background resource.  We’ll have people at both conventions – yes we are a bipartisan group.  Anyway, the countdown is on: 42 days to Cleveland, 49 days to Philly and 155 days to Election Day.

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“If we are serious about combating climate change, we need to put an end to fracking all over this country.”

Presidential Candidate and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders last week after a speech in California.

 

IN THE NEWS

AHRI, ASHRAE, DOE Partner to Fund Flammable Refrigerant Research – The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), ASHRAE, and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) are collaborating to fund vital research that will establish a more robust fact base about the properties and the use of flammable refrigerants. This $5.2 million research program is part of an ongoing global effort to phase down the use of high-global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants and identify appropriate climate-friendly alternatives. Of the total, DOE is contributing $3 million, ASHRAE $1.2 million, and AHRI $1 million.  In anticipation of a global plan to phase down high-GWP refrigerants, the industry has spent the past five years researching potential alternatives. Through that effort, several promising refrigerants were identified, many of which are low toxicity, but are classified as mildly flammable or flammable. This new research program will provide the technical knowledge needed to facilitate and accelerate the safe use of these refrigerants.

Industry Group May Challenge Methane Rule – The Western Energy Alliance is “exploring litigation” over the new EPA rules aimed that reducing methane for new oil and gas.  WEA official Kathleen Sgemma, said the alliance has been involved in litigation on a number of regulations that western oil and gas producers say would hobble the industry. Sgemma said the alliance was successful in suing against the first round of fracking regulations that the Bureau of Land Management tried to impose, winning a federal court injunction to stay the rules until a decision on the merits is made.

Interior to Open Up Waters Off NY for Offshore Wind – The federal government is expanding its offshore wind energy program to New York, the Department of Interior announced Thursday.  Interior said more than 81,000 acres of the Atlantic Ocean off the New York coast will be available for wind energy leases.  The section of ocean is in the New York Wind Energy Area, a portion of the outer continental shelf 11 miles south of Long Island. The department will publish a sales notice in the Federal Register on Monday, opening a 60-day public comment period.  As with other WEAs, the question is not whether Interior can open it up, but if somebody will build any projects.  So far, not much luck.

Paris Is Now Banning All Pre-1997 Cars – While France gets most of its electricity from nuclear power, it still has some of the most polluted air in Paris because of traffic issues.    Paris has tried just about everything to combat its terrible smog problem. The city has launched attempts to take half the cars off its road, introduce regular car-free days, and close famous streets to vehicular traffic—but nothing has worked. Now a much bigger idea is going into effect: Kicking the oldest cars out of the city. Starting July 1, all cars registered before 1997 and motorcycles registered before 2000 will be banned from the city center during weekdays.

Platts Crude Discusses OPEC – This week’s Capitol Crude podcast is live from Vienna where Brian and Herman go inside last week’s OPEC meeting, the first for the new Saudi energy minister. What did the meeting mean for OPEC, as well as US producers and policy? The podcast also addresses the view from OPEC on the ongoing US presidential race and its impact on the world oil market. With appearances from Khalid al-Falih, Amos Hochstein and Joe McMonigle.

Exelon to Close IL Nuke Plants – Exelon says it will close two of its nuclear plants in the state starting next year because if the sustained low wholesale power prices, capacity auction results, regulatory uncertainty and questions regarding the future of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan for its decision to close the two plants.  They also tried to convince the Illinois General Assembly to pass zero-carbon energy standard legislation that could have helped keep them competitive.  Exelon will close the Clinton nuclear plant on June 1, 2017, and the Quad Cities plant in 2018. The closures will come several years before the plants’ NRC licenses run out.

TVA Nuke Plant Finally Producing Energy – Speaking of Nukes, the long-awaited second reactor at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Watts Bar nuclear plant has been synced to the grid and will next undergo systems and controls testing.  The next step is full-plant testing of systems and controls at increasing reactor power levels up to 100 percent power by this summer.  Combined with Watts Bar Unit 1, the plant will supply power to roughly 1.3 million homes in the TVA service area.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Fuel Cell Techs Under Review by DOE – This week, DOE will host a series on reviews on fuel cell vehicle technologies.  Each year, projects funded by the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Fuel Cell Technologies Office and Vehicle Technologies Office are reviewed for their merit at the Annual Merit Review and Peer Evaluation Meeting (AMR). DOE uses the results of this merit review and peer evaluation, along with additional review processes, to make funding decisions for upcoming years.

Heritage to Look at Obama War On Fossil Fuels – Today at 12:00 p.m., the Heritage Foundation hosts a forum on the Obama Administration’s efforts against fossil fuels. In only a few short years, the U.S. has become the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas; it has long been the Saudi Arabia of coal. America has more fossil fuels resources than any nation and can produce and utilize those resources with more environmental sensitivity and energy efficiency. Yet, highly politicized climate policies are pushing a grand-scale shift to unreliable, expensive renewable energy sources inherently incapable of replacing the vast energy services fossil fuels provide. Today, ‘fossil fuel’ has become such a dirty word that even fossil fuel companies feel compelled to apologize for their products. In Fueling Freedom, Kathleen Hartnett White and Stephen Moore make an unapologetic case for fossil fuels, turning around progressives’ protestations to prove that if fossil fuel energy is supplanted by ‘green’ alternatives for political reasons, humanity will take a giant step backwards and the planet will be less safe, less clean, and less free.

Energy, Education Forum Set – The National Council on Science and the Environment’s (NCSE) Council of Energy Research and Education Leaders (CEREL) will host the 2nd annual National Energy Education Summit tomorrow at the American University. Energy literate leaders in politics, labor, business, and religion must help citizens and the workforce cope with the challenges and embrace the opportunities of change. Despite the needs for energy literacy, very few college and university students in the United States or elsewhere systematically learn about energy as part of their education. New forms of energy education must become a fundamental part of undergraduate education, in the United States and everywhere else in the world.

Forum to Look at Climate, Air Quality Connections – The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace hosts a half-day event tomorrow on the connection between air quality and climate change and how it might be expected to shape the global energy innovation agenda in the years to come. Speakers will include Deborah Gordon, Judi Greenwald, Daniel Horton, David Livingston, Varun Rai, Seth Shonkoff.

Senate Enviro to Tackle Unfunded Mandates — The Senate Environment Committee’s Subcommittee on Superfund, Waste Management, and Regulatory Oversight will hold a hearing tomorrow providing oversight of EPA Unfunded Mandates on State, Local, and Tribal Governments.  Witnesses include Tennessee state Senate majority Mark Norris representing the Council of State Governments, Berks County, PA Commission Chair Christian Leinbach on behalf of the National Association of Counties; Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma chair John Berrey, DC Water/Sewer Authority CEO George Hawkins and George Washington University environmental law professor Robert Glicksman.

Brookings Forum to Look at Paris Climate Deal – Tomorrow at 4:00 p.m., Brookings will host a panel to assess the challenges as well as the opportunities in implementing the Paris Climate Agreement.  The Paris agreement, recently signed onto by 196 countries, is a milestone in recognizing the threat posed by climate change and securing collective commitment to hold global temperature rise to “well below 2 degrees Celsius.” The task now is to translate this ambitious commitment into a concrete implementation agenda.  This high level panel, which will include eminent climate expert Lord Nicholas Stern, World Bank Managing Director Sri Mulyani Indrawati, and University of Maryland Dean Public Policy and longtime climate advisor Robert Orr, as well as Vice President Kemal Dervis and Senior Fellow Amar Bhattacharya of Global Economy and Development program at Brookings.

Geothermal Conference Set – The Baseload Renewable Energy Summit will be held tomorrow and Wednesday at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in Reno, NV will examine key issues facing the geothermal, biomass and hydropower industries at the federal, state and local levels.  The event is Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) 5th annual National Geothermal Summit, but with a twist. This year, the leading forum for western state policy discussions will team up with the National Hydropower Association (NHA) and the Biomass Power Association (BPA) to create a new spin on the annual event. Wednesday will feature a full day program opening remarks by Rahm Orenstein, Vice President of Business Development, Ormat Technologies Inc. Following through the day panels of experts from power producers, utilities, government officials and others will examine key questions facing the future of the geothermal, biomass and hydropower industries.

EPA RFS Hearing In Kansas City – EPA announced it will hold a public hearing Thursday in Kansas City, Missouri, on its proposed rule for the 2017 renewable fuels standard (RFS).  The EPA released its proposed rule to set 2017 renewable volume obligations (RVOs) under the RFS, along with the 2018 RVO for biomass-based diesel, on May 18. The agency has proposed to set the 2017 RVO for cellulosic biofuel at 312 million gallons, with the advanced biofuel RVO at 4 billion gallons and the RVO for total renewable fuel at 18.8 billion gallons. The 2018 RVO for biomass-based diesel has been proposed at 2.1 billion gallons…

WCEE Forum on Future Utility of Future – On Wednesday at 12:00 noon in the swanky new office at Bracewell, the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will host a forum on the utility of the future.  Based on data published by EIA, US demand for electricity hit a plateau in 2006 for a variety reasons – the transition of our economy from manufacturing towards services, improvements in energy efficiency, and changing building codes.  There are also growing regional trends to shift towards clean energy, in some cases driven by legislative mandates or the Clean Power Plan, and an increase in the popularity of customer generated electricity.  But, at its simplest, the utility business model, forged at the turn of the 20th century, is based on a perpetual increasing demand for electricity.  The event features DC Public Service Commissioner Joanne Doddy Fort, former Maryland PSC Chair and current Alliance to Save Energy official Kelly Speakes-Backman, Katharine Bond of Dominion Virginia Power and Cheryl Roberto of  Twenty First Century Utilities.

JHU to Look at Living with Lower Oil Prices – Johns Hopkins SAIS, the International Monetary Fund, and the Middle East Institute will host a high level discussion on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. looking at living with cheaper oil and the policy adjustments necessary in Middle Eastern and Central Asian oil exporting countries.  The event features a presentation by Min Zhu, Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund and Martin Sommer, IMF’s Deputy Chief, Middle East and Central Asia Regional Studies Division.

Forum to Look at Energy Storage – Wednesday at 2:00 p.m., the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR) will hold a briefing to discuss energy storage.  JCESR is a public/private partnership that brings together world-leading scientists, engineers, and manufacturers with an important mission: develop clean energy storage technologies for transportation and the electricity grid. The Center was established by the Department of Energy as an Energy Innovation Hub in 2012 and is led by Argonne National Laboratory. Their partners include five national laboratories, ten universities, and five industrial firms.  JCESR was launched with a bold vision: to create game-changing, next-generation battery technologies that will transform transportation and the electricity grid the way lithium-ion batteries transformed personal electronics.

Atlantic Forum to Look at Clean EnergyThe Atlantic will host a forum on Thursday morning called Access to Power: A Forum on Energy Equity at the Newseum. The Atlantic‘s Ron Brownstein and Rebecca Rosen will be joined on stage by Michelle Moore (Groundswell), Richard Kauffman (New York Governor’s Office), Jim Kapsis (Opower) and others to discuss making the future of clean energy accessible to all.

Senate Enviro to Look at GHG Rule – Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works will hold a hearing Thursday on the implications of the Supreme Court Stay of EPA’s Clean Power Plan.  Testifying will be Tri-State Generation CEO Mike McInnis, Hunton’s Allison Wood Missouri State House Rep. Jack Bondon, NYU’s Richard Revesz and Connecticut DEEP deputy commissioner Katie Dykes.

EIA, DOE, State to Talk Energy – The House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere will convene a hearing Thursday at 10:00 a.m. on the impact of low oil prices on energy security in the Americas.  Witnesses include EIA’s Adam Sieminski, DOE’s Melanie Kenderdine and State’s Amos Hochstein.

USEA Forum to Look at Paris, Future of Energy – On Thursday, USEA will host a forum looking at all sectors of the energy industry and the pressure from a combination of ultra-low prices, dislike of big business, accusations of crony capitalism and, last but not least, what for many are existential threats from environmental concerns.  The speakers, respectively the former Chief Climate Counsel for Sierra Club and Head of Climate Policy at ExxonMobil, talk frankly about what the future holds: what the Paris agreement means (and does not mean) for the energy industry; why the 2016 election may make less difference than many think – or hope – and what the reality of a carbon-constrained policy world means for the fossil and renewable energy industries. Former Sierra Club Counsel David Bookbinder has litigated cases under all of the major environmental statutes as Sierra Club’s Chief Climate Counsel. He then represented environmental groups in both stationary- and mobile-source carbon matters, including California’s greenhouse gas vehicle standards. Bookbinder has helped lead efforts on both global warming legislation and Clean Air Act greenhouse gas regulation, and has testified in front of House and Senate committees on these issues.  David Bailey has 35 years-experience in managing energy related issues around the world and has worked at literally every level of the coal and oil and gas industries, from the UK National Coal Board during the economic and labor upheavals under the Thatcher government to responsibility for ExxonMobil’s climate policy.

Scalise, Barton, Others Headline Oil, Gas Forum – US Energy Stream will hold a Washington Oil & Gas Forum on Wednesday and Thursday at the Cosmos Club in DC.  Speakers will include Reps. Steve Scalise, Rob Bishop, Joe Barton, as well as State’s Amos Hochstein and DOE’s Paula Gant.  The Washington Oil & Gas Forum focuses on the international aspects of the American oil and gas industry and is the only commercial forum in Washington that addresses the international impact of the shale gas revolution.  This year’s primary focus is the impact of the U.S. LNG exports on global energy markets.  More specifically, the topics include U.S. LNG and crude oil exports; oil prices; the impact of shale gas on the global energy markets; U.S. energy independence; upstream developments in the major U.S. shale plays; U.S. oil and gas investments in the international energy markets.

House Energy Panel to Look at Energy Efficiency Standards – On Friday morning, the House Energy Panel will hold a hearing on stakeholder perspectives on Appliance EE standards.  Among those testifying will be Steve Yurek, President of AHRI.

TX AG Headlines Heritage Forum on Climate Speech Challenges– The Heritage Foundation will host a forum on Friday at Noon featuring TX AG Ken Paxton discuss the recent efforts to attack scientific dissent.  A group of state attorneys general are targeting companies and others whom they claim “mislead the public about the dangers of climate change.” With the help of some private plaintiffs’ law firms, state AGs are opening up potential civil/criminal investigations. Other state AGs are objecting to these prosecutions as both ill-advised and violations of the First Amendment. The forum will look at whether this is a misuse of the law and are First Amendment rights being violated.

REFF Wall Street Meeting Set for NYC – REFF-Wall Street 2016 will be held on Saturday and Sunday at The Grand Hyatt, New York.  REFF-Wall Street is the premier renewable energy financing event in the U.S. The event draws an especially senior audience, comprising of over 600 decision makers, lenders, investors, investment bankers, private equity investors, venture capitalists, and other top transactional professionals in renewable energy finance. Delek CEO Yaniv Friedman, Grover Norquist, AGA’s David Sweet and Columbia’s Jason Bordoff will also speak among the many others.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

Forum to Look at Climate Mitigation Issues – The Wilson Center and US AID will host a forum next Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. on climate change mitigation.  As governments move to implement the commitments made at COP 21, this event will feature discussion by key decision-makers on what the Paris Agreement means for mitigation efforts globally. The panel of experts will reflect on actions being taken by developing countries and by the development community to implement countries’ international climate pledges, known as Nationally Determined Contributions. They will explore how to integrate climate change mitigation into government policies and programs and strengthen collaboration across the range of actors working on these issues.

Forum to Look at Transportation Sector Impacts, Changes for Climate – The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace will hold a conversation next Tuesday at Noon with key thinkers on the future of driverless cars and how they could aid efforts to decarbonize the transport sector.  Former NHTSA Administrator David Strickland and Levi Tillemann, author of The Great Race: The Global Quest for the Car of the Future, which is an analysis of the rise of electric vehicles and the intersection between policy and innovation in the global auto industry, will lead the discussion.

WCEE to Look at Energy Security Innovations – Next Tuesday at Noon, the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold another Lunch event on energy security issues and how technology and innovation are changing the picture.  The advance of new technologies and the introduction of new players and new potential interactions on the grid have made the industry very aware of threats and potential game changers. Cyber security and physical security are just two of the constant concerns of those who manage the industry’s assets.  Speakers at the event will be former Chief Technology Officer at DOE Pete Tseronis and Jeff Lane, former DOE Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs.

Offshore Energy Seminar Set – The American Geosciences Institute will hold a Congressional webinar on Tuesday, June 14th at 1:00 p.m. to explain the scientific and engineering tools that enable production in challenging environments far from land or in miles-deep water.  Speakers will also address the environmental challenges of offshore energy production.  BOEM’s James Bennett is among the speakers.

Statoil Official to Discuss Energy Market Outlook – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program is hosting a forum on Tuesday, June 14th at 1:00 p.m.; featuring Eirik Wærness, Chief Economist of Statoil, to present the company’s newly released Energy Perspectives 2016 publication. The report describes the macroeconomic and market outlook to 2040 including supply, demand, energy trade and CO2 impacts, as well as illustrates some of the key uncertainties that will influence these factors in the future through modeling various scenarios. This year’s report describes the possible development in global energy markets towards 2040 through three alternative scenarios, called Reform, Rivalry, and Renewal, respectively.

Forum to Look at Climate Policy, Ethics – The Wilson Center and the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy at George Mason University will hold a debate on Wednesday June 15th at 9:30 a.m. between two of the most trenchant scholars on the human dimensions of climate change and the relevance of ethics in creating global climate policy. Stephen Gardiner argues that climate change is fundamentally an ethical issue. A robust response must attend to difficult issues, including justice, rights, political legitimacy, and humanity’s relationship to nature. Consequently, climate policy that ignores ethics is at risk of “solving” the wrong problem, perhaps even to the extreme of endorsing forms of climate extortion.  In contrast, David Weisbach argues that existing ethical theories are not well suited to addressing climate change because they suffer from internal logic problems and suggest impractical strategies. He argues that the central motivation for climate policy is straightforward: it is in the common interest of people and nations to dramatically reduce emissions in order to prevent terrible harms.  Gardiner and Weisbach are co-authors of Debating Climate Ethics. This is their first public appearance together since its publication this month. Following their debate, a panel of climate policy practitioners and academics will discuss the practical implications of this exchange.

WCEE Leadership Forum Tackles Women’s Role in International Development – On Wednesday June 15th at 11:30 a.m. at Clyde’s of Gallery Place, WCEE’s Women in Leadership (WIL) luncheon panel discussion will showcase some of the exciting work that federal agencies are doing globally in clean energy and climate change, and in particular how women around the world are impacted by and are tackling these complex issues. The panel will discuss how the U.S. public sector advances clean energy entrepreneurship, helps developing countries meet their COP 21 commitments, encourages women in leadership within the energy sector, and supports access to energy around the world.  Panelists will include State’s Rachel Kastenberg, DOE’s Caroline McGregor and USAID’s Kathryn Stratos.

Summer Solstice Solar Event Set – The Solar Foundation will be having its Summer Solstice event on Thursday, June 16th from 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. at the Capitol View at 400.  Every June, in honor of the longest day of the year, TSF hosts its Summer Solstice, a celebration of solar energy and the beneficial role it plays across many aspects of our society. We will be taking over an incredible rooftop in downtown Washington, D.C. to roll out the “yellow carpet” in recognition of all things solar. This year’s Solstice guests will be treated to great food and drinks, electrifying beats, amazing twilight views of the Capital’s skyline, and the company of many of the most eclectic personalities in solar.

Forum to Feature PJM Official on CPP Implementation – On Friday June 17th, the USAEE-NCAC will hold its next installment of our monthly lunch series featuring Paul Sotkiewicz, Ph.D., Senior Economic Policy Advisor for the PJM Wholesale Power Market.  He will discuss recent updates and results from PJM’s Capacity Market Auction, Clean Power Plan implementation, and investment decisions in PJM.

USEA Forum to Look at More Capture Technologies – On Friday, June 17th at 2:00 p.m., the U.S. Energy Association will host a forum on the technical basis for direct air capture of CO2.  The event will hear from Geoff Holmes, who will address the operation of Carbon Engineering’s air capture demonstration plant in Squamish, B.C.  Holmes will discuss opportunities for commercialization and deployment of the technology.  Carbon Engineering has been developing direct air capture technology since 2009, and has innovated a process based on wet scrubbing and chemical recovery that shows great promise for deployment at industrial scale. CE is now piloting this process with a fully end-to-end 1-ton-CO2/day demonstration plant.

Wisconsin Energy Fair Set – The 27th annual Energy Fair will be held in Custer, Wisconsin on June 17th to 19th.  The event hosted by the Midwest Renewable Energy Association in Central Wisconsin, features over 250 workshops and over 200 exhibitors, with live music, inspiring keynotes, and activities.

Mann to Address Climate Lobby Conference – The Citizens Climate Lobby is holding its annual conference on Sunday-Tuesday, June 19-21 at the Omni Shoreham.  The CCL Conference trains activists to climate issues.  Their Keynote Speaker will be Penn State Climate activist Professor Michael Mann.

Dominion Official to Address AWEA Virginia Forum – On June 22nd at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) is hosting the AWEA State Wind Energy Forum – Virginia in collaboration with partners and colleagues in the state. You’ll learn about the benefits and challenges of Virginia’s potential for land-based and offshore wind industry from state policy, industry, government, and other thought leaders, as well as experts on national, regional, and state wind markets; grid integration; wildlife impacts and mitigation; economics; local economic development benefits; and water and air impacts.  Bill Murray of Dominion and our friend Jonathan Miles will speak among several others.

RFF to Look at Coal Leasing – Resources for the Future (RFF) holds a seminar on Wednesday June 22nd at 8:45 a.m. to look at the economics of coal leasing on Federal Lands, ensuring a fair return for taxpayers.  In 2015, BLM’s federal coal leasing program accounted for nearly 40% of coal production in the United States and supplied some of the lowest-cost coal available. The program has been widely critiqued in recent years for providing a poor return to taxpayers and failing to adequately address the environmental costs of coal extraction and processing. At this RFF seminar, Jason Furman, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), will unveil a new CEA report that examines the economic principles underlying the program, discusses the case for reform, and provides quantitative estimates of the effects of such changes. Furman’s remarks will be followed by an expert panel discussion on reforming the federal coal leasing program.  Among the panelists will be Michael Greenstone, Director of the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago, and James Stock of the Harvard Kennedy School.

CSIS to Host IEA Gas Outlook – On Tuesday, June 28th at 1:30 p.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Costanza Jacazio, Senior Gas Expert in the Gas, Coal & Power Markets Division at the International Energy Agency (IEA), to present the IEA’s Medium-Term Gas Market Report 2016. The annual report, which gives a detailed analysis and five-year projections of natural gas demand, supply and trade developments, examines the interaction of oversupply, low prices and upstream capital expenditure cuts. The impact on global gas markets of changing trade patterns and price mechanisms are also given special consideration. The Medium-Term Gas Market Report is part of a series of annual reports the IEA devotes to each of the main primary energy sources: oil, gas, coal, renewable energy and energy efficiency.

July 4th Holiday

Republican Convention – Cleveland will host the Republican Convention at the Quicken Loans Arena July 18-21st.  The Republican National Committee (RNC), the convention will host approximately 2,470 delegates and 2,302 alternate delegates from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and five territories.

Democratic Convention – A week later, the Democrats will head to Philadelphia for the 2016 Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center on July 25th – 28th.

Energy Update: Week of March 7

Friends,

As Spring Breaks are beginning, it is time to start locking in on your favorites for those NCAA March Madness hoops pools.  Keep an eye this week on all the Conference championships to see who’s playing well (Kansas/Michigan State) and who has struggled lately (Maryland, Oklahoma).  It may also help you find some sleepers (Monmouth, Providence, Stephen F Austin, Little Rock).  And how about Yale, winning the Ivys and making the tourney for the first time since 1962.  Only Dartmouth (1959) has gone longer without making an appearance.

Tomorrow votes are hitting in Michigan, as well as Idaho (R), Hawaii (R) and Mississippi.  Most of the focus for both sides is Michigan, which hosted both Republican and Democratic debates over the last few days.  In fact, should you have any questions about the latest Democratic Prez positioning on natgas drilling (Sanders is opposed, Clinton announced a bunch of hoops that no one can get through)  let us know.  My colleagues can discuss the reality vs the politics.   One week to Super Tuesday, Part II.

Budget discussions continue this week with Secretary Vilsack and Secretary Moniz heading to Senate Approps’ panels after several visits last week.  Moniz was a champion with three marathon sessions at House Energy, Senate Energy and House Energy Approps last week.   Senate Environment jumps into state regulation and how states are impacted on Wednesday following a recent letter from Chairman Inhofe to the 20 states covered by the Committee asking for their “perspective” on EPA regulations.

Off the Hill, there is a great event tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. that is a “must attend.”  The National Press Club’s Newsmaker Committee will host Republican entrepreneur turned philanthropist Jay Faison, Founder and CEO of ClearPath, a new non-profit foundation dedicated to finding and promoting conservative clean energy solutions in the Club’s Bloomberg Room.   It is his first foray into DC since announcing his intention to play a bigger energy role with Republicans and with the Newsmaker format, you’ll have a great opportunity to inquire.

Finally, this weekend, South By Southwest begins in Austin Texas on Friday and runs through the following week.  Originally just a small music festival, SXSW has also become a popular policy and political forum.  On Friday, President Obama will sit down with Evan Smith, Texas Tribune Editor-in-Chief, for a conversation about civic engagement in the 21st Century before an audience of creators, early adopters and entrepreneurs who are defining the future of our connected lives.   There are many environmental, technology, policy and political issues on the agenda…and, as expected, some awesome music.  See the full schedule of events here.

Congrats (I think) to my friend and ex-biofuel reporter Rachel Gantz who starts TODAY as RFA’s New Comms Director.  Good luck with that…

Call with questions.

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

 

IN THE NEWS

 

SCOTUS Rejects Mercury Stay – Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. on Thursday refused to block EPA’s regulation limiting emissions of mercury from coal-fired power plants.  The decision comes a few weeks after they approved an extraordinary stay to block the Administration’s plan for regulating GHGs.  My colleague Jeff Holmstead told the New York Times the decision was a pretty strong way of sending a signal that the fact that the court granted a stay of the Clean Power Plan was highly extraordinary, and they don’t want to be inundated with these.  Holmstead: “I think this is Justice Roberts’ effort to say that the Clean Power Plan is an extraordinary situation.” Holmstead and other experts noted that blocking the mercury rule would have had little practical impact, because most electric utilities have already put it into effect, closing almost 100 coal-fired power plants.

 

Chamber Energy Institute White Paper on Stay Impacts on Deadlines – We have all heard EPA Administrator McCarthy saying many different things about the impacts of the Supreme Court’s stay on the GHG rules, including that that “[l]ife is continuing [in] the exact same direction it was before the stay,” that the stay “didn’t mean that anything on the ground really had changed,” the stay “is not going to slow us down” and finally, that the stay won’t push back the compliance deadlines.  As my colleague Jeff Holmstead has mentioned to many of you, the SCOTUS stay WILL delay all the deadlines of the Clean Power Plan even if the courts eventually uphold the rule.  This is also the focus of a new paper from the US Chamber’s Energy Institute.  With regard to the stay, the paper says: “the proper interpretation of the Court’s order is that the Stay tolls all the Rule’s deadlines—not just those that actually fall during the Stay—for at least the period of time the Stay is in place.”  Chamber Energy expert Dan Byers has also summed up the issues in a good, public and quotable blog.   And of course, as one of the attorneys in the case, Holmstead Is happy to discuss the issues and the protocols  going forward.

 

Cities Launch Energy Security  Coalition – A group of medium and large-size cities from around the country announced the launch of the Energy Secure Cities Coalition (ESCC), a partnership of communities dedicated to transitioning their municipal fleets from petroleum-fueled vehicles to those powered by alternative fuels, like electricity and natural gas. Each ESCC city has the potential to improve quality of life for its residents as well as boost its economic competitiveness—regionally and globally—by saving millions of valuable taxpayer dollars over the next decade through the lower fuel and vehicle maintenance costs of alternative fuel vehicles.  The Energy Secure Cities Coalition includes Atlanta, Ga.; Charlotte, N.C.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Orlando, Fla.; Rochester, N.Y.; Sacramento Calif.; San Diego, Calif.; and West Palm Beach, Fla.  The ESCC plans to grow to at least 25 cities with the goal of taking 50,000 petroleum-powered vehicles off the road, saving 500,000 barrels of oil every year and protecting city budgets from volatile and unpredictable global oil prices, directly influenced by geopolitical instability and conflict. Fleets are some of the largest single fuel consumers in a given city and represent an opportunity to jump-start a community’s effort to reduce its dependence on oil, promote fuel diversity, and set an example for other cities across the country to follow. The Energy Secure Cities Coalition offers participating cities a network to learn from each other before, during and after the fleet conversion process, participating in a forum in which municipalities can share best practices on communicating their goals, engaging their communities, recognizing obstacles and solving problems. The ESCC is a project of its member cities in collaboration with Securing America’s Future Energy and the Electrification Coalition. Learn more at www.energysecurecities.org.

 

Report: Property Values Unaffected By Pipelines – A new study conducted by Integra Realty Resources on behalf of The INGAA Foundation says the presence of an underground natural gas transmission pipeline does not affect the sales prices or value of residential properties.  The independent study of residential properties in proximity to natural gas pipelines in the Southeast, Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast United States,  Pipeline Impact to Property Value and Property Insurability, identifies residential neighborhoods that were bordered or bisected by at least one pipeline and isolated home sales of similar properties both on and off the pipelines.  The study then performed a direct comparison of the properties for normal valuation purposes.   IRR analyzed property sales in communities in four states – Ohio, New Jersey, Virginia and Mississippi – and determined that “there is no measurable impact on the sales price of properties located along or in proximity to a natural gas pipeline versus properties which are not located along or in proximity to the same pipeline.” A fifth analysis, of a community in Pennsylvania, conducted by a separate appraisal company also was included in the analysis.  IRR analyzed actual residential property sales data in each area, normalized by significant factors (i.e. gross living area, size, age, date of transaction, etc.) to derive adjustments used to account for differences, in each area, both on and off pipeline easements, in like and similar conditions.  It then applied linear regression analyses to see if a correlation existed between sales price and location “on” or “off” the pipeline easement.  In every area of study, IRR found no negative impact on price, and no correlation between price and proximity to pipeline easement.  IRR also found that buyers purchasing homes along pipeline easements in each area studied were able to obtain conventional, Federal Housing Administration and Veterans Affairs loans. “This indicates that a presence of a natural gas pipeline had no effect on obtaining a mortgage,” the report said.  Moreover, insurance companies and agents interviewed said there was no indication that the presence of a natural gas pipeline would hinder a buyer’s ability to acquire property insurance. They also said there was no indication that premiums paid for insurance policies would increase because of the presence of a natural gas pipeline.

 

Morning Consult National Poll Shows Support for Coal Generation – In a new national poll conducted by Morning Consult, 54% of registered voters ‘totally approve’ the use of coal to generate electricity, compared to 32% who ‘totally disapprove.’ 14% have no opinion.  ACCCE’s Laura Sheehan said “Despite the near-constant fearmongering campaign conducted by this administration and its allies, the electorate continues to recognize the importance coal plays in the production of affordable and reliable energy.”

 

Rural Co-Ops Support LIHEAP Action Day – Yesterday was LIHEAP Action Day. LIHEAP is the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which provides those in need with assistance paying their home heating and cooling bills.  The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) strongly supports action on LIHEAP because it reinforces one of cooperatives’ core principles: concern for community. While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies accepted by their members.  NRECA Interim CEO Jeffrey Connor said since 1981, LIHEAP has helped millions of low-income Americans pay their energy bills, delivering critical short-term aid to our nation’s most vulnerable citizens, including senior citizens on fixed incomes and the poor.  “America’s electric co-ops, which serve 93 percent of the nation’s persistent poverty counties, are acutely aware of LIHEAP’s importance and the need to fully fund it in fiscal year 2017,” Connor added.   Helen Holton, Baltimore City Council member since 1995 and executive director for the National Organization of Black County Officials wrote in Roll Call a clear call for support of the program, which assisted 6.8 million American households last year.  The National Energy and Utility Affordability Coalition (NEUAC) sponsored LIHEAP Action Day along with member companies of NRECA, the American Gas Association (AGA) and the Edison Electric Institute. The annual day-long event is aimed at building awareness for LIHEAP, a program providing financial assistance to low and fixed-income individuals for fuel and utility bills, as well as low-cost weatherization and energy-related home repairs. On LIHEAP Action Day, nearly 300 meetings took place in offices on Capitol Hill.  LIHEAP champions and advocates converged on the nation’s capital city to discuss the importance of fully funding the program at $4.7 billion for FY2017.

 

Report: Energy Storage Improving – The U.S. energy storage market just had both its best quarter and best year of all time. According to the GTM Research/Energy Storage Association’s U.S. Energy Storage Monitor 2015 Year in Review, the U.S. deployed 112 megawatts of energy storage capacity in the fourth quarter of 2015, bringing the annual total to 221 megawatts. This represents 161 megawatt-hours for the year.  The 112 megawatts deployed in the fourth quarter 2015 represented more than the total of all storage deployments in 2013 and 2014 combined. Propelled by that historic quarter, the U.S. energy storage market grew 243 percent over 2014’s 65 megawatts (86 megawatt-hours).

RFA Hires New Comms Director
– The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) has hired our friend and former biofuels industry reporter Rachel Gantz as its new communications director. Gantz will serve as the RFA’s spokesperson, communicating the group’s top messages to reporters, and will focus on growing RFA’s footprint in the media.  She starts today.  Gantz spent nearly 17 years as a reporter, most recently at Oil Price Information Service, where she was a senior reporter covering the biofuels industry. She also worked at Hart Energy Publishing’s Oxy Fuel News and Argus’ Air Daily, covering the biofuels and air emissions industries.

 

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

 

McCarthy to Headline Climate Conference – The 2016 Climate Leadership Conference will take place today through Thursday in Seattle.  The event convenes a global audience of climate, energy, and sustainability professionals to address climate change through policy, innovation, and business solutions. Now in its fifth year, the 2016 event will host the first U.S. climate conference post-Paris to further accelerate climate solutions and a low-carbon economy.  Speakers include EPA Head Gina McCarthy, former CNN and current GWU School of Media & PA head Frank Sesno, Microsoft’s Dan Reicher and former CO Governor Bill Ritter.

 

Press Club to Host Faison, Will Outline Plans to Move Republicans on Energy Agenda  – The National Press Club’s Newsmaker Committee will host Republican entrepreneur turned philanthropist Jay Faison, Founder and CEO of ClearPath, a new non-profit foundation dedicated to finding and promoting conservative clean energy solutions, tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. in the Club’s Bloomberg Room.  Faison  will outline the organization’s conservative approach to environmental and energy issues at a Tues., March 8 Newsmaker news conference. Faison also will detail the organization’s plans to influence policymakers and the role ClearPath intends to play in the 2016 elections.  Last year, Faison, made headlines when he announced that he was donating  $165 million to start ClearPath with the goal of moving the Republican Party forward on clean energy.  He believes smaller government, free markets and American innovation are the best way to solve energy challenges and reduce environmental and health risks caused by air and carbon pollution.

 

DOE to Hold Biomass Meetings – The Department of Energy has announced an open meeting of its Biomass Research and Development Technical Advisory Committee tomorrow and Wednesday.  The purpose of the meeting is to develop advice and guidance that promotes research and development leading to the production of biobased fuels and biobased products. The tentative agenda includes updates on USDA and DOE biomass research and development activities, as well as an update on the Biomass Research and Development Initiative. The meeting is also expected to include an overview of the DOE Bioenergy Technologies Office 2016 budget, focused on new areas and activities, along with an overview of the 2016 budget, along with new areas and activities for USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and Agricultural Research Service. In addition, the meeting is scheduled to include a presentation on biomass-related ARPA-E activities.

 

USEA Look at CCS Utilization – The US Energy Association hosts a forum tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. on utilization of CO2 for enhanced oil recovery.  The “U” in CCUS, is a key component of essentially all major CO2 capture and storage projects such as Summit’s Texas Clean Energy Project, Petra Nova’s Parish project, Boundary Dam, and Kemper. This briefing will assess the market dynamics, issues and opportunities at play.  Speaker will be Michael Moore, Vice President of Energy Commodities and Advisory Services at FearnOil.

 

JHU Forum Looks at Renewables – Johns Hopkins University’s SAIS will hold a forum tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. as part of the SAIS Research Seminar Series in Politics and Political Economy, 2015-2016 on how power sectors reforms are shaping renewable energy issues across the globe.  Johannes Urpelainen, the speaker for this seminar, is Associate Professor of Political Science at Columbia University.

 

POLITICO Forum to Look at Canada Visit – As President Barack Obama prepares to welcome Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for a historic state visit, POLITICO and CABC will hold a series of high-level conversations tomorrow evening at The Newseum on North American leadership in energy, the global economy, security and the refugee crisis.  Featured speakers include US Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske; Alan Bersin, Assistant Secretary for International Affairs and Chief Diplomatic Officer at U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Richard Duke, Deputy Director for Climate Policy in the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change.  Other speakers will include State’s Simon Henshaw, NRDC’s Canada Project analyst Danielle Droitsch and Port Metro Vancouver CEO Robin Silvester.

 

Groups Look at Ag Impacts on Climate – The Organic Consumers Association and Regeneration International will hold a workshop on Wednesday to discuss the science and management of the remarkable bio-chemical process called carbon sequestration.  Scientists will explain how it works and climate policy experts will describe initiatives to drive the rapid, large-scale, worldwide adoption of regenerative agriculture techniques that can sequester carbon, improve both quantity and quality of foods produced, and concurrently decrease atmospheric CO2.  Some of the speakers include Catherine Geslain-Laneelle, Kristine Nichols, David Johnson, and Richard Teague.

 

Senate Environment to Hear From States on Regulating – The Senate Environment Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. looking at state views of Federal regulations.   Witnesses will include South Dakota DENR secretary Steven Pirner, Arkansas DEQ director Becky Keogh, WV DEP Secretary Randy Huffman, Vermont Agency of Natural Resources secretary Deborah Markowitz, secretary and Delaware DNREC Air Quality director Ali Mirzakhalili.

 

AGA Expert Feature In CHP/NatGas Webinar – The Alliance for Industrial Efficiency is cohosting a webinar with the Business Council for Sustainable Energy on Wednesday at Noon on the state of the market and implications for natgas & CHP.   Expert panelists will explore data from the 2016 BCSE Sustainable Energy Factbook on the state of the market for natural gas and combined heat and power (CHP), and provide their perspectives on prospects for continued growth.   They will also will explore data from the 2016 BCSE Sustainable Energy Factbook on the state of the market for natural gas and combined heat and power (CHP), and provide their perspectives on prospects for continued growth.  Among the speakers will be our friend Richard Meyer, Manager of Energy Analysis & Standards at the American Gas Association.

 

Vilsack Former Ag Secretaries to Talk Nutrition at BPC – As part of National Nutrition Month, the Bipartisan Policy Center is hosting a conversation on food and nutrition, featuring Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m..  The event will be a robust discussion with a bipartisan panel on the current state of nutrition in America and innovative approaches to creating a healthier future.   Joining Vilsack on the panel will be former Ag Secretaries Ann Veneman and Dan Glickman.

 

Forum to Look at National Labs Budget – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI), in partnership with the House and Senate Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucuses, will hold a briefing on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. looking at the energy efficiency and renewable energy provisions of the President’s budget request for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017.  Speakers from the Department of Energy, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and the Congressional Research Service (CRS) will give an overview of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE) budget request, explain the EERE Office budget priorities, and provide context on how these priorities and trends compare to prior years.  DOE’s David Friedman, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, will launch the conversation and CRS experts and Scott Sklar will also join the panel.

 

Senate Approps Hosts Vilsack – The Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Agriculture, Food, and Drug Administration will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. to review the Fiscal Year 2017 budget request and funding justification for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  Secretary Vilsack will testify.

 

Moniz Head to Senate Energy Approps Panel – After last week’s testimony barrage, Secretary Moniz returns to the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. a hearing to examine proposed budget estimates and justification for fiscal year 2017 for the Department of Energy.

 

ELI host Enviro Social Event – The Environmental Law Institute and the D.C. Bar’s Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Section will hold a networking event Wednesday night to build community and connections among environmental professionals.

 

Murkowski Honored by WCEE – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold its Woman of the Year Gala Wednesday evening at the Capital Hilton Hotel.  The 2016 WCEE Woman of the Year is Senate Energy Chair Lisa Murkowski.  Murkowski is Alaska’s senior representative in the U.S. Senate and chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and Senate Appropriations Interior and Environment Subcommittee.

 

Forum to Focus on Clean Power Plan – The Environmental Law Institute will hold its 2016 J.B. & Maurice C. Shapiro Environmental Law Symposium on Thursday and Friday at GWU.  The event will focus on environmental, economic, and governance issues for the electricity mix in the coming two-to-three decades. The two-day Symposium will bring together a multi-disciplinary group of experts for a series of panels and discussions structured around issues surrounding the Clean Power Plan.

ARPA-E Director Talks Innovation, Grid – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will hold a discussion on Thursday with Ellen Williams, Director of ARPA-E, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy. Dr. Williams and  ARPA-e play a critical role in incubating new energy technologies.  One issue where real progress on both technology and market deployment continues to be needed is the electric grid.  Dr. Williams will discuss key areas of focus for ARPA-E in 2016, with a  special focus on grid management and grid storage as well as the new initiatives including Mission Innovation. Sarah Ladislaw, Director and Senior Fellow with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will provide a brief introduction and Frank O’Sullivan, Director of Research and Analysis with the MIT Energy Initiative and Senior Associate with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will moderate the discussion.

 

Forum to Look at Japan Priorities in Middle East – On Thursday, the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East and Global Energy Center will bring together Japanese scholars and practitioners alongside US analysts to discuss Japanese energy priorities and policies in the Middle East. These experts will discuss how the Middle Eastern landscape impacts Japan’s energy policies, and how Japanese policies in turn impact the region.

 

Poneman to Discuss Argentina, Energy – The Atlantic Council for a discussion on Friday looking at Argentina’s energy outlook in the new administration of President Mauricio Macri era. The event will launch the Atlantic Council’s latest policy brief, The New Argentina: Time to Double Down on the Energy Sector?, authored by Argentine energy expert Cristian Folgar.  Among the speakers will be Dan Poneman, former Deputy Secretary of Energy.

 

 

FUTURE EVENTS

 

AHRI Public Policy Forum Set – The Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) hold its annual Public Policy Forum on March 15th and 16th.  The 2016 Public Policy Symposium is designed to bring AHRI members together with key public officials to discuss important issues facing the HVACR and water heating industry. The two-day event provides participants with the opportunity for face-to-face meetings with lawmakers and Congressional staff on Capitol Hill, and with key officials in federal agencies. Near-miss Virginia Senate Candidate and former political operative Ed Gillespie will keynote the forum.

 

Chamber Summit to Look at Competitiveness – The U.S. Chamber’s Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness holds the 10th Annual Capital Markets Summit looking at the foundation of economic growth on March 15th.  This year, the event will examine the current state of the capital markets, including how innovation is changing the landscape, and explore what changes are necessary to ensure these markets are modernized and well-regulated to ensure economic growth.

 

Forum to Focus on Geothermal – EESI and the Geothermal Energy Association is hosting a briefing on Wednesday March 16th at 2:00 p.m. in 212-10 in the Capitol Visitors Center highlighting the state of the geothermal energy industry and its near-term prospects in the United States and in more than 80 other countries working to expand its use. With demand for clean energy accelerating around the globe, geothermal energy has major potential as a renewable resource that can provide power around-the-clock, complementing intermittent renewable power technologies. Speakers will include International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Deputy Director-General Sakari Oksanen, U.S. Geothermal President  Doug Glaspey and several others.

 

Wilson Center Forum to Look at Developing Country Support – Next Wednesday March 16th, the Wilson Center will host a panel of experts from CIGI, ICCCAD, and United Nations University to discuss the current status and future of financing and insurance for combating climate-related loss and damage.  The 2015 Paris Climate Agreement focused on support for vulnerable countries in the face of looming climate-related “loss and damage.”

 

GEA Sets Geo Energy Showcase – The Geothermal Energy Assn will be holding its 3rd U.S. and International Geothermal Energy Showcase in Washington, DC on Thursday, March 17th at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center. This year’s Showcase will focus on the building blocks for successful geothermal projects and highlight key geothermal projects, trends, and governmental policies in the U.S. and the international markets. The program will showcase geothermal projects, trends, and governmental policies in the U.S. and around the world. Topics covered will include: the geothermal market today, projects under development in the U.S. and internationally, outlook for the future of the geothermal market, policies driving geothermal development, new technologies, and federal agency support at home and abroad. Over 36 countries will be represented at the Showcase. Represented countries include the United States, United Kingdom, Jamaica, United Arab Emirates, Djibouti, India, Belgium, Guatemala, Hungary, Uganda, Turkey, the Philippines, Fiji, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Burundi, St. Kitts, Kenya, Mexico, Japan, Ethiopia, Qatar, Iceland, Taiwan, Albania, Nevis, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Burkina Faso, Vanuatu, Italy, Taiwan, Peru, Colombia, and more.  Speakers will include International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Deputy Director-General Sakari Oksanen and Nevada Senator Dean Heller.

 

BCSE to Host Clean Energy Forum –The Business Council for Sustainable Energy will hold a Clean Energy Forum on March 16th for its Members to look at the 2016 clean Energy Agenda.

 

Defense Renewables Summit Set – Infocast hosts the 6th Defense Renewables Summit on March 15-16th at the Sheraton Pentagon City in Arlington, VA, to bring DoD, Air Force, Army and Navy decision-makers together with renewable energy developers, utilities, system integrators, financiers, EPCs, cybersecurity, energy storage, smartgrid and telecom experts to meet the renewable energy goals and security needs of the DoD. The summit will explore how viable, financeable projects can be developed to the benefit of all. The summit will provide the latest on emerging guidelines and processes that merges the complexity of federal acquisitions with the risk allocation methods of project finance.

 

ACORE Policy Forum Set – The 2016 ACORE National Renewable Energy Policy Forum will be on March 16th and 17th at the W Hotel in Washington, D.C.  Senator Wyden, ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee and member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, will provide the Mid-Morning Keynote.  The event has a great line up including moderators Joe Desmond of Bightsource Energy, Greg Wetstone of ACORE and Dan Reicher, former DOE official and Google exec at Stanford’s Steyer-Taylor Center.

 

Forum to Look at Critical Infrastructure – Next Thursday, March 17th at 9:30 a.m. at the Reserve Officers Association, the Secure the Grid Coalition and Homeland Security Today Magazine will hold a forum on critical infrastructure and a secure electric grid.  This symposium will explore the path from today’s vulnerabilities to tomorrow’s mitigations for the civilian electrical grid from major system failures and long-term power outages. How vulnerable are we to catastrophic level black outs? What does that mean for the major power consumers of the civilian electrical grid?  Homeland Security Today Magazine’s Editor and Chief Anthony Kimery will host a discussion with panelists that include President Bill Clinton’s former Director of Central Intelligence Ambassador James Woolsey, Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson, and several other experts.

 

Forum to Look at Specialty Metals – The Atlantic Council will hold a forum on Thursday March 17th at 2:30 p.m. featuring a discussion on the new resource challenges – specialty metals. Obscure resources we paid little attention to are increasingly playing critical roles as we switch to new energy sources, as high-tech proliferates globally, and as military technologies proliferate. A lack of understanding and production of these materials will limit their development and deployment of critical technologies.  Most notably, as the global community transitions from fossil fuels to clean energy, demand for rare metals will increase dramatically. Potential shortages and volatile prices will keep some technologies out of reach or limit the implementation of our most effective energy solutions.  And with Beijing allocating vast sums to produce and process these materials, geopolitical risks abound.  The panelists will explore this budding war over the periodic table by discussing what the geopolitical implications of rare metals are and hoe their production differs.  It will also look at international transparency and other production process issues.

 

Forum to Feature Specialty Metals Book Author – On Friday, March 18th at Noon, the local chapter of the US Assn of Energy Economists will host a lunch with David Abraham as he discusses how countries are lining up sides on the next geopolitical resource battle — specialty metals. Abraham is the author of “The Elements of Power: Gadgets, Guns, and the Struggle for a Sustainable Future in the Rare Metals Age.”  The Economist said”…[Abraham] persuasively explains the danger of underestimating a business that, by one estimate, generates $4 billion of revenues a year and also plays a critical role in systems worth about $4 trillion. China, which develops more rare metals than any other country, understands the calculus. The West, his book suggests, does not.”

 

Forum to Look at Sustainable Housing – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) is holding a briefing on March 21st at 2:30 p.m. in 122 Cannon regarding energy efficient, “green” affordable housing and how it is improving health and safety in distressed communities while providing economic and environmental benefits to states. This is the second in a series of EESI briefings examining environmental justice as it relates to the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. This briefing will show how sustainable affordable housing can save money for low-income families and strengthen community resilience while serving as a CPP compliance strategy.  Speakers will showcase sustainable affordable housing developments in Pittsburgh, PA, as well as a retrofit in Washington, DC, and will discuss the national movement to “green” affordable housing. The briefing will also feature the passive building retrofit of Weinberg Commons, a multifamily housing complex for low-income families in Southeast DC. The nation’s capital uses Enterprise Community Partners’ Green Communities Criteria as the baseline green building standard for its public and publicly-financed projects.

 

Chamber to Host Aviation Summit – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation are hosting the 15th annual Aviation Summit on Tuesday, March 22nd at the Renaissance Hotel to bring together top experts and leaders from all sectors of aviation to discuss critical issues facing the industry. The 2016 Summit will focus on innovation and emerging technologies.

 

Transmission Summit Set to Address Challenges – The 19th Annual Transmission Summit will be held on March 29-31 at the Washington Marriott Georgetown.  The event will feature senior executives from MISO, NYISO, PJM, SPP and ISO-NE, who will discuss their system needs and market changes, and representatives from such prominent transmission owners and developers as Clean Line Energy Partners LLC, Con Edison, DATC, Exelon Corp., LS Power Development LLC, National Grid, Xcel Energy and others will provide insights into their development plans and projects.

 

Energy Conference Set – The Energy Smart Conference will be held at the Gaylord on Aril 4-6th.  The event features top enterprises, energy service providers, and technology leaders to rethink the industry and refine energy management.  Main speakers will be Colin Powell, author of Drive: The Surprising Truth of What Motivates Us Daniel Pink and Green to Gold Author Andrew Winston.

 

Conference to Look at PA Drilling – Shale Directories will host Upstream 2016 on April 19th at The Penn Stater in State College, PA to look at action in PA.  Despite cutbacks in budgets, there are still opportunities for this and next year and Cabot, Seneca and others will be there to discuss when Drilling may ramp up again, what you can do to help the industry and how to prepare for the growth. As well, Faouizi Aloulou, Senior Economist with the Energy Information Agency, will give a presentation on the Uncertainties of Shale Resource Development Under Low Price Environment.

 

Water Power Conferences Set for DC – The all-new Waterpower Week in Washington will present three events in one, showcasing the entire world of waterpower.  The National Hydropower Association Annual Conference, International Marine Renewable Energy Conference and Marine Energy Technology Symposium will all take place at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C., April 25-27.

 

Energy Update: Week of February 15

Friends,

With the snow and ice in the Mid-Atlantic yesterday, I was grounded in Florida for an extra day when our President’s Day return flight was cancelled.  I guess it’s not so bad to be stuck in FL when there is bad weather in DC – especially with the region’s less-than-competent, foul-weather driving skills.  But, I did finally make it back.

Has our energy world changed in the past week?  Wow… First, the SCOTUS stayed the Clean Power Plan and then on Saturday, conservative legal icon Justice Antonin Scalia unexpectedly passed away on a hunting trip in Texas.

I initially planned to have a primer on the SCOTUS decision, but I have altered some that given Justice Scalia’s passing.  There has been plenty of reporting and analysis on Scalia, the court impact and the politics, so we won’t weigh in there other than to point out an interesting opinion piece in the Washington Post from Legal scholar and friend Jonathan Adler and say that Tom Goldstein’s SCOTUS blog is a great place to keep pace with the action. My colleague Scott Segal adds his thoughts on Scalia below. You can use them “On-the-Record” or on background.

With President’s Day, the Congress is in a recess (maybe it’s last for the year to avoid any recess appointments).  It is a slow week, but NARUC Commissioners are here for their Winter Meetings and there are still a few good events on the schedule.  CSIS hosts EIA’s Howard Gruenspecht on the state of the oil markets and WCEE looks at government and business views on sustainability tomorrow, while the Atlantic Council discusses the implications of falling oil prices and CSIS hosts the BP Energy Outlook on Thursday.

And mark your calendars for Leap Day when ARPA-E launches it annual innovation conference with three days of R&D/Technology policy discussions.  Air Liquide CEO Mike Graff will launch the Summit with the featured “Fireside Chat” with FORTUNE innovation writer Katie Fehrenbacher, who interviews Graff and BASF CEO Wayne Smith.  Other speakers at the three-day event will include Sen Energy Chair Lisa Murkowski, Energy Secretary Moniz, former VP Al Gore, EPA’s Gina McCarthy and Sen. Chris Coons.

Finally, this week, pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training 2016, the first informal part of the change of seasons and baseball’s annual sign of eternal World Series hope.  Hoping the Nationals will be able to rebound this year and, as always at the beginning of the season, the Cubs are still tied for first.  Call with questions.

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

THE BIG NEWS

Segal on Impacts of Passing of Scalia – The were numerous stories about the impacts of Justice Scalia.  My colleague Scott Segal adding to that with focus on its relation to the Administration’s Clean Power Plan.    Segal: “The truth is that there are significant legal problems with the Clean Power Plan that would raise questions with any composition of the Supreme Court.  Liberal legal scholars like Harvard’s Laurence Tribe have pointed to statutory and constitutional shortcomings that will need to be resolved.   For its part, the panel assigned to the case at the D.C. Circuit may not have entered a stay, but they did adopt an unusually expedited schedule for the case which may reflect misgivings with the rule, and a desire to resolve them before compliance became a foregone conclusion.  And of course, the Supreme Court stay remains in place likely until an eventual Supreme Court judgment after the end of the Obama Administration.  While Justice Scalia’s untimely passing creates more uncertainty, the Clean Power Plan is still predicated on an extraordinarily shaky legal foundation.

Adler Pens Solution to Political Dilemma – Case Western University law Professor and former EPA lawyer Jonathan Adler addressed the political problem a new SCOTUS appointment faces in an interesting, thought-provoking Washington Post Op-ed.   Adler’s academic piece is unlikely to sway partisans but It is an eye-opener to the challenge that faces both the President and the Senate.   Adler argues “the long run of continuing to escalate the current brinkmanship in judicial nominations are significant, however. Republicans should recall that Senate obstruction of judicial nominees has kept several highly qualified conservative nominees from the federal bench as well, and that refusing to allow Scalia’s seat to be filled for a year would further politicize an already soiled process.”

SCOTUS Stays Obama GHG Rule – In an unprecedented move on an environmental rule, The Supreme Court of the U.S. granted a stay of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) carbon regulations for the electricity sector while the regulations are under review by the courts.

Some Key Reacts – Here were a few of the major reacts:

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey: Morrisey hailed today’s decision blocking the Environmental Protection Agency as a monumental victory.  Morrisey praised the decision saying it provides immediate relief for workers and businesses across the country. It also reinforces confidence in the broader challenge as the Supreme Court found the coalition’s arguments strong enough to stop EPA even before the lawsuit concludes.  “Make no mistake – this is a great victory for West Virginia,” Morrisey said. “We are thrilled that the Supreme Court realized the rule’s immediate impact and froze its implementation, protecting workers and saving countless dollars as our fight against its legality continues.”

Scott Segal, ERCC: “We have long maintained that the legal rationale for the Clean Power Plan stood on extremely weak ground.  Some 40 years of precedent contradicted the rule.  Problems of statutory interpretation were apparent from the moment of the architecture of the rule was proposed.  While stays of administrative rules are rare, they are not unknown and in this case the outcome was richly deserved.  The Court has held that the rule be stayed not only through DC Circuit consideration, but also through ultimate Supreme Court judgment should appeal to the High Court ultimately be sought.  There are many things that can be done to cost-effectively encourage the use of renewables and efficiency projects, but the Clean Power Plan was not the right approach.  The threats it posed to state prerogatives, reliability and energy security concerns made the rule a bad bet for policy reasons as well.”

Mike Duncan of the American Council for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE): “We are pleased the Supreme Court took this unprecedented step to protect the states from further economic harm while the courts are deciding whether the administration’s Power Plan is unlawful and unconstitutional,” said Mike Duncan, president and CEO of ACCCE. “The stay is a signal the Supreme Court has serious concerns with the Power Plan. We’re optimistic the Power Plan will ultimately be rejected.”

Jeff Conner of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Assn (NRECA): “Charging ahead with implementation of the Clean Power Plan would have caused immediate and irreparable harm to America’s electric co-ops,” said NRECA Interim CEO Jeffrey Connor. “Had the stay not been granted, co-ops would have been forced to take costly and irreversible steps to comply with the rule, which is a huge overreach of EPA’s legal authority. The Clean Power Plan is a direct threat to co-ops’ ability to provide affordable and reliable electricity to their member consumers and should be erased from the books.”

Tom Donohue, US Chamber of Commerce President: “We welcome the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to stay the EPA’s unlawful greenhouse gas rule for the power sector. The Supreme Court’s stay of this rule and the D.C. Circuit’s order to hear the case quickly will ensure that America will not be forced to make costly and irreversible implementation decisions based upon an unprecedented regulation until judicial review is complete.  The EPA’s rule would put the government in control of our energy choices, drive up electricity costs for American businesses, consumers and families, impose tens of billions of dollars in annual compliance costs, and reduce our nation’s global competitiveness. Staying this rule is the right decision.”

AGs Lead Fight – Attorneys General from 28 states lead by West Virginia and Texas lead the effort to block the rule saying EPA exceeded its authority by double regulating coal-fired power plants and forcing states to fundamentally shift their energy portfolios away from coal-fired generation among other reasons. Those joining West Virginia and Texas were Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Holmstead, Segal Weigh in USAT – The USA Today featured an op-ed from former EPA Air head Jeff Holmstead and ERCC director Scott Segal on the decision that said the Court’s order to stay the Obama administration’s “Clean Power Plan”  was “something it has never done before” when they put the regulation on hold until the courts can decide whether it is legal. They add the rule would mean higher energy costs and a less reliable electricity system for average Americans.

Chamber Official Point Out Paris Pledge Short Fall Already – Steve Eule, US Chamber climate expert who was in Paris, discussed the Stay decision in the context of the US UN pledge made in Paris.  Eule said the implications of this decision are likely to extend well beyond the United States and call into question the durability of the Obama Administration’s pledge to the United Nations (UN) to slash U.S. net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 26% to 28% by 2025 from the 2005 level.”    He added at the Paris climate talks, administration officials spent considerably energy assuring anyone who would listen that the Clean Power Plan was legally unassailable.  See the Blog Here.

 

IN THE NEWS

Loveless Launches Columbia Energy Exchange Podcast – Our friend Bill Loveless, former Platts TV host has launched a new podcast program with Columbia University.  Expanding on its existing programming, Columbia Energy Exchange features in-depth conversations with the world’s top energy and climate leaders from government, business, academia and civil society. The program explores today’s most pressing opportunities and challenges across energy sources, financial markets, geopolitics and climate change as well as their implications for both the U.S. and the world.  Examples of recent guests on Columbia Energy Exchange have included EPA’s Gina McCarthy, Southern CEO Tom Fanning, Duke CEO Lynn Good and many more.

AFPM Hits RFS – The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) also filed a petition for review with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit challenging EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) rulemaking for 2014-2016.  AFPM President Chet Thompson said despite EPA’s best efforts, certain aspects of the final RFS rule still run afoul of the Clean Air Act. Thompson:  “EPA failed to provide obligated parties with requisite lead time and used flawed methodologies in establishing volume requirements. This rule further confirms that the RFS program is dysfunctional and that the only real solution is full repeal by Congress.”

Co-ops, NRDC Launch “Community Storage” Initiative – The nation’s 50 million residential electric water heaters collectively represent a significant – and vastly underutilized – energy storage resource capable of leveraging substantial environmental and cost benefits according to new research commissioned NRECA, NRDC, the Peak Load Management Alliance (PLMA) and Great River Energy (GRE).  This finding from the global economic consulting firm The Brattle Group was announced today (Feb. 10, 2016) at the launch of an initiative designed to promote growth in a novel, community-based approach to energy storage, dubbed “community storage.” By aggregating distributed energy technologies and home appliances, electric cooperatives are developing community storage to increase energy efficiency, better integrate renewable energy resources onto the grid, and reduce customers’ monthly electric bill.

One such community storage program managed by Minnesota-based generation and transmission cooperative Great River Energy has been able to store a gigawatt of energy each night by controlling the electric resistance water heaters of 65,000 end-use members.  Even in regions heavily reliant on coal and natural gas to generate electricity, the Brattle research shows that consumers have options for saving money on their electric bills and reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions associated with their water heating. Consumers can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 30 percent using their water heater as a thermal battery. Consumers can reduce their CO2 emissions by more than 50 percent using heat pump water heaters.  These same consumers will be enabling integration of clean, renewable resources. Further, the emission reductions of community storage will compound as more consumers participate and the electricity sector transitions to cleaner fuels and generation technologies.

Rural Co-ops Launch Major Vote Initiative – Speaking of NRECA, they also launched a major initiative to enhance voter engagement. The goal of the “Co-ops Vote” campaign is to boost voter turnout in areas served by cooperatives by encouraging electric co-op employees and their consumer members to exercise one of their most basic rights—the right to vote.  Working in collaboration with states and local co-ops, this non-partisan campaign will educate and engage all voters on important issues, such as ensuring continued access to reliable electricity, promoting co-ops’ development of innovative renewable energy solutions, and expanding broadband coverage throughout rural America.  Co-ops Vote will provide a wide variety of tools to its more than 900, not-for-profit members to help educate and engage employees and communities, including voter registration information, candidate information and a campaign video. Co-ops are urged to take simple steps, such as encouraging employees to register to vote, hosting voter registration drives at co-op offices, and partnering with local civic groups to plan voter registration efforts.  For more information, visit www.vote.coop and follow #CoopsVote.

AHRI Releases Refrigerant Management Research Report – AHRI recently published research project AHRI 8018: Review of Refrigerant Management Programs. This project characterized refrigerant management and recycling programs implemented in key regions of the world, evaluated their effectiveness, and determined best practices as they relate to the U.S. refrigerant landscape.  The report provides clarity and insights on seven primary jurisdictions: Australia, Canada, California, the European Union, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The report also includes a high-level review of activities in China and Brazil. The focus areas of research included characterizing the current processes for original equipment manufacturers, contractors, end users, and reclaimers to handle refrigerants, how and where refrigerant recycling happens, and the amount of refrigerants ultimately destroyed.  Navigant Consulting, Inc., conducted a literature review and interviewed key personnel in the target jurisdictions to develop the detailed content of this report. Research covered the regulations, roles and responsibilities, funding sources, incentive and enforcement mechanisms, performance, refrigerant recovery, tracking and reporting, outreach, training, and flow of refrigerants in the nine jurisdictions.

New Data Highlights Natural Gas Savings for Consumers and Our Economy – Low domestic natural gas prices led to savings of almost $69 billion for residential natural gas customers over the past four years, according to the 2016 American Gas Association Playbook, released last week. Filled with new data and detailed graphics, this essential handbook provides a comprehensive explanation about the role natural gas plays in American’s daily lives and how it can help our nation achieve economic prosperity.  The 2016 AGA Playbook includes the latest data surrounding natural gas and its role in changing the way Americans use energy. It includes pertinent information about pipeline safety, natural gas supply and usage, industry safety, energy efficiency, economic growth, cybersecurity and more. It also details information on the latest natural gas utility initiatives to enhance cyber and physical security including the AGA Peer Review Program, the Downstream Natural Gas Information Sharing and Analysis Center.

National Trade Association for Community Solar Launched – Leading energy companies in the solar market today announced the formation of the Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA), the first-ever national trade association for community solar. The Coalition’s founding leadership includes Clean Energy Collective, Community Energy, Ecoplexus, Ethical Electric, First Solar, and Recurrent Energy.  CCSA is a business-led trade organization that works to expand access to clean, local, affordable energy nationwide through community solar. Community solar refers to local solar facilities shared by individual community members, who receive credits on their electricity bills for their portion of the power produced.  Community solar projects provide American homeowners, renters and businesses access to the benefits of solar energy generation unconstrained by the physical attributes of their home or business, like roof space, shading, or whether or not they own their residence or building.  These programs can also expand access to solar energy to low-income households.  CCSA will work in partnership with consumers, local stakeholders, and utilities to promote smart policies and innovative program models to give all Americans in every community the ability to directly benefit from clean, affordable, and reliable solar power. CCSA’s initial goals are: to open markets in key states; serve as the resource for policymakers, utilities and advocates who seek clear, practical options for establishing community solar programs; and to be the messenger to highlight the growing success of the community solar market.   CCSA will target several key states in 2016, including New York, Massachusetts, and Maryland, and broaden its reach as the organization and the community solar market grows. The coalition will work with legislators, regulators and utilities to help develop fair policy and regulatory frameworks to drive sustainable growth for community solar.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Federal Leaders, “Lights Out” Talk Highlight NARUC Winter Meetings – The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) holds its 2016 Winter Meeting today and tomorrow at the Renaissance Washington Hotel. Meetings will feature talks from FERC Chair Norman Bay, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai and PHMSA Administrator Marie Therese Dominguez. The federal representatives will discuss current rulemakings, priorities within their agencies, and the role of state regulators.  Also among the General Session speakers is USAID Power Africa Deputy Coordinator Sean Jones. Power Africa is a federal interagency effort working to significantly increase access to electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa. The program works with public and private entities to decrease barriers to energy resources coming online and supports necessary reforms in regulatory and political structures to ensure the long-term viability of energy sectors. NARUC President Travis Kavulla of Montana will lead well-known author and journalist Ted Koppel in a thought-provoking question-and-answer session on his book, Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath.  Along with cybersecurity, panel topics will cover high-profile regulatory matters such as the Clean Power Plan, pipeline safety, decarbonization, broadband, natural gas, and transportation issues. Panel participants include state commissioners, subject-matter experts and consumer advocates.

NE ISO Chief to Address Dinner – This evening, the National Capitol Area of the US Assn Of Energy Economists will host its annual dinner featuring a presentation by Gordon van Welie of ISO-New England on balancing clean energy integration with reliable and competitive power markets.  van Welie is president and chief executive officer of ISO New England Inc., having previously served at Siemens Power Transmission & Distribution LLC, where he served as vice president and general manager of the Power Systems Control Division and was responsible for managing information technology solutions for electric companies.

WCEE to Feature Sustainability Discussion – Tomorrow at 12:00 noon at Johnson Control DC office, the Women’s Council on Energy and the  Environment (WCEE) will host a lunch focused on the challenges and opportunities of leading the sustainability function within organizations.  From defining sustainability, to embedding it into the organization’s values and strategy, to operationalizing it, the event will explore some of the current issues faced by these sustainability officers.  Speakers will include GWU Sustainability Director Meghan Chapple Brown, CEQ’s Christine Harada, WRI’s Kevin Moss and Johnson Controls Catherine Potter.

CSIS to Look at Oil Markets for 2016 – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a public session on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. to preview what 2016 may look like and the state of the oil market. The panel will discuss updated forecasts of supply and demand, the outlook for U.S. unconventionals production, and the implications for the midstream and refining sector. A month into the new year, oil and gas markets, companies, and lenders are off to a turbulent start, in many ways continuing trends from over the past 18 months. Despite the risk of supply disruptions around the globe and the most recent uptick in oil prices, resilient production, especially from the United States, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Iraq, combined with the reentry of Iranian volumes, a strong dollar, abundant inventories, and the uncertainty surrounding new demand growth are likely to sustain low prices well into this year.  Speakers will include EIA’s Howard Gruenspecht and several others.

Forum to Look at Climate Innovation, Partnerships – On Thursday at 9:00 a.m., the Wilson Center will hold a forum on Innovation in solving climate goals.  Debra Knopman and Zhimin Mao from RAND will discuss how RAND has worked with the Guangdong Provincial Department of Housing and Rural Development since 2011 to develop a system of quality of life indicators and identify policy options to advance sustainability in the Pearl River Delta region. Mark Ginsberg, Senior Fellow at U.S. Green Building Council and Principal of Ginsberg Green Strategies, will discuss how various LEED certification and scoring mechanisms are helping Chinese cities and professionals better measure and manage buildings and other urban systems. Abby Watrous, Senior ORISE Fellow at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), will discuss how DOE is working with the China Energy Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to deploy low-carbon development policy and planning tools for cities across China.

Forum to Tackle Strategic Impact of Falling Oil Price on Middle East – The Atlantic Council will host a discussion on Thursday 9:00 a.m. focused on the strategic implications of the fall of crude oil prices on the security and stability of the Middle East.  With the recent escalation of tensions between OPEC leader Saudi Arabia and Iran, there are many challenges.  Riyadh and Tehran are at odds in Yemen, Syria, and Iraq, as Iranian officials boast about their plans to increase oil production by as many as one million barrels per day. As the Kingdom and its Gulf partners pursue costly security efforts abroad, low oil prices have forced them to consider painful and traditionally unpopular economic reforms at home. Middle Eastern oil producers could very well face a dual threat – can they continue to balance demanding security challenges at home and abroad?  Speakers will include former WSJ Publisher Karen Elliot House, IHS Petroleum Risk Director Raad Alkadiri and Atlantic’s Sherri Goodman.

CSIS Hears BP Energy Outlook – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a presentation on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. of the BP Energy Outlook – 2016 Edition with Spencer Dale , Group Chief Economist with BP p.l.c. The BP Energy Outlook attempts to describe the “most likely” trajectory of the global energy system – based upon assumptions around economic and population growth as well as developments in policy and technology – as well as examining key uncertainties. Questions to be addressed in the 2016 edition include: what factors will shape energy markets over the next 20 years? What impact would a slowdown in global economic growth have on energy demand? How could agreements reached at COP21 affect energy consumption?

Forum to Look at Russia, Oil Price Crash – On Thursday, the Woodrow Wilson Center will hold a forum Russian and the impacts of the oil price crash. Like every energy exporter, Russia is suffering from low commodity prices. But, since the beginning of the slump (mid-2014), Russia’s economic policy response has been reasonably effective. Drawing on policies developed over the past 15 years, Russia has let its currency fall against the dollar, helping to balance the budget, and has continued adjusting oil taxation to incentivize exports. With Duma elections coming this fall, 2016 is likely to be a more difficult environment for Russian policy makers.  Yale’s Chris Miller will speak.

Forum to Look at Low Oil Price Impacts – The Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center and the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center will hold a discussion on Friday at 12:30 p.m. the impact of low oil prices on economic and political stability in Latin America. The collapse in crude oil prices since mid-2014 has shaken the foundation of global energy markets, with far-reaching economic implications in Latin America. Today, governments across the region face fiscal constraints, market upheaval, challenges to longstanding fuel subsidy programs, and lagging economic growth. Some are adapting creatively, while others are not. With this volatile landscape as a backdrop, panelists will address the following questions about impacts of the low-price environment.

RFF Policy Leadership Forum to feature Québec Premier – On Friday at 12:45 p.m., Resources for the Future will host a conversation between RFF President Phil Sharp and the Premier of Québec, Mr. Philippe Couillard, as they discuss critical environmental and energy issues facing North America.  Elected leader of his party and Premier of Québec in 2014, Premier Philippe Couillard is a neurosurgeon, former cabinet minister, member of Parliament, and respected leader, both in Canada and on the world stage.  Highlighting both the actions of state-level initiatives in addressing climate change—such as the Québec and California linked emissions trading system—as well as their roles on the world stage at COP21 in Paris, Québec has exercised significant leadership in the global community as part of the collective effort to solve the climate crisis.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

NACo to Meet – The National Assn of Counties holds it legislative meetings In Washington next week at the Marriott Wardman Park hotel.

WCEE Tackles Solar – Next Monday, February 22nd at Noon, WCEE will host a forum on the many opportunities and challenges for the solar industry in the coming year. This event is first in a series about solar power.  Speakers will include SEIA’s Katherine Gensler, SEPA CEO Julia Hamm and EEI’s Lola Infante, who directs EEI’s Generation Fuels and Market Analysis.

Forum Looks at Enviros, Nuclear – The New America Foundation and Future Tense will host a lunch and conversation next Monday at Noon in Washington, D.C., to consider whether you can truly be an environmentalist without embracing nuclear energy.  Speakers will including for WSJ reporter and author Steve Levine, Aaron VanDevender of the Founders Fund, ASU’s Jennifer Richter and Argonne’s Nuclear R&D Technical Director Robert Hill.

Forum to Look at Enviro Justice Issues in GHG Plan – On February 22, at 3:00 p.m., the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) is rescheduling its GHG briefing cancelled by the January snow storm.  The forum will be a webinar and discuss 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.

Brooking to Look at GHG Rules, State Implementation – Next Monday at 2:00 p.m., the Economic Studies group at Brookings will host an event to key issues related to state implementation of EPA’s GHG rules.  EPA has given states some flexibility in how they achieve their targets, and some states can continue work on implementation plans that balance the objectives of compliance, reliability, affordability, cross-state coordination, safety, and efficient long term low-carbon capital investment in the sector. States’ nearer term strategies could influence the evolution of the electricity sector for decades to come, well past the targeted 32 percent reduction in 2030 emissions from the sector relative to levels in 2005. Former Colorado Gov Bill Ritter will keynote, followed by a panel that includes former NJ Gov. and EPA head Christine Todd Whitman, NARUC Executive Director Greg White, Jonas Monast of Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and RFF’s Josh Linn.

Senate Energy to Hear Jewel on Interior Budget – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing Next Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. to examine the Department of the Interior’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2017.  Secretary Jewell will testify.

ELI Looks at Circular Economy Issues – Environmental Law Institute holds an afternoon forum regulatory and commercial law implications of a “circular economy” next Tuesday.  In response to the resource constraints, environmental pressures and economic barriers that characterize our “take and dispose” economy, many have put forward a vision for a “circular economy” that would not only conserve and recycle materials, but also contribute to new technological, financial and environmental innovations.  This session looks at the approach to supplant the way global production and energy systems operate. The purpose of this program is to explain the meaning of the “circular economy” and how it is being applied at the intersection of energy, environment and materials management and present some of the specific regulatory, procurement, financial structuring, and other legal initiatives that are emerging to help actualize its objectives globally.

Women in Solar Event Set – Women in Solar Energy (WISE) will hold its second annual NationWISE event on Tuesday, February 23rd  at 6:00 p.m. The goal of NationWISE is to discuss stories of women in different areas of the solar industry to show their diverse career paths and experiences and to prompt open discussion about female-friendly work environments. WISE is hoping to use this discussion to baseline its “best practices” that solar companies can adopt for human resources guidelines, female recruitment, and opportunities for women to excel in the solar energy industry.  Speakers include SEPA CEO Julia Hamm, Solar Foundation Executive Director Andrea Luecke and DOE SunShot Initiative head Lidija Sekaric.

Forum  to Look at CPP – New America and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) will hold a forum on February 24th for a close look at the current gap between climate goals and climate action, and ways that gap can be filled.  John Larsen of the Rhodium Group will present a new analysis of progress toward meeting the U.S. climate target. Then an expert group, convened by C2ES President Bob Perciasepe and New America Senior Advisor Sharon Burke, will explore how technology innovation and stronger action by cities, states and the federal government can help reach the goal.  Speakers include Scott Fulton, President of the Environmental Law Institute, Vicki Arroyo, Executive Director of the Georgetown Climate Center, and Dr. Ellen Williams (invited), Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).

Senate Environment to Tackle RFS – The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works will convene an oversight hearing on Wednesday, February 24th to examine the renewable fuel standard.

IEA Medium-Term Oil Report Released – On Wednesday, February 24th at 1:00 p.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Keisuke Sadamori, Director of the Office for Energy Markets and Security with the International Energy Agency (IEA) to present the IEA’s 2016 Medium-Term Oil Market Report (MTOMR). Our friend Kevin Book, Managing Director with ClearView Energy Partners LLC, and Senior Associate with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will moderate the discussion.

House Resources to Look at Enviro Mitigation – The House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Oversight will hold a hearing on Wednesday February 24th on new environmental mitigation regulations.

Distributed Wind Assn Hits Capitol – The Distributed Wind Energy Association (DWEA) holds its annual Capitol Hill Reception in S-115, The Capitol on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m.

NatGas Roundtable Feature Berkeley Research Expert – The Natural Gas Roundtable will host its February lunch on Thursday, February 25th featuring James Koehler, Associate Director of Berkeley Research Group. Koehler is an energy finance, markets, and policy expert in Berkeley Research Group’s international Energy and Natural Resources practice, based in Washington, D.C.

Paper Details NatGas, Propane In PA – The US Energy Assn will hold a forum on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. to look at natural gas and propane and their increasing foothold as alternative fuel sources for Pennsylvania’s transportation sector. Across the state, transit agencies and other large fleets are converting from gasoline to natural gas or propane because of cost and environmental benefits. However, use of natural gas or propane is not limited to large fleets. Opportunities exist for small fleets or individual vehicles such as mid-size delivery vans and trucks, taxis, and high-mileage commercial vehicles. Opportunities also exist to become a station owner.  This paper was written as an educational tool for Pennsylvanians on the options for fuel conversions, refueling options, and a summary of what is available in the market. This paper covers a broad range of topics concerning natural gas and propane opportunities within the Commonwealth.

USEA to Look at Australia, US Competition Issues – Next Friday, February 26th at 10:30 a.m., the US Energy Association will hold a briefing to discuss similarities and differences between the US and Australian energy industries and other competition issues.

ASE to Host Congressional Briefing – The Alliance to Save Energy will hold a Congressional Briefing next Friday on the Role of Benchmarking, Transparency and Codes in Driving a More Efficient Built Environment. The purpose of the briefing is to educate and engage congressional staff and energy efficiency professionals on the work and progress being done in this area, while also discussing solutions and best practices that can help further advance energy efficiency in the built environment.

Air Liquide CEO, Others Headline ARPA-E Event — On February 29th, Air Liquide CEO Mike Graff will launch the annual ARPA-E Innovation Summit with the featured “Fireside Chat.”  Graff will be interviewed by FORTUNE innovation writer Katie Fehrenbacher along with BASF CEO Wayne Smith.  Other speakers at the three-day event will include Sen Energy Chair Lisa Murkowski, Energy Secretary Moniz and former VP Al Gore on Tuesday, March 1st.  EPA’s Gina McCarthy and Sen. Chris Coons will speak on Wednesday, March 2nd.

Canada Energy Future Highlighted – The CSIS Energy Program will feature a discussion on March 2nd of Canada’s 2016 energy future.  The event will feature members of the Canadian National Energy Board, including Abha Bhargava, Director of Energy Integration, as well as Energy Futures Project Managers Bryce Van Sluys and Matthew Hansen.

GEA Sets Geo Energy Showcase – The Geothermal Energy Assn will be holding its 3rd U.S. and International Geothermal Energy Showcase in Washington, DC on Thursday, March 17th at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center. This year’s Showcase will focus on the building blocks for successful geothermal projects and highlight key geothermal projects, trends, and governmental policies in the U.S. and the international markets. The program will showcase geothermal projects, trends, and governmental policies in the U.S. and around the world. Topics covered will include: the geothermal market today, projects under development in the U.S. and internationally, outlook for the future of the geothermal market, policies driving geothermal development, new technologies, and federal agency support at home and abroad.

Defense Renewables Summit Set – Infocast hosts the 6th  Defense Renewables Summit on March 15-16th at the Sheraton Pentagon City in Arlington, VA, to bring DoD, Air Force, Army and Navy decision-makers together with renewable energy developers, utilities, system integrators, financiers, EPCs, cybersecurity, energy storage, smartgrid and telecom experts to meet the renewable energy goals and security needs of the DoD. The summit will explore how viable, financeable projects can be developed to the benefit of all. The summit will provide the latest on emerging guidelines and processes that merges the complexity of federal acquisitions with the risk allocation methods of project finance.

Chamber to Host Aviation Summit – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation are hosting the 15th annual Aviation Summit on Tuesday, March 22nd at the Renaissance Hotel to bring together top experts and leaders from all sectors of aviation to discuss critical issues facing the industry. The 2016 Summit will focus on innovation and emerging technologies.

Water Power Conferences Set for DC – The all-new Waterpower Week in Washington will present three events in one, showcasing the entire world of waterpower.  The National Hydropower Association Annual Conference, International Marine Renewable Energy Conference and Marine Energy Technology Symposium will all take place at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C., April 25-27.

Energy Update: Week of January 4

Friends,

Welcome to 2016!!!!  I hope you were able to enjoy a few days over the holidays to relax.  It sure seemed like it as the traffic was non-existent over the past two weeks.

2016 Looks to be a promising year for political banter so I will just mention it and remind you that we will be on top of it for you.  To that end, as usual, I am forwarding a few of the top issues we expect to see in 2016 in our energy and environment arena.  As you may recall last year, I had the top 15 for 15, but this year, I am just returning to a David Letterman-like Top 10 now that he has retired.

Looking forward, the 50th Super Bowl (Super Bowl L) plays on February 7th in Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara and Coldplay will be on the halftime docket.   This year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs should be entertaining and as a hockey fan generally who happened to live in the Washington area, I am excited and intrigued by the Washington Capitals this year.  I know, it is only January and I still will take the Red Wings, but I am excited about the possibility of a long DC playoff run.

2016 also brings the Summer Olympics in Rio.  Already we’ve heard about the environmental problems, traffic woes and many other challenges to pulling this off – especially a developing economy country, but it is important to mark on the Calendar as there is always so much great fanfare and human interest at the Olympic Games.

In the concert scene, 2016 appears to see more resurgence from long-time hard rock acts as AC/DC, Tool, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Def Leppard (w Styx), Megadeth (w Suicidal Tendencies) and Disturbed all will be on the road in the first half of this year.  We’ll keep you posted.

And as you review key 2015 energy, don’t overlook two important sleeper successes that will have lasting impacts:

Hot Water Heater Victory – In April Congress passed legislation to stop rules that would have blocked the use of grid-enabled water heaters. These are crucial to demand-response levers, loved by both utilities and energy conservation advocates. However, DOE’s planned new standards would have  banned their manufacture. Rather than an another top-down mandate, this legislation showed progress can be made when Congress, the president, industry and environmental groups work together.
Global HFC Deal – Before Paris, nations across the globe came together to limit hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, a greenhouse gas several times more potent than carbon dioxide. The agreement builds on the successful legacy of the Montreal Protocol, which has resulted in a 97% reduction in the production of ozone-depleting substances. The signatories have now agreed to work in 2016 to include HFC refrigerants under the purview of the treaty, and set a schedule to phase down the worldwide use of these refrigerants. The HFC reductions could have far more impact that the UN’s Paris climate agreement on cutting the release of compounds blamed for the Earth’s warming.

There are a few great event this week starting tomorrow when WCEE hosts Gina McCarthy for a breakfast chat at the Cosmos Club and API holds its annual State of the Energy Industry event featuring CEO Jack Gerard at the Reagan Trade Center.  Finally, mark next week’s launch of the world-renowned Detroit Auto Show, a Monday afternoon National Press Club discussion on the impact of the Paris accord on Electric Utilities with NYT Columnist Tom Friedman, EEI’s Tom Kuhn and SAFE’s Robbie Diamond and next Tuesday’s State of the Union Address as key events.

As usual, call with questions…and on to the Top 10!!!

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932
Top 10 Issues In 2016

  • We’ll Always Have Paris – In December, nations agreed to a next step climate approach.  While hailed as a breakthrough, it is clearly not the historic agreement many advocates had hoped for.  In fact, it appears to be another incremental step that is much less bold and demanding than they would ever have found remotely acceptable.  Nobody is really bound to anything other than to keep trying and reviewing their progress every five years, with no prescribed penalties for missing them.   How this plays out this year globally will determine whether this is a turning point or the same old, same old.  Another test for the Administration’s position will be regarding the funding requests for the UN’s Green Climate Fund. While Congress has already hit the funding several times, it remains controversial especially as the developing world waits to be “Shown the Money” following Paris.
  • Legal Eagles for CPP Year – The linchpin to meeting Paris and addressing climate change for the Administration is centered around its Clean Power Plan, which regulates GHGs and requires existing power plants to slash their carbon emissions by 2030. Almost 30 states and a wide array of industry groups have challenged the rule, claiming EPA doesn’t have the legal authority to enact it.  Arguments will center around the contention that Congress never gave EPA the authority to encourage emission control methods outside the fence line of a power plant, such as forcing increased renewables.  They will also challenge regulating power plants under Section 111(d) after they already regulated them under Section 112, which covers hazardous air pollutants.  Also look for Rural Co-ops to weigh heavily in to the legal battle as they have a very strong case for being aggrieved the most by the rules.  Lots to do on this with key dates set for early this year and folks like my colleague Jeff Holmstead ready to discuss at any point.
  • Politics All The Time – As we progress through 2016, we will be under a full slate of political action starting this month in Iowa where the first-in-the-nation votes are well underway.  This year-long sweep will keep a target on the back of candidates, parties, Congress and President Obama for every little political move and its meaning.  It also will likely clear the Congressional schedule some time around mid-March or April to focus on theme legislating and political campaigning – always a dangerous time for both Congress and the Administration.    Who is standing at the end of the day on November 2nd remains a mystery, today but the road will be loud, twisting and bumpy.
  • Regs, Regs and More Regs – It is 2016…the last year of President Obama’s time in office.  And like with any end of a second-term President, expect a full regulatory dump.  While most are looking at gun safety, e-cigarettes and other social regs, the energy and enviro side will see the same barrage.  Already, DOE is pounding the pavement to rush out over 20-plus efficiency regulations that will tie appliance and HVAC industries in knots trying to comply.  Other key regulations like Methane from gas drilling, Federal land fracturing regs, tougher Ozone rules, a battle of EPA Water of the US rules and more individual climate rules will all be a part of the year-long sweep.   Many industry and regulatory watchdogs are on guard, but the sheer volume of the effort masked in the President election may allow some to side through.
  • Expanding the Innovation Agenda – Last year was a great year for the innovation agenda.  It picked up extra steam not only in our national labs but also with private companies investing millions in the effort.  Southern Company was the prime example promoting several bold and innovative individual  technologies like carbon capture, large-scale biomass and new generation nuclear.  They also started an innovation center to house the creative outcomes of its workforce.  We also saw its emergence on the global scene in the Breakthrough Coalition led by Bill Gates and the govt-to-govt “Mission Innovation” initiative.  Only a bold private-public innovation/technology partnership process like this by world and business leaders can achieve success.
  • Ozon‘ing Out – The Ozone/NAAQS instantly become one of the biggest political and policy fights of 2015 when the White House/EPA announced it would roll out a standard at 70 ppb.  Last year we predicted that the  Administration had only so much political capital at its disposal and it made clear that controlling greenhouse gases is its legacy issue.  Given the state and industry pushback and the symbolic Keystone victory the White House gave to enviros, the Administration clearly didn’t have the bandwidth to sustain a tougher ozone rule, especially as we venture into an election year.  There is no doubt that many in Congress and the states will still say the current EPA plan is unrealistic and enviros have already filed suited calling for 60 ppb.  Just before Christmas both sides hammered EPA with lawsuits.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and NAM are the loudest industry voices complaining that imposing new standards make no sense when many communities haven’t even complied with previous ozone reduction levels.  This battle will play out in the election year where state and local officials end up playing an oversized role since  they are impacted the most.
  • RFS, Ethanol: Same Old Sad Song – The disaster known as the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) continued last year with EPA finalizing its long-awaited rule in early December.  The original law establishing the RFS set in place an increasing level of use for ethanol expressed in terms of actual volume numbers.  As time has gone by, however, the actual total gasoline fuel pool has declined due to more efficient autos, more mass transit, and even electric cars.  As a result, the volume number – if EPA fails to adjust it downward – will exceed 10% by volume of gasoline.  But above that level, autos have significant performance issues.  The ethanol folks want the continued higher growth; fuel makers and consumers are queasy about the higher numbers.  There is little environmental case for higher ethanol use any more, especially as commercial   second-gen biofuels remain elusive.  Indeed, major enviro groups like EWG have produced studies showing the higher levels are actually worse for carbon emissions when the ethanol lifecycle is taken into account. It is likely the RFS won’t be repealed, but a wholesale revision is closer to a reality that ever.  Now, Congress will be expected to once again roll up its sleeves on a bipartisan basis and amend the law to a more functioning workable approach.
  • Crude exports, Iran: Catching the Garbage Truck? – The year–end budget deal achieved a goal of many in the oil industry and Congress to remove the decades-old ban of crude exports.  Going forward with market prices low and the world supply broad, there is some question as to how this policy will impact the markets going forward.  2016 will be a key year to see how this plays out.  Another warning sign is the role Iran will play as it comes off sanctions and moves to place it oil into the marketplace.
  • Renewable Reset – The year-end tax/budget deal also renewed the PTC/ITC for five years even though it will eventually phaseout.  The move was a long-standing wish for the renewable industry which has struggled to survive the boom and bust cycles of Congressional budget battles holding the tax credit hostage over the years.  One need only look at AWEA’s graphs charting the installation numbers to understand why the long-term approach will help Installation despite stiff competition from low natgas prices.  2016 looks to be a strong year for renewables especially in light of the Administration efforts to push utility switches with its GHG regs.  It remains an uncertain question though as to whether folks will build more renewables though because of other factors like costs, local NIMBY opposition, state regulatory woes or infrastructure challenges.   Certainly, the technologies are bursting onto the scene in the developing world where China and India (and many others) are already building a number of projects with infrastructure and without opponents at every turn.
  • Build It…Infrastructure – Our continued failure to seriously invest in our transportation and energy infrastructure is costing us jobs and putting our global competitiveness at risk.  Today, we are producing more oil, natural gas and renewable energy than ever before, yet we cannot get that energy efficiently to where it is needed because of we lack the transmission lines, pipelines, roads, rail, trucks, and ships that can move it .  Not investing in our outdated infrastructure will stifle our energy growth, leave us vulnerable to supply disruptions, and weaken our energy security.   Industry trade associations and DOE’s Quadrennial Energy Review underscored this challenge.  Yet at the same time, the Keystone opponents were handed a symbolic, but important victory on the most high-profile infrastructure project in 2015.  Expect a reinvigorated attack in 2016 on energy projects and infrastructure, using Keystone as the template.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

WCEE to Host EPA’s McCarthy – Tomorrow morning, the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will host a Leadership Breakfast with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy at the Cosmos Club.  McCarthy will share her insights about her path to leadership and remark on recent policy events in the field of energy and the environment including the Clean Power Plan and COP21.

API State of Energy Set – API will host its annual State of Energy event tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. at the Ronald Reagan Building Atrium Ballroom featuring API head Jack Gerard.  The event will kick off America’s energy policy discussion ahead of the critical 2016 elections.   In order to take best advantage of America’s tremendous energy potential, API will continue to keep the national energy conversation focused on the facts for the public and for lawmakers, both current and prospective.

WCEE To Host Planning Session for Event Agenda – On Wednesday at Noon, WCEE will holds its 4th annual “Brainstorming” event at Exponent (1150 Connecticut Ave NW, Suite 1100).  As the new year kicks off, the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment would also like to kick off planning for 2016, brainstorming about the topics for WCEE’s coming year’s “Lunch & Learn” (brown-bag) events.

CSIS To Look at Paris
Agreement – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a discussion on Thursday looking at the Paris Agreement reached at the 21st Conference of Parties meeting under the UN Framework Convention for Climate Change (COP21). To help understand what the new climate agreement means for future U.S. and international efforts to combat climate change, Paul Bodnar, Senior Director for Energy and Climate Change at the White House’s National Security Council will discuss what the agreement entails and what actions the U.S. government and the international community are likely to focus on in the coming years.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

Detroit Auto Show Set to Go – The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) run from January 11th to 24th in the Motor City.  The official press conference schedule for the 2016 NAIAS begins with Press Preview, Jan. 11-12. With more than 5,000 credentialed journalists from 60+ countries expected to attend the upcoming show, automakers and suppliers exhibiting at NAIAS garner considerably greater global visibility and impact when compared to other domestic shows.  The 2016 NAIAS Press Conference Schedule is available on the NAIAS website 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.

Press Club to Host Forum on Paris Utility Impacts – Next Monday at 2:30 p.m., the National Press Club will host a discussion on the impact of the Paris accord on Electric Utilities with NYT Columnist Tom Friedman in the First Amendment Lounge.   Friedman will lead a panel discussion on the impact of the recent UN Climate Conference in Paris and what it will mean for the U.S. Electric Utility industry and their customers. The panel will includes EEI’s Tom Kuhn, Larry Kellerman of 21st Century Utilities LLC,  former Florida PSC Chair Joe Garcia and Robbie Diamond, the founder of an energy non-profit SAFE.

BPC to Host Allowance Forum on GHG Rules – The Bipartisan Policy Center
will host a discussion next Monday looking at the allowance allocations in the Administration’s GHG rules.   BPC will introduce some of the key issues related to allocation. Through moderated discussion, panelists will explore options for distributing allowances, lessons learned from past policy experience, the implications of electricity market structure, and the expected impacts on companies and customers. Panelists will weigh the benefits of a simple allocation approach versus a more complex design, including how allocation might attempt to address leakage of emissions to non-covered sources and the potential for disproportionate impacts on communities, companies, and/or industries.  Participants will be announced.

State Of The Union Address – Next Tuesday, January 12th at 9:00 p.m., President Obama will hold his final State of the Union Address before Congress.

Stories to Watch 2016 – On Wednesday, January 13th at 9:00 a.m. at the National Press Club,
the World Resources Institute will present the big stories that will shape the world in 2016.
WRI President Andrew Steer will look at the Paris Agreement, major trends in energy, finance, business, food and cities and many other items.

Cato Forum Look at Book on Oil –
On Wednesday, January 13th at Noon, the Cato Institute
will host a Book Forum in its Hayek Auditorium
on “Blood Oil” featuring the author Leif Wenar of King’s College London, Bruce W. Jentleson of Duke University and Cato’s Ian Vásquez. The benefits from development and global connectedness — in which we are all inescapably complicit — have been huge. However, the natural resources that enabled that development also benefited people who systematically made the lives of others desperate and miserable, fueled violent conflicts, and funded many of the world’s autocracies.

This cycle continues today, but there is hope. In his book, Blood Oil, Leif Wenar explores this great moral challenge of our time, and “shows how citizens, consumers, and leaders can act today to avert tomorrow’s crises — and how we can together create a more united human future.”

Wenar, the chair of philosophy and law at King’s College London, has written a timely and provocative book.

WCEE to Continue at NatGas Drilling Series – On Wednesday, January 13th at 12:00 p.m., the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will host its third in a series of Lunch & Learn seminars looking at the topic of hydraulic fracturing. Part 3 of the series will focus on induced seismicity, which are the earthquakes associated with energy development, particularly in the states of Kansas and Oklahoma. 

This event will have an in-person option; and for those unable to attend, a webinar option.  Speakers will include Julie Shemeta, President and Founder of MEQ Geo, an independent micro-seismic consulting company based in Denver, Co. She has experience with conventional and unconventional oil development, geothermal energy and mining and has worked on projects in North America, Australia, India, Argentina, Columbia, Germany and Mexico. Julie was one of eleven authors of the National Academies National Research Council’s 2012 Study, Induced Seismicity Potential in Energy Technologies. 

Also speaking will be Rex Buchannan, Interim Director of the Kansas Geological Survey. He was appointed Interim Director in 2010 and has been with the Survey since 1978. In this role, he also chairs the Kansas Taskforce on Induced Seismicity. In addition, Mr. Buchannan serves as Secretary of the American Association of State Geologists and has been a past Chair of the Geology and Public Policy Committee of the Geological Society of America.

NAS to Host Arctic Sessions – On Thursday, January 14th, National Academy of Sciences Polar Research Board will host a series of lively, public-friendly presentations from top scientists and other experts who study the connections between Arctic-region changes and impacts that can affect people and places around the globe. Attendees can also explore a series of interactive exhibits and displays.  The event is free and open to the public. Some of the topics/speakers at this event will include:
 Permafrost carbon: a climate change amplifier
by Max Holmes of  Woods Hole Research Center; The Polar vortex: Impacts of arctic warming on the weather where we live with
Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University; Plants and animals: How arctic warming can affect global ecological dynamics
by Natalie Boelman of the  Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory; Sea level rise from the loss of polar ice
 featuring  Penn State’s Richard Alley; the Arctic Ocean implications of the shrinking polar ice cap
by US Navy Admiral Jonathan White and Arctic as a new frontier for sustainable development
by Gwen Holdmann of the Alaska Center for Energy and Power.

ASE to Host Congressional Briefing on Cutting Edge Technologies, Businesses – On Thursday, January 14th at Noon, the Alliance to Save Energy will host a Congressional Briefing on Cutting Edge Technologies and Businesses: Opening the Door for Energy Efficiency Deployment at Scale. This event will focus on technologies, systems efficiency, and the keys to bringing energy efficiency to scale in the built environment.  The purpose of the briefing is to educate and engage congressional staff and energy efficiency professionals on the work and progress being done in this area, while also discussing solutions and best practices that can help further advance energy efficiency in the built environment.

Forum to Look at G20, Green Finance – On Friday, January 15th at 10:00 a.m., the
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
will look at public policy and private institutional innovations for a more sustainable global financial system. A new report from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), The Financial System We Need, captures this momentum to harness the world’s financial system for the transition to a low-carbon, green economy.  Following the launch in 2015 of the Sustainable Development Goals, along with the successful Paris climate agreement, 2016 looks set to be the ‘year of green finance,’ focusing on the operational measures needed to mobilize the trillions of dollars required for the transition. Spearheading this movement, China intends to place a special focus on green finance in 2016 under its G20 presidency. The United States now has an historic opportunity to advance leadership on green finance internationally, as well as to scale-up domestic innovations already in place.  Participants will include former IMF director John Lipsky, Carnegie’s David Livingston, former Obama NSC official Michelle Patron and Jay Shambaugh, current member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

Washington Auto Show Sets Policy Bar Green 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 January 21. 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.

Energy Update: Week of January 5

Friends,

 

Welcome back…Hope your holidays were restful and fun!  Just a short intro today because 1) I want to get to the first five issues of the Top 15 for ‘15 and 2) I am completely overloaded with sports.  From the Winter Classic at Nationals Park (AWESOME!) to the football playoffs, the firing of a bunch of NFL coaches (and then one of them being hired by UMich YEAH!) and the thrilling College Bowl season which concludes next Monday at the Cowboy’s ATT Stadium with the National Championship game between Oregon and Ohio State, there is a lot to watch and do.

 

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

 

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

 

On the job front, NRC has Mr. Burns (Stephen that is) in charge of NRC, taking over for Allison MacFarlane on January 1st and our friend Abby Hopper moves to the head of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management starting today.

 

Congrats to our friends Bryan Anderson and Christy Ihrig of Southern Company.  Bryan was been elevated to senior vice president of governmental affairs where he will continue leading Southern Company’s Washington office and directing the company’s political, policy and regulatory activities.  Christy, who moved over from subsidiary Mississippi Power, has been named vice president of corporate communication and will lead all aspects of external and internal communication strategy for Southern.

 

Finally, in case you missed it, Harvard Constitutional Law professor and environmental legal expert Laurence Tribe blasted the EPA GHG rules in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal just before Christmas, saying the agency is “asserting executive power far beyond its lawful authority.”  It is an interesting read.

 

On to the Top 5 of the 15 for ‘15…

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

 

Top 15 Issues for ’15  (TOP 5)

 

As you know, each year for the first update of the year, we highlight a number of important issues for you to put on your agenda for the year.  This year, we are spreading the cheer over the first three updates doing five at a time.  I will include the previous week for your review in case you miss any.  So here we go with PART I of the Top 15 issues for 2015:

 

1) Republicans in Control – In 2014, Republicans won big victories in the Midterm Elections, winning key gubernatorial and congressional races in what many are viewing as a “wave election.”   My colleague Scott Segal said in a video that several changes are anticipated in the new Congress, with both chambers set for Republican control.  He adds key factors include more oversight of key Administration initiatives, notably in energy, the environment, and immigration; a return to a more traditional appropriations process; and the prospects for negotiations between the White House and Congress on key policy initiatives.  Energy issues will be an important part of the in the 114th Congress, according to Segal. With Sen. Murkowski as Senate Energy chair and Sen. Inhofe as Senate Environment chair, both Committees will undoubtedly step up their oversight of EPA, with a particular focus on the President’s “Clean Power Plan.” Murkowski is a strong advocate of oil and natural gas development on federal lands, will work aggressively on reliability issues.

 

2) GHGs, Clean Power Plan – This epic battle began in full force in 2014.  So much to say…but in 2015, this battle will hit it high point as the Administration tries to jump through the legal and procedural morass to finalize the regulations for both new and existing power plants.  Most experts continue to say the challenges will be much more difficult, more costly and legally questionable.   They also expect the timelines to slip even more than they did this year, which turned out to be an especially tough political year for the President and Democrats.  A first test may be seen in in January when the Congress moves Keystone legislation, looking at what legislative amendments and/or riders may be advanced to curtail the scope and speed of the Clean Power Plan.  Points of focus for States and Republican legislators include: the interim targets for emissions reductions states must meet by 2020, the impact the Clean Power Plan is likely to have on electrical reliability, and the enforceability of the Clean Power Plan in light of widespread opposition from numerous governors.

 

3) Falling Oil, Gas Price Impacts – The most amazing change we’ve seen in 2014 was the rapid fall of the crude price toward the end of the year, and the requisite fall of the gasoline price.  While I haven’t put gas in my Volt for almost two months, my wife’s SUV has welcomed the change, saving us $30 a fill up, and the diesel price for our Jetta is also sunk to $2.70  That cost drop has had a positive impact for consumers, but it has hurt production, especially offshore drillers who have been hit not only by the price drop but by a long-term demand slide.  The implications for 2015 will be as dramatic, both from a domestic and foreign policy perspective.  Here at home, the boom has brought us closer to energy independence than we have ever been since the 1970s.  From an international perspective, our domestic boom and the international price drop has put significant pressure on many oil-producing countries like Iran, Venezuela, Russia and OPEC nations.

 

4) Ozone 2015 – One of the biggest political and policy fights of 2015 reared its head the day before Thanksgiving: the Ozone/NAAQS fight.  While the low end of the range in the proposed rule (65ppb) is very troubling for industry and states, as low as background levels of ozone in many parts of the country and pushing as much as 94% of the nation out of attainment, EPA is also taking comment on 60ppb, which would be devastating for manufacturing, oil and gas production and agriculture across the country.  The approach seems to be part of EPA’s typical proposing an unreasonable standard; take comment on a more unreasonable one; and claim the government is reasonable by comparison.  But the Administration only has so much political capital at its disposal and it has made clear that controlling greenhouse gases is its legacy issue.  It is unclear that the Administration has the bandwidth to sustain both rules.  There is no doubt that many in Congress and the states will demand that the proposed ozone NAAQS be placed on a more realistic course.  One thing to keep in mind with Ozone/NAAQS: Oil and gas production has been one of the only bright spots in the jobless recovery, and the range proposed for ozone may impose real, practical limitations on that production.  The expense associated with the rule could reverse what economic gains we have seen recently.

 

5) Keystone – Is it finally time?  Probably yes given the new makeup of Congress and the fact that is it one the agenda in the first week.  Many question why this has become such a flash point for some environmental activists and they will turn all their focus to lobbying the Administration to stop the pipeline and veto any legislation.  Last year, I expected the President to eventually accept the pipeline, but a year later and with the current Congressional change, now I’m not so sure.  He probably gets more political mileage by fighting the bipartisan Congressional effort (although somewhat less bipartisan that in the last Congress).  No matter the decision, it is vital to remember implementing the new GHG rules, will have a much more dramatic impact on the environment and the economy.

 

Next week:

 

6) UN Climate: We’ll Always Have Paris

7) NatGas 2015: Still Booming

8) Nuclear Over the Top

9) Crude Oil Exporting New Policy

10) Tax Reform Finally?

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

 

Gerard to Address  State of Energy – API will hold its 2015 State of American Energy luncheon on Tuesday, January 6 at the Ronald Reagan Building.  API head Jack Gerard will speak.

 

DC PSC Holds Public Hearing on Exelon-Pepco Merger – The DC Public Service Commission will hold a community hearing to receive comments from the public tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. to determine if the proposed Pepco Holding, Inc. and Exelon Corporation merger, transaction is in the public interest.  They will also hold meeting next week in Montgomery and Prince Georges County Maryland.

 

Senate Energy Committee Keystone XL Hearing – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. looking at legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline project.  Witnesses will include Andrew Black of the Association of Oil Pipe Lines, CAP’s Greg Dotson and LIUNA’s David Mallino, Director, Legislative Department, Laborers’ International Union of North America.  A business meeting to move the legislation will be held on Thursday.

 

Moniz on 2015 Global Policy Outlook – On Wednesday at 10:30 a.m., the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will host Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz to keynote an event at the Wilson Center looking at the 2015 U.S. Energy Policy Outlook.  An additional panel of experts from academia, government and the private sector will discuss current global challenges and opportunities in energy markets and politics.

 

WRI’s Stories to Watch 2015 Set – On Thursday at 9:00 a.m. at the National Press Club, Andrew Steer of the World Resources Institute will discuss the issues and stories that will shape the world in economics, business, natural resources, and the environment in 2015.  Now in its 12th year, Stories to Watch is a popular event among D.C.’s media, policymakers, business executives and consultants.

 

WCEE to Hold Brainstorming Event – On Thursday at Noon, the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a kick off planning meeting for the coming year.  Topics will include climate change and clean air, energy, water, sustainability, and international issues and how WCEE will cover them this year.

 

Forum to Look at U.S. Energy Diplomacy Priorities for 2015 – On Thursday at 2:00 p.m., the Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center will hold an event featuring Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs at the US Department of State Mr. Amos Hochstein.  Hochstein oversees US foreign policy engagement in the critical intersection of energy and national security. In his role, he advises the secretary on global energy security and diplomacy.  Hochstein will share his insights into the US energy diplomacy priorities for 2015. Welcoming remarks will be made by Ambassador Richard Morningstar, founding director, of the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center, followed by a discussion moderated by David Koranyi, director of the Eurasian Energy Futures Initiative.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

 

Detroit Auto Show to Roll Out New Vehicles – The 2015 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) will open for Press Preview January 12-13th at Cobo Center in Detroit.  Now in its 27th 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.  On January  16th, rock legend Steve Miller Band will perform at the largest single night fundraiser in the world: the North American International Auto Show’s Charity Preview.

 

CP Chair To Discuss Oil, Gas – On Wednesday, January 14th, the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Ryan Lance, Chairman and CEO of ConocoPhillips, to discuss the new North American oil and natural gas resource abundance and its U.S. energy policy implications. Burgeoning tight oil and shale gas development in the United States, oil sands development in Canada and underexplored conventional resources in Mexico combine to make North America one of the most dynamic oil and gas development plays in the world. The ability to continue developing these vast resources and benefiting from the resulting job creation and economic stimulation represents great opportunity, while also posing non-trivial challenges, particularly in the face of new price realities and impending surpluses. Mr. Lance will discuss these and other key issues. Frank Verrastro, Senior Vice President and James R. Schlesinger Chair for Energy and Geopolitics at CSIS, will moderate.

 

IIHS President Adrian Lund to Look at Vehicle Safety – On Thursday January 15th, WAPA and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) will hold a luncheon to discuss “Vehicle Safety Improvements and What’s Ahead.”  The Institute’s president, Adrian Lund, will be sharing research on how better vehicle crashworthiness is saving lives and how technology – both new and old – can improve safety in the future.

 

Forum to Feature UN Environment Programme, Climate Change – On Thursday, January 15th at 12:00 p.m., the Environmental Law Institute and the DC Bar will host Patricia Beneke, Director of UNEP’s Regional Office of North America, to discuss UNEP’s work on climate change. As time allows, Beneke will also address UNEP’s work to support governments in establishing, implementing and strengthening the necessary institutions, laws and policies to achieve sustainable development.  UNEP is the leading environmental authority in the United Nations system. Created in 1972, UNEP uses its expertise to strengthen environmental standards and practices while helping implement environmental obligations at the country, regional and global level.

 

DOE Webcast on Hurricane Metocean Environment – On Thursday, January 15th at 3:00 p.m. the Energy Department will hold a live webcast on design conditions for the Hurricane Metocean Environment.  Joel Cline from the Energy Department will moderate speakers including NOAA’s Mark Powell, Peter Vickery of Applied Research Associates and George Hagerman of Virginia Tech.

 

SOTU Set – President Barack Obama will deliver his State of the Union address to Congress on Tuesday, January 20th.

 

DC Policy Auto Show Set – The 2015 Washington Auto Show Public Policy Days are set for Wednesday, January 21st in the Cannon House Office Building and Thursday, January 22nd at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.    The annual Sneak Peek Reception, the highly anticipated social and networking event held before Washington’s largest public show opens to attendees, offers automotive industry thought leaders and decision maker’s exclusive early access to the most impressive new models and technological innovations on display at the 2015 Washington Auto Show.  Set for Thursday, January 22, from 5-8 p.m. the Sneak Peek Reception marks the finale of the 2015 Public Policy days, which brings together executives and legislators who influence the automotive sector to address the key issues affecting the industry, its employees and customers, including energy conservation, the environment, and consumer safety technologies.  The Show opens on January 23rd and runs through February 1st.

 

FCC Chair to Address NARUC Winter Meetings – The 2015 NARUC Winter Committee Meetings will be held on February 15-18th at the Renaissance Washington Hotel.  The Winter Meetings is the first substantive utility-regulatory conference of the year. Discussions will focus on the new Congress’ outlook for energy and telecommunications priorities.  Tom Wheeler, Chairman of the  Federal Communications Commission will be among the keynote speakers.

 

Geothermal Event Set for February – The Geothermal Energy Association’s State of the Geothermal Energy Industry Briefing will be held on Tuesday, February 24th at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill.

 

 

Energy Update: Week of December 8

Friends

 

So can we just agree that there should at least 8 teams that qualify for the NCAA football playoffs?  The top 4 teams will play off starting on New Year’s Day when Oregon and Florida State meet in the Rose Bowl and Alabama and Ohio State meet in the Sugar Bowl in NOLA.   The winners will meet on January 12th in Arlington Texas.  Unfortunately, Baylor and Texas Christian (TCU) were left outside looking in.  While Baylor and TCU won’t get to play for a national championship, both teams will play in “New Year’s Six” bowls involved in the inaugural College Football Playoff.  The No. 5 Bears will play No. 8 Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl Classic, while the No. 6 Horned Frogs will face No. 9 Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl.  No. 7 Mississippi State will play No. 12 Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl. No. 20 Boise State and No. 10 Arizona will meet in the Fiesta Bowl.  Why can’t we just let all the winners keep playing?  See the full Bowl schedule here.

 

So while many are on edge over Bowl slighting (I suspect that my friend and TCU alum Craig Felner of Valero is at the top of that list), I will have time to mull it over while on jury duty starting tomorrow in Annapolis.  So finally, after nearly 30 years as a registered voter, the jury task has finally caught up to me.

 

If I manage to get out, I will be hosting a great Newsmaker on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. in the National Press Club’s Zenger Room, featuring former Obama IP Czar Victoria Espinel, Commerce Deputy Secretary Bruce Andrews and other industry experts.  Other great events this week include WCEE hosting Interior Secretary Jewell tomorrow, WCEE on offshore wind in Maryland Wednesday featuring our friend/MEA head Abby Hopper, and on Thursday, AGA hosts an event on the winter gas outlook and ICF hosts NERC and NIST experts to discuss cyber threats and reliability.

 

As Congress runs to the end of the lame duck session this week, they focus on the “CRomnibus” legislation that is expected to keep the government open until next year as well as several key hearings.  The Senate Energy Committee with move the nomination of FERC Commissioner Collette Honorable after last week’s nomination hearing as well as the expected full Approval Senate.  In Committees, the House Oversight Committee tackles EPA management (or mismanagement )of the RFS, House Energy will look back at energy legislation of 1975 and Senate Commerce will look at the future of nuclear power.

 

Next week we also expect the coal ash rule to move forward.  The action is picking up as a long-awaited 60 Minutes piece on Coal Ash issues in North Carolina ran yesterday, while NPR’s Diane Rehm Show will take up the topic on Thursday featuring our friends Manny Quinones of E&E News and Jim Rouwer of USWAG, along with Earthjustice’s Lisa Evans.   Remember our experts, former EPA General Counsel Lisa Jaeger and Waste Management coal ash recycling head Harry Lamberton can address your questions.

 

DOE’s new Furnace rule is also expected shortly and has sparked some controversy among those that suggest the rule will create disincentives to make energy efficiency upgrades.  My colleague Salo Zelermyer (202-828-1718), a former DOE Senior Counsel and energy efficiency technology expert can provide valuable insights.  Stay tuned and call when the rule breaks.

 

Finally, you may have seen the latest tome in the New York Times by our friend Eric Lipton focused on Attorneys General working on energy issue.  While the  conclusion seems more like discovering that there is gambling in Casablanca, we should remember that the self-same NYT pointed out last fall that NRDC wrote the actual 111d rule.

 

Sorry, I didn’t include any reporting on Kate/Will and their schedule (yes, I pronounced it said-u-al).  Call with questions.

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932

 

IN THE NEWS

 

State Air Agencies Weigh in Against EPA Rule – A number of state environmental agencies are disputing any alliance among state agencies to implement the EPA rule.  The Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies head Clint Woods has collected most of our member states’ 111(d) comments at: http://www.csg.org/aapca_site/news/111dComments.aspx   In addition, they’ve been racking up a few of the other state environmental agencies on Twitter too: https://twitter.com/search?f=realtime&q=%40AAPCA_States%20%23CleanPowerPlan&src=typd Clint is happy to discuss the EPA rule and Its challenges for states.  You can reach him at 859-244-8040 or cwoods@csg.org.

 

SAFE Issues Iran Report – Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) released a new Intelligence Report assessing the latest oil market dynamics and their impact on ongoing negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran over the country’s nuclear capabilities.   Last week, Iran and the P5+1 negotiators announced that they would again extend talks aimed at halting Iran’s nuclear weapons program, with a proposed final framework due by March 1, 2015, and a final deal due by July 1.   Since the previous 2014 extension, oil markets have undergone a significant shift. With global oil demand growth proceeding at a manageable pace, non-OPEC oil production surging, and Libyan output back online, the market is extremely well supplied. Prices have dropped by $40/bbl since June as a result.  These developments could play an important role in the negotiations going forward. If current market dynamics persist, Iranian oil export revenue will decline by 25 percent year-over-year in 2015 to roughly $40 billion—the lowest level since 2004 and well short of a projected budget requirement in excess of $60 billion. While most of Iran’s oil revenues are captured in escrow accounts abroad, this drop in earnings should increase Iran’s desire for a deal.   Yet, Iran finds itself in a catch-22: revenues are falling and sanctions are stressing its economy; but any incremental barrels it brings to the market will simply add to the glut, further depressing prices and offsetting any revenue gains.  Meanwhile, a more flexible global oil market should make the P5+1 more willing to maintain current sanctions levels, which are now essentially cost-free. Moreover, our analysis suggests that oil market conditions throughout 2015 will make it possible for the P5+1 to credibly threaten to strengthen sanctions if needed without risking economically-destructive oil price volatility.

 

Cassidy Sweeps Past Landrieu on LA Senate Runoff – The Republican sweep of 2014 is now complete as Republican Bill Cassidy  trounced Sen. Mary Landrieu in a Saturday runoff 56-44 percent.  Cassidy’s victory is the 9th Senate seat picked up by the GOP in this year’s elections.  Landrieu, the three-term incumbent who chairs the Senate Energy Committee was already in trouble after the two Republican candidates come together after the November election.  According to most experts and senate watchers, she was hurt by her failure to pass legislation to move forward with the Keystone XL pipeline in the lame-duck session last month.  Cassidy, a medical doctor first elected to a Baton Rouge-area congressional seat in 2008, served on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

 

MD Rep Legislation Looks to Carbon Tax – Maryland Rep. John Delaney introduced legislation designed to help states combat climate change and meet new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements on greenhouse gas emissions. In June, the EPA proposed new regulations for existing power plans under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act. The State’s Choice Act mandates that the EPA allow a state level excise tax as a compliance option.  The legislation requires that the EPA offer states the option of imposing a state level excise tax on greenhouse gas emissions from regulated sources as a way to comply with regulations under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act.

 

Eagle Ford Shale Rolls On – Our friend Ryan Holeywell writes in the Houston Chronicle’s FuelFix that the billionth barrel rolled out of the Eagle Ford Shale formation last month.  The report comes from analysts at the Wood Mackenzie research firm that said the number of barrels they calculated include crude oil and condensate and that more than 70% of them have been produced in the past two years.   The report says the Eagle Ford Shale formation is likely to stay profitable as long as prices stay above $50 per barrel. Wood Mackenzie projects that about $30.8 billion of the $139.3 billion in onshore spending in the United States will be invested into production and exploration in Eagle Ford next year — more than any other area.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

 

UN Climate Meeting Set for Lima, Peru – The UN continues its annual climate meeting in Lima, Peru starting this week. The 20th session of the Conference of the Parties and the 10th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol will run through Saturday.

 

ACEEE to Hold Behavior, Climate Conference – On Sunday through Wednesday at the Grand Hyatt – Washington, ACEEE will host the 8th annual Behavior, Energy and Climate Change conference (BECC) which will focus on understanding individual and organizational behavior and decision-making related to energy usage, greenhouse gas emissions, climate change, and sustainability. BECC 2014 will build on the overwhelming success of previous BECC conferences, at which 700 participants discussed innovative policy and program strategies, shared important research findings, and engaged in building dynamic new networks and collaborations.  The BECC Conference is convened by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), Precourt Energy Efficiency Center (PEEC), Stanford University, and California Institute for Energy and Environment (CIEE), University of California.

 

USEA to Look at Social Cost of Carbon – The U.S. Energy Association will host a forum today at 2:00 p.m. on the social cost of carbon (SCC). The USG SCC estimates are the result of significant aggregation across many dimensions: time, socioeconomic scenarios, uncertain parameters, world regions, damage categories, and models. This study presents an in-depth examination of the three models underlying the current USG SCC estimates (DICE, FUND, and PAGE) as well as the overall USG approach. Our assessment reveals significant variation across models in their structure, behavior, and results and identifies fundamental issues and opportunities for improvements. The objective of this work is to improve understanding of SCC modeling and estimates in order to inform and facilitate public discussion, future SCC modeling and use, and future climate research broadly.  The speaker will be Steven Rose, EPRI’s Senior Research Economist for Energy and Environmental Research.

 

CSIS Forum Locked on NatGas Methane Emissions – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) co-sponsor an event this morning addressing fugitive methane emissions across the natural gas value chain. The U.S. unconventional oil and gas revolution that reversed decades-old trends of fossil fuel production declines in the U.S. has had ripple effects globally. Expansion of natural gas resources and production has inspired a rigorous environmental debate about the regulation of these new resources. As the primary component of natural gas and a potent greenhouse gas, the regulation of fugitive methane emissions has moved to the forefront of national regulatory debates. In order to address these issues, the event will feature two panels: one addressing the science around the significance of methane as a potent greenhouse gas and the second looking at what is being done by government and industry (upstream and downstream) to reduce emissions and leakage.  Participants included EPA’s Janet McCabe, UT’s David Allen, Shell’s Greg Guidry, EDF’s Steven Hamburg and AGA’s Dave McCurdy among others.

 

GenForum Set to Discuss GHG, Reliability, NatGas – PennWell’s GenForum starts today in Orlando, Florida.  At the event, there will be a panel  discussion on the future of coal power during a dash to gas, as well as EPA’s Clean Power Plan. The EPA rule proposal is meant to have states implement plans to cut power sector emissions 30% by 2030. GenForum is organized by PennWell’s GenerationHub. GenForum brings together power generation executives who operate, plan, build, regulate and invest in power generation systems in North America. Other speakers will include PJM Interconnection Chief Economist Paul Sotkiewicz, Ph.D., will kick off GenForum with a keynote presentation on electric power demand. Julie Turner, Duke Energy general manager for combined-cycle gas generation in North and South Carolina will be part of a panel discussion on natural gas generation. Electric Power Supply Association (EPSA) President and CEO John Shelk will discuss issues surrounding competitive power in today’s marketplace. Florida PSC Commissioner Eduardo Balbis will discuss the Florida electric power landscape. ScottMadden Consulting Partner Stuart Pearman will discuss issues posed by distributed generation.

 

Jewell to Host Interior Secretary – Tomorrow morning at the Capitol Hill Club, the Women’s Council for Energy and the Environments (WCEE) will host an informal conversation with Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to discuss her path to success and the opportunities and challenges she faces in her current role as Secretary of the Interior.

 

New Republic Forum Focus on Climate Progress – The New Republic and LeadingGreen will host a program tomorrow morning at the Newseum that will focus on the future of climate progress in the United States.  Editors with New Republic editors and guest speakers will present and analyze poll data on the midterm elections, projecting how climate will play into the 2016 presidential election, and shedding light on the current Administration’s environmental policy.  Speakers include former WSJ reporter Jeffrey Ball, who is Scholar-in-Residence at Stanford University’s Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance; the New Republic’s Jonathan Cohn; Democratic pollster Geoff Garin and our friend Amy Harder at the Wall Street Journal.

 

Canadian Embassy, NatGas Roundtable to Talk LNG – The Embassy of Canada and the Natural Gas Roundtable of Washington are hosting the Natural Gas and North American Energy Security Forum tomorrow at 4:00 p.m.  The event will include a moderated dialogue focusing on new natural gas market and technology opportunities, production advancements to unlock new supply and access international LNG markets. The focus will be on areas where government policy and industry can be coordinated to advance bi-national priorities on the economy, emissions and natural gas opportunities.  Speakers will include AGA CEO Dave McCurdy, NGSA CEO Dena Wiggins and Canadian Gas Association CEO Tim Egan.

 

House Oversight to Look EPA’s Management of RFS Program – The House Oversight Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care and Entitlements will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. examining EPA’s management of the RFS program.  EPA Air Chief Janet McCabe will testify.

 

Senate Energy Committee to Move FERC Nominee – On Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., the Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources will convene a business meeting to consider the pending nomination of Colette Honorable to be a Member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.  Last week, Honorable cruised through her nomination hearing and is expected to be approved before Congress adjourns.

 

CMU Forum to Look at Energy Innovation Methods – On Wednesday at Noon at 121 Cannon, the Center for Clean Energy Innovation and Carnegie Mellon University’s Scott Institute for Energy Innovation will hold a forum to learn how CMU is trying to bridge the valley of death and how its efforts can translate to other government and university programs. A panel of CMU-born start-ups and technology transfer experts will discuss their recent successes as well as shed light on continued challenges to scaling up energy breakthroughs into transformative products.  A major challenge in bringing down the cost of clean energy technologies is bridging the so-called “valley of death” – the state of technology development where many promising discoveries die because they are not sufficiently advanced to attract private sector partners or venture funding even though they may hold tremendous potential impact.  Positively, some universities and research laboratories have successfully reformed their technology transfer capabilities to better address the valley of death and more efficiently transfer innovations to the market. For example, Carnegie Mellon University’s (CMU) faculty and students have leveraged their technology transfer prowess to spin out more than 130 companies over the past five years and have attracted approximately $400 million of outside investment.

 

Forum to Look at Energy Behaviors in Developing Countries – The Ecologic Institute in Washington, DC will hold a forum on Wednesday at Noon looking at energy behaviors, focused on developing country households.  Energy frequently accounts for a high portion of expenditures by households in developing and emerging economies. Climate change mitigation, household welfare, and energy security are just some of the pursuits which may benefit from energy efficiency. Yet, implementation lags globally.  Aurelia Figueroa of the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) will present path breaking research on behavior-informed design to increase the uptake of energy efficient technologies drawing upon a randomized control trial (RCT) conducted in the informal settlement of Kibera in Nairobi. The event is hosted by Ecologic Institute and will be moderated by Ecologic Institute’s Max Gruenig.

 

Senate Commerce to Look at Passenger Rail – The Senate Commerce Committee’s on Subcommittee on Surface Transportation will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. on the future of and investments in passenger rail.  This hearing will focus on the current state of intercity passenger rail in the United States, the need to invest for future growth, and implications for future legislative action.

 

WCEE Forum Looks at Offshore Wind – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a forum on Wednesday at Kaye Scholer to look at offshore wind energy innovation.  In October this year, the potential for Maryland to be one of the leaders in the development of offshore wind became a reality.  The Maryland Public Service Commission gave final approval to a set of regulations designed to implement Maryland’s Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013 (OWEA).  A panel of prominent speakers who were closely involved in the genesis, creation and design of Maryland’s offshore wind program.  Our panel will discuss the history of OWEA and innovative use of offshore renewable energy credits (ORECs) as a means to finance the development of offshore wind, the Commission’s role in the competitive selection process, the issuance of the important OREC Order that will enable offshore wind projects to be financed and the structure of the financing mechanisms built into the regulations that will enable offshore wind to be financed on a stable long-term basis.  Panelists include MEA Director Abigail Hopper and Maryland PSC Commissioner Kelly Speakes-Backman.

 

Newsmakers Committee to Discuss Data – The National Press Club Newsmakers Committee will host government and industry software experts to address data advances and innovation at a Newsmaker forum in the Club’s Zenger Room at 2:00 p.m. Wednesday.  The group will hold an expert discussion about how data really works, the promise of continued innovation and the need to foster a policy environment that ensures society captures the maximum possible benefit.  Innovative new software, vast computing power and connected devices have taken us to a new era of data innovation, changing the way the world identifies and solves problems. The benefits of this innovation extend to nearly every aspect of business, the economy and modern society, but the increasing abundance of data also has raised questions for many people, and it has fed misperceptions.  Newsmaker speakers at this event will include former Bush Administration Intellectual Property czar Victoria Espinel, currently President & CEO of BSA | The Software Alliance; Bruce Andrews, Deputy Secretary of the US Department of Commerce; John Nesi, VP Market Development at Rockwell Automation; and Dr. Jane Snowdon, Chief Innovation Officer at IBM.

 

AGA to Discuss NatGas Issues for 2015 – The American Gas Association (AGA) will hold a media roundtable on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. with its incoming AGA Board Chairman Terry D. McCallister, chairman and CEO of WGL Holdings, Inc. and Washington Gas Light Company in Washington, D.C., and Dave McCurdy, AGA president and CEO.   McCallister and McCurdy will discuss the vision for natural gas in 2015, and how we can secure natural gas as America’s new energy foundation, providing economic, environmental and energy security solutions for the nation. They will also address AGA’s legislative and regulatory priorities for 2015.

 

NERC, NIST Experts to Discuss Security – ICF International will host NERC’s Fred Hintermister and NIST’s James St. Pierre on Thursday at an Energy Breakfast in Washington D.C. at the National Press Club.  The content of this breakfast event will include threats and concerns from our power system and how they plan to keep us safe.  In recent months, there’s been reports of attacks on both the physical energy infrastructure and on the other cyber elements of the grid.

 

House Science Looks at Future of Nuclear Energy  On Thursday at 10:00 a.m., the House Science, Space & Technology Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy will hold a hearing on the future of Nuclear Energy.  Witnesses will include Peter Lyons, DOE’s Assistant Secretary of Nuclear Energy, Ashley Finan of the Clean Air Task Force, NuScale Power’s Mike McGough, Transatomic Power’s CEO Leslie Dewan and NEI’s Dan Lipman.
EIA Head to Talk Energy History, Status at House Energy Panel – On Thursday at 10:00 a.m., the House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power will hold a hearing on the first energy legislation from 1975 and Our current status. Witnesses will include EIA’s Adam Sieminski, Lucian Pugliaresi of the Energy Policy Research Foundation (EPRINC), Charles Ebinger of the Brookings Institution and Deborah Gordon of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

 

DC Bar to Look at Climate Justice, Burdens, EPA Plan — On Thursday at 12:30 p.m., the D.C. Bar will hold a forum looking at a new Look at the Climate issue as a panel of environmental justice activists try to explain why climate issues are justice issues for overburdened communities. The panelists will discuss how communities, environmentalists, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are addressing climate justice concerns, including concerns about EPA’s proposed regulations for existing power plants – the “Clean Power Plan.”

 

Forum to Look at DoD, Climate Adaptation – The American Security Project will hold a forum on Friday at Noon looking at Department of Defense efforts on Climate adaptation.  In October, the Department of Defense issued its landmark Climate Adaptation Roadmap that detailed how the military is planning for climate change. As the Department of Defense’s lead climate official, Acting Deputy Under Secretary of Defense Conger will discuss how the Department plans to implement the roadmap in the years ahead.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

 

Forum to Look at Additional Social Cost of Carbon Issues – Next Monday, December 15th at 10:00 a.m., the U.S. Energy Association will host a second forum issues related to the social cost of carbon (SCC).  This presentation assesses the benefits of CO2 and compares these to estimates of the social cost of carbon (SCC) that have been published by the Federal government.  CO2 is the basis of life on Earth, and the successful development of fossil fuels, which generate CO2, facilitated successive industrial revolutions, created the modern world, and enables the high quality of life currently taken for granted.  There is a strong causal relationship between world GDP and CO2 emissions over the past two centuries, and this relationship is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future.  The presenter, Roger Bezdek, will compare the CO2 costs and benefits (on a normalized per ton basis) using the SCC estimates and find that the current and future CO2 benefits clearly outweigh any hypothesized costs by, literally, orders of magnitude.

 

WCEE Forum to look at 2015 Congressional Agenda – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold a Brown-bag Luncheon Series   forum on next Monday , December 15th at Noon at AGA.  2014 did not see much legislation passed on the Hill, but it was nonetheless an active year for the energy sector.  FERC approved three LNG export terminals in 2014 and the first US LNG exports are expected to begin in 2015.  The debate over whether to repeal a 39-year old oil export ban ramped up as US oil production increased significantly. Amidst this abundance of natural gas and oil, the US solar industry has taken off as solar prices begin to come in line with traditional forms of energy. Speakers will address what 2015 will hold for the US energy market and how is the new Congress expected to help or hinder energy policy.  Presenters will include Bill Cooper of the Center for Liquefied Natural Gas, API’s Rayola Dougher, SEIA’s Emily Duncan and EPRI’s Barbara Tyran.

 

Forum to Focus on Integration, Deployment of Renewables – The Global America Business Institute (GABI) and the Korea Institute of Energy Research (KIER) are co-hosting an event, next Tuesday, December 16th at 8:30 a.m. on overcoming challenges to increasing integration and deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.  Key R&D areas focusing on grid integration, renewable energy reliability, and the role of energy efficiency will be discussed.

 

CSIS to Release Climatescope Report – Next Tuesday, December 16th at 9:30 a.m., the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Energy and National Security Program hosts a presentation of the recently released Climatescope 2014. The Climatescope is a unique country-by-country assessment, interactive report and index that evaluates the investment climate for climate-related investment worldwide. It profiles 55 countries and evaluates their ability to attract capital for low-carbon energy sources while building a greener economy.  The Climatescope is a snapshot of where clean energy policy and finance stand today and a guide to where clean energy can go. Presenting the report will be Ethan Zindler, Head of Policy Analysis at Bloomberg New Energy Finance and CSIS Energy Program non-resident senior associate, followed by a panel discussion on low carbon energy-related investment in developing countries. Sarah Ladislaw, Director and Senior Fellow at the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate the discussion.

 

Third Q Solar Report Released – Next Tuesday, December 16th at 1:00 p.m., SEIA and GTM Research will hold a webinar covering the highlights of the U.S. Solar Market Insight: Q3 2014 Report.  The U.S. solar industry continued to grow rapidly in Q3 2014, with impressive year over year growth led by strong performances from both the residential and utility PV sectors. The webinar highlights trends in Q3, both at the national level and in some of the top state markets. The discussion will also include detailed PV and CSP market forecasts for the rest of 2014 and beyond.  Cory Honeyman of GTM Research and Shawn Rumery of SEIA will speak.

 

CSIS Conference to Look at Role of Coal – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host an event in the afternoon of December 17th examining the key factors that affect coal usage in major economies as well as the current state of clean coal technology deployment. Over the course of the conference, speakers will examine coal from economic competitiveness, development, energy security and climate perspectives, thus providing insights into the future role of coal.While the robust development of shale gas and the proposed regulation on greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants challenge the viability coal in the United States, the forecast for coal demand remains strong for developing parts of the world for decades to come as economic development continues to drive their energy and electricity demand. Simultaneously, the worldwide momentum to address climate change and the continued growth in coal consumption—primarily outside the United States—make the development and deployment of clean technology pressing.

 

Gerard to Address  State of Energy – API will hold its 2015 State of American Energy luncheon on Tuesday, January 6 at the Ronald Reagan Building.  API head Jack Gerard will speak.

 

Detroit Auto Show to Roll Out New Vehicles – The 2015 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) will open for Press Preview January 12-13th at Cobo Center in Detroit.  Now in its 27th 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.  On January  16th, rock legend Steve Miller Band will perform at the largest single night fundraiser in the world: the North American International Auto Show’s Charity Preview.

 

DC Policy Auto Show Set – The 2015 Washington Auto Show Public Policy Days are set for Wednesday, January 21st in the Cannon House Office Building and Thursday, January 22nd at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.    The annual Sneak Peek Reception, the highly anticipated social and networking event held before Washington’s largest public show opens to attendees, offers automotive industry thought leaders and decision maker’s exclusive early access to the most impressive new models and technological innovations on display at the 2015 Washington Auto Show.  Set for Thursday, January 22, from 5-8 p.m. the Sneak Peek Reception marks the finale of the 2015 Public Policy days, which brings together executives and legislators who influence the automotive sector to address the key issues affecting the industry, its employees and customers, including energy conservation, the environment, and consumer safety technologies.  The Show opens on January 23rd and runs through February 1st.

 

 

Energy Update Week of August 4

Friends,

We finally made it to August.  Time to take a breath.  I will say that traffic in DC was feeling the major effects of August recess – even with the African Leaders Summit in town.  Coming into DC from Annapolis at normal peak rush hour this morning was a breeze.  Too bad it’s not like this all the time…On the home front, with the field hockey season imminent, my girls are training hard.  Adam on the other hand also seems to be only interested in the girls’ field hockey teams as well…I guess that is 14 for you.  Hannah has made recruiting trips to Maine (Bowdoin, Bates, Colby) and Connecticut (Wesleyan, ConnColl, Trinity, Quinnipiac), and she is now headed west to Colorado College for a visit and altitude training (and maybe a little work on the NatGas ballot initiatives out there which now may be up in the air).

I also can’t believe that it is already time for football with yesterday’s Hall of Fame game – and closer to home – the start of the high school/college season.  I have my new rule books out for both football and ice hockey getting ready for the season.  It was nice to see former NY Giant/current TV Star Michael Strahan inducted into Canton alongside Buffalo WR Andre Reed, Walter Jones, linebacker Derrick Brooks, defensive back Aeneas Williams, defensive end Claude Humphrey and Oakland Raider legend Ray Guy, who became the first full-time punter to be selected.  This week, we’ll also get to enjoy the PGA at Valhalla in Louisville, KY (boy, it might be nice to know some big names in Louisville, like a former member of Congress, to maybe get some tickets…) and the start of tennis’ US Open in NYC in the next couple weeks running up to September.

In case you missed the last crazy week because you were planning your August break, the EPA public meetings were very interesting.  Both rule opponents and advocates were using lots of rhetoric and “facts”. Our colleagues at ERCC covered all the hearings with Segal hitting Atlanta, Holmstead handling DC, Josh Zive manning the table in Denver and Chris Burk in Steel City (he was not arrested).  Holmstead also testified at the House Science Committee alongside former Obama DOE official Chuck McConnell who has been very critical of the GHG rules, the CCS provisions and the EPA collaborative process.  On substantive issues, the Highway Trust Fund WAS temporarily patched until next spring, but a deal on the border control issues remained elusive and very political.  I suspect we’ll being hearing a lot about immigration and border issues in August.  And you may have missed it late Friday when 12 states files a challenge over the EPA’s existing coal-fired power plants GHG rule.  NYT’s Coral Davenport reported on the issue over the weekend.

Speaking of the August agenda, what other things will likely be on the minds of voters while Congress is at home for the August District Work period.  Because 2014 is a mid-term election year, the campaigns will hit full stride in August, especially since many vulnerable Senate members will be painting the air waves early to remind voters how great they are.   We are sure the GHG rules will remain a high priority for both sides as they take their respective cases to the public.

FLASHBACK to 2010:  Remember the 2010’s Midterms and global warming legislation that was approved in the Democratic-led House and sitting in the Senate?   While approval was already a steep climb, the August recess and the opponents hard push in town halls and in member’s states/districts really cemented its failure in the Senate.   One suspects you see a similar push from industry, free-market and conservative groups, while advocates for the rule will likely be more prepared to respond this August.  Only time will tell which side will have the better of the debate or if it will matter at all.  One thing you may remember from 2010 is that it wasn’t a very good November from Democrats.  While there were many factors beyond climate legislation, some campaign experts are suggesting similar dynamics for this fall with the foreign policy challenges, healthcare arguments and immigration concerns (on top of the GHG rule issues).  Other items might include weather/drought/fire issues in the west and the newly emerging water/agricultural runoff  issues in the Midwest.

So that is what I’ll be watching as we head toward September.  Finally, with August in place, we won’t have a regular update over the next few weeks.  We will have updates as needed.  Without updates though, it is important to remember the big SEJ event in the first week of September in New Orleans.  It will be a great event, excellent policy/political discussions and good fun, of course centered around the big Bracewell reception on Thursday night.  I hope you’ll consider attending.

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

IN THE NEWS

Miss Power to Repower Plants, Sierra to Drop Challenges – Southern Company’s Mississippi Power is planning to repower, convert to natural gas, or retire several units at plants Watson, Sweatt and Greene County to most economically comply with new federal environmental standards and meet obligations under a settlement with the Sierra Club.  Mississippi Power will no longer use coal at Plant Watson, converting its two remaining coal-fired units to natural gas no later than April 16, 2015. The plant already has three units that operate on natural gas.  At Plant Sweatt, the company commits to retire two of the existing natural gas units, repower with more advanced technology or convert to an alternative non fossil-fuel source, no later than Dec. 31, 2018.  And at Plant Greene County, Mississippi Power will cease coal operations and convert two units to natural gas no later than April 16, 2016.  As a part of the settlement agreement, the Sierra Club agrees to dismiss and withdraw all pending legal and regulatory challenges against the Kemper project and Plant Daniel while also refraining from formally intervening in all existing and anticipated regulatory proceedings at the plants for three years.

12 States File Suit to Block EPA GHG Rules for Existing Power Plants – Already, a groups of Attorneys General have raised hackles about the EPA’s sue and settle approach for moving forward regulations.  Now, 12 states are asking the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., to declare illegal a settlement agreement in which EPA promised to issue its now-pending rule concerning existing coal-fired power plants.  Entered into in 2011, the settlement agreement committed EPA to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal-fired power plants under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act.  The lawsuit contends that the agreement is illegal because coal-fired power plants already are regulated under a separate section of the Clean Air Act and the law expressly prohibits the double regulation of such plants.  The group of states are challenging the settlement agreement now that EPA has chosen to follow through with its illegal promise.  A ruling that EPA made an unlawful commitment could force EPA to abandon its currently pending rule. Other states include Alabama, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming.  NYT’s Coral Davenport reports.

Murray Says Budget Issues, Climate Connected – Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray held a hearing late last week and released a memo urging Senate colleagues to start talking about how climate change impacts the federal budget.   The memo reports on four key sectors that climate change will Impact national security, Infrastructure, disaster relief and agriculture.  Our friend Juliet Eilperin reports in The Washington Post. My colleague Scott Segal challenged Murray’s approach saying the new EPA rules will do little to impact climate change.  Segal added though there is no doubt that the proposed EPA rules will significantly raise the price of electricity in the United States.  Segal: “This will directly impact the cost of operating the military, which accounts for more that 93 percent of US government energy consumption and is the single largest consumer of energy in the United States.  Because energy consumed by active-duty military and civilian personnel is some 35 percent higher than per capita energy consumption of the general US population, raising energy costs can be expected to have a disproportionate impact on military spending.”

NAM Ozone Study Says Rule Will Be Most Expensive Ever – With much of the environmental world focused on the President’s Climate plan and GHG rules, it may be overshadowed a more difficult fight coming later this year or early next:  new Ozone rules that if the President follows an EPA committee recommendation, could be nearly the entire country out of compliance.  Now, a new study by NERA Economic Consulting for the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) says that a more stringent ozone standard from the Obama Administration could reduce GDP by $270 billion per year and carry a compliance price tag of $2.2 trillion from 2017 to 2040.  Those economic impacts would increase energy costs dramatically and place millions of jobs at risk.  At this price, the NAM estimates that it would be the most expensive regulation the U.S. government has ever issued.  In total, the study finds that revising the ozone standard from 75 parts per billion (ppb) to 60 ppb could: 1) Reduce U.S. GDP by $270 billion per year and $3.4 trillion from 2017 to 2040; 2) Result in 2.9 million fewer job equivalents per year on average through 2040; 3) Cost the average U.S. household $1,570 per year in the form of lost consumption; and 4) Increase natural gas and electricity costs for manufacturers and households across the country.

EPA Delays Renewable Rule – EPA is extending reporting deadlines for the 2013 compliance period under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program again.  The current deadline has already been extended to September 30 (one-month before the election), and the new move signals that the agency may be taking even longer than expected to finalize its 2014 RFS volume mandates.  The annual compliance reports and attest engagement reports for the 2013 RFS compliance period will not be due until 30 days and 90 days, respectively, following publication of the final rule establishing the 2014 renewable fuel percentage standards for cellulosic biofuel, biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuel and total renewable fuel in the Federal Register.  Our friend Mark Drajem of Bloomberg reports some experts say the White House is looking to raise the requirements in part to boost the prospects of those on the ballot in November, including Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley, who is in a tight race for the Senate in Iowa.

Kemper CCS Project Hits Milestones – The Kemper County energy facility has made significant progress, successfully achieving two major testing milestones: the testing of the combined-cycle unit and pressure testing of the plant’s two gasifiers.  Testing of the combined-cycle unit included fueling it with natural gas to validate the unit’s ability to make electricity.  Pneumatic pressure testing is necessary before the Kemper gasifiers can be placed into service to ensure the safety of the equipment’s assembled parts, check for leaks and confirm the gasifiers can handle the air and gas pressure associated with startup. Weighing 6.5 million pounds each, the gasifiers are the core of the integrated gasification process, which will convert Mississippi-native lignite into synthesis gas (syngas) to make electricity. They are so large that they had to be manufactured in multiple sections, shipped to the site and then welded together.  Both gasifiers were tested successfully in May and June by SCS engineering and construction services, which has been instrumental in helping Kemper County reach its milestones. A combined-cycle unit is among the most efficient forms of generating electricity for large-scale power production.  The innovative clean-coal technology at Kemper County is designed to deliver clean, safe, reliable, affordable electricity to Mississippi Power customers. The 582-megawatt generating facility is scheduled to begin operation in 2015.  The project has received attention from industry groups, public officials and media outlets from the U.S. and around the world.

Survey Shows Growth in Gas Industry – A new Marcellus Shale Coalition survey says more skilled workers are being employed by natural gas operators in the Marcellus Shale that ever before.  This year, companies intend to add 2,000 more employees, of which the largest group will be in engineering and construction. The findings – based on 2013 data – were provided by a large majority of MSC member companies, representing nearly 95% of Pennsylvania’s shale production.  Key survey highlights include 1) 26.5% of new hires work in engineering and construction, 23% of new hires work in equipment operations, 15.2% in operations and maintenance,  8% in administration, 7% in land and 5% in environmental, health & safety; 2) 83% of new hires came from Marcellus Shale [Pa., Oh., W.Va., N.Y., Md.] states; 3) Positions most difficult to fill; 4) Workforce diversity; and 5) Recruitment methods and challenges, including educational and professional training needs.  According to the survey data, MSC member companies expect to hire more than 2,000 new employees in 2014. The survey also indicates that the majority of new hires are in three sub-sectors and are weighted more so in southwestern Pennsylvania: engineering and construction; midstream and pipeline; and operations and maintenance.

New PA Gas Plants to Be Built – IMG Midstream, funded primarily by our private equity friends at Bregal Energy, plans to build 12 small, 25-MW generating stations in northeastern Pennsylvania that will burn Marcellus Shale gas.  The company is planning two in Wyoming County, two in Susquehanna County and three in Bradford County.  Each facility will use five Jenbacher J624 engines, a GE product, according to applications filed with the state Department of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Air Quality. Each engine can produce about 4.4 Megawatts of electrical output.

ON THE SCHEDULE DURING RECESS

Africa Leaders Summit Set – President Obama, Members of Congress and other U.S. Government officials will welcome African heads of state and government leaders for the first-ever Africa Leaders Summit today through Wednesday.  This historic summit, the first of its kind, will bring leaders from across the African continent to the nation’s capital and further strengthen U.S. ties with one of the world’s most dynamic and fast-growing regions.  The theme of the summit is “Investing in the Next Generation.”  The Summit will advance the focus on trade and investment in Africa, and highlight America’s commitment to Africa’s security, its democratic development, and elevate the ideas of young people.  At the same time, it will highlight the depth and breadth of the United States’ commitment to the African continent, advance our shared priorities and enable discussion of concrete ideas to deepen the partnership.  At its core, this Summit is about fostering stronger ties between the United States and Africa.

Forum to Look at Solar, Role in Energy – Tomorrow at 10:00 a.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Ethan Zindler, Head of Policy Analysis at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, Sol Systems CEO Yuri Horwitz, acting Team Lead for DOE’s SunShot Solar Energy Technologies Program Elaine Ulrich to discuss innovation and its effects on the adoption of solar energy. The session, part of the Energy Program’s Frontier Energy Series, will focus on recent technological developments in the sector as well as changes in the market and policy environments that may together determine its market potential in the coming years. Sarah Ladislaw, Director and Senior Fellow in the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.   Solar energy is frequently lauded as a potential game changer in the energy landscape and with good reason: it is the fastest growing source of renewable electricity globally (albeit from a small base), and its average cost is quickly falling, with the cost per watt installed having declined over 17 percent in 2011 alone. Solar is now cost competitive without subsidy in a number of places throughout the world.  Yet challenges still remain. Obstacles in areas ranging from financing to installation to grid integration to cost all indicate solar energy’s persistent dependence on innovation to launch it to its prospective more prominent role in the energy landscape.

USEA to Look at Carbon Scrubbing – The United States Energy Association will hold a forum tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. looking at technology options for scrubbing carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere.  The forum will feature a discussion of the technical and economic hurdles that need to be overcome,  Dr. Klaus Lackner will consider the policy implications of air capture in the current climate change debate. Capture of carbon dioxide from ambient air renders emissions from any source reversible and it defines the cost of unauthorized emissions.  Rather than dwelling on the possibility that air capture could motivate a delay in action, the presentation will focus on the ability of air capture to create negative emissions, which the recent IPCC report considers necessary.  Finally, Dr. Lackner will outline different pathways for development and implementation of air capture technologies.

DOE to Host Webinar on “National Energy Literacy” – Tomorrow at 3:00 p.m., the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy respectfully invites you to join a virtual town hall featuring ongoing national, local and new media efforts from across the country in utilizing the Department of Energy’s Energy Literacy Framework to address one of our nations’ biggest national challenges, “Energy Illiteracy. The purpose of the webinar is to share ongoing energy educational materials and literacy efforts from across the country and how to engage diverse learners in energy. The webinar will include rapid fire sessions to showcase energy literacy efforts and resources for teachers and STEM professionals.

ELI to Look at Peru Mining Regs – On Wednesday at Noon, the Environmental Law Institute will hold a forum on a recent decision by the government of Peru to ease environmental protections on mining and energy activities. A law passed earlier this month by the Peruvian Congress has raised key questions about environmental implications of the reforms, including within the artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) sector. ASGM activities in Peru and globally raise a host of complex environmental and social challenges, and formalization of the sector is viewed as a critical step to addressing such challenges.   Monica Nuñez Salas with the Peruvian Agency for Assessment and Environmental Control and Hannah Stutzman with the Amazon Conservation Association will address 1) the implications of the new law for biodiversity and protected areas, 2) the effects of the law on the ASGM sector, including strategies to promote formalization and voluntary compliance with environmental measures and 3) the future of environmental institutions in Peru

SNL to Hold Webinar on Coal-Fired Generation Issues – Trade Media group SNL Financial will hold a webinar on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. focused on finding a path for coal in the current regulatory climate.  It’s no secret that coal has been under fire for some time. To say that the regulatory environment for coal-fired generation has become challenging over the past few years, would be a drastic understatement.  Starting with CSAPR and MATS, plus the EPA’s proposed new rules on carbon, coal has had a very hard time indeed. Add to that the recent, high-profile problems with coal ash and potential increases in regulation and it’s hard to imagine anyone that sees owning coal generation in a positive light.  The event will explore the issues surrounding this beleaguered fuel source and discuss how the future of coal-fired generation may unfold.  Panelists will include energy attorney Steve Farkas, TVA’s Joe Hoagland,  John Ward of the American Coal Ash Association and SNL Energy’s Steve Piper, who will moderate.

TX Enviro Superconference Set for Austin – The 26th annual Texas Environmental Superconference will be held on Thursday and Friday at the Four Seasons.  Several Bracewell attorneys will be speaking on panels with speakers including Lowell Rothschild, Rich Alonso and Tim Wilkins.  TCEQ’s Bryan Shaw and EPA’s Ron Curry will also speak.

Forum to Discuss Utility Sector Report –Next Tuesday, August 12th at 10:00 a.m., the U.S. Energy Association will host a forum on the US electricity industry and technological change.  Traditional electric utility operations are transforming to address rapid changes in market dynamics and technology. Factors from aging infrastructure, regulation and resiliency concerns to the natural gas revolution and growth in renewable energy are among the issues forcing market participants to adapt. The 2014 Black & Veatch Strategic Directions: Electric Report offers critical insight and analysis of these key issues and more as industry leaders seek pathways to greater growth and efficiency.  Speakers will include Black & Veatch Energy Business CEO Dean Oskvig and John Chevrette, President of Black & Veatch’s Management Consulting Business.

SEIA Webinar to Focus on CA ISO Energy Imbalance Market – Next Tuesday, August 12th at 4:00 p.m. EST, the Solar Energy Industry Assn will host a webinar on the California Independent System Operator (ISO) real-time market to include other balancing authorities in the West in its implementation of the Energy Imbalance Market.  EIM is the automated system that balances electricity supply and demand every five minutes by choosing the least-cost resource to meet the needs of the grid.  The webinar will provide an overview of the EIM, the current status of its implementation and a look to the future – including anticipated work following the October start date and an overview of the Transitional Committee which is an advisory body to the ISO Board on EIM issues.  Speakers will include Cal ISO’s Stacey Crowley, Mark Rothleder and Don Fuller.

CNG Station to Open in VA – Next Wednesday August 13th at 11:00 a.m., the Clean Energy Fuels will host a grand opening for a new Dulles Virginia public Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fueling station in Sterling. This fast-fill public station will enable Northern Virginia area fleets and the local community to take advantage of America’s cleaner alternative fuel at a fraction of the cost of gasoline and diesel. Refreshments will be provided.

WCEE to Look at Gas Pipeline Project, Issues – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) continues its Brown-bag Luncheon Series on Monday August 18th at Noon looking at energy extraction and the environment with an in-depth look at the Camisea Gas Pipeline Project.  The event will feature  Elizabeth Brito, Lead Environment Specialist on the Camisea Project.  The Camisea Gas pipelines carry natural gas from the Camisea gas fields near the Urubamba River in central Peru, through the Andes, and across the Peruvian Amazon. The project was built through fragile environments that are also home to indigenous tribes. Nevertheless, the project was lauded in the April 26 issue of The Economist as a success story for how energy extraction projects can coexist with people and the environment. A portion of the Camisea project was developed with a loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), which set rigorous environmental safeguards for the project. This event will provide a closer look at the project from IDB’s perspective, including IDB’s role in ensuring that the environment and people are protected, the challenges, and key takeaways that other projects should consider and implement to limit social and environmental impacts.

FUTURE EVENTS AFTER RECESS

SEJ Conference Set for NOLA – On September 3-7,  the Society of Environmental Journalists will hold its annual Meeting in New Orleans.  Usually later in October, this year the conference comes in early September due to scheduling and availability.  Nonetheless, it will be a great time and feature all the usual events, including the famous Bracewell reception on Thursday night.  Tours will include natgas drilling, chemical corridor, offshore drilling, marshlands and many other tours.  Look for broad panel discussions on the EPA’s GHG rules as well as lots of other great stuff.

Reid Clean Energy Summit Set – Harry Reid’s 7th annual National Clean Energy Summit will bring together clean energy visionaries and leaders, public officials, business executives, energy policy experts, entrepreneurs, investors, citizens, and students, to discuss empowering Americans to develop our massive clean energy supplies, secure greater energy independence, and create jobs.  The day-long clean energy summit will be cosponsored by Senate Majority Leader Reid, the Center for American Progress, the Clean Energy Project, MGM Resorts International, and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Giuliani, Segal Headline Shale Law Conference – The Institute for Energy Law and the Energy and Mineral Law Foundation (EMLF) the 5th Law of Shale Plays Conference on September 4 – 5th in Pittsburgh at the Omni Hotel.  My colleagues Jason Hutt and Lowell Rothschild are among the speakers.  The event will also feature a keynote conversation with former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani, hosted by PRG’s Scott Segal.  Other speakers include Cabot’s Kevin Cunningham, Baker Hughes’ Will Marsh and SW Energy’s Mark Boling.

Women Energy Leaders to Discussion Issues, Challenges – The WCEE Women in Leadership Committee will hold a forum on September 9th at Clyde’s Gallery Place at Noon to discuss women in Washington Leadership on energy issues.  Panelists will include Tasha Parker, Senior Vice President and Digital Energy Lead at Edelman; Liz Sidoti, Head of U.S. Communications at BP; Elizabeth Thompson, Vice President of US Climate & Political Affairs, and President at Environmental Defense Action Fund; and Heidi VanGenderen, Director of Public Engagement at the U.S. Department of Energy.

Richardson, Perino, Ridge to Headline Shale Insight Conference – The Marcellus Shale Coalition will hold SHALE INSIGHT 2014 on September 23 – 25 in Pittsburgh focusing on shale development, featuring some of the most prominent industry and government leaders. The event will feature three days of pre-conference workshops, technical and public affairs insight sessions, major keynote addresses, and a dynamic exhibit hall featuring all the major shale players.  Speakers will include former Energy Secretary and NM Governor Bill Richardson, former PA Gov and first Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, former White House Press Secretary and Fox News Personality Dana Perino, XTO President Randy Cleveland and many more.

Inglis to Headline  Midwest Energy Conference – The Midwest Energy Policy Conference will be held in St. Louis on September 30th and October 1st.  The event will address the 2014 environmental and energy rulings of the SCOTUS, the path forward following the EPA greenhouse gas 111(d) ruling and what makes successful state energy plan programs relevant and successful in several key focus areas (economic development, education, research, regulations, portfolio mix, biofuels, and more)  The Keynote speaker will be former SC Rep. Bob Inglis.

USEA Forum Set – The US Energy Assn will host its 7th annual Energy Supply Forum at the National Press Club on October 2nd.

Shale Water Expo Set – On October 14 and 15, Shale Water Expo 2014 will be held in Houston at the  Stafford Convention Centre.  The event is focused on shale play water management is the only national fluids-specific event for the oil and gas industry.  It will present timely, in-depth insight from industry leaders sharing their expertise on water management, logistics, sourcing, recycling, market forecasting and industry trends.