Energy Update Week of July 21

Friends,

Amazingly, yesterday was the 45th anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the Moon.  “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” was the lasting memory of the epic Apollo 11 flight that landed the first humans on the moon and safely returned them to Earth. Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin ventured out on the moon for 21.5 hours before taking off from the lunar surface to meet up with fellow astronaut Michael Collins in the command module, and then return to Earth.

For the golf fans among us, this weekend’s British Open was pretty amazing as well.  With two potential eagle opportunities in the last few holes, the race to the Claret Jug was a thrill even with 25-year-old ace Rory McIIroy holding the lead wire to wire.  Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler kept the pressure on but McIIroy made good for the win (and a big payout for his father, who made a 2004, 500-1 futures bet with the betting House Ladbrokes on McIlroy winning the Open Championship within 10 years.)   He has immediately been targeted by Tom Steyer as a potential source of funds.

Despite the difficult news about Ukraine and Gaza attracting most of the news energy, we still have two big items on the plate in Washington with two weeks to go to the mid-term election year August recess.   Both the Highway Trust Fund and the President’s greenhouse gas rules for existing power plants with continue to draw the major attention in Congress.

On highways, this could be a decisive week for highway and bridge building if the Senate can pass a bill providing funding.  The current bill expires on August 1st and runs out of money at the end of August.  Last week, the House passed its version of the bill that would keep money flowing to state transportation projects through nest May.  But controversies over the short-term nature and closely-related items like Davis-Bacon remain and could trip it up.  The topic and expectations regarding highway funding is sure to be a topic that Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx at the National Press Club today at 1 p.m. (just finished on C-SPAN)

The other big item is next week’s EPA public hearings in Atlanta, Denver, Washington and Pittsburgh.  My colleagues will be in all four cities to relay concerns about technology, reliability, power costs and other items.  I’m sure our friends in the environmental community will be there as well (hopefully with the inflatable power plants they like to bring to these showcases or a stroller brigade or something similar)

This week on the rule there are a number of excellent hearings including a Wednesday Gina McCarthy performance at Senate Environment, our friend Bud Weinstein Thursday at House Energy/Commerce on the economic impacts of state energy policies and tomorrow House Foreign Affairs takes up the international role of the U.S.   As well, the Senate Energy Committee will look at revenue and natural resources issues, tomorrow.

Finally on the policy side, our friends at the Bipartisan Policy Center are gathering experts, business leaders, academics and policymakers to assess the state of American energy innovation and new approaches to drive more resources into it tomorrow at the Renaissance Washington.  Energy Secretary Moniz leads the discussion.  Our friends Steve Mufson, Ben Geman and Jim Snyder moderate panels.

From the news, our friend Cliff Krauss in on A1 of the New York Times with how the greater sage grouse’s potential addition to the endangered species list has brought together an odd coalition.  My colleague Eric Washburn helped bring this one to light.

Lastly, last night, the Queen revival rolled into Merriweather Post and I mention it because it is the second report I have received about how good former Idol star Adam Lambert has been standing in for the late and irreplaceable Freddie Mercury.  They play all the classics and it is a fabulous show.  While I missed Queen, I will head to Merriweather Thursday to see Beck.  Where it’s at….Call if you have questions.

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

 

IN THE NEWS

Still Not Moving Needle on Environment Concern – The same ol’ story in more polling this week from our friends at POLITICO:  Just 4% of respondents in POLITICO’s new poll of likely voters in competitive Senate states and House districts identified the environment as the national issue that concerns them the most, beating out other issues like taxes, terrorism and foreign affairs. The highest ranking concerns were the economy and jobs, which were chosen by 21% and 10% of respondents, respectively.

Industry Groups Propose Crude Train Car Limitations – Our friend Jim Snyder of Bloomberg had a great piece last week on industry proposals to phase out older rail cars that haul crude.   The plan calls for slightly thicker walls for new cars to make them less vulnerable to puncture who asked not to be identified discussing private communications. The parties agreed to scrap a fleet of thousands of DOT-111s within three years if manufacturers agree they can replace or retrofit the tank cars in that period.  While API and AAR have rolled this effort forward, refining industry, who lease a majority of the crude cars on the rails today raised concerns and says they were not part of the deal.  The Department of Transportation will outline a comprehensive plan for oil train safety in the coming weeks.

Enviros, Google to Map Methane Leaks from Pipelines – The Environmental Defense Fund and Google’s Earth Outreach program are going to map natural gas leaks in Boston, Indianapolis and New York’s State Island.  The interactive maps are the first step of a pilot project to use Google’s Street View cars to measure environmental indicators.  EDF says it worked with utilities to validate the findings.   Our friends at the American Gas Association said only a small fraction of produced natural gas leaks from local utility pipelines, and that utilities have lowered emissions by 22% since 1990. CEO Dave McCurdy said in their attempt to raise the awareness of natural gas emissions, the EDF campaign understates that utilities are working with state and local policymakers to effectively reduce emissions by adopting innovative rate mechanisms to upgrade, replace and modernize natural gas distribution pipelines for safety and economic reasons.

NYT Features Christy as Well – With all the fun stories last week about Tom Steyer, his coal interests and his response, there was another NYT piece by Michael Wines that was equally interesting on longtime climate skeptic John Christy.  Often one of most credible skeptics, Christy is an outlier on what the vast majority of his colleagues consider to be a matter of consensus: that global warming is both settled science and a dire threat.  The article says he regards it as neither and not because the earth is not heating up. It is, he says, and carbon dioxide spewed from power plants, automobiles and other sources is at least partly responsible. But in speeches, congressional testimony and peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals, he argues that predictions of future warming have been greatly overstated and that humans have weathered warmer stretches without perishing.

TX, CO Efforts to Block NatGas Drilling (not Fracking) Hit Roadblock – Two separate efforts to limit natural gas drilling in Texas and Colorado hit road blocks last week.  The Denton, Texas City Council rejected a ban on further permitting of hydraulic fracturing in the community.  The north Texas city sits atop the Barnett Shale, one of the largest natural gas reserves in the country.  The City Council members voted down the petition 5-2 after eight hours of public testimony, sending the proposal to a public ballot in November.  In Colorado, the organizer of Initiative 75, the grassroots anti-drilling (not fracking) measure said the statewide campaign failed to collect enough signatures to reach the ballot.  Lead organizer Cliff Willmeng said supporters were not on pace to gather the requisite 86,105 valid signatures needed by the August 4 deadline.   Initiatives generally need about 125,000 signatures to clear the petition hurdle, given that many signatures are inevitably found to be invalid by the Secretary of State’s office.  Initiative 75, the Colorado Community Rights Amendment, would have allowed localities to supersede state authority in order to ban corporate activity within their borders, including anti-drilling laws.  Still, these are not the two other anti-drilling initiatives sponsored by Democratic Rep. Jared Polis.  Initiative 88 would expand the state’s setbacks rule from 500 to 2,000 feet, while Initiative 89 would create an Environmental Bill of Rights.

Other Pro-NatGas CO Measures on Pace to Make Ballot – Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development (CRED) said two statewide ballot measures have garnered a majority of signatures needed to qualify for Colorado’s statewide ballot and deemed both valuable to the conversation and education of voters this November.  Ballot Initiative #121 is a fair, commonsense approach and something all Coloradans can support in acknowledging those impacted by energy development should be fairly compensated and likewise, those that ban oil and natural gas activities – such as fracking – shouldn’t financially benefit from an industry it has essentially boycotted. In that same vein of fairness, Ballot Initiative #137 would require the financial cost of a successfully passed ballot measure be disclosed up front and during the ballot signature gathering process. Ballot Initiative #121 has garnered over 55,000 signatures, while Ballot Initiative #137 has acquired more than 59,800 signatures and both measures will likely appear before voters this November.

Interior to Offer NJ Offshore Wind Leases – Our friends at Energy Guardian report that there are enough companies interested in building wind farms off New Jersey’s coast for the Interior Department to go forward with its third state leading effort.  Already, BOEM has offered to sell wind leases off the coasts of Massachusetts and Maryland and awarded five more in New England, Delaware and Virginia.  Now they are preparing to offer leases for nearly 344,000 acres in an offshore area that could generate 3,400 megawatts and power about 1.2 million homes.  BOEM said 11 firms already have expressed an interest in the New Jersey leases, which begin in an area about seven nautical miles off the coast of Atlantic City.  A formal notice for the proposed sale will be posted in the Federal Register today.

NHL, NRDC to Reduce GHG Impacts – I am usually talking about hockey in the intro, but today, the NRDC and NHL have teamed up for a report that help the league reduce its greenhouse gas footprint.  Each hockey game emits 408 metric tons of CO2 — the equivalent output of about 900,000 gallons of gasoline, according to EIA figures. That’s approximately 56 pounds per attendee, though that doesn’t include fans’ transportation to the game, according to the report. In the report, the NHL lays out its first carbon inventory, which details the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the many facets of our operations, including energy and water use, waste and travel. While NHL hockey games are energy intensive, the league says that the geographic locations of our Clubs require a substantial amount of travel over the course of a season. Like the other professional sports, these business operations affect the air and our supplies of clean, fresh water. But the league has implemented programs to reduce that output — including some venues participating in demand response programs; more efficient lighting and industrial equipment; and on-site solar power and other renewables.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

DOE Looking for R&D Insights – Tomorrow morning, the Office of Fossil Energy of the U.S. Department of Energy is seeking industry’s involvement in developing a R&D agenda on subsurface technology and engineering.  They will hold a forum at USEA led by Mark Ackiewicz, Program Manager for the Division of CCS Research at the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Fossil Energy, this briefing will aim to facilitate a dialogue with industry on what they perceive as the key challenges and opportunities regarding adaptive control of fractures and fluid flow.

Senate Energy to Look at Energy Resource Revenue – The Senate Energy Committee will convene a hearing tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. to examine leveraging America’s resources as a revenue generator and job creator, focusing on the state and local government benefits in terms of revenue generated and jobs created from natural resource production.  Witnesses will include Interior’s Gregory Gould who directs the Office of Natural Resource Revenue, as well as Lafourche Parrish President Charlotte Randolph, Paul Pearce of the National Forest Counties and Schools Coalition, Joel Webster  of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Quest Offshore’s Sean Shafer,  Utah’s Director of Energy Development Laura Nelson and Duane Taylor of the Motorcycle Industry Council.

ELI Forum to Focus on Energy Performance – The Environmental Law Institute will hold a forum tomorrow at noon to look at improving energy performance at industrial facilities.  In the last decade, the U.S. Department of Energy and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) have raised the bar for energy performance in industrial facilities.  Speakers will include General Dynamics Stephen Cannizzaro, Robert Bruce Lung of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and DOE’s Paul Scheihing.

Senate Foreign Relations Tackles Climate – The Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on International Development and Foreign Assistance, Economic Affairs, International Environmental Protection, and Peace Corps will hold a hearing tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. in 444 Dirksen on U.S. security implications of international energy and climate policies.  Witnesses will include Amos Hochstein of the State Department, US AID’s Eric Postel, DoD’s Daniel Chiu, retired Rear Admiral David Titley, of the CNA Military Advisory Board, former State Department official David Goldwyn, former EIA official Mary Hutzler and Michael Breen of the Truman National Security Project.

BPC Forum to Focus on Innovation – On Wednesday, the Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) American Energy Innovation Council (AEIC) will gather experts, business leaders, academics and policymakers to assess the state of American energy innovation and new approaches to drive more resources into it.  Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning will be the keynote speaker. Former Dow exec Chad Holliday, DOE Secretary Ernie Moniz, DOE’s David Danielson, MIT Energy Initiative Director and many others will be among the other speakers.

Senate Environment to Host McCarthy on New Rule – The Senate Environment Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday featuring EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.  The hearing will focus on EPA’s proposed carbon pollution standards for existing power plants.

House Energy Panel to Look at States, Modernizing Rules – The House Energy and Commerce panel on the Environment will hold a hearing Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. to hear from state regulators and the business community on how the federal government and states could work together to modernize environmental regulations.  Witnesses will include Henry Darwin, director of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality; David Cash, commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection; Teresa Marks, director of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality; and William Kovacs, senior vice president for environment, technology and regulatory affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Webinar to Address CHP in NY, Cali – The Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Association will hold a webinar on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. looking at CHP Programs in California and New York.  The discussion will center on CHP incentive programs and their practical applications, comparing those in New York with those in California.  The webinar will feature speakers on the programs from NYSERDA and the California Self Generation Incentive Program, as well as speakers from manufacturers of CHP equipment.

House FA Look at Energy Dominican Republic – The House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere will convene a hearing Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. in 2255 Rayburn bolstering economic growth and energy independence with the Dominican Republic.  Witnesses will include AES CEO Andrés Gluski, former OAS Ambassador of the Dominican Republic Roberto Álvarez  and Santiago Canton, Executive Director of RFK Partners for Human Rights.

Resources to Look at Mineral Resources – The House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will hold an oversight hearing on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. focused on American metals and mineral security.  The hearing will be an examination of the domestic critical minerals supply and demand chain.  Critical and strategic metals and minerals are fundamental components of technologies and everyday items ranging from cell phones, computers, medical equipment, renewable energy products, high-tech military equipment, building materials, and common household products. The timely and environmentally responsible development of our Nation’s vast supplies of strategic and critical minerals will create good-paying mining jobs, boost local economies, and provide security to America’s economy. This hearing further underscores the need for the Senate to approve H.R. 761, the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act, which passed the House last September and allows the United States to more efficiently develop its strategic and critical minerals that are vital to America’s economic competitiveness.

WCEE to Hold Annual Legislative Roundtable – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment will hold its Annual Legislative Roundtable next Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. at the American Gas Assn.  The event will highlight key issues facing the US Congress this fall.  The event will discuss highly contested legislative issues ranging from crude oil and LNG exports to renewable policies in the electricity and transportation sectors.   Senior congressional staff will share with us their predictions regarding the role these issues are playing in the midterm elections and how the outcome will likely impact the policies that shape the energy industry.  Speakers will include Senate Energy Committee directors Liz Craddock and Karen Billups, as well as reps from the House Energy and Commerce Committee.  Out friend Christi Tezak moderates.   WCEE will also hold an Energy Happy Hour the night prior at OYA at 777 9th Street.

WRI to Release Report – On Thursday morning at NPR, the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the Resources and Rights Initiative (RRI) unveil the report “Securing Rights, Combating Climate Change: How Strengthening Community Forest Rights Mitigates Climate Change.”  The analysis will offer the most comprehensive review to date linking legal recognition and government protection of community forest rights with healthier forests and reduced carbon pollution from deforestation. More than 11 percent of global emissions are due to deforestation and other land use, and this new analysis offers an exciting and largely untapped tool to help reduce global emissions.  As discussions head toward the next round of international climate negotiations in Lima, Peru and Paris in 2015, this report and discussion will offer a fresh perspective for how strengthening rights of local and indigenous communities can be an exceptionally powerful tool for climate action and forest protection. Armed with the report’s results, practitioners and policy makers should be convinced that safeguarding forest rights is as crucial of a climate solution as others like REDD+, renewable energy and low-carbon urban design.

Former State Official  to Address Carnegie – on Thursday at 9:30 a.m., the Carnegie Endowment will host Ambassador Carlos Pascual to share his perspectives on some of the key energy issues during his tenure at the Bureau of Energy Resources at the State Department, as well as ongoing energy challenges.  Other speakers will include Jessica Tuchman Mathews, Deborah Gordon and Bruce Jones.

CO’s Gardner to Headline Energy Forum – On Thursday at 10:00 a.m., the Heritage Foundation will host Rep Cory Gardner Of Colorado to lead a discussion in how open energy markets will create more opportunities for Americans, promote economic prosperity at home and abroad.  Expanding domestic energy production over the past few years has provided a welcome boost to the American economy. The federal government, however, has constrained the economic benefits by significantly limiting companies’ ability to trade energy freely around the world.  Other speakers include Jamie Webster of IHS, NAM’s Ross Eisenberg and Cato’s Scott Lincicome.

Energy to Hold Nomination Hearing for Dep Energy Sect – The Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. to examine the nomination of Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, of California, to be Deputy Secretary of Energy.

House Energy Panel to Look at State Economic Impacts – The House Energy and Committee Committee’s Energy and Power panel will hold a hearing on Thursday at on the economic impacts of state energy policies.  Witnesses will include our friend Bernard Weinstein of the SMU Maguire Energy Institute, as well as Paul Polzin of the University of Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research, Tom Tanton of the Energy and Environment Legal Institute, Manhattan Institute fellow Fred Siegel, Steve Clemmer of the Union of Concerned Scientists and Steve Nadel of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy

USEA to Focus on China, CCS – On Thursday at 10:00 a.m., the U.S. Energy Association will hold a forum on coal issues in China. The presentation will review some of the most recent CCS developments in China, including an overview of the ongoing research, demonstration and deployment as well as an overview of recent policy actions taken.  Additionally, Jim Wood, Director for the US-China Clean Energy Research Center for Coal for West Virginia University,  will present on the US-China collaboration on CCS.

CSIS Forum/Study to Look at EPA Rule – On Thursday at 12:30 p.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program and the Rhodium Group (RHG) will release the preliminary results from their study on the economic and energy system impacts of EPA’s proposed 111(d) rule – the Clean Power Plan – regulating carbon dioxide from existing power plants. The results from the study will be compared with the economic impacts in the EPA’s regulatory impact analysis, highlighting areas where the modeling results diverge.  CSIS and RHG have partnered to do an initial assessment of the economic impact of future emissions standards that accounts for these broader energy market dynamics and maps impacts by region of the country to help inform key regional and industry stakeholders. The study focuses on the changes to the electric power and energy production that are likely to under the EPA’s proposal, as well as price, demand expenditures and other impacts. The analysis provides a balanced and measured set of estimates of national and regional results to inform ongoing policy deliberations both in Washington and in the states.

Forum to Look at Climate Impacts – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute will hold a briefing on Friday morning in 562 Dirksen to examine the current and projected impacts of climate change in the Northeast and regional efforts to manage these risks. The Northeast is home to approximately 64 million people and is one of the most built-up environments in the world.  The Third National Climate Assessment (NCA), which was released on May 6, projects that climate change will further threaten the region’s environmental, social, and economic systems. While many of the states and municipalities in the Northeast have developed plans to mitigate and adapt to the threats of climate change, implementation is still in the early stages. How have federal, state, and local government initiatives acted to increase resiliency against current and future impacts of climate change? What more can and should be done to reduce these risks?  Speakers for this forum are Radley Horton of the Northeast Climate Science Center (also Convening Lead Author, National Climate Assessment Chapter on the Northeast), HUD advisor Scott Davis, NYC Director of the Office of Recovery and Resiliency Dan Zarrilli and Sam Carter of the Rockefeller Foundation.

FUTURE EVENTS

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

Chamber to Look at Transportation Sector, Data – Next Monday, July 28th at noon, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce will hold a forum to explore how data is being used in the transportation sector.  the event will feature presenters from both the public and private sectors that utilize data to provide unique services, engage their customers, promote safety and efficiency, and move the world in a different and better way.

DOE to Hold Biomass Forum –  DOE will hold its 7th annual conference Biomass 2014 next Tuesday and Wednesday, focusing on growing the future bioeconomy. Co-hosted with Advanced Biofuels USA, this year’s conference will take place at the Washington Convention Center. As in past years, Biomass 2014 will bring together top government officials and members of Congress—with industry leaders and experts from across the bioenergy supply chain—to continue ongoing dialogue about the critical challenges and key opportunities for the industry. The event will focus on the innovative technologies, priority pathways, financing strategies, and public policies needed to grow the bioeconomy of the future.

McCabe to Speak at NatGas Roundtable – The Natural Gas Roundtable will host Janet McCabe, Acting Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, at its luncheon Tuesday July 29th.  McCabe will present an overview of the EPA’s Proposed Clean Power Plan.   Immediately following lunch, the Natural Gas Roundtable will host the Washington, DC premier of the film “Breaking Free: How the U.S. is Reducing its Carbon Footprint while Increasing its GDP.” The director of the film, Robin Bossert, will be available to provide background and answer audience questions.

Forum to Look at Climate National Security – Next Tuesday, July 29th at 2:00 p.m., the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will hold a forum on Climate Change and national security.  The briefing will focus on the key recommendations and consensus points that emerged from June 4th discussion on the topic and highlight the next steps for action.  Speakers will include Craig Gannett of the Henry M. Jackson Foundation, former White House official Alice Hill, Ian Kraucunas of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, King County, WA Council Chair Larry Phillips and Jonathan White, Oceanographer and Navigator of the Navy and Director of the Navy’s Task Force Climate Change.

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

CANCELLED Press Club to Host Nigerian President – The National Press Club event hosting Nigeria President Goodluck Jonathan at a NPC luncheon on July 31st has been cancelled because of scheduling conflicts.  Jonathan was to discuss the prospects of Africa’s largest oil producer.

TX Enviro Superconference Set for Austin – The 26th annual Texas Environmental Superconference will be held on Thursday and Friday, August 7th and 8th, 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.

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.

 

Energy Update

Friends,

And I Feel Fine.  With yesterday’s final, the World Cup is complete with Germany breaking Europe’s streak of bad luck on American (Latin/South/North) soil with a spectacular goal in the 113th minute of extra time from substitute player Mario Gӧtze.  The game ends a great tournament with lots of excitement and lots of emotion.  Next up for Brazil, the 2016 summer games.  The World Cup heads to Russia in 2018.

Today, our friends at NARUC launch their summer meetings in Dallas with a full slate of discussions about all topics related to utility regulators, including many on the new GHG rules from EPA.  There are many different opinions at NARUC on the topic.  To that end, this morning, the pro-EPA rule “Analysis” Group, headed by Sue Tierney released a study saying electricity customers would benefit from the new GHG rule for existing power plants.  Funny how they often come to that conclusion when it would benefit their favorite position.  Most real analysis shows even with a lot of flexibility for states, there will still be significant economic costs on consumers, businesses and states, especially regionally.  My colleagues Scott Segal and Jeff Holmstead can offer thoughts on the “analysis” from the Analysis Group.  FERC Chair Cheryl LaFleur, Duke’s Lynn Good, American Waterworks Susan Story and many others will also speak.

Back in DC today, the EIA also kicks off its annual energy conference with a full slate of very good speakers tackling the financial and energy implications of the current state of energy play.  In addition to Sect. Moniz and Adam Sieminski, IHS’s Dan Yergin and analyst Paul Sankey will speak along with many others. Also, Wednesday the Heritage Foundation will host Canadian auto magnate Frank Stronach for a conversation about politics and business.

The Congressional schedule heats up tomorrow starting with full Senate votes on FERC nominees Cheryl LaFleur to a second term (starting as chair) and Norman Bay.  Still lots of questions and bad blood on that issue, but the compromise seems to be sticking.  House Resources hones in on implementation of the Helium Act passed last fall (my colleague Salo Zelermyer [202-828-1718] is expert) and House Transportation looks at waters issues including permits, streams and waters of the US (my colleague Lowell Rothschild [202-828-5817] knows best).  Tomorrow, House Approps launches on EPA spending (riders on GHGs etc in tow) and Wednesday, the House Science Committee investigates an NRC report about EPA’s IRIS and the longstanding concerns of enviro groups and industry.

And remember, next week, EPA launches its series of public hearings in Atlanta, Denver, DC and Pittsburgh on the GHG rule for existing power plants.

Finally, our friend Jay Newton-Small, a recovering energy reporter who now covers politics for Time, has a great piece today on the Colorado Senate/Governors’ races and the potential impacts from an anti-natgas (not fracking) ballot initiative in the state sponsored by natgas opponent and Congressman, Jared Polis.  Jay says the “friendly fire” could cost Democrats the Senate.

Call if you have questions

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

 

IN THE NEWS

GW, AU, Duke Energy Join on Solar Project – The George Washington University, GW Hospital and American University are joining with Duke Energy Renewables to develop a groundbreaking solar energy project that will comprise a 450-acre, 52 MW farm in North Carolina. GW’s new solar power buy is the largest of its kind, an innovative 243,000-panel installation at three sites that will offset 50% of GW’s electricity for the next 20 years.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

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

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

House Approps Marks EPA Spending — The House Appropriations Committee marks up its 2015 Interior-EPA spending bill tomorrow at 9:00 a.m.  A number of key provisions passed in the subcommittee mark up for the $30 billion legislation despite opposition from Democrats on the panel, limiting EPA ability to spend on climate and other activities.   Among the most controversial are efforts to block EPA’s proposed rules for carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants and increasing the number of streams and wetlands that get automatic protection under the Clean Water Act. Additional action may come on coal ash issues and the EPA/Administration’s social cost of carbon.

Transpo to Focus on EPA, Clean Water — The House Transportation Committee’s water panel holds a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on EPA’s permit veto authority under the Clean Water Act.  With several mine permit cases and the current waters of the US act as hot topics, the issue will be interesting.  My colleague Lowell Rothschild (202-828-5817) can answer many of your questions on the subject. Witnesses will include the US Chamber’s Bill Kovacs, NMA’s Hal Quinn, ARTBA’s Nick Ivanhoff, Leah Pilconis of the Associated General Contractors of America,  Richard Faulk of the George Mason University School of Law and Patrick Parenteau of the Vermont Law School.

House Resources to Look at Helium Act Implementation — The House Resources Committee’s mineral resources panel will hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on implementing the 2013 Helium Stewardship Act. Witnesses will include Interior’s Linda Lance, who is deputy director of the Bureau of Land Management, and Anne-Marie Fennell, director of the Natural Resources and Environment Team of the U.S. Government Accountability Office.  Of course, my colleague Salo Zelermyer was instrumental in getting this passed and can give you many of the details, as well as connect you with key sources.

EPA to Host Clif Bar, Steelcase to Discuss Supply Chain Sustainability – EPA’s Green Power Partnership (GPP) will host a webinar tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. on supply chain sustainability and green power use.  The session will focus on supply chain sustainability efforts, including ways to engage suppliers to use green power. Carbon management within the supply chain is becoming essential to an organization’s overall carbon reduction strategy, and encouraging suppliers to use green power for their own operations can lead to impressive results. For companies and organizations looking to take the next step in their green power strategies, supply chain engagement can be an excellent way to achieve substantial environmental benefits.  This webinar will feature EPA Green Power Partners Clif Bar & Company and Steelcase.  Speakers include EPA’s Mollie Lemon, Clif Bar’s Elysa Hammond and Steelcase’s John DeAngelis.  You also may recall our friend Keely Wachs who formerly worked with us at Brightsource Energy works at Clif Bar.

House Science to Look at EPA’s IRIS — The House Science Committee’s Environment and Oversight panels hold a hearing on reforms to EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System at  2:00 p.m.  The IRIS has long been under attack from both enviros and industry.  The report will focus on recent findings of a National Research Council report that evaluated changes made to EPA’s IRIS.  Witnesses will include NRC panel member David Dorman, EPA’s National Center for Environmental Assessment director Kenneth Olden, Maryland professor and enviro activist Rena Steinzor and Michael Walls, vice president of regulatory and technical affairs at the American Chemistry Council.

Forum to Look at Venezuela Oil – The Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center will host a discussion on Wednesday on Latin American energy and the future of Petrocaribe. The huge Venezuelan oil subsidy enters its 10th year, and continues to provide Caracas with political support from its closest neighbors – but at what cost to the region? Given Venezuela’s economic demise, will Petrocaribe continue delivering into the future?  Now is the moment to examine energy alternatives for the Caribbean and Central America.  This event will launch the Atlantic Council’s new report, “Uncertain Energy: The Caribbean’s Gamble with Venezuela,” authored by Arsht Center Senior Nonresident Energy Fellow David L. Goldwyn and his associate, Cory R. Gill.

SAFE Event to Address Geo political Flashpoints, Energy Security  –  On Wednesday, the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI) and Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) will hold a luncheon briefing on Capitol Hill in 2203 Rayburn to discuss geopolitical flashpoints in oil producing countries and the implications for U.S. national and energy security.  Speakers will include Admiral Michael Mullen and John Hannah in a panel discussion moderated by our friend Steve Mufson of the Washington Post.  Rep. Cory Gardner will begin the panel with opening remarks.  Events across the globe offer stark reminders that energy security and national security are inextricably linked, and that the global oil market is subject to economically-damaging instability. Sustained high oil prices are fueling an increasingly assertive Russian foreign policy and emboldening dangerous actors like Iran. Meanwhile, a series of oil production outages in Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Syria, and elsewhere have tightened global supplies, elevating the risk of a serious price spike in 2014. Although the United States is producing more oil domestically than it has since the 1980s, further progress on American and allied energy security is urgently needed.

Senate Environment to Discuss Climate Bills The Senate Environment Committee’s Subcommittee on Water and Wildlife will meet on Wednesday to consider a number of bills including S.1202, the SAFE Act, to establish an integrated Federal program to respond to ongoing and expected impacts of extreme weather and climate change by protecting, restoring, and conserving the natural resources of the United States, and to maximize government efficiency and reduce costs, in cooperation with state, local, and tribal governments and other entities.

Heritage to Host Discussion with Auto Parts, Magnate – The Heritage Foundation will host a discussion on Wednesday at noon with auto parts magnate Frank Stronach.  Stronach is a legendary, dynamic and outspoken business leader who holds strong views on business, leadership, and public policy, including manufacturing and tax policy issues. Stronach immigrated to Canada from Austria as a young man and built the largest auto supply company in the world out of his garage.  He also now owns horse racing and gaming operations across the country.  Last year, he funded a political campaign in his native Austria that garnered 12 victories in national political elections. Becky Dunlop Norton is hosting the event and Mark Tapscott Executive Editor, The Washington Examiner, will be interviewing Stronach.

WCEE To Discuss Electricity Market Status – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment will hold a brown-bag Luncheon on Wednesday at noon focused on electricity markets.  The brown bag discussion will highlight the different perspectives on the constantly evolving wholesale electricity markets and the challenges that face market participants when the perceptions of what is “right” and “wrong” behavior change.  The discussion will cover what market operators tend to expect from market participants related to compliance with the market’s rules, interacting with market monitors, transparency in FERC’s Enforcement philosophy and processes, the role of trading companies in the wholesale power markets and the impact of unclear market rules and enforcement procedures on infrastructure investment and market participation.  Speakers will be Vince Duane, Vice President and General Counsel of PJM Interconnection and Kevin Gates of the Powhatan Energy Fund.

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

Forum to Look at SCOTUS Decisions on Air Rules – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) and Air and Waste Management Assn (AWMA) will hold a forum on Thursday to look at an industry view of recent Supreme Court Decisions on Air Rules.  The forum will look at the Supreme Court decisions on the Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) and the GHG PSD Rule.  CSAPR applies to air emissions from electric generation facilities that EPA determined has impact across state lines; the GHG PSD rule applies to all industry and if upheld, EPA can lower the trigger threshold to cover more facilities. EPA’s exercise of authority for both rules are likely to have broader implications for industry for other air pollution issues.   Roger Martella, former General Counsel of EPA and partner at Sidley Austin LLP, and Linda Kelly, Vice President and General Counsel for the National Association of Manufacturers, will share their views on the Supreme Court decisions and the implications for industry. Clara Maria Poffenberger will serve as moderator.

Forum to Look at Midwest Climate Impacts – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will hold a briefing on Thursday in 406 Dirksen examining the current and projected impacts of climate change in the Midwest, as well as strategies being developed to mitigate the associated risks. The Midwest (defined in the National Climate Assessment as Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio) has about 20 percent of the nation’s population, and produces 19 percent of the nation’s GDP.  According to the Third National Climate Assessment (NCA), climate change has wide-reaching impacts in the region, affecting the agricultural industry, the Great Lakes, northern forests, the energy system, and public health, generally in detrimental ways. In addition, the Midwest’s economy is highly energy-intensive, releasing 22 percent more greenhouse gas emissions per capita than the U.S. average. Briefing speakers will discuss how reducing emissions and taking action to improve the resilience and adaptation of Midwest communities, businesses, and farms can help mitigate climate change-exacerbated economic and social stresses.  Speakers for this forum are U of M National Climate Assessment author Rosina Bierbaum, Carmel Mayor James Brainard, Cincinnati City Environment Director Larry Falkin and Jeremy Emmi of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.

Group to Host Forum, Social – The Leaders in Energy and the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy (CASSE) will co-hosted professional networking Happy Hour on Thursday at 6:00 p.m. at the Bier Baron Tavern with a focus on new economic and energy paradigms.  The event will focus on steady state economics questioning how consumption and economic growth impact essential ecosystems and ecological limits and feature noted author and founder of CASSE, Dr. Brian Czech.  How sustainable are current economic policies which promote economic growth and consumption? Reports indicate that we currently consume the equivalent of 1.5 planets and, at current rates, this will increase to 2 planets by 2030.  The problem is…we only have one planet.   Some visionaries are calling for a new paradigm designated as  “Steady State Economics” that will promote policies and mechanisms for an economy that thrives within ecological bounds and is more equitable for all.  In his book, “Supply Shock: Economic Growth at the Crossroads and the Steady State Solution”, Dr. Brian Czech marries economics, biology, and political science in a brilliant account of why we need to rethink growth.

CSIS to Look at Nuclear Training –  The CSIS Proliferation Prevention Program will hold a day-long workshop on Friday that will cover: the accomplishments of the three Centers of Excellence established by the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit. The COEs are aimed at training professionals in nuclear security and improving physical protection of nuclear materials.  With growing demand for nuclear energy in Asia, these COEs have an increased stake in improving national nuclear governance and potentially providing venues for regional collaboration in nuclear security. It will focus on the perspectives of officials in these countries on the progress and goals for their facilities, and discussion among government officials and experts on the future of cooperation in these areas.  This event is co-sponsored by CSIS, the U.S. Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration, and the Japan Atomic Energy Agency.

Forum to Focus on Nuclear Overview  – The Foundation for Nuclear Studies will hold a luncheon briefing on Friday in 2322 Rayburn to discuss nuclear energy. In pursuit of its mission, the Foundation sponsors a highly regarded Congressional Briefing Series with forums on a broad spectrum of issues related to nuclear technology, ranging from medical isotopes to the transportation of nuclear materials. The events attract high-quality speakers and seek to provide a balanced presentation of differing perspectives.  Speakers will include Craig Piercy of the American Nuclear Society and IBEW’s Dan Gardner, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

FUTURE EVENTS

Press Club to Host Transpo Sect Foxx – The National Press Club will hold a luncheon next Monday featuring Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.  Foxx will discuss several items including many of the important issues on rail safety and crude issues.

DOE Looking for R&D Insights – Next Tuesday morning, the Office of Fossil Energy of the U.S. Department of Energy is seeking industry’s involvement in developing a R&D agenda on subsurface technology and engineering.  They will hold a forum at USEA led by Mark Ackiewicz, Program Manager for the Division of CCS Research at the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Fossil Energy, this briefing will aim to facilitate a dialogue with industry on what they perceive as the key challenges and opportunities regarding adaptive control of fractures and fluid flow.

ELI Forum to Focus on Energy Performance – The Environmental Law Institute will hold a forum on Tuesday, July 22 at noon to look at improving energy performance at industrial facilities.  In the last decade, the U.S. Department of Energy and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) have raised the bar for energy performance in industrial facilities.  Speakers will include General Dynamics Stephen Cannizzaro, Robert Bruce Lung of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and DOE’s Paul Scheihing.

BPC Forum to Focus on Innovation – On Wednesday July 23rd, the Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) American Energy Innovation Council (AEIC) will gather experts, business leaders, academics and policymakers to assess the state of American energy innovation and new approaches to drive more resources into it.  Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning will be the keynote speaker. Former Dow exec Chad Holliday, DOE Secretary Ernie Moniz, DOE’s David Danielson, MIT Energy Initiative Director and many others will be among the other speakers.

WCEE to Hold Annual Legislative Roundtable – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment will hold its Annual Legislative Roundtable next Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. at the American Gas Assn.  The event will highlight key issues facing the US Congress this fall.  The event will discuss highly contested legislative issues ranging from crude oil and LNG exports to renewable policies in the electricity and transportation sectors.   Senior congressional staff will share with us their predictions regarding the role these issues are playing in the midterm elections and how the outcome will likely impact the policies that shape the energy industry.  Speakers will include Senate Energy Committee directors Liz Craddock and Karen Billups, as well as reps from the House Energy and Commerce Committee.  Out friend Christi Tezak moderates.

WRI to Release Report – On Thursday morning at NPR, the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the Resources and Rights Initiative (RRI) unveil the report “Securing Rights, Combating Climate Change: How Strengthening Community Forest Rights Mitigates Climate Change.”  The analysis will offer the most comprehensive review to date linking legal recognition and government protection of community forest rights with healthier forests and reduced carbon pollution from deforestation. More than 11 percent of global emissions are due to deforestation and other land use, and this new analysis offers an exciting and largely untapped tool to help reduce global emissions.  As discussions head toward the next round of international climate negotiations in Lima, Peru and Paris in 2015, this report and discussion will offer a fresh perspective for how strengthening rights of local and indigenous communities can be an exceptionally powerful tool for climate action and forest protection. Armed with the report’s results, practitioners and policy makers should be convinced that safeguarding forest rights is as crucial of a climate solution as others like REDD+, renewable energy and low-carbon urban design.

USEA to Focus on China, CCS – On Thursday, July 24th at 10:00 a.m., the U.S. Energy Association will hold a forum on coal issues in China. The presentation will review some of the most recent CCS developments in China, including an overview of the ongoing research, demonstration and deployment as well as an overview of recent policy actions taken.  Additionally, Jim Wood, Director for the US-China Clean Energy Research Center for Coal for West Virginia University,  will present on the US-China collaboration on CCS.

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

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

Press Club to Host Nigerian President – The National Press Club will host Nigeria President Goodluck Jonathan at a NPC luncheon on July 31st to talk about the prospects of Africa’s largest oil producer.   More here and as we get closer.

TX Enviro Superconference Set for Austin – The 26th annual Texas Environmental Superconference will be held on Thursday and Friday, August 7th and 8th, 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.

Energy Update Week of April 14

Friends,

With the Passover/Easter/Spring Break week, Congress is out and it is slow, giving us a chance to see DC’s cherry blossoms in full bloom (this weekend was a madhouse around downtown).  I was most excited about the light traffic today though.  Still a few events on the radar though, including a USEA update on transmission tomorrow, an in-depth INGAA discussion on their recent infrastructure report Wednesday, an RFF forum on offshore drilling since the BP spill on Thursday and a JHU discussion with an exec from state-owned Italian oil co Eni on Europe/Russia’s energy challenges Friday.

As well, two exciting announcements from late last week below:  1) Cabot Oil & Gas a has given Lackawanna College $2.5 million to operate its School of Petroleum & Natural Gas in NE PA; and 2) former Daschle/Reid Resources/Energy expert Eric Washburn joined Bracewell & Giuliani’s Policy Resolution Group.

Also last week Thursday, the 29th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony took place in NYC at Barclays Center. The event will be televised on HBO on May 31.  This year honorees included KISS, completing a second straight year of righting Rock ’n Roll wrongs in the HoF (last year Rush was finally inducted as well).  Other inductees were Peter Gabriel, Daryl Hall/John Oates, Nirvana, Linda Ronstadt and Cat Stevens now known as Yusuf.  Stevens drew surprised laughs after thanking Rock Hall voters for electing “someone who doesn’t drink, doesn’t do drugs… and only sleeps with his wife.”

Another exciting finish at the Masters on Sunday.  Bubba Watson showed his experience just before the turn and brought it home on the back 9 to win his second green jacket, outdistancing 20-year old Jordan Spieth, whom I’m sure we’ll be hearing about more in the future.  All-in-all, a Master-ful weekend of golf despite missing the two biggest names (Tiger Woods was out and Phil Mickelson missed cut) in golf.

Of course, with the 1230 and 1/3 games in the book (remember, the Columbus-Dallas game where Rich Peverley collapsed with a heart condition near the end of the 1st period was replayed in full, starting with a 1-0 lead for Columbus), NHL playoffs are here.  Boston seems to be the favorite, but will have to face Detroit, who made the playoffs for the 23rd straight time this year despite bunches of injuries to their star players.   Perhaps the two best series will be the NY Rangers-Philly series in the East (expect a nasty battle) and the LA-San Jose series out West.  If you haven’t stayed up to watch the Sharks, Kings or Anaheim Ducks, get ready to see some hardnosed hockey from non-traditional places.  Finally, if you missed the NCAA Frozen Four Final on Saturday in Philly, you missed an unbelievable game.  The Union College Dutchmen, led by Flyer draft choice Shayne Gostisbehere (who is actually from Florida and was +7 in the game) defeated hockey powerhouse Minnesota 7-4 (w/2 late empty netters) for its first National Championship in school history.

Before we leave sports, let me just say kudos to UConn who posted their second “double” of NCAA hoops titles at the beginning of last week.  Add to it the Fall women’s NCAA Field Hockey Championship the Huskies won and you have 3 titles already this year.   Should give them a boost in the all-sports Capital One Cup Race.

The 118th Boston Marathon is next Monday.  Of course, tomorrow is the one year since last year’s terrorist bombing at the marathon’s finish line, and there will be lots of emotions flowing…We’re around most of the week so call with questions.

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

IN THE NEWS

Lackawanna Announces $2.5M Gift from Cabot to Develop School of Petroleum & Natural Gas – Cabot Oil &Gas a has given Lackawanna College a $2.5 million gift to operate its School of Petroleum & Natural Gas located in New Milford, Pa. This marks the largest single private donation in the history of Lackawanna College.   The School of Petroleum & Natural Gas was established in 2009 at the beginning of Marcellus  Shale industry operations in the area and has developed its curriculum to meet the specific needs of the growing industry. The current job placement rate for graduating students is 90%.  “Lackawanna College saw an opportunity a few years ago and took a leap into education in support of the oil and natural gas industry,” said Lackawanna President Mark Volk. “Our partnership with Cabot enhances tremendously the ability of the School of Petroleum & Natural Gas to provide a world-class education designed to prepare a ready workforce that fits the needs of the multiple companies across the industry. Beyond just an investment in Lackawanna College, through this collaborative effort Cabot is making an investment in our students and our community.” The gift will assist the School of Petroleum & Natural Gas in its goal to become a nationally recognized, first in class program in the field of petroleum and natural gas technology. Funds will be directed toward creating a $1 million endowment that will provide continuing support for student scholarships and help meet the long term needs of the school. An additional $1.5 million will be used for state-of-the-art equipment, training, staff and faculty development, and student interactive experiences and internships.   The School of Petroleum & Natural Gas currently offers two associate degrees in Petroleum & Natural Gas Technology and Natural Gas  Compression Technology. Degree offerings will expand in the Fall 2014 semester with the addition of the Petroleum & Natural Gas Measurement and Petroleum & Natural Gas Business Administration degrees.

Former Top Daschle Policy Advisor to Join Bracewell’s PRG – In case you missed it Friday, we at the Bracewell & Giuliani PRG hired Eric Washburn as a partner in our Washington, D.C. office.  Washburn will provide federal legislative and regulatory advice to the firm’s industry and non-profit clients on a broad range of policy matters including natural resources and energy issues.  Washburn previously held senior positions at BlueWater Strategies and Baker, Donelson at which time he became the founding Executive Director of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, a coalition of dozens of leading nations hunting and fishing organizations.  He has worked on a number of Democratic presidential campaigns, assisting in outreach to sportsmen. Prior to joining the private sector, he was legislative director for Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle.  He also served as a senior advisor to Majority Leader Harry Reid, including serving as Democratic Staff Director for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

Health Claims By President, EPA on Climate Reminds of House Docs Letter – This weekend, the President reiterated claims made earlier by EPA regarding the health benefits of limiting CO2.  This tactic was predicted a couple weeks ago by a group of House doctors.  In a  March 14th letter, 11 signed a letter to EPA on health benefits and the EPA power plant rules.  Essentially, the letter questions whether unilateral carbon rules will produce health benefits given the global nature of the emission and the tendency of EPA to double count conventional air pollution benefits in any event.  Further, the letter reflects upon the threats to public health created by the rules because of adverse impacts on the economy, energy prices, and electric reliability.  It asks for EPA to prove of its case to the doctors.  I can forward a copy of the letter should you want to see it.

Hercules CEO Rynd to Chair NOIA – The National Ocean Industries Association has selected John Rynd as its new chairman for 2014-2015. Rynd is president and CEO of the Houston-based Hercules Offshore, and was vice chairman for the previous term at NOIA.

Southern Co Annual Report Available – The Southern Company’s annual report 2013 Southern Company Annual Report is now available online.  Southern says it is building the nation’s only truly diversified generation portfolio that makes use of all available resources, including nuclear, coal with carbon capture, natural gas, renewables and energy efficiency, all while still providing clean, safe, reliable, affordable energy to the millions of people.  Pages 9/10 provide pictures and an update on the nuclear build at Plant Vogtle.

Final UN IPCC Report on Mitigation Released – The final of the three UN IPCC reports was released yesterday focused on mitigation.  The report  says that countries take dramatic action to alter energy consumption and use of technology to avoid Climate change.  The report even says that people will need to change the way they live to address the issues adequately.  Good luck with that.  Finally, in typical fashion, the report’s summary for policymakers give the usual “time is running out” argument.

NREL’s Energy Systems Integration Facility is R&D Magazine’s 2014 Lab of the Year – Congrats to our friends at that National Renewable Energy Lab’s Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF), who were named the 2014 Laboratory of the Year by the editors of R&D Magazine. Located on the campus of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colo., research at ESIF transforms how the nation generates, delivers and uses energy by modernizing the interplay between energy sources, infrastructure, and data.  ESIF received this prestigious international award for being a first-of-its-kind research user facility that uniquely merges three very specialized components: an ultra-energy efficient workplace that consumes 74% less energy than the national average for office buildings, one of the world’s most energy efficient high performance computing data centers, and sophisticated high-bay laboratory spaces with outdoor test areas. All of the labs in the 182,500-square-foot building are connected by a research electrical distribution bus (REDB), which functions as a power integration circuit capable of connecting multiple sources of energy with experiments.

Interior, USDA Release National Fire Strategy – As the 2014 wildfire season approaches, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell released the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy. This strategy, developed by federal, state, tribal and local community partners, and public stakeholders, outlines new approaches to coordinate and integrate efforts to restore and maintain healthy landscapes, prepare communities for fire season, and better address the nation’s wildland fire threats. The Strategy includes both national strategic planning and regionally-specific assessment and risk analysis to address such factors as climate change, increasing community sprawl, and pests and disease affecting forest health across landscapes, regardless of ownership. Approaches include adopting preventive measures, such as fuels thinning and controlled burns; promoting effective municipal, county and state building and zoning codes and ordinances, ensuring that watersheds, transportation and utility corridors are part of future management plans and determining how organizations can best work together to reduce and manage human-caused ignitions.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Forum to Look at Fusion – Tomorrow at Noon, the American Security Project will hold a forum on fusion power and a new book on the subject.  Daniel Clery in his deeply researched and revelatory book, “A Piece of the Sun,” is focused on the fusion of 620 million tons of hydrogen every second generates an unfathomable amount of energy. By replicating even a tiny piece of the Sun’s power on Earth, we can secure all the heat and energy we would ever need.

WCEE to Look at Honey “Bee” Issues – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will host a brown bag lunch tomorrow at Noon at Cassidy & Associates for a look at what threatens and nurtures bee colonies .  Dr. Mary Purcell-Miramontes, National Program Leader for USDA-NIFA will provide an overview of colony collapse disorder, a phenomenon in which worker bees from a beehive suddenly disappear.  She will discuss how the disappearance is threatening many commercial fruit crops in the US and what is known about the causes of the disorder.  Also joining us will be Larry Marling, a local beekeeper and provider of home and office beehives. He will discuss considerations with home beekeeping and the enjoyment you may get from having your own backyard hive.

USEA Forum to Update AWC Transmission Project – The US Energy Association will hold a forum on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. providing an update on the Atlantic Wind Connection.  The Atlantic Wind Connection is an offshore, undersea transmission line that will span the mid-Atlantic region, beginning in northern New Jersey and eventually extending to southern Virginia. The transmission line will connect wind farms that are built in the federally-designated “Wind Energy Areas,” at least ten miles off the coast. Bob Mitchell, CEO of the Atlantic Wind Connection and Trans-Elect, and Pierre Bernard, Managing Partner of Bernard Energy Advocacy, will provide an overview of the project and its significance for the future of East Coast electricity transmission.

DOE Webinar to Look at Wind Advances – The Energy Department will present a live webinar on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. looking at recent wind technology advances.  Owen Roberts, an engineer at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, will present on the current state of turbine technology, new methodology, and new state wind maps developed using these methods. Simon Mahan of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy will discuss the impact that modern and future turbines may have on the Southeast and lessons learned from ongoing projects. Aaron Barr from MAKE Consulting will discuss the future of low-wind-speed technology, current technology trends, and projections for the future.

JHU to Highlight Community Solar – The Johns Hopkins University’s Energy, Resources and Environment program will hold a forum on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. looking community solar power.  Anna Brockway, SunShot Fellow in the Solar Energy Technology Center at the U.S. Department of Energy; Becky Campbell, senior research manager at Solar Electric Power Associates; Katie Bolcar Rever, director of state affairs at the Solar Energy Industries Association; Anya Schoolman, executive director of the DC Community Power Network; and Ron Wedeking, vice president of the Clean Energy Collective, will discuss the issues.

UC-Boulder Forum to Look at Climate, Extreme Weather – On Wednesday, the University of Colorado-Boulder will hold a forum on how scientists can forecast where extreme events will occur and their severity.   Kathleen Tierney, Director of the CU Boulder’s Natural Hazards Center and Kevin Trenberth from the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) will join facilitators Dr. Anne Gold of CIRES and Deb Morrison of University Colorado Boulder in an interactive panel discussion.  These experts will cover what communities and governments can do to increase resiliency to extreme weather events and how the scientific community can help prepare citizens and government.

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

DOE to Look at Fuels, NASCAR – The Energy Department will present a live webinar on Thursday at Noon on Fuel Cells at NASCAR.  Presented by NASCAR and Acumentrics, this webinar will focus on the use of solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) generators for powering broadcast cameras for NASCAR. Recently, Acumentrics Corporation completed a field test program with NASCAR to replace small portable gasoline generators with SOFC units that use commercial propane. These generators demonstrated considerable fuel savings and emission reductions compared with the standard solution, while providing reduced noise and vibration. With these attributes, the units have proven to be a viable power alternative for broadcasting needs for a host of different applications. During the webinar, presenters will compare this latest-generation power solution with conventional generators and explore lessons learned and potential paths forward.

RFF to Host Deepwater Drilling, Restoration Discussion – Resources for the Future will hold a forum on Thursday at 12:45 p.m. to discuss the current state of offshore Oil and gas drilling.  Almost four years have passed since the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill.  RFF will host a discussion of lessons learned about restoration in the Gulf of Mexico region and whether these lessons can be applied to the development of oil and gas resources in the Arctic and other offshore areas. The discussion will take place on two panels—coastal restoration and Arctic development—and include experts from government, NGOs, and industry.  Speakers will include Don Boesch, government officials from NOAA and BSEE and many more.

DOE Wind Program to Focus on Incubators – The Energy Department EREE Wind Program will present a live webinar on Thursday at 3:00 p.m. on technology incubators for wind technologies. The webinar will provide information to potential applicants interested in the recently released funding opportunity announcement, which supports the development of novel and non-incremental technology approaches with significant potential to advance the mission of the Wind Program.

Forum to Focus Western Grid – Americans for a Clean Energy Grid is continuing its series of regionally-focused webinars on what’s going on in the world of transmission running from Fall 2013 to Winter 2014. Each webinar will span one hour, featuring presentations by transmission experts from the region in question and a discussion of environmental, economic, and political issues including planning, siting, and cost allocation.  The next webinar in the series is Thursday and is focused on the West.  The two presenters will include Carl Zichella, Director of Western Transmission for NRDC and Xcel’s Stephen Beuning.

Eni Exec to Address Europe Energy Challenges – The Johns Hopkins University’s Energy, Resources and Environment will hold a forum on Friday at 12:30 p.m. on Europe’s energy future with a focus on Russia and Ukraine.  The speaker will be Leonardo Bellodi, executive vice president for government affairs at Eni.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

Advanced Biofuels Conference Set – The Department of Energy, the Department of Agriculture, the Advanced Biofuels Association, and key industry stakeholders will hold the 2014 Advanced Biofuels Leadership Conference next Monday through Wednesday at Gaylord National Resort.  The event will feature dozens of industry CEO, association head and government agency leadership presentations including interactive leadership dialogues and workshops on next industry policy, finance, R&D prioritization, and commercialization.

BPC Forum to Look at Tight Oil Boom – The Bipartisan Policy Center is holding the final session in the New Geopolitics of Petroleum and Natural Gas series on next Monday morning at the Washington Court Hotel.  The first panel will discuss whether the market needs “frontier oil,” given the boom in lower-cost unconventional oil production, and will explore the infrastructure, technical, safety and access issues associated with Arctic and ultra-deepwater oil production. In addition, the panelists will consider the geopolitical ramifications of frontier oil development.  On the second panel, participants will consider the science and safety concerns associated with operating in ultra-deepwater areas and in the Arctic. Panelists will consider the specific challenges associated with the Arctic’s unique geology and environment, and how these challenges will be impacted by climate change adaptation. This panel will also discuss the current state of disaster response and spill cleanup in both Arctic and ultra-deepwater oil production areas, while examining potential combinations of methods and practices that might safely overcome technical and environmental challenges in all frontier areas.

USEA Forum to Feature Norwegian CO2 Tech Center – U.S. Energy Association will host a forum on Monday morning to discuss the world’s largest CO2 technology test center in Norway.  The center employs two near industrial scale CO2 capture plants that can each be tested against two separate, live flue gas sources. The center is a joint venture between the Norwegian Government and international energy companies Statoil, Shell and Sasol. 4000 on line measuring points provide data to verify post combustion CO2 capture performance in a wide operational window. Test results provide enhanced confidence in CCUS technology and will greatly help drive these technologies down the cost curve.  Speakers will include Gassnova SF CEO Tore Amundsen and VP Bjørn-Erik Haugan.

GEA Event Set – The Geothermal Energy Association holds its International Geothermal Showcase on April 22nd at the Ronald Reagan Building. The Showcase will bring together the key government and industry leaders who will be making decisions about building thousands of new megawatts of geothermal power around the world.  has currently confirmed attendance from government and industry leaders representing 20 countries.  It will serve as an opportunity to explore and learn from each other about the best policies and approaches to expand the use of geothermal power domestically and abroad.  In addition, GEA will be releasing its “2014 U.S. & Global Geothermal Power Production” report at the International Geothermal Showcase.

Energy Policy Conference to Feature Book, Silver, Fox-Penner – Next Tuesday, the CSIS Energy and National Security Program and the National Capital Area Chapter of the U.S. Association for Energy Economics will host the 18th  Annual NCAC-USAEE Energy Policy Conference, Disruptive Technologies Shock All Energy Sectors. The all-day conference, highlighting break-throughs in technology in everything from the electricity sector to energy efficiency, will address the significance of technological development in the energy sector.  Confirmed Speakers include Toyota Energy & Environmental Research manager Bill Chernicoff, Breitling CEO Chris Faulkner, GE’s David Malkin, NREL’s Doug Arent, ClearView Energy Partners Kevin Book, former DOE Jonathan Silver and Peter Fox-Penner of the Brattle Group.

Heritage to Look at Earth Myths, Truths – The Heritage Foundation will host an Earth Day forum next Tuesday at noon in its Lehrman Auditorium to look at dispelling myths and achievements.  The panel will highlight environmental trends, dispel environmental myths, and demonstrate how human progress is critical to the well-being of humans and the environment.  Speakers will include CEI’s Myron Ebell, Steve Milloy of Murray Energy and David Schnare of the Energy & Environment Legal Institute.

EESI to Look at Recycling – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will hold an Earth Day briefing on Tuesday, April 22nd at 1:30 p.m. about recycling at the local level, with an emphasis on four types of recycling: curbside, compost/organics, building deconstruction/reuse, and electronic waste. Members of the panel will discuss the environmental and economic benefits of recycling and ways in which to increase recycling in our homes, businesses, and communities.  Speakers for this forum are Chaz Miller of the National Waste & Recycling Association, Nelson Widell of the Peninsula Compost Group , Bradley Guy of the Catholic University of America and Walter Alcorn of the Consumer Electronics Association.  Recycling is an easy way for individuals to protect the Earth and help the economy. America’s recycling industry accounted for more than one million jobs and over $236 billion in annual revenue in 2001, when the last extensive study was carried out. In 2010, the U.S. recycling industry sold 44 million metric tons of recycled materials valued at almost $30 billion to over 154 countries around the world. In addition to generating income, recycling saves money by reducing spending on landfills (which charge tipping fees and require significant amounts of land). Recycling also produces substantial energy savings of up to 87 percent for mixed plastics and 92 percent for aluminum cans. And, recycling has important environmental benefits: it limits the need to extract new resources and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. In 2012 alone, recycling prevented the equivalent of 168 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, which is comparable to taking 33 million passenger vehicles off the road.

Moniz, Moeller, MacFarlane to Headline USEA Forum – The USEA will hold its 91st  Annual Membership Meeting and Public Policy Forum on Wednesday April 23rd starting at 11:00 a.m. at The National Press Club.  Speakers will include DOE Secretary Moniz, FERC Commissioner Phil Moeller, NRC  Chair Allison Macfarlane, NARUC’s Colette Honorable and Exelon Exec Bill Von Hoene.

FWS to Hold Final Wind, Wildlife Training – On April 23rd at 2:00 p.m., U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will host its final bimonthly training broadcast covering emerging issues and providing direction for wind energy facility planning, development, and operations to avoid impacts to wildlife and their habitat.  The final broadcast of the series will focus on the latest and greatest in research. Host Christy Johnson-Hughes will be joined by Cris Hein of Bat Conservation International and Chad Le Beau and Wally Erickson of WEST, Inc. to share research results and conclusions related to bats, grassland birds, and sage grouse.

Wilson Forum to Look at Climate Resilience – The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will hold a forum on Wednesday, April 23rd at 3:00 p.m. on increasing resilience to climate change.  Meeting the climate challenge requires increasing the resilience of both natural and human systems to absorb shocks and adjust to changing realities. A panel of experts will discuss state, national, and international efforts to improve our ability to prepare for–and bounce back from—climate-related disruptions. This discussion is part of the Woodrow Wilson Center’s “Managing the Planet” series, co-sponsored by George Mason University, and is the concluding session of a climate change seminar for journalists co-sponsored by the Metcalf Institute on Marine & Environmental Reporting.  Speakers will in former Gulf Spill Commissioner Donald Boesch of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Wilson’s Roger-Mark De Souza, Sunshine Menezes of the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting and Dann Sklarew of George Mason’s Potomac Environmental Research and Education Center.

Discussion to Look at Climate, Role of Nuclear – The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) releases a new brief and hosts a discussion Monday, April 28th at 9:30 a.m. at the National Press Club. Government, industry, and policy leaders will talk about the emerging risk that nuclear plant closures could make it tougher to meet U.S. climate goals. Speakers will include C2ES President Eileen Claussen, former EPA Administrator and White House Climate Czar Carol Browner, U.S. Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy Peter Lyons and former DOE official Susan Tierney.

FERC’s Clark, Congressional Members Address Hydro Conference – The National Hydropower Association will hold its annual conference in Washington, DC on April 28th through 30th at the Capital Hilton.  The event provides a forum for industry, legislative and regulatory agency staff to exchange knowledge and expertise pertinent to the hydroelectric industry.  FERC Commissioner Tony Clark will be a keynote speaker.  Others will include Reps. Diana DeGette, Cathy McMorris-Rodgers, Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Ron Wyden.

WCEE Lunch to Focus on Energy Dependency in Ukraine, Others – The WCEE Brown-bag Luncheon Series will hold a forum on Friday, May 2nd at Noon on the politics of energy dependency, with specific focus on Ukraine, Belarus, and Lithuania.  The event will feature Margarita M. Balmaceda, Professor of diplomacy and international relations at Seton Hall.  Recent events in Ukraine again bring up the question of countries’ energy policy choices and the role of powerful domestic groups in relation to Russia and the EU. The event looks at these issues from the perspective of post-independence energy politics in three post-Soviet states: Ukraine, Belarus, and Lithuania. It compared these three states’ reactions to the serious external shock of their sudden transformation from constituents of a single energy-rich state to separate energy-poor entities heavily dependence on Russia, as well as politically independent transit states.  Using extensive field research and until now untapped local sources in Ukrainian, Belarusian, Russian, and Lithuanian, the book analyzes how these states’ unique location, powerful domestic economic actors often making a profit of their situation of energy dependency (“oligarchs”), and Russian power, has affected Russia’s ability to use energy as a foreign policy took in the region – and these states’ own political development.

WINDPOWER Set for Vegas – AWEA will hold its annual WINDPOWER conference in Las Vegas on May 5th through 8th at the Mandalay Bay.   Keynoter will be Seth Goldman of HonesTea.

Education Leaders to Discuss Energy, Manufacturing Skills Gap – The Newsmakers Committee of the National Press Club will host a Newsmaker forum on May 6th at 2:00 P.m.  to discuss the “skills gap” challenge facing the U.S. energy and manufacturing sectors today.  U.S. manufacturing employs more than 11,000,000 U.S. workers  directly and creates almost 7,000,000 more jobs in related industries.  There are an estimated 600,000 skilled manufacturing jobs that are currently unfilled and 2.7  million manufacturing employees are expected to retire in the next decade. In a recent survey of its members,  the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) and the National Tooling and Machining Association (NTMA) stated that 74% reported they currently have skilled job openings. Further underscoring the problem, 90% of respondents said they are having severe or moderate challenges recruiting qualified employees.  Manufacturing technology continues to advance as does the need for  highly skilled workers. With many manufacturing technology  programs at secondary and post-secondary schools having closed in  recent years, there are not enough skilled people to fill these essential  roles.  Speakers will include Lackawanna College President Mark Volk, who hosted President Obama last year to talk about jobs and the economy.  Volk has launched a curriculum in the study of petroleum and natural gas in 2009 at the two-year college situated in the heart of Pennsylvania’s bountiful Marcellus Shale.  PMA President William Gaskin and NTMA President Dave Tilstone or CEOs from two of their member manufacturing companies will discuss their training initiatives and other programs to attract young workers to manufacturing, as well as ways in which the federal government and U.S. Congress can help close the skills gap in manufacturing. Finally,  Brig Gen. (retired) Marianne Watson of American Jobs for American Heroes (AJAH), which focuses on connecting manufacturers with members of the military, will also be on the panel.

Deloitte Energy Conference to Look at Local Impacts, Global Issues – The 2014 Deloitte Energy Conference will be held in Washington, DC on May 13-14th.  For two days, energy executives, researchers, entrepreneurs, investors, and regulators from around the globe will join Deloitte’s energy professionals for an in-depth analysis of key developments and challenges facing today’s global and domestic energy markets. Speakers represent a cross-section of the world’s energy industry, and the conference topics are of keen interest to energy company management, boards of directors, investors, and all other industry professionals.  The first day of this conference features plenary sessions focusing on macro industry issues, such as the global and domestic energy outlook, the globalization of gas markets, the future of coal, the energy investment environment, and responding to water scarcity. The second day offers a mix of plenary and elective sessions which bring together specialists from across disciplines to share knowledge, experiences, and perspectives about the latest trends in the energy industry. Join industry colleagues and Deloitte’s energy specialists for two days of sharing points of view in an interactive setting.

EIA’s Gruenspecht to Discuss Outlook at ICF Forum – On Wednesday, May 15th, ICF International will host EIA’s Deputy Administrator Howard Gruenspecht at the National Press Club to discuss EIA’s latest forecasts and the sensitivity of that outlook to key changes. With nearly every facet of energy markets in considerable flux, the EIA’s authoritative take explains how the pieces fit together and the kinds of transitions we will soon undergo.  Every year, EIA issues an Annual Energy Outlook (AEO) that serves as the touchstone for those trying to look over the horizon and improve their perspective on what future energy markets hold. With its impressive set of experts and analytics capabilities, EIA pulls together trends in fuel dynamics (e.g., shale gas and oil), electricity markets, environmental regulations, international developments, the economy, and much more.

Hurricane Forum To Discuss Forecasting – On May 15th at the Stafford Centre in Stafford, Texas (South Houston), the 25th Annual Hurricane Symposium will be held looking at the latest forecasting technologies, incident management tactics and risk mitigation programs.  Speakers will include National Hurricane Center former Director Bill Read, KPRC Local 2 Chief Meteorologist Frank Billingsley, Port of Houston’s Captain Marcus Woodring, Hospital Corporation of America Executive Director of Emergency Services Allen Johnson, our friend and Houston Chronicle SciGuy Blogger Eric Berger, University of Miami’s Dr. Sharan Majumdar, Houston Airport System Safety and Emergency Management Manager Steve Runge and Spectra Energy’s Thomas McNulty.

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

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

Energy Update Week of April 7

Friends,

Masters week has arrived signaling that it must really be Spring finally (and not too soon because of the polar vortex).  Players start practice rounds today and the action kicks off on Wednesday with the Par 3 Competition and Round 1 on Thursday.   With Woods out and past winners like Mickelson and Zach Johnson struggling, the field looks wide open for the Green Jacket.  Hopefully this morning’s heavy rains in the region won’t impact the timeline.

With #7 seed Connecticut and #8 Kentucky knocking off Florida and Wisconsin on Saturday, tonight’s NCAA men’s final will crown an unlikely winner that few, less the Huskie/Wildcat faithful, would have predicted.  Of course, both programs have been there before and neither will be the lowest seed ever to win a championship.   In 1985, heavy underdog #8 seeded Villanova Wildcats led by Eddie Pinckney, shot nearly 85% from the floor to defeat the mighty Patrick Ewing-led Georgetown Hoyas.   As for the women, everybody got what they wanted in Nashville:  37-0 Notre Dame against 39-0 Connecticut.  Last night, ND rolled over Maryland 87-61 while UConn broke away from Stanford for a 75-56 victory.  Finally, don’t sleep on the Frozen Four in Philly which starts Thursday with Boston College and Union College at 5 pm.  North Dakota takes on Minnesota in the nightcap.

Speaking of Nashville, country music veteran George Strait and singer Miranda Lambert led the winners at the 49th Academy of Country Music awards (the event was in Las Vegas).  Now you all know I’m not a country music guy (I once was hanging out on a beach in the Bahamas with Vince Gill and wondered aloud to him why some folks wanted to “make a picture” with him), but I know many of you are…so I wanted to report last night’s late results.   Jason Laden won male vocalist for the second consecutive year, while rising artist Kacey Musgrave’s picked up album of the year for her debut studio record “Same Trailer Different Park.”  The award for song of the year was given to Lee Brice’s “I Drive Your Truck.” The song was inspired by Paul Monty, the father of U.S. soldier Jared Monty who was killed in Afghanistan in 2006.  And again, for those of you that happen to be fans, just heard tickets will be on sale soon for the FULL Fleetwood Mac Reunion tour.

Back on the policy and politics front, the week will be busy as Congress hustled to work before next week’s Passover/Easter recess.  Energy Secretary Moniz is on Capitol Hill twice, while Gina McCarthy addressed a BPC/NARUC forum today and the Senate Approps Committee on Wednesday.   EPA’s Janet McCabe gets a nomination hearing tomorrow and Senate Ag looks at Advanced Biofuels.  Wednesday, the Joint Economic Committee looks at natgas production and RFF hosts a shale forum on Thursday.

Finally, this afternoon, the House Energy & Commerce Health panel holds a hearing on improving FDA transparency where our friend Scott Faber of the Environmental Working Group will testify on issues related to sunscreen featured in a recent Washington Post story.   Janet Woodcock, Director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research will also testify.

Tomorrow, our friends at SAFE are releasing the latest update to last year’s landmark “Oil Security Index” report.  The initial report, released in October around the 40th Anniversary of the Arab oil embargo measures and ranks the oil security of 13 countries around the globe. The Index measures countries’ structural dependence on oil, economic exposure to the global oil market, and capacity to respond to oil supply disruptions. Given the U.S.’s recent increase in oil consumption and Russia’s heavy reliance on oil export revenue, you might imagine that tomorrow’s report will particularly focus on these two countries.   And also tomorrow, the Chamber’s Energy Institute hosts FirstEnergy CEO Tony Alexander as part of its CEO leadership series.

Finally, our friend Russ Gold of the Wall Street Journal is in town Friday to discuss his book on the natural gas boom at the New America Foundation.  Two weeks to go until the Stanley Cup Playoffs…Call with questions

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

 

IN THE NEWS

Magner Book A NY Post Must Read – Our friend Mike Magner, who doubles at the National Journal, had his book A Trust Betrayed make the New York Post’s “Must Read” list over the weekend.  Magner’s book, released last month, provides the first comprehensive reporting on a story that began in 1941 when the Marine Corps opened Camp Lejune on the Atlantic shores to practice beach landings for World War II. For the next 40 years, the Marines dumped toxic wastes at numerous locations around the sprawling installation that ended up seeping into the groundwater that provided the base water supplies.

Marino Letter Outlines NatGas Benefits – Rep. Tom Marino of Pennsylvania wrote this week that natural gas/shale drilling is nothing short of a game-changer for the U.S. economy, especially his rural district in Northeast Pennsylvania.  Marino pointed out the opportunities and long-term growth prospects that the energy industry is creating in the area.  Marino said Lackawanna College, a two-year educational institution situated in the heart of Pennsylvania’s bountiful Marcellus Shale, launched a curriculum in the study of petroleum and natural gas in 2009.  The college has gone on to develop a Natural Gas Technology Associate’s Degree program in cooperation with the natural gas industry designed to prepare students for a career in the operations segment of the industry, a flourishing source of regional job growth.  If you want to see a copy of Marino’s Letter, I can forward.

Companies, EDF Sponsor Contest to Capture Methane Technologies – EDF and five oil and natural gas companies are calling on engineers and technology developers to submit proposals and compete in the “Methane Detectors Challenge.” The collaboration between industry and environmental groups is designed to spur the development of cutting-edge, new technologies that provide continuous detection of methane emissions.  The program will make it easier for the oil and gas industry to rapidly find and fix methane leaks that are having a sizable impact on intensifying global climate change.  The Methane Detectors Challenge offers innovators the unique opportunity to have their technologies undergo extensive, independent testing, at no cost, in Southwest Research Institute’s state-of-the-art laboratory in Texas. The most promising technologies, that also meet required specifications, will advance to pilot field trials at facilities run by many of the participating oil and natural gas companies.

EIA: Net Energy Imports In 2013 Lowest In More Than 20 Years – EIA reports this week that total U.S. net imports of energy, measured in terms of energy content, declined in 2013 to their lowest level in more than two decades. Growth in the production of oil and natural gas displaced imports and supported increased petroleum product exports, driving most of the decline. A large drop in energy imports and a smaller increase in energy exports led to a 19% decrease in net energy imports from 2012 to 2013. Preliminary 2013 data for U.S. total energy consumption, production, and trade, is now posted in EIA’s Monthly Energy Review.

April is Safe Digging Month, Excavation Damages  Cut in Half – According to the Common Ground Alliance (CGA), an organization co-founded by the American Gas Association (AGA) and dedicated to utility line damage prevention, excavation damages for all underground facilities have decreased by approximately 50% since 2004. This improvement is due in large part to work done by local natural gas utilities to promote the use of “Call 811,” the national number for people to call to locate utility lines before beginning any digging project, no matter how small. With excavation damage remaining the leading cause of pipeline incidents in the United States, America’s natural gas utilities are committed to reducing their occurrence even further by urging communities to follow safe digging protocol and call 811 before beginning any kind of project that involves digging. Across the country, natural gas utilities are engaging innovative outreach campaigns to spread the word about safe digging in their communities.   AGA today also released a video to help children understand natural gas safety. April marks the 7th annual National Safe Digging Month, an initiative put in place to remind professionals and homeowners of the importance of following safe digging procedures. Striking a single utility line can cause injury and outages, and incur repair costs and fines. Every digging project – even small projects like installing a mailbox, building a deck or planting a tree or garden – warrants a free call to 811 to help ensure utility lines are avoided.  Utility crews will locate and mark lines at no cost to the caller.

Rail Congestion, Cold Weather Raise Ethanol Spot Prices – EIA also said last week that ethanol spot prices have increased steadily since early February. By late March, New York Harbor (NYH) spot ethanol prices exceeded prices for RBOB (the petroleum component of gasoline) by more than $1 per gallon. Ethanol spot prices in Chicago and Gulf Coast markets also rose above NYH RBOB prices. The premium of New York Harbor over Chicago spot ethanol prices, which averaged 25 cents per gallon in January (close to the typical transportation costs of moving ethanol from production centers in the Midwest to terminals on the East Coast in recent years) widened to $1 per gallon in early March. Logistical constraints in and around ethanol production centers in the Midwest, mainly involving railroads on which approximately 70% of ethanol is shipped, appear to be a key factor driving recent prices.  The whole EIA issue has spurred a most excellent argument between RFA and the Railroads.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Appropriations/Budget:

Tuesday

  • House Approps Panel on Energy, Water on Environmental Management program.  Dave Huizenga testifies.  10:00 a.m.

Wednesday

  • House Approps Panel on Interior, Environment on EPA budget.  McCarthy testifies.  10:00 a.m.
  • Senate Approps Panel on Energy, Water on Energy Budget. Moniz testifies. 2:30 p.m.

Thursday

  • House Science on DOE’s Science, Technology budget.  Moniz testifies.  9:00 a.m.

BPC, NARUC to Host GHG Conference – The Bipartisan Policy Center’s Energy Project and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners will hold their 3rd workshop in a series today at the Grand Hyatt Washington on Greenhouse Gas Regulation of Existing Power Plants under the Clean Air Act.  This workshop will look at state, regional and company approaches that are impacting power sector GHG emissions. The event will feature dynamic panel discussions on: 1) examples of state successes that are contributing to GHG reductions from the power sector, 2) industry approaches to diversify their resource mix, 3) experience and opportunities to enhance energy efficiency and 4) existing and potential multi-state reduction efforts.  EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy will deliver a keynote address to a workshop. Colette D. Honorable of NARUC will also deliver remarks.

Climate Program to Hold Public Meetings – The U.S. Global Change Research Program will hold a meeting today and tomorrow at the National Academy of Sciences Building focused on existing programs research.

Georgetown to Host GHG Forum – Georgetown University Law Center will hold an event today at 3:30 p.m. on the state and federal climate policymaking with leading state officials and academic experts.  Panelists for this event will include Vermont Agency of Natural Resources Secretary and Georgetown Law Alumni Deborah Markowitz, former EPA Policy office official and GU Professor Lisa Heinzerling, and William W. Buzbee, director of the Emory Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program.  The event is sponsored by the Georgetown Climate Center and the Georgetown Environmental Initiative and is part of a speaker series focused on climate change.  Vicki Arroyo, Executive Director of the Georgetown Climate Center and Director of the Georgetown Environmental Law Program, will moderate the discussion.

Fed Bank Exec to Address Forum – NERA Economic Consulting and its parent company, Marsh & McLennan Companies, are co-sponsoring a series of lectures starting today at 6:00 p.m. on current economic events.  The events are organized by The George Washington University’s Department of Economics.   The first event will feature Sandra Pianalto, president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. Ms. Pianalto will put a spotlight on the importance of education and innovation in spurring long-term economic growth.

NIST to Host Disaster Resilience Workshop – The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will host a workshop at its Gaithersburg Main Campus today looking at a community-centered approach to disaster resilience.  Annual losses from natural and other types of disasters in the United States averages $57 billion, with losses from large single events, such as Hurricane Katrina, exceeding $100 billion.  The workshops will explore the role that buildings and infrastructure systems play in enabling communities to protect people and property and recover more rapidly from natural and man-made hazards.

Utility Summit to Feature Moniz, Whitman – Bloomberg New Finance will hold a summit in New York today through Wednesday focused on Changing utility business models.   Speakers include DOE Secretary Dr. Ernest Moniz, former NJ Gov. and EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman, former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, UK Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change Greg Barker, Exelon CEO Christopher Crane, GE CEO Jeff  Immelt, former Duke Energy Jim Rogers and many more.

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

Senate Ag Committee to Look at Advanced Biofuels – The Senate Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow discuss the role that advanced biofuels can play in strengthening the rural economy.  Unlike renewable fuels such as corn-based ethanol, advanced biofuels such as cellulosic ethanol are typically made from feedstocks such as wood, grass or agricultural waste. The technology has been slow to catch on.  The hearing will examine the role domestically-produced, advanced, non-food based biofuels are playing in creating jobs and strengthening the rural economy.  Witnesses will include Richard Childress of Childress Racing, DuPont Biosciences Jan Koninckx, Brooke Coleman of the Advanced Ethanol Council, Innovate Mississippi’s Sumesh Arora and Nancy Young of Airlines for America.

Senate Environment to Hear EPA Nominations – The full Senate Committee on Environment hold a nominations hearing tomorrow on EPA nominations for Janet G. McCabe to be the Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation office, Ann E. Dunkin to be the Assistant Administrator for Environmental Information of the EPA and Manuel H. Ehrlich, Jr., to be a Member of the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board”

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

Heartland to Hold Climate Events – Heartland Institute President Joseph Bast and scientists from the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change will be Washington, DC the week on Wednesday and Thursday for meetings with members of Congress, the press, and allies to announce the release of two new reports on why global warming is not a crisis: “Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts” and “Climate Change Reconsidered II: Human Welfare, Energy, and Policies.  The authors find higher levels of carbon dioxide and warmer temperatures benefit nearly all plants, leading to more leaves, more fruit, more vigorous growth, and greater resistance to pests, drought, and other forms of “stress.” Wildlife benefits as their habitats grow and expand. Even polar bears, the poster child of anti-global warming activist groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), are benefiting from warmer temperatures.  Media event will be Wednesday Morning at the National Press Club.

House Resources To Look at Women in Energy Jobs – The House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will hold a hearing tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. looking at energy job opportunities for women and minorities.  Women and minorities are already a key part of America’s energy renaissance and their role and importance will only continue to grow. It is estimated that their employment in the energy sector will rise to one-third by 2030 – up from one-fourth in 2010. This hearing will examine opportunities in this sector, what is driving this increase, and identify ways to ensure continued job growth.

Energy, Oil Debate Set – Tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. at American University, the French-American Global Forum / French-American Institute for Global Affaires and The School for International Services at American University -Washington, DC. in Cooperation with Le Monde Diplomatique present the fourth and final debate of the Le Monde diplomatique Debates Series – Washington, D.C. on oil and energy and what the future will hold.

Atlantic Council to Focus on Global Solutions – The Atlantic Council will hold a Global Solutions Summit on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. As populations, urbanization, and incomes rise in emerging markets, demand for the basic necessities of a middle class lifestyle will also grow thus presenting myriad opportunities for sustainable, economic growth. The Summit seeks to discuss the impact of megatrends and various solutions for resource constraints.  The Global Solutions Summit is based on the premise that in the coming decades, with population growth, rising incomes, and increasing rates of urbanization in emerging markets, billions more people will have the income to afford such basic necessities as electricity, adequate nutrition, clean water, clean air, and essential health care as well as other middle class amenities and life styles. Meeting these demands is both a moral imperative and an unparalleled business opportunity that can generate high returns for investors in both developed and developing countries and serve as a new, powerful engine of global growth.

Forum to Look at Advanced Transportation – The Information Technology Industry Council will hold an expert panel discussion on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. about the future of mobility, the new technologies and business models that are likely to emerge, and the policies that can help spur even greater innovation. The event will also include a demonstration of Toyota’s new front-drive, zero emission, concept vehicle: the i-Road. Transportation is undergoing a technological transformation. Even as companies compete to introduce new and more efficient fuel technologies, increasing consumer demand for connectivity is turning the vehicle into the next mobile platform. Speakers will include Mary Brown of Cisco Systems, Toyota’s Andrew Coetzee and IBM’s Riz Khaliq.

Joint Economic Committee to Look at NatGas Production – On Wednesday  at 2:30 p.m., the Congressional Joint Economic Committee will hold a hearings to examine the economic impact of increased natural gas production.  Witnesses will include IHS expert John Larson, UPS’s Jim Bruce, EDF’s Mark Brownstein, and Diana Furchtgott-Roth, Director of Economics21 and Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.

ELI to Host Networking Happy Hour – The Environmental Law Institute and the D.C. Bar’s Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Section will hold a networking event at the Laughing Man Tavern on Wednesday evening.  Light appetizers will be included; other refreshments are at your own expense.

Book Forum To Discuss Sci-Fi Thriller – On Wednesday, the Future Tense Book Club will meet at the New America Foundation to discuss Shovel Ready. The novel, by New York Times Magazine culture editor Adam Sternbergh, imagines a near-future New York City that is decaying while the wealthy who remain take refuge in an alternate reality. Our guide to Sternbergh’s engrossing dystopia: a garbage man turned hit man. In a conversation on Slate, Sternbergh’s editor, Zack Wagman, described the book as “noir, detective, sci-fi world-building, speculative dystopia, and just out-and-out thriller.”

NOIA Meeting Set for DC – The National Offshore Industry Association (NIOA) will hold its annual meeting at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington, DC on Wednesday through Friday.  The event will include industry experts, Administration officials, politicians from both sides of the aisle and communications experts to discuss the future of the offshore industry.  Our friend Karen Harbert of the US Chamber’s Energy Institute, BSEE’s Brian Salerno , Sen. Tm Scott and Reps Barrow, Walden, Southerland, Scalise and Jeff Duncan will speak, among many others.

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

Key Energy Reporters to Headline ACORE Forum – The American Council on Renewable Energy will host a morning of discussion and debate on the topic of clean energy in the media on Thursday at the National Press Club’s Lisagor Room.  Panel one will focus on national storylines impacting the U.S. clean energy sector and will feature our friends Coral Davenport, Monica Trauzzi Amy Harder.  Panel two will look at state reporting on clean energy and will include Ryan Randazzo of the Arizona Republic, among others.  Greentech Media Stephen Lacey will moderate.

CSIS to Release New Report on Energy, Geopolitics – The Center for Strategic and International Studies will roll out a new report on Thursday called the “New Energy, New Geopolitics: Balancing Stability and Leverage.”  The report is the result of a year-long exploration by the CSIS Energy and National Security Program and the Harold Brown Chair in Defense Policy Studies on how shale gas and tight oil in the United States are impacting energy, geopolitical, and national security dynamics around the world, with the intention of providing policymakers a structured way to consider the potential risks and rewards of these new shale gas and tight oil resources.

RFF to Discuss Shale Gas Development – Resources for the Future will hold a forum on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. to discuss shale gas development.  RFF will host three distinguished scholars researching the benefits and costs of shale gas development as experienced by local communities. Hunt Allcott (New York University) will present his work on boom-and-bust cycles related to oil and gas development; James McElfish (Environmental Law Institute) will examine how impact fees collected in five Pennsylvania counties are being used in the local economy; and Lucija Muehlenbachs (University of Calgary and RFF) will present recent analyses on the impacts of shale gas development on property values and truck traffic and accidents in Pennsylvania.

McCurry to Speak at Press Club Dinner – The National Press Club will host a dinner on Thursday featuring former White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry.  McCurry will look back on his nearly four decades in Washington as a communications and political strategist.  The dinner is sponsored by the NPC Communications and Marketing Committee and will be held in the Winners’ Room of the Fourth Estate Restaurant.

DOE to Start Stakeholder Meetings on QER – The Department of Energy will hold the first six public meetings to collect stakeholder input into the Quadrennial Energy Review (QER) on Friday at the Congressional Auditorium in the U.S. Capital Visitor’s Center. As the Secretariat for the QER Task Force, DOE will hold a series of meetings to discuss and receive comments on issues related to the development of a comprehensive strategy for the infrastructure needed to transport, transmit and deliver energy to consumers.  The first of these stakeholder and public engagement meetings will focus on infrastructure resilience and vulnerabilities, including cyber and physical threats, climate, and interdependencies.  Details for the next five QER stakeholder public meetings are still being finalized, but will include a meetings on infrastructures constraints in New England, to be held in Hartford, CT; infrastructure constraints related to Bakken, to be held in North Dakota; electricity transmission storage and distribution in the west, to be held in Portland, Ore.; petroleum product transmission and distribution, including carbon dioxide and enhanced oil recovery, to be held in Louisiana; and rail, barge, and truck transportation, to be held in Chicago.

Forum to Feature Russ Gold NatGas Book – On Friday at 12:15 p.m., the New America Foundation will host a book forum with our friend Russ Gold of the Wall Street Journal moderated by our friend Steve LeVine.  A decade ago, Russell Gold noticed something going on in Fort Worth, Texas—oil drillers were suddenly afire with talk of a strange new phenomenon. Employing a new method that seemed a lot more like mining than drilling, they were improbably extracting natural gas from rock that had confounded everyone for decades – almost imporous shale. Since then, Gold has roamed the country investigating the boom created by the Fort Worth discovery. It has taken him to an overnight stay with a fracking crew in North Dakota, a bumpy ride on a pickup truck with ranchers in south Texas, and a hostile welcome by the repair crew on an exploded well in Pennsylvania. Along the way, he met with neighbors, workers, oil executives and environmentalists.  You might remember a few weeks ago, we featured the Gold’s book “The Boom: How Fracking Ignited the American Energy Revolution and Changed the World” as they rolled it out.  In the book, Gold unravels the mystery of hydraulic fracturing, how it has affected the lives of thousands of Americans, propelled a new energy-fueled economic boom, and changed geopolitics around the world.

FUTURE EVENTS

WCEE to Look at Honey “Bee” Issues – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will host a brown bag lunch on Tuesday, April 15th at Noon at Cassidy & Associates for a look at what threatens and nurtures bee colonies .  Dr. Mary Purcell-Miramontes, National Program Leader for USDA-NIFA will provide an overview of colony collapse disorder, a phenomenon in which worker bees from a beehive suddenly disappear.  She will discuss how the disappearance is threatening many commercial fruit crops in the US and what is known about the causes of the disorder.  Also joining us will be Larry Marling, a local beekeeper and provider of home and office beehives. He will discuss considerations with home beekeeping and the enjoyment you may get from having your own backyard hive.

USEA Forum to Update AWC Transmission Project – The US Energy Association will hold a forum on Wednesday, April 16th at 10:00 a.m. providing an update on the Atlantic Wind Connection.  The Atlantic Wind Connection is an offshore, undersea transmission line that will span the mid-Atlantic region, beginning in northern New Jersey and eventually extending to southern Virginia. The transmission line will connect wind farms that are built in the federally-designated “Wind Energy Areas,” at least ten miles off the coast. Bob Mitchell, CEO of the Atlantic Wind Connection and Trans-Elect, and Pierre Bernard, Managing Partner of Bernard Energy Advocacy, will provide an overview of the project and its significance for the future of East Coast electricity transmission.

DOE Webinar to Look at Wind Advances – The Energy Department will present a live webinar on Wednesday, April 16th at 3:00 p.m. looking at recent wind technology advances.  Owen Roberts, an engineer at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, will present on the current state of turbine technology, new methodology, and new state wind maps developed using these methods. Simon Mahan of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy will discuss the impact that modern and future turbines may have on the Southeast and lessons learned from ongoing projects. Aaron Barr from MAKE Consulting will discuss the future of low-wind-speed technology, current technology trends, and projections for the future.

UC-Boulder Forum to Look at Climate, Extreme Weather – On April 16th, the University of Colorado-Boulder will hold a forum on how scientists can forecast where extreme events will occur and their severity.   Kathleen Tierney, Director of the CU Boulder’s Natural Hazards Center and Kevin Trenberth from the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) will join facilitators Dr. Anne Gold of CIRES and Deb Morrison of University Colorado Boulder in an interactive panel discussion.  These experts will cover what communities and governments can do to increase resiliency to extreme weather events and how the scientific community can help prepare citizens and government.

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

RFF to Host Deepwater Drilling, Restoration Discussion – Resources for the Future will hold a forum on Thursday, April 17th at 12:45 p.m. to discuss the current state of offshore Oil and gas drilling.  Almost four years have passed since the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill.  RFF will host a discussion of lessons learned about restoration in the Gulf of Mexico region and whether these lessons can be applied to the development of oil and gas resources in the Arctic and other offshore areas. The discussion will take place on two panels—coastal restoration and Arctic development—and include experts from government, NGOs, and industry.  Speakers will include Don Boesch, government officials from NOAA and BSEE and many more.

GEA Event Set – The Geothermal Energy Association holds its International Geothermal Showcase on April 22nd at the Ronald Reagan Building. The Showcase will bring together the key government and industry leaders who will be making decisions about building thousands of new megawatts of geothermal power around the world.  has currently confirmed attendance from government and industry leaders representing 20 countries.  It will serve as an opportunity to explore and learn from each other about the best policies and approaches to expand the use of geothermal power domestically and abroad.  In addition, GEA will be releasing its “2014 U.S. & Global Geothermal Power Production” report at the International Geothermal Showcase.

FWS to Hold Final Wind, Wildlife Training – On April 23rd at 2:00 p.m., U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will host its final bimonthly training broadcast covering emerging issues and providing direction for wind energy facility planning, development, and operations to avoid impacts to wildlife and their habitat.  The final broadcast of the series will focus on the latest and greatest in research. Host Christy Johnson-Hughes will be joined by Cris Hein of Bat Conservation International and Chad Le Beau and Wally Erickson of WEST, Inc. to share research results and conclusions related to bats, grassland birds, and sage grouse.

FERC’s Clark, Congressional Members Address Hydro Conference – The National Hydropower Association will hold its annual conference in Washington, DC on April 28th through 30th at the Capital Hilton.  The event provides a forum for industry, legislative and regulatory agency staff to exchange knowledge and expertise pertinent to the hydroelectric industry.  FERC Commissioner Tony Clark will be a keynote speaker.  Others will include Reps. Diana DeGette, Cathy McMorris-Rodgers, Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Ron Wyden.

WCEE Lunch to Focus on Energy Dependency in Ukraine, Others – The WCEE Brown-bag Luncheon Series will hold a forum on Friday, May 2nd at Noon on the politics of energy dependency, with specific focus on Ukraine, Belarus, and Lithuania.  The event will feature Margarita M. Balmaceda, Professor of diplomacy and international relations at Seton Hall.  Recent events in Ukraine again bring up the question of countries’ energy policy choices and the role of powerful domestic groups in relation to Russia and the EU. The event looks at these issues from the perspective of post-independence energy politics in three post-Soviet states: Ukraine, Belarus, and Lithuania. It compared these three states’ reactions to the serious external shock of their sudden transformation from constituents of a single energy-rich state to separate energy-poor entities heavily dependence on Russia, as well as politically independent transit states.  Using extensive field research and until now untapped local sources in Ukrainian, Belarusian, Russian, and Lithuanian, the book analyzes how these states’ unique location, powerful domestic economic actors often making a profit of their situation of energy dependency (“oligarchs”), and Russian power, has affected Russia’s ability to use energy as a foreign policy took in the region – and these states’ own political development.

WINDPOWER Set for Vegas – AWEA will hold its annual WINDPOWER conference in Las Vegas on May 5th through 8th at the Mandalay Bay.   Keynoter will be Seth Goldman of HonesTea.

Education Leaders to Discuss Energy, Manufacturing Skills Gap – The Newsmakers Committee of the National Press Club will host a Newsmaker forum on May 6th at 2:00 P.m.  to discuss the “skills gap” challenge facing the U.S. energy and manufacturing sectors today.  U.S. manufacturing employs more than 11,000,000 U.S. workers  directly and creates almost 7,000,000 more jobs in related industries.  There are an estimated 600,000 skilled manufacturing jobs that are currently unfilled and 2.7  million manufacturing employees are expected to retire in the next decade. In a recent survey of its members,  the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) and the National Tooling and Machining Association (NTMA) stated that 74% reported they currently have skilled job openings. Further underscoring the problem, 90% of respondents said they are having severe or moderate challenges recruiting qualified employees.  Manufacturing technology continues to advance as does the need for  highly skilled workers. With many manufacturing technology  programs at secondary and post-secondary schools having closed in  recent years, there are not enough skilled people to fill these essential  roles.  Speakers will include Lackawanna College President Mark Volk, who hosted President Obama last year to talk about jobs and the economy.  Volk has launched a curriculum in the study of petroleum and natural gas in 2009 at the two-year college situated in the heart of Pennsylvania’s bountiful Marcellus Shale.  PMA President William Gaskin and NTMA President Dave Tilstone or CEOs from two of their member manufacturing companies will discuss their training initiatives and other programs to attract young workers to manufacturing, as well as ways in which the federal government and U.S. Congress can help close the skills gap in manufacturing. Finally,  Brig Gen. (retired) Marianne Watson of American Jobs for American Heroes (AJAH), which focuses on connecting manufacturers with members of the military, will also be on the panel.

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

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

Hurricane Forum To Discuss Forecasting – On May 15th at the Stafford Centre in Stafford, Texas (South Houston), the 25th Annual Hurricane Symposium will be held looking at the latest forecasting technologies, incident management tactics and risk mitigation programs.  Speakers will include National Hurricane Center former Director Bill Read, KPRC Local 2 Chief Meteorologist Frank Billingsley, Port of Houston’s Captain Marcus Woodring, Hospital Corporation of America Executive Director of Emergency Services Allen Johnson, our friend and Houston Chronicle SciGuy Blogger Eric Berger, University of Miami’s Dr. Sharan Majumdar, Houston Airport System Safety and Emergency Management Manager Steve Runge and Spectra Energy’s Thomas McNulty.

Energy Update Week of March 31

Friends,

Exciting times in the sports world with the Final Fours and Opening Day.  All my Michigan teams let trips to the Four slip away.  Michigan fell to Kentucky on a clutch last-second shot.  Michigan State made some very un-Izzo-like mistakes/turnovers losing to UConn.  Finally, Ferris State, despite dominating the game, was ousted 2-1 in a 2OT thriller by perennial hockey power house North Dakota in the Frozen Four.  Congrats to our friends at Wisconsin who won perhaps the best game of the tourney to date, beating top-seeded Arizona in OT in the West Final.  Arizona’s loss, couple with the Florida shattering Dayton glass slipper, prevented the Miller brothers (Sean and Archie) from making it to Dallas.  Ceremonies begin next week for hoops in Texas Stadium and the following week for Frozen Four in Philadelphia.

Pay attention tonight and tomorrow as the NCAA Women play for a trip to the Four in Nashville.  Tonight, women hoops powers Baylor and Notre Dame start at 7:30 while top-seeded and multi-year champ Connecticut takes on Texas A&M.  Tomorrow, the Maryland Lady Terps (after bouncing top regional seed Tennessee) take on Louisville (featuring Native American sisters Shoni and Jude Schimmel), while Stanford and North Carolina battle for the final spot.

Home openers today for the Orioles in Baltimore, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Texas and Detroit (with Miguel Cabrera’s new MEGA contract).  The Washington Nationals open up in NY at the Mets today and return to open in DC on Friday.  The Cubs, who are still tied for first, open in Pittsburgh today.  Hopefully they won’t be out of it by time they return home to take on the Phillies Friday.  Finally, since it is Opening Day, a new day for Spring after our long winter, a new season for our hopes for summer, I thought it was a great time to highlight FOOD.  Yes, our friends at USA Today released its Top 10 Ballpark foods for your dining pleasure.  While I agree with many including the Yankees’ Meatball Parm and The Nat’s Ben’s Chili Bowl, one they miss is AT&T Park’s Gilroy Garlic Fries.

On to the issues… The UN issued another report today prepping the climate negotiating table for a new treaty round in Paris in 2015.  If you read the report or even just listen to the new coverage, you might think you were watching the movie Noah.  Fortunately, this specific report has continually been somewhat alarmist in an effort to spur much more difficult political action among nations.  So while you hear that food prices will be higher, temperatures will rise 9 degrees and many things, I would remind that much of this is highly-suspect.  One interesting sidebar though that won’t please the ethanol industry:  the report warns that growing crops to make ‘green’ biofuel harms the environment.

What is not suspect is the impacts of the recent EPA announcement of what water fall under US jurisdiction.  This rule will have wide and broad impacts on all forms of development literally redefining the landscape of federal water pollution regulation and impacting laws governing wetlands fill, water discharge permits, oil spill liability, spill contingency planning, hazardous substance spill response, and more.  For those of you following last week’s announcement, my colleagues with expertise in the area have started a series of blog posts regarding the impacts and issues with the proposed rule.  If you have questions or need background info, please contact my colleague Lowell Rothschild at 202-828-5817.  Lowell and the team will continue to address this issue going forward, so don’t hesitate to check in with them.

Lots of action in Congress this week, especially on budget issues with Energy’s Moniz and EPA’s McCarthy both up Wednesday morning and Moniz and Jewell up Thursday.  Also our friends at the Wall Street Journal are hosting their ECO:nomics Green Business Forum on Wednesday to Friday in Santa Barbara.  Speakers will include AEP‘s Nick Adkins, Edison International’s Ted Craver, Statoil’s Helge Lunde, DOE Loan Guarantee expert Peter Davidson and many more.

Finally, remember tomorrow is April Fools’ Day, so don’t be surprised to hear some crazy stuff.   You may recall last year, I got quite a few of you when I announced that I was ending The Update will a final report like M.A.S.H., Friends or Lost.  Each of those titles are pretty appropriate for our report, but as you know, I could never really give up this fun, weekly task.  So stay alert for the pranksters and call with questions.

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

 

IN THE NEWS

Methane Emissions Approach Announced – The White House released strategy to cut methane emissions on Friday when Energy Secretary Moniz rolled it out at a DOE advisory board meeting.  The new strategy will take steps to reduce methane emissions from four sources of methane emissions: landfills, coal mines, agriculture, and oil and gas operations. The strategy directs EPA to propose updated standards for methane emissions from landfills and assess emissions from the oil and gas sector, in order to determine whether further regulations are needed.  EPA would also work with the DOE to voluntarily reduce methane emissions, through the Natural Gas STAR program. The strategy also directs Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to gather input on the potential use of captured methane from coal mines, as well as propose updated standards to reduce flaring and venting from oil and gas production on public lands.

NARUC Praises Safety First NARUC President Colette Honorable of Arkansas said NARUC appreciates the White House’s acknowledgement of the ongoing efforts at the State level to improve the safe and efficient operation of our nation’s pipeline infrastructure. For NARUC members, safety is and remains Job No. 1, and as this report demonstrates, States have been true leaders. On a personal note, I would like to thank the Administration for their outreach and leadership in initiating roundtable discussions on these issues as they prepared this report. A safe system is a clean and efficient one, and we look forward to working with the White House and all other stakeholders going forward.

AGA Also Focused on Infrastructure – American Gas Association head Dave McCurdy also praised the effort saying industry shares the goal of a safe, resilient, clean energy infrastructure and natural gas utilities are working with state regulators and key stakeholders to do their part.  McCurdy: “We will achieve this goal in our sector through investments to modernize and expand the grid and by delivering natural gas safely to growing numbers of homes and businesses. Smart, cost effective investments in system modernization can continue, and accelerate, the trend in decreasing natural gas emissions.”  Five AGA distribution company senior executives participated in a recent methane emissions reduction strategy roundtable held by Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, part of an ongoing dialogue between the Secretary and AGA leadership about areas of joint coordination.

Bracewell Experts Focused on New EPA Water Rule – For those of you following last week’s announcement from EPA about a new proposed waters of the US rule, my colleagues with expertise in the area are starting a series of blog posts regarding the impacts and issues with the proposed rule.   The rule will literally redefine the landscape of federal water pollution regulation, impacting laws governing wetlands fill, water discharge permits, oil spill liability, spill contingency planning, hazardous substance spill response, and more. It will impact municipalities, states, and industry of every type, from natural resource extraction like energy and mining, to construction and development and beyond.   The first few will identify the breadth of the rule and examine if there is indeed anything new (or if the rule is just a recitation of the existing law).  Next week, we’ll follow up with some more posts addressing the rule’s impacts and policy implications.  The first post went up Friday.  The three more have been posted since.  If you have questions or need background info, please contact my colleague Lowell Rothschild at 202-828-5817.  Lowell and the team will continue to address this issue going forward, so don’t hesitate to check in with them.

Forbes Praises Cabot as #5 on Most Trustworthy Companies – Last week, I mention that our friends at Cabot Oil & Gas were named the 5th Most Trustworthy Company in America.  I mention it again because often, Cabot is attacked by anti-natgas activists who have been less than honest about the company, Dimock and natgas drilling in general.  Forbes released its list and it is in the current issue out this week.  The list was developed James Kaplan, director of proprietary ratings for investment adviser GMI Ratings, after the failure of corporate superpowers Enron and WorldCom.   Each year, GMI Ratings provides Forbes with a list of the 100 Most Trustworthy Companies in America. To develop the ranking, GMI reviews the accounting and governance behaviors of more than 8,000 publicly-traded companies in North America. In assessing each company, GMI considers factors including high risk events, revenue and expense recognition methods, SEC actions, and bankruptcy risk as indicators of a company’s credibility.  Cabot scored #5 just one point behind UnderArmour.  Tops on the list was oil and gas equipment developer Oceaneering International.  Other familiar names include Accenture, Wynn resorts, Tyson Foods and Nordstrom.

Energy Legend Schlesinger Passes – The nation’s first Energy Secretary James Schlesinger passed away late last week at 85 from pneumonia.  Before taking over the Energy Department under President Jimmy Carter upon its creation in 1977, Schlesinger, a Republican, had served as chairman of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, one DOE’s predecessor agencies.  Schlesinger also served as President Richard Nixon’s CIA director in 1973 and as secretary of defense from 1973 to 1975.  Despite failing physical health, Schlesinger showed he maintained his sharp intellect and wit at a conference sponsored by SAFE focused on the 40th anniversary of the Arab oil embargo.  At the event, Schlesinger wowed the audience of experts and business leaders with his discussion of the 1973 embargo and how it reshaped U.S. energy policies.

UN Report Condemns Green Biofuels – The United Nations will officially warn that growing crops to make ‘green’ biofuel harms the environment and drives up food prices according to a leaked draft of a report that went to our friends at Britain’s The Telegraph.  The report condemns the widespread use of biofuels made from crops as a replacement for petrol and diesel. It says that biofuels, rather than combating the effects of global warming, could make them worse. The draft report represents a dramatic about-turn for the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Its previous assessment on climate change, in 2007, was widely condemned by environmentalists for giving the green light to large-scale biofuel production. The latest report instead puts pressure on world leaders to scrap policies promoting the use of biofuel for transport. The summary for policymakers states: ‘Increasing bioenergy crop cultivation poses risks to ecosystems and biodiversity.’

Marshall Study Examines Defense, Security Claims of Warming – Speaking of UN reports, the George C. Marshall Institute released The Climate of Insecurity todayIn this new Policy Outlook, Institute President Jeff Kueter considers claims that climate change will result in conflict.  Recently the State and Defense Departments have reiterated their belief that environmental factors can precipitate armed conflict and the IPCC 5th Assessment Report endorses this view.  Drawing on his 2012 study of the issue, Kueter evaluates the claims and concludes again that the linkage between climate and conflict is overstated.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Appropriations/Budget:

Wednesday

  • House Approps Panel on Energy budget.  Moniz Testifies.  10:00 a.m.
  • House Energy Committee Energy Panel on EPA budget. EPA’s McCarthy testifies. 10:00 a.m.

Thursday

  • House Resources on Interior budge.  Interior Sect Jewell testifies. 10 a.m.
  • House Energy Committee Energy Panel on Energy budget.  Moniz Testifies.  10:00 a.m.

Refiners International Meeting to Hear from Rice – The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) will hold its annual International petrochemical conference in San Antonio today and tomorrow. The International Petrochemical Conference is the world’s largest and most prestigious conference representing the petrochemical industry.  The meeting consists of sessions covering key political, economic, and environmental issues affecting the petrochemical industry.  The sessions emphasize global competitiveness in the petrochemical business and are presented by recognized experts in the areas of petrochemical markets, economics and politics. Speakers will include former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, among many others.

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

Building Summit to Look at Efficiency – The 2014 Building Energy Summit will be held tomorrow at the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center.  Building owners, energy experts, and technology pioneers will converge to address the challenges and opportunities surrounding the need for more energy efficient buildings. Join us for the 2014 Building Energy Summit and be a part of the revolution that is permanently changing the way we manage and operate buildings. The 2014 Summit brings together leaders from both the public and private sector to debate and discuss energy efficient technologies and solutions, energy policy, funding and incentives, alternative sources of energy, and more.   The Summit will combine keynote presentations by industry leaders and energy experts, educational breakout sessions for hands-on learning, case study presentations demonstrating real projects and real results, and networking opportunities for collaborating with colleagues and solution providers. Speakers will present case studies of some of the most efficient buildings in the country. Learn what major corporations, building owners, tenants, governments and governmental agencies are doing to support energy efficient operations and significantly reduce energy costs.

Forum to Look at Converting Fleets to Alt Fuels – EESI and WIRES will host a briefing coordination with Transportation Energy Partners (TEP) and NAFA Fleet Management Association tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. in the CVC Auditorium about the strides public and private sector vehicle fleet managers in nearly every state are making in converting to alternative fuels (e.g., biofuels, electricity, natural gas, propane). This is a chance to learn first-hand about why they are converting their fleets, the challenges they face, and the importance of federal and state incentives in overcoming these challenges.

NIEHS to Hold Forum on Vehicle Emissions – The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the Institute of Medicine are holding a symposium tomorrow at the National Academy of Sciences focused on the health effects of fine particles from vehicle emissions.  The forum will bring together leading researchers and other experts on the sources, extent, mechanics, and health implications of ultra-fine airborne particles to discuss their origins, nature and potential health effects, and to help researchers identify remaining questions. Please join us to learn about the growing body of research that links petroleum-derived particle pollution to a variety of ever larger serious health problems and premature death. While there has been significant research into the origins and effects of larger particles, there is much less known about the nature and effects of ultra-fine particulates (UFPs).

UVa Expert to Discuss Russian, Energy – The Center on Global Interests will hold a forum tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. on how the Kremlin’s energy dependence undermines foreign policy decisions.  In the last 15 years, Russia has become increasingly reliant on oil and gas wealth to sustain its economy. As a result, the major players in Russia’s resource industries have acquired a disproportionate influence over Russian politics. This has undermined the authority of Russia’s foreign policy institutions by allowing a small group of decision-makers, who rarely consult with Russia’s professional foreign policy bureaucracy, to set the domestic and foreign policy agenda.  How should Western officials respond to Russia’s insular policy-making, and how might Western sanctions—including energy sanctions—influence key decision-makers in Russia? Using the Second Chechen War and the 2008 Georgian War as case studies, Emma Ashford will examine the extent to which Russian foreign policy institutions function in an informational vacuum and provide recommendations for how U.S. policymakers can mitigate this problem, particularly with regard to the Ukraine crisis.

Chalk to Discuss DOE EERE Budget – DOE will hold a webinar tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. offer an in-depth review of EERE’s FY15 renewable power budget request, including SunShot.  Deputy Assistant Secretary Steve Chalk and the Directors of the Solar, Wind/Water, and Geothermal Offices will discuss the details of EERE’s FY15 Budget request.

Climate Action Goes to Washington (State) – Continuing its Northwest swing, Climate Desk will host a forum on State action in Washington featuring Governor Jay Inslee tomorrow at the University of Washington in Seattle.  The recent agreement between Washington state, British Columbia, Oregon and California to harmonize their climate and energy policies has the potential to not just accelerate greenhouse gas reductions but also catalyze a strong, clean, and resilient economy.  Inslee, along with distinguished industry and climate science leaders will discuss the future of clean energy as part of Climate Desk Live, a partnership between the University of Washington’s College of the Environment, Climate Access, and Climate Desk, sponsored by Bloomberg BNA. Hosted by Chris Mooney, the discussion will cover a range of key climate policy issues from coal terminals, to fuel efficiency standards, to carbon pricing, with an eye toward innovation and new energy solutions.

German Energy Issues Discussed – The National Academy of Engineering and the German Research Foundation (DFG) will host a Leibniz Lecture on global energy challenges, looking at Germany’s “Energiewende” and Beyond, tomorrow at 6:00 p.m.  Prof. Dr. Ferdi Schueth, Vice President, German Research Foundation (DFG) and Director, Max-Planck-Institute for Carbon Research will speak.

House Foreign Affairs Panel to Look at Oil Export Ban – The House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. looking at oil and evaluating U.S. energy trade policy.  Shale plays in North Dakota and Texas, has grown crude production by 50% since 2008.  While domestic refiners are not configured to handle this type of crude, the US is also banned from exporting it to willing buyers abroad.  This hearing will bring together industry parties and experts from both sides in order examine any needed changes to our crude energy policy.  Sen. Lisa Murkowski will testify, as will Michael Jennings of the HollyFrontier Corporation, API’s Erik Milito, Ken Medlock of the Center for Energy Studies at the James Baker Institute for Public Policy and Deborah Gordon of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

WAPA Forum to Look at Nissan Cab – The Washington Automotive Press Assn and Nissan North America will host the April WAPA lunch on Wednesday hosting Peter Bedrosian, Senior Manager, Product Planning for a background session to discuss the all-new Nissan NV200 Taxi. You’ll hear how the NV200 made it to service in New York City in October 2013 and also learn about its passenger-friendly features, including USB charging, anti-fatigue seats, panoramic roof with sky views of the city, reduced odors, improved leg room, more cargo space and other conveniences.

Forum to EESI Climate Risks in SW – EESI will hold a briefing on Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. examining the current and projected impacts of climate change in the Southwest and regional efforts to manage these risks. The Southwest is already the driest and hottest region in the United States, and California is in the midst of a historic drought. The draft Third National Climate Assessment (NCA) – the final version is expected soon – projects that the region’s climate may become even more severe. These changes are having substantial adverse effects on the regional economy and quality of life, forcing local leaders to develop creative solutions to combat drought and other extreme conditions. How can the Southwest best address current impacts while also building climate resiliency to manage risk and foster long-term prosperity?   Speakers for this forum are Eleanor Bastian, Legislative Director for Rep. Diana DeGette; Patrick Gonzalez of the U.S. National Park Service; Chris Treese of the Colorado River District; Margaret Bowman of the Walton Family Foundation and Louis Blumberg of The Nature Conservancy.

WSJ to Host ECO:nomics ForumThe Wall Street Journal will host its ECO:nomics Green Business Forum on Wednesday to Friday at the Bacara Resort in Santa Barbara.  Speakers will include AEP‘s Nick Adkins, Edison International’s Ted Craver, Statoil’s Helge Lunde, DOE Loan Guarantee expert Peter Davidson and many more.  Moderators will include our WSJ friends Joe White, Kim Strassel, Russ Gold and Jeff Ball.

Purdue Biofuel Expert to Address JHU Forum – The Johns Hopkins University’s Energy, Resources and Environment program will host a forum on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. in the Bernstein-Offit Building on first and second generation biofuels – economic and policy issues.  The event will feature our friend Wally Tyner from Purdue University’s Department of Agricultural Economics.

Forum to Look at Regional Transmission Issues – Americans for a Clean Energy Grid will hold a series of regionally-focused webinars starting Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. on what’s going on in the world of transmission running from Fall 2013 to Winter 2014. Each webinar will span one hour, featuring presentations by transmission experts from the region in question and a discussion of environmental, economic, and political issues including planning, siting, and cost allocation.  The next webinar in Americans for a Clean Energy Grid’s series of regionally-focused webinars will focus on the West.  Presenters will include NRDC’s Director of Western Transmission Carl Zichella and Xcel’s Stephen Beuning.

Senate Finance to Mark-Up “Tax Extenders – The Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing Thursday on renewing all of the tax credits for another year until more sweeping tax reform can be passed.  My colleague Mike Pate (202-828-5841) is following closely and can help with your questions.

WRI Head to Address JHU Forum – The Johns Hopkins University’s International Development program will host World Resources Institute CEO Andrew Steer on Thursday at 12:30 p.m.  Steer will discuss climate change with economic growth, and what to watch in 2014.

WRI to Release World Bank Assessment Report – Following that event at 3:30 p.m., the Sustainable Finance Center at WRI will launch a report assessing sustainable development and effective governance principles in the World Bank’s 2012-2013 portfolio of projects.  The authors, World Bank management, civil society, and academia will discuss the findings in the context of a new World Bank strategy and pressing global challenges. Please register early to confirm participation.  In advance of the 2014 World Bank / IMF Spring Meetings and as the World Bank embarks on major structural reforms, this event will present new analysis that explores how well the World Bank is designing projects to meet future sustainability and governance challenges.  For this report, the World Resources Institute examined the extent to which the World Bank is integrating elements of sustainable development and effective governance considerations into the design of a sample set of 60 projects approved between 2012 and 2013. The report presents ten recommendations for the World Bank based on the findings, which will also have relevance for national governments, other development finance institutions, and civil society organizations.

Forum to Discuss Greenland, Energy Development – On Thursday at 4:00 p.m., GWU’s IERES and Department of Geography will host Inuuteq Holm Olsen of the Embassy of Denmark to discuss Greenland’s goals with Arctic Energy development and its future plans.  Largely, but not only, due to the effects of climate change, the Arctic is becoming a hot spot on the global agenda. Similarly along those lines, Greenland is seeking to develop its natural resources as it develops politically. In that context, the forces of globalization have reached the Arctic including new emerging powers.

Book Event to Look at Future Energy Shortage, Demand – The Institute of World Politics will hold a book lecture with author David Archibald for his book Twilight of Abundance: Why Life in the 21st Century will be Nasty, Brutish, and Short on Thursday at 4:00 p.m.   Baby boomers enjoyed the most benign period in human history: fifty years of relative peace, cheap energy, plentiful grain supply, and a warming climate due to the highest solar activity for 8,000 years. The party is over-prepare for the twilight of abundance.

Chamber to Hold Aviation Summit Featuring Airline CEOs – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is hosting 13th Annual Aviation Summit on Thursday in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.  This forum will bring together top experts and leaders from all sectors of aviation to discuss critical issues facing the industry. This year we will examine one of the least understood topics in aviation: the true costs of flying.  Among the many confirmed speakers will be Delta CEO Richard Anderson, Spirit CEO Ben Baldanza, JetBlue Airways CEO David Barger, former FAA Administrator and Aerospace Industries Association head Marion Blakey and Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Group, among many others.

Forum to Discuss Tax Reforms – AEI and the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center will hold a forum on Friday at 9:00 a.m. focused on the US corporate income tax.  Most argue the tax is deeply flawed, particularly in its treatment of foreign-source income. At this event, Eric Toder of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center and AEI’s Alan D. Viard will present a report, funded by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, explaining that the current corporate income tax system bases tax liability on two concepts that defy easy definition — the source of corporate income and the residence of corporations. Toder and Viard call for structural reform that would either find an internationally agreed-upon way to define those concepts or restructure the tax system so that it no longer relies on them. They will outline two options: seeking international agreement on how to allocate multinational corporations’ income among countries or replacing the corporate income tax with taxation of dividends and accrued capital gains of American shareholders at ordinary income tax rates. Martin A. Sullivan of Tax Analysts and Pamela Olson of PricewaterhouseCoopers will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of both ideas.

House Resources to Look at California Energy Independence – On Friday at 9:30 a.m. in 1334 Longworth, the House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will conduct an oversight hearing on domestic opportunities to reverse California’s growing dependence on foreign oil.  Since 2000, California has experienced a surge in foreign oil imports. Today, California gets 50% of its oil from foreign sources and half of those imports come from the Middle East through the Strait of Hormuz. California’s unemployment is higher than the national average at 8.7 percent, energy prices in California are among the highest in the nation, and California is in the midst of a fiscal crisis. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that California’s Monterey Shale contains over 15 billion barrels of oil – more than estimates of North Dakota’s Bakken Shale.

FUTURE EVENTS

NIST to Host Disaster Resilience Workshop – Next Monday, April 7th, The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will host a workshop at its Gaithersburg Main Campus to look at a community-centered approach to disaster resilience.  Annual losses from natural and other types of disasters in the United States averages $57 billion, with losses from large single events, such as Hurricane Katrina, exceeding $100 billion.  The workshops will explore the role that buildings and infrastructure systems play in enabling communities to protect people and property and recover more rapidly from natural and man-made hazards.

Utility Summit to Feature Moniz, Whitman – Bloomberg New Finance will hold a summit in New York on April 7th through 9thfocused on Changing utility business models.   Speakers include DOE Secretary Dr. Ernest Moniz, former NJ Gov. and EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman, former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, UK Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change Greg Barker, Exelon CEO Christopher Crane, GE CEO Jeff  Immelt, former Duke Energy Jim Rogers and many more.

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

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

House Resources To Look at Women in Energy Jobs – The House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will hold a hearing on Tuesday, April 8th at 2:00 p.m. looking at energy job opportunities for women and minorities.  Women and minorities are already a key part of America’s energy renaissance and their role and importance will only continue to grow. It is estimated that their employment in the energy sector will rise to one-third by 2030 – up from one-fourth in 2010. This hearing will examine opportunities in this sector, what is driving this increase, and identify ways to ensure continued job growth.

Energy, Oil Debate Set – On Tuesday, April 8th at 7:00 p.m. at American University, the French-American Global Forum / French-American Institute for Global Affaires and The School for International Services at American University -Washington, DC. in Cooperation with Le Monde Diplomatique present the fourth and final debate of the Le Monde diplomatique Debates Series – Washington, D.C. on oil and energy and what the future will hold.

Forum to Look at Advanced Transportation – The Information Technology Industry Council will hold an expert panel discussion on Wednesday, April 9th at 2:00 p.m. about the future of mobility, the new technologies and business models that are likely to emerge, and the policies that can help spur even greater innovation. The event will also include a demonstration of Toyota’s new front-drive, zero emission, concept vehicle: the i-Road. Transportation is undergoing a technological transformation. Even as companies compete to introduce new and more efficient fuel technologies, increasing consumer demand for connectivity is turning the vehicle into the next mobile platform. Speakers will include Mary Brown of Cisco Systems, Toyota’s Andrew Coetzee and IBM’s Riz Khaliq.

Book Forum To Discuss Sci-Fi Thriller – On Wednesday, April 9th, the Future Tense Book Club will meet at the New America Foundation to discuss Shovel Ready. The novel, by New York Times Magazine culture editor Adam Sternbergh, imagines a near-future New York City that is decaying while the wealthy who remain take refuge in an alternate reality. Our guide to Sternbergh’s engrossing dystopia: a garbage man turned hit man. In a conversation on Slate, Sternbergh’s editor, Zack Wagman, described the book as “noir, detective, sci-fi world-building, speculative dystopia, and just out-and-out thriller.”

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

RFF to Discuss Shale Gas Development – Resources for the Future will hold a forum on Thursday, April 10th at 12:30 p.m. to discuss shale gas development.  RFF will host three distinguished scholars researching the benefits and costs of shale gas development as experienced by local communities. Hunt Allcott (New York University) will present his work on boom-and-bust cycles related to oil and gas development; James McElfish (Environmental Law Institute) will examine how impact fees collected in five Pennsylvania counties are being used in the local economy; and Lucija Muehlenbachs (University of Calgary and RFF) will present recent analyses on the impacts of shale gas development on property values and truck traffic and accidents in Pennsylvania.

WCEE to Look at Honey “Bee” Issues – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will host a brown bag lunch on Tuesday, April 15th at Noon at Cassidy & Associates for a look at what threatens and nurtures bee colonies .  Dr. Mary Purcell-Miramontes, National Program Leader for USDA-NIFA will provide an overview of colony collapse disorder, a phenomenon in which worker bees from a beehive suddenly disappear.  She will discuss how the disappearance is threatening many commercial fruit crops in the US and what is known about the causes of the disorder.  Also joining us will be Larry Marling, a local beekeeper and provider of home and office beehives. He will discuss considerations with home beekeeping and the enjoyment you may get from having your own backyard hive.

UC-Boulder Forum to Look at Climate, Extreme Weather – On April 16th, the University of Colorado-Boulder will hold a forum on how scientists can forecast where extreme events will occur and their severity.   Kathleen Tierney, Director of the CU Boulder’s Natural Hazards Center and Kevin Trenberth from the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) will join facilitators Dr. Anne Gold of CIRES and Deb Morrison of University Colorado Boulder in an interactive panel discussion.  These experts will cover what communities and governments can do to increase resiliency to extreme weather events and how the scientific community can help prepare citizens and government.

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

GEA Event Set – The Geothermal Energy Association holds its International Geothermal Showcase on April 22nd at the Ronald Reagan Building. The Showcase will bring together the key government and industry leaders who will be making decisions about building thousands of new megawatts of geothermal power around the world.  has currently confirmed attendance from government and industry leaders representing 20 countries.  It will serve as an opportunity to explore and learn from each other about the best policies and approaches to expand the use of geothermal power domestically and abroad.  In addition, GEA will be releasing its “2014 U.S. & Global Geothermal Power Production” report at the International Geothermal Showcase.

FWS to Hold Final Wind, Wildlife Training – On April 23rd at 2:00 p.m., U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will host its final bimonthly training broadcast covering emerging issues and providing direction for wind energy facility planning, development, and operations to avoid impacts to wildlife and their habitat.  The final broadcast of the series will focus on the latest and greatest in research. Host Christy Johnson-Hughes will be joined by Cris Hein of Bat Conservation International and Chad Le Beau and Wally Erickson of WEST, Inc. to share research results and conclusions related to bats, grassland birds, and sage grouse.

FERC’s Clark, Congressional Members Address Hydro Conference – The National Hydropower Association will hold its annual conference in Washington, DC on April 28th through 30th at the Capital Hilton.  The event provides a forum for industry, legislative and regulatory agency staff to exchange knowledge and expertise pertinent to the hydroelectric industry.  FERC Commissioner Tony Clark will be a keynote speaker.  Others will include Reps. Diana DeGette, Cathy McMorris-Rodgers, Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Ron Wyden.

WCEE Lunch to Focus on Energy Dependency in Ukraine, Others – The WCEE Brown-bag Luncheon Series will hold a forum on Friday, May 2nd at Noon on the politics of energy dependency, with specific focus on Ukraine, Belarus, and Lithuania.  The event will feature Margarita M. Balmaceda, Professor of diplomacy and international relations at Seton Hall.  Recent events in Ukraine again bring up the question of countries’ energy policy choices and the role of powerful domestic groups in relation to Russia and the EU. The event looks at these issues from the perspective of post-independence energy politics in three post-Soviet states: Ukraine, Belarus, and Lithuania. It compared these three states’ reactions to the serious external shock of their sudden transformation from constituents of a single energy-rich state to separate energy-poor entities heavily dependence on Russia, as well as politically independent transit states.  Using extensive field research and until now untapped local sources in Ukrainian, Belarusian, Russian, and Lithuanian, the book analyzes how these states’ unique location, powerful domestic economic actors often making a profit of their situation of energy dependency (“oligarchs”), and Russian power, has affected Russia’s ability to use energy as a foreign policy took in the region – and these states’ own political development.

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

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

Hurricane Forum To Discuss Forecasting – On May 15th at the Stafford Centre in Stafford, Texas (South Houston), the 25th Annual Hurricane Symposium will be held looking at the latest forecasting technologies, incident management tactics and risk mitigation programs.  Speakers will include National Hurricane Center former Director Bill Read, KPRC Local 2 Chief Meteorologist Frank Billingsley, Port of Houston’s Captain Marcus Woodring, Hospital Corporation of America Executive Director of Emergency Services Allen Johnson, our friend and Houston Chronicle SciGuy Blogger Eric Berger, University of Miami’s Dr. Sharan Majumdar, Houston Airport System Safety and Emergency Management Manager Steve Runge and Spectra Energy’s Thomas McNulty.

Energy Update Week of March 24

Friends,

Pools, Pools Pools….Well, in my two pools, I managed to pick every game correctly, except Duke-Mercer.  The problem is some are on one and the rest are on the other… making them average.  A lot of the talk last week was about the Buffett Billion Dollar Challenge which really only took 25 games to blow it up.  The only way anyone would get a perfect bracket this year (or maybe any year nowadays) would be to use the Doc Emmett Brown DeLorean Time machine with the Sports Almanac in it.  Regardless, it was an exciting first four days though with some great surprises.  Back on the horse starting Thursday evening in Memphis with #10 seed Stanford taking on #11 seed Dayton, guaranteeing at least one double-digit seed into the Elite 8. The game to watch may be Friday’s Michigan State-Virginia matchup.

NCAA Hockey brackets for the Frozen Four were announced on Sunday with Minnesota getting the top seed, Boston College, Union (NY) and Wisconsin getting the other regional seeds.   Familiar names (Vermont, Ferris State, Notre Dame, North Dakota, UMass-Lowell, Denver) are in with a couple of surprises like Pittsburgh’s Robert Morris, Colgate and Providence.  Big names are also missing this year including Michigan, Miami, Yale and Boston U.   Action starts Friday in Division I.  Congrats to Green Bay’s St. Norbert College who won the Division III hockey title over the weekend (its third in 4 years) beating UW-Stevens Point 3-1 in Maine.

With Congress returning from a Spring Work period, the hearing schedule is very heavy this week, especially with the usual budget appropriations meetings (there are 11 including visits from Interior’s sally Jewell, EPA Gina McCarthy, NASA, DOE Science and APRA-E and many more).  The policy hearings start tomorrow with Senate Energy holding new Chair Mary Landrieu’s first hearing on energy export issues featuring EIA.  Meanwhile, in the afternoon, the House Energy panel will hold a hearing on Rep. Cory Gardner’s LNG export bill focused on Russia.  On Wednesday, House Foreign Affairs will look at the geopolitical potential of the U.S. oil and gas boom featuring Adm. Dennis Blair and refiner Harold Hamm, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe will be at House Resources to discuss Wildlife and energy.  And Thursday, the Committee’s energy panel will hold a hearing on earthquake science.

For energy policy education, ELI will begin a three-part series tomorrow looking at the legal and regulatory framework and issues in domestic energy production, energy distribution, and energy consumption.  My colleagues Heather Corken and Kirsten Gibbs are among the presenters.  As well, for energy policy fun, WCEE will hold its 33rd Annual “Woman of the Year” event on Wednesday at the Capital Hilton.  GE’s Deb Frodl will be honored and Bracewell has a table(which is rumored to feature Scott Segal).

Finally, two big policy events on Friday.  ACORE will hold its Renewable Energy Policy Forum on Capitol Hill with Energy Secretary Moniz (hosting by our friend Joe Desmond of BrightSource Energy)and EPA’s Gina McCarthy topping the bill.  As well, prior to their NCAA sweet 16 game, the University of Michigan Institute for Manufacturing Leadership and U of M’s Energy Institute will host a forum at the Press Club to discuss the way shale gas is changing the American energy economy, energy security policy and the environment.   The event will be over with plenty of time to watch the game.

Finally, kudos to my friends at Cabot Oil & Gas, who were named #5 on Forbes 2014 list of “Most Trustworthy Companies.” (See below)  Also, this week is the 22nd Environmental Film Festival in Washington, DC.  The theme of the 2014 Festival, “Our Cities, Our Planet,” will examine the challenges posed by Earth’s urban environments and the efforts of the world’s cities to balance environmental and economic needs.

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

 

IN THE NEWS

Forbes Praises Cabot as #5 on Most Trustworthy Companies – Late Friday, Forbes released its list of America’s most trustworthy companies and at #5 on the list (right behind UnderAmour) is Cabot Oil & Gas.  The list was developed James Kaplan, director of proprietary ratings for investment adviser GMI Ratings, after the failure of corporate superpowers Enron and WorldCom.   Each year, GMI Ratings provides Forbes with a list of the 100 Most Trustworthy Companies in America. To develop the ranking, GMI reviews the accounting and governance behaviors of more than 8,000 publicly-traded companies in North America. In assessing each company, GMI considers factors including high risk events, revenue and expense recognition methods, SEC actions, and bankruptcy risk as indicators of a company’s credibility.  Cabot scored #5 just one point behind UnderArmour.  Tops on the list was oil and gas equipment developer Oceaneering International.  Other familiar names include Accenture, Wynn resorts, Tyson Foods and Nordstrom.

SEJ Leaders Hammer EPA over Transparency – Our friends at the Society of the Environmental Journalists unloaded on EPA last week in an op-ed that raised serious concerns about communication delays by EPA in responding to media requests.  SEJ executive Director Beth Parke and FOIA expert Joe Davis wrote: “Journalists frequently report waiting for days and in some cases weeks to get EPA to respond to routine requests for information or interviews.  Parke and Davis added members of the SEJ often are the reporters on the front lines trying to pry information from EPA. They say they have seen an agency that for much of the 1980s and 1990s was considered one of the most open in the federal government become incredibly secretive, especially under the Obama Administration.  “As we celebrate “Sunshine Week,” it’s worth noting that nowadays EPA in many cases simply fails to answer questions posed by journalists on behalf of the public – even some that are routine and non-controversial. When the agency does respond, a favorite tactic is to wait until just before or even after a reporter’s deadline and then mail a short written statement that does not answer the questions.”  Ouch…

New Study Reveals Billions in Higher Energy Costs, Millions of Lost Jobs Analysis from the National Economic Research Associates (NERA) estimates that NRDC’s proposal to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing power plants under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act could cost consumers billions in higher energy prices and millions of jobs.  NRDC’s proposal, released in late 2012 and updated last week, has received attention as an approach EPA might follow to regulate CO2 emissions from power plants.  The NERA analysis found that NRDC’s plan could cost consumers $13 billion to $17 billion per year in higher electricity and natural gas prices.  Ratepayers in most states could face double digit electricity price increases.  NRDC’s updated analysis now projects no costs at all.  NERA also found that NRDC’s proposal could cause job losses totaling as high as 2.85 million between 2018 and 2033.  By comparison, NRDC projects that its proposal would increase jobs.  NERA’s projections regarding natural gas also are at odds with NRDC’s analysis.  NRDC projects very little change in natural gas prices, whereas NERA found prices could increase by as much as 16 percent.  As a result, families and businesses could pay as much as $54 billion more for natural gas between 2018 and 2033.  The NERA analysis, sponsored by ACCCE, relies on data and information from the EIA, EPA, North American Electric Reliability Corporation, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, National Environmental Technology Laboratory and MIT.

Experts Debate Divestment Movement – I mentioned another rejection letter from Hamilton College  last week in the fossil fuel divestment debate.  In case you missed it because you were watching NCAA hoops last Thursday, out friends at Yale Environment 360, take on the topic of universities divesting their stock holdings in companies that produce oil, natural gas, or coal? In a Point/Counterpoint debate, activist Bob Massie and economist Robert Stavins face off on this controversial issue. Massie, who heads a group pushing for divestment, argues that because our leaders have repeatedly failed to take action on climate, divestment is one of the few effective strategies remaining. Stavins, a Harvard professor, counters that having universities divest from fossil fuels is merely a feel-good measure that would do nothing to address the problem of climate change. Read their Point/Counterpoint debate.

Heitkamp to Promote CCS Legislation – ND Senator Heidi Heitkamp introduced new major legislation to support a viable path forward for coal.  Heitkamp unveiled the Advanced Clean Coal Technology Investment in Our Nation Act to provide a path forward for coal-fired power well into the future which provides the United States with almost 40% of its electricity. According to Heitkamp, unlike recent proposals by the Obama Administration, the bill helps make it affordable for coal plants to lower their carbon pollution through the use of advanced clean coal technologies. Our friends at POLITICO looked at the bill and say it allocates $2 billion of DOE’s Loan Guarantee Program for fossil energy to coal projects and removes legal barriers keeping companies from getting multiple types of federal assistance. The bill would also boost tax credits for carbon sequestration and set up price supports for companies that sell CO2.

Bozzella to Head Global Automakers – The Association of Global Automakers has selected John Bozzella as its new president, replacing our long-time friend and auto industry veteran Mike Stanton announced his plans to retire early last year.  Bozzella joins the Association from Cerberus, bringing 20 years of experience as a public policy executive with Chrysler and Ford Motor Company.  Prior to his time at Cerberus, John spent five years at Chrysler and DaimlerChrysler leaving as Senior Vice President of External Affairs and Public Policy in 2009.  He is credited for playing a major role mobilizing government support for the significant restructuring of Chrysler.  John also spent 10 years at Ford Motor Company in positions in government and community relations from 1994-2005.

Khosla Venture Failure Undercuts RFS – Vinod Khosla–led KiOR, which makes cellulosic biofuels using woody biomass and non-food feedstocks, will not likely reopen its plant in Columbus, Mississippi it said late last week.  The announcement is another setback for the industry and its efforts to prevent rollbacks in the RFS.  KiOR was expected to make 9 million gallons this year towards RFS goals of 17 million gallons of cellulosic biofuels.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Appropriations:

Tomorrow

  • House Approps energy and water panel on DOE’s applied energy funding.  9:30 a.m.  DOE Asst Sects. Smith, Hoffman, Lyons and Danielson testify.
  • House Approps Interior panel on Interior’s budget. Secretary Jewell testifies.  1:30 p.m.
  • House Approps energy and water panel on DOE’s science budget.  2:00 p.m.
  • House Resources’ water and power panel on the budgets of the Bureau of Reclamation, the power marketing administrations and the U.S. Geological Survey’s water program.  2:00 p.m.

Wednesday

  • Sen. Environment on EPA’s budget.  McCarthy Testifies.  10:00 a.m.
  • Sen. Approps Interior panel on Interior’s budget. Secretary Jewell testifies.  9:15 a.m.
  • House Approps energy and water panel on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers budget. 10:00 a.m.
  • House Science Committee on science agency budgets. OSTP Director John Holdren testifies.  10:00 a.m.
  • House Approps energy and water panel on the Bureau of Reclamation budget. 2:00 p.m.

 

Thursday

  • House Science Committee’s space panel on NASA’s budget.  9:00 a.m.
  • House Approps Commerce Justice Science panel on the National Science Foundation budget. 10:00 a.m.
  • House Approps Interior-EPA panel on EPA budget. EPA’s McCarthy testifies. 10:00 a.m.

Former LLNL Director to Address Nuclear Weapons Challenges – The Nuclear Policy Talks and the Center for International Science and Technology Policy will hold a forum today at 4:00 p.m. at GWU on the nuclear stockpile and modernization challenges facing the Department of Energy.  Parney Albright will speak.  He served as Director of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) from 2009 – 2013. As director, he was responsible for the management of the Laboratory and also served as President of Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC. Dr. Albright has extensive experience in executive leadership; policy direction; strategic planning; Congressional and Executive branch interactions; financial and personnel management of large mission-focused science and technology organizations; and research, development, testing, and evaluation of national security technologies and systems. He has a broad and deep understanding of U.S. and international civilian and military requirements, functions, and processes in the national security arena.

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

Landrieu to Hold First Hearing on Energy Exports – The Senate Energy Committee will hold new Chair Mary Landrieu’s first hearing tomorrow focused on energy exports. Those testifying include EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski, Lithuanian energy minister Jaroslav Neverovic, NERA’s David Montgomery, former State Department official David Goldwyn and CSIS expert Edward Chow.

House Energy Panel to Discuss Gardner Export Legislation – Speaking of exports, the House Energy panel of the Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. on Rep. Cory Gardner’s bill to approve pending permits to export liquefied natural gas.  Gardner’s bill would immediately authorize approval of export applications currently filed at the Energy Department and expedite future permits. Many supporters are focusing on LNG exports in an attempt to undercut Russian natural gas exports to Ukraine and other countries in Central and Eastern Europe.  Doe’s Paula Gant, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oil and Natural Gas will testify, as will former Rep. Jim Bacchus, Hungarian Ambassador-at-Large for Energy Security Anita Orbán, Dave Schryver of the American Public Gas Association, CRA’s Ken Ditzel and Montgomery of NERA.

ELI Series to Tackle Energy Issues Framework – ELI will begin a three-part series tomorrow looking at the legal and regulatory framework and issues in domestic energy production, energy distribution, and energy consumption.  The energy market continues to evolve, and this evolution brings with it business opportunities and risks. But energy growth and environmental impacts are increasingly intertwined through complicated federal and state regulations.  The series is a collaborative effort between the American Law Institute and the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) and will include forums on April 8th on Getting Energy to Market and April 22nd on Electricity Consumption.  Tomorrow’s forum will be on the regulatory framework of domestic energy production and will look at the infrastructure and regulatory framework of energy in the US. The session will focus on the federal regulations at play in oil and gas exploration and production, pipeline regulation, and electricity generation. The session will also examine how natural resources are affected during domestic energy production and transportation via pipelines. State analogues to the federal laws at play will also be touched upon.  Panelists will include by Bracewell colleagues Heather Corken Palmer (who will moderate) and Kirstin Gibbs, as well as EEI’s Emily Sanford Fisher, and NRDC’s Noah Long and Kate Sinding.

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

House Foreign Affairs to Look at Energy – Also tomorrow, the House Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a hearing at 10:00 a.m. on the geopolitical impacts of U.S. energy.  Admiral Dennis Blair CFR’s Michael Levi and Continental refining head Harold Hamm are among those testifying.

Brookings Panel to Look at Arctic Oil, Gas – The Energy Security Initiative at Brookings will host a discussion on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. to launch the release of its Policy Brief on how the U.S. can meet the challenges posed by this activity, especially as it assumes Chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2015.This Policy Brief is the result of a year of research including over 80 interviews with leading Arctic specialists (government, industry, academia, native leaders, and NGOs) across the region.  Heather Conley, director of the Europe Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies will moderate a discussion with two co-authors of the Brookings policy brief: Charles Ebinger, senior fellow and director of ESI and John Banks, nonresident senior fellow at ESI.

Forum to Look on Transmission – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute and WIRES will start a series of important briefings on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. in Senate CVC 209 focusing on the modernization of the nation’s critical network of high-voltage transmission. Designed and built well before the digital age to serve more localized customer loads, the “grid” is struggling to support active and increasingly competitive wholesale power markets that now operate regionally. It is often congested or inadequate to deliver domestic energy resources that are not close to customers. Its aging facilities have acknowledged weather and cyber vulnerabilities. Moreover, the planning and regulation of this fundamental infrastructure is complex, often uncoordinated, and slow to produce results. However, despite the combined effects of the recession and greater energy efficiency, the grid will be called upon to serve 30 percent more electrical demand over the next two decades.   Modern transmission is the fundamental enabler of competition, new technologies, and our high standard of living. Upgrading and expanding the system is a priority. Transmission 201 will provide a basic understanding of how the high-voltage system works and then move to key issues affecting the grid: economic regulation; actual siting and permitting of the facilities; the regional markets that transmission supports; and the range of diverse economic, environmental, and operational benefits that transmission provides to the whole electric system and electricity consumers.

POSTPONED – Press Club to Host Philly Mayoral Frontrunner – The National Press Club Newsmakers Committee meeting with Pennsylvania State Senator and leading Philadelphia Mayoral candidate Tony Williams for Wednesday has been POSTPONED because of scheduling conflicts.

Former EIA Director to Address Georgetown – Georgetown University will host former EIA director Jay Hakes to promote his new book A Declaration of Energy Independence on Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. at its Edward Bunn Intercultural Center to discuss has long-term U.S. energy policy been a success or a failure.  Hakes served as director of the Energy Information Agency in the 1990s and recently retired as head of the Carter Presidential Library.   The book takes a nonpartisan approach to fundamental questions and obliterates the political and economic myths.  Hakes combines real facts and solid science with historical context to ask the right questions and propose the best answers. He also adds a seven-point plan for breaking free from the costly energy trap and enhancing American influence abroad. This is an important and timely book for all Americans.

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

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

Senate Environment Starts Transportation Legislation Review – The full Senate Environment Committee will hold a hearing on Thursday at 9:45 a.m. looking at MAP-21 Reauthorization focusing on state and local perspectives on transportation priorities and funding.

Senate FR to Discuss Power Africa Initiative – The Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on African Affairs will hold a hearing on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. on the Power Africa Initiative.  Those testifying will include USAID Administrator Earl Gast, Ex-Im Bank Africa Director Rick Angiuoni and OPIC exec Mimi Alemayehou, among others.

LaFleur to Address NatGas Roundtable – The Natural Gas Roundtable will be hosting Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Acting Chairman Cheryl A. LaFleur at its next luncheon at the University Club.  LaFleur was nominated by President Barack Obama to serve as a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in 2010 and confirmed by the U.S. Senate for a term that ends in June 2014. She became Acting Chairman on November 25 of last year

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

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

University of Michigan to Host Shale Gas Symposium at Press Club – The University of Michigan Institute for Manufacturing Leadership and the University of Michigan Energy Institute will host a group of leaders in American government agencies, industry, NGOs and academia at the National Press Club on Friday to discuss the way shale gas is changing the American energy economy, energy security policy and the environment.   Shale gas as an energy source poses a huge potential boon to American manufacturers of all stripes, but the relationship between the shale gas boom and U.S. manufacturing competitiveness needs clearer understanding.  The forum will craft recommendations aimed at increasing American manufacturing competitiveness with the utilization of affordable, U.S.-produced shale gas. With an emphasis on the chemical industry and energy-intensive manufacturing sectors, the symposium will also include the perspective of recent studies on price, environmental and health impacts, technology and public acceptance.  The symposium will feature a keynote by Norman Augustine, former Chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin Corporation. Representatives from the American Chemistry Council, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, steel, aluminum and paper industries, the American Gas Association, the White House, Department of Energy, and the Environmental Defense Fund will also speak.  The forum will end by 4:00 p.m. because the Wolverines play at 7:00 p.m. in the NCAA Midwest Regional Semifinal against Tennessee.

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

FUTURE EVENTS

CEA Head Furman to Talk Taxes at AEP Forum – Next Monday morning, AEP will hold a forum on the economic effects of territorial taxation.  Council of Economic Advisors head Jason Furman will keynote eth event.  As Congress deliberates business tax reform options, the international aspects often prove most complex. All Group of Eight countries other than the United States have territorial tax systems that exempt 95 to 100 percent of qualified dividends repatriated from foreign subsidiaries.  This half-day conference, cohosted by AEI and the International Tax Policy Forum, will explore the economic effects of territorial taxation. Panelists will use their international experience to examine the effects of international tax rules on base erosion and profit shifting, repatriation of foreign profits, and cross-border mergers and acquisitions and headquarters location. The conference will conclude with a luncheon address by Jason Furman, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

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

Forum to Look at Converting Fleets to Alt Fuels – EESI and WIRES will host a briefing coordination with Transportation Energy Partners (TEP) and NAFA Fleet Management Association on Tuesday, April 1st at 8:30 a.m. in the CVC Auditorium about the strides public and private sector vehicle fleet managers in nearly every state are making in converting to alternative fuels (e.g., biofuels, electricity, natural gas, propane). This is a chance to learn first-hand about why they are converting their fleets, the challenges they face, and the importance of federal and state incentives in overcoming these challenges.

NIEHS to Hold Forum on Vehicle Emissions – The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the Institute of Medicine are holding a symposium on Tuesday, April 1st at the National Academy of Sciences focused on the health effects of fine particles from vehicle emissions.  The forum will bring together leading researchers and other experts on the sources, extent, mechanics, and health implications of ultra-fine airborne particles to discuss their origins, nature and potential health effects, and to help researchers identify remaining questions. Please join us to learn about the growing body of research that links petroleum-derived particle pollution to a variety of ever larger serious health problems and premature death. While there has been significant research into the origins and effects of larger particles, there is much less known about the nature and effects of ultra-fine particulates (UFPs).

Climate Action Goes to Washington (State) – Continuing its Northwest swing, Climate Desk will host a forum on State action in Washington featuring Governor Jay Inslee on Tuesday April 1st at the University of Washington in Seattle.  The recent agreement between Washington state, British Columbia, Oregon and California to harmonize their climate and energy policies has the potential to not just accelerate greenhouse gas reductions but also catalyze a strong, clean, and resilient economy.  Inslee, along with distinguished industry and climate science leaders will discuss the future of clean energy as part of Climate Desk Live, a partnership between the University of Washington’s College of the Environment, Climate Access, and Climate Desk, sponsored by Bloomberg BNA. Hosted by Chris Mooney, the discussion will cover a range of key climate policy issues from coal terminals, to fuel efficiency standards, to carbon pricing, with an eye toward innovation and new energy solutions.

WAPA Forum to Look at Nissan Cab – The Washington Automotive Press Assn and Nissan North America will host the April WAPA lunch on Wednesday, April  2nd hosting Peter Bedrosian, Senior Manager, Product Planning for a background session to discuss the all-new Nissan NV200 Taxi. You’ll hear how the NV200 made it to service in New York City in October 2013 and also learn about its passenger-friendly features, including USB charging, anti-fatigue seats, panoramic roof with sky views of the city, reduced odors, improved leg room, more cargo space and other conveniences.

Forum to EESI Climate Risks in SW – EESI will hold a briefing on Wednesday April 2nd examining the current and projected impacts of climate change in the Southwest and regional efforts to manage these risks. The Southwest is already the driest and hottest region in the United States, and California is in the midst of a historic drought. The draft Third National Climate Assessment (NCA) – the final version is expected soon – projects that the region’s climate may become even more severe. These changes are having substantial adverse effects on the regional economy and quality of life, forcing local leaders to develop creative solutions to combat drought and other extreme conditions. How can the Southwest best address current impacts while also building climate resiliency to manage risk and foster long-term prosperity?   Speakers for this forum are Eleanor Bastian, Legislative Director for Rep. Diana DeGette; Patrick Gonzalez of the U.S. National Park Service; Chris Treese of the Colorado River District; Margaret Bowman of the Walton Family Foundation and Louis Blumberg of The Nature Conservancy.

WSJ to Host ECO:nomics Forum The Wall Street Journal will host its ECO:nomics Green Business Forum on April 2-4th at the Bacara Resort in Santa Barbara.  Speakers will include AEP‘s Nick Adkins, Edison International’s Ted Craver, Statoil’s Helge Lunde, DOE Loan Guarantee expert Peter Davidson and many more.  Moderators will include our WSJ friends Joe White, Kim Strassel, Russ Gold and Jeff Ball.

Forum to Look at Regional Transmission Issues – Americans for a Clean Energy Grid will hold a series of regionally-focused webinars starting Wednesday, April 2nd at 2:00 p.m. on what’s going on in the world of transmission running from Fall 2013 to Winter 2014. Each webinar will span one hour, featuring presentations by transmission experts from the region in question and a discussion of environmental, economic, and political issues including planning, siting, and cost allocation.  The next webinar in Americans for a Clean Energy Grid’s series of regionally-focused webinars will focus on the West.  Presenters will include NRDC’s Director of Western Transmission Carl Zichella and Xcel’s Stephen Beuning.

Forum to Discuss Greenland, Energy Development – On Thursday, April 3rd at 4:00 p.m., GWU’s IERES and Department of Geography will host Inuuteq Holm Olsen of the Embassy of Denmark to discuss Greenland’s goals with Arctic Energy development and its future plans.  Largely, but not only, due to the effects of climate change, the Arctic is becoming a hot spot on the global agenda. Similarly along those lines, Greenland is seeking to develop its natural resources as it develops politically. In that context, the forces of globalization have reached the Arctic including new emerging powers.

Chamber to Hold Aviation Summit Featuring Airline CEOs – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is hosting 13th Annual Aviation Summit on Thursday, April 3rd in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.  This forum will bring together top experts and leaders from all sectors of aviation to discuss critical issues facing the industry. This year we will examine one of the least understood topics in aviation: the true costs of flying.  Among the many confirmed speakers will be Delta CEO Richard Anderson, Spirit CEO Ben Baldanza, JetBlue Airways CEO David Barger, former FAA Administrator and Aerospace Industries Association head Marion Blakey and Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Group, among many others.

Forum to Discuss Tax Reforms – AEI and the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center will hold a forum on Friday, April 4th at 9:00 a.m. focused on the US corporate income tax.  Most argue the tax is deeply flawed, particularly in its treatment of foreign-source income. At this event, Eric Toder of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center and AEI’s Alan D. Viard will present a report, funded by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, explaining that the current corporate income tax system bases tax liability on two concepts that defy easy definition — the source of corporate income and the residence of corporations. Toder and Viard call for structural reform that would either find an internationally agreed-upon way to define those concepts or restructure the tax system so that it no longer relies on them. They will outline two options: seeking international agreement on how to allocate multinational corporations’ income among countries or replacing the corporate income tax with taxation of dividends and accrued capital gains of American shareholders at ordinary income tax rates. Martin A. Sullivan of Tax Analysts and Pamela Olson of PricewaterhouseCoopers will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of both ideas.

House Resources to Look at California Energy Independence – On Friday, April 4th at 9:30 a.m. in 1334 Longworth, the House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will conduct an oversight hearing on domestic opportunities to reverse California’s growing dependence on foreign oil.  Since 2000, California has experienced a surge in foreign oil imports. Today, California gets 50% of its oil from foreign sources and half of those imports come from the Middle East through the Strait of Hormuz. California’s unemployment is higher than the national average at 8.7 percent, energy prices in California are among the highest in the nation, and California is in the midst of a fiscal crisis. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that California’s Monterey Shale contains over 15 billion barrels of oil – more than estimates of North Dakota’s Bakken Shale.

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

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

Book Forum To Discuss Sci-Fi Thriller – On Wednesday, April 9th, the Future Tense Book Club will meet at the New America Foundation to discuss Shovel Ready. The novel, by New York Times Magazine culture editor Adam Sternbergh, imagines a near-future New York City that is decaying while the wealthy who remain take refuge in an alternate reality. Our guide to Sternbergh’s engrossing dystopia: a garbage man turned hit man. In a conversation on Slate, Sternbergh’s editor, Zack Wagman, described the book as “noir, detective, sci-fi world-building, speculative dystopia, and just out-and-out thriller.”

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

UC-Boulder Forum to Look at Climate, Extreme Weather – On April 16th, the University of Colorado-Boulder will hold a forum on how scientists can forecast where extreme events will occur and their severity.   Kathleen Tierney, Director of the CU Boulder’s Natural Hazards Center and Kevin Trenberth from the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) will join facilitators Dr. Anne Gold of CIRES and Deb Morrison of University Colorado Boulder in an interactive panel discussion.  These experts will cover what communities and governments can do to increase resiliency to extreme weather events and how the scientific community can help prepare citizens and government.

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

FWS to Hold Final Wind, Wildlife Training – On April 23rd at 2:00 p.m., U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will host its final bimonthly training broadcast covering emerging issues and providing direction for wind energy facility planning, development, and operations to avoid impacts to wildlife and their habitat.  The final broadcast of the series will focus on the latest and greatest in research. Host Christy Johnson-Hughes will be joined by Cris Hein of Bat Conservation International and Chad Le Beau and Wally Erickson of WEST, Inc. to share research results and conclusions related to bats, grassland birds, and sage grouse.

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

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

Energy Update Week of March 17

Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

IN THE NEWS

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

FUTURE EVENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Energy Update Week of March 10

Friends,

I hope you all managed to get your clocks adjusted to “Spring Forward.”  While there are many theories about Daylight Savings Time’s origin from Ben Franklin to New Zealand,  the first approach to moving our clocks was mainly credited in 1905 to British inventor William Willett (FUN FACT: Willett was the great-great grandfather of Coldplay singer and Gwyneth Paltrow-husband Chris Martin).  Willett came up with the idea of moving the clocks forward in the summer to take advantage of the daylight in the mornings and the lighter evenings.   Willett’s plan caught the attention of Member of Parliament Robert Pearce who introduced the first legislation in Britain’s House of Commons in 1908. The modern-day changeover, started in 1974 to save energy following the 1973 oil embargo, used to occur later in the Spring and sooner in Fall from 1987 to 2007.  In 2007, it was altered by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, championed in the debate by now Chair Fred Upton and current Sen. Ed Markey claiming it would save “the equivalent of” 10,000 barrels of oil per day.  The Upton-Markey proposal, which were received with some skepticism (especially in Indiana where they never changed clocks until 2006), extended the period by about one month, moving DST to the second Sunday in March and ending on the first Sunday in November.  Now only Arizona and Hawaii do not change their clocks.

South By Southwest (SXSW) in Austin hits high speed this week after launching this past weekend.  While originally known as a small, quirky music festival, it has grown into a music, movie, comedy, environmental, political, technology and business behemoth.   SXSW this week hosts a conversation with NSA leaker Edward Snowden today, a speech from HBO star and Saturday’s SNL host Lena Dunham and many panels on technology innovations.  The broad array of music acts, SXSW’s specialty, include Soundgarden (on the 20th anniversary of its breakout Superunknown album), G-Love, 50-Cent, Coldplay, Imagine Dragons, Lady Gaga, Blondie, Willie Nelson, Green Day, The Whigs, Foster the People, punk  veterans “X” and many, many more.

Finally, get your hoops picks lined up because Next Monday in the update, we’ll be making some suggestions for your Final Four.  And after their Ivy League conference win over the weekend, maybe you’ll pick Harvard.  And don’t sleep on the Frozen Four which is slated for Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center on April 11/12, with the tournament brackets being selected on March 23.

Congress gets back into action again this week before the Spring work period starts next week.  House Science addresses CCS technologies on Wednesday with our friends from Alstom and others testifying.  Senate Foreign Relations hosts former Administration official James Jones, activist James Hansen, Chamber Energy official Karen Harbert and Sierra’s Michael Brune at a hearing on Keystone pipeline Thursday and OMB Regulatory Czar Howard Shelanski heads to Senate Homeland Security to discuss reg reform tomorrow.  As well, with the President’s Budget finally submitted, the parade of officials headed to Capitol Hill will begin Friday with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Tonight, Senate Democrats interested in pushing more aggressive climate policy will hold an overnighter to address climate change and its importance.   While stunts and gimmicks, like this continue to gather some attention, they continue to fail to bridge key policy/political divides in the debate…most notably many of the Democrats that continue have significant concerns about stronger climate regulations.

As well, with many questions bouncing about over new tax proposals from House Ways and Means Chair Dave Camp and a potential mark up from new Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden, our excellent tax experts are following the issue closely and could be a helpful resource for those of you interested in it.

Finally, on Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. our friends at Politico will host a POLITICO Pro Energy Happy Hour featuring specialty canned beers, appetizers and conversations about the energy policy news of the day.  The event is presented by AHRI, the Air-Conditioning, Heating, & Refrigeration Institute.

 

Call with questions.

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

 

IN THE NEWS

Segal Highlights Polar Vortex, Power Plant Concerns in Video – Scott Segal, head of Bracewell & Giuliani’s DC-based Policy Resolution Group, and executive director of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council (ERCC) says the “Polar Vortex” of 2014 was almost a morality play about what happens when we have an unexpected, significant spike in energy demand. In a video interview, Segal discusses the impact of low-cost shale gas resources on energy supply and demand, the key role that coal-fired facilities played in electric generation during the severe cold spells this winter, and the lessons policymakers and industry should learn from the Polar Vortex of 2014.

NARUC Hits 125 Years – Congrats to our friends at NARUC, who last week hit its 125th anniversary as a trade groups representing utility commissioners.  In its original incarnation, NARUC was called the National Association of Railway Commissioners, reflecting its focus on the inter- and intrastate regulation of the freight railroad industry. Over time, as the railroad industry deregulated, the focus of the Association shifted to the essential utility systems of today.  For 125 years, NARUC has brought State regulators all across the country together to share best practices and learn from each other. The utility sector has undergone tremendous change since 1889. NARUC President Collette Honorable said “NARUC brings all of us together—federal and State policymakers, consumer advocates, industry stakeholders, academics, environmental groups, and the list goes on. We understand how decisions in one State impact its neighbors, just as we understand how federal laws, court decisions, and regulations affect our important work at home. But make no mistake—we are all on the same stage. We may have different roles to play, but we all have the public interest in our sights.”

Kerry Orders Ambassadors to Focus on Climate – In his first policy directive at State, John Kerry has ordered his fleet of Ambassadors and the agency’s 50,000 employees globally to make the climate issue a “top tier” diplomatic priority.  The document encourages the United States to “lead by example” by attacking climate change domestically; to work more closely with other countries both in bilateral and multilateral partnerships, and to help mobilize “billions of dollars” to enable low-carbon energy development worldwide.  Kerry has been heavily criticized by a number of foreign policy experts and politicos for his placement of climate change above more pressing issues like the Ukraine, Syria and security at our consulates based of the recent attacks in Benghazi.

Pentagon Focuses On Climate in QDR – Apparently, climate is not just news at State, the Pentagon has also called climate change is a “threat multiplier” and a critical component of future defense strategy in its Quadrennial Defense Review 2014.  The Pentagon is developing strategies to address climate threats through operational provisions, including expanded investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency to improve climate resilience. The report notes that climate change may undermine the ability of the military’s domestic installations to support training activities, as well as increase the frequency and difficulty of future missions.

House Moves Legislation to Limit GHG Rules – The House voted 229-183 to pass H.R. 3826, the Electricity Security and Affordability Act, a bill which would prevent EPA from limiting carbon emissions from new coal-fired power plants. The bill also directs EPA to set an effective date for upcoming regulations on carbon emissions from existing coal-fired power plants.  No word on when the Senate will move the bill, sponsored by WV Sen. Joe Manchin.  The White House has issued a veto threat against the bill.

EDF Study Shows Methane Emissions Could Be Lower – EDF and ICF International released a report saying the oil and gas industry could cut methane emissions by 40% below 2018 projections. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas (GHG), and emissions are expected to increase 4.5% between 2011 and 2018, primarily due to the venting of co-produced gas in favor of collecting the more valuable oil. A dozen emission reduction strategies are listed in the report, including using lower-emitting valves and improved leak detection repairs. The cheapest methods, according to the report, could save the industry over $164 million a year, and overall, would cost $0.66 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf) of natural gas produced.

Article Focuses On Canada CCS Project – A good article in New Scientist focuses on Canada’s Boundary Dam power plant in Saskatchewan.  Later this year, it will be the first commercial plant first CCS project built on a commercial-scale power station. It is not a new process as several projects to capture and store carbon are already up and running in 12 industrial installations like fertilizer factories and natural gas processing plants. Also, for some time the oil and gas industry has been injecting flue gas into old oil and gas seams to push out the last drops of fuel. But power stations are yet to emerge and are the largest source of greenhouse gases.  In additional to Boundary Dam (Canada’s largest Coal plant), the Kemper County power station in Mississippi will become the second CCS power station. It is a coal gasification plant, testing the technology on a different energy source.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Climate Meetings Start in Bonn – In preparation for important Paris negotiations in November 2015, mid-year climate talks launch this week in Bonn to work on preparations for a major new climate change agreement. Negotiators are hoping to have most of a draft agreement ready to go for December’s UN meeting set for Peru.

McCarthy to Address Cities Conference – The National League of Cities holds its 2014 Congressional City Conference at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel today and tomorrow.  EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy will address the crowd this afternoon.

RFF to Look at Stanford Public Climate Polling – Tomorrow at 10:30 a.m., RFF and Stanford will present additional results from the survey and provide an in-depth discussion on what this could mean for climate policy in the United States. This event will not only offer information on American’s views as a whole but, equally important, it will also explain how these issues are viewed on a state-by-state basis. Read more about the poll here.  A recent poll by Resources for the Future (RFF), Stanford University, and USA Today reveals American’s attitudes on climate change and issues such as clean energy, power plant emissions, and energy subsidies, to name a few. Some of the survey results were previously released by USA Today regarding climate change and the Keystone pipeline. Jon Krosnick, RFF University Fellow and Frederic O. Glover Professor in Humanities and Social Sciences at Stanford University will join RFF President Phil Sharp to discuss the study.

Forum to Feature TVA Case Book on Snail Darter, Dam – American Rivers and the Environmental Law Institute will hold a forum tomorrow at Noon on a new book, The Snail Darter & the Dam, by TVA v. Hill plaintiff and law professor Zygmunt Plater.  Plater will offer a recounting of the history and characters behind the case and how environmental law was made.  The case is one of the seminal cases in federal environmental law.  The Supreme Court enjoined completion of the almost-finished Tellico Dam under the Endangered Species Act because of impacts to the snail darter, an endangered fish. The case brought national attention, caused the Endangered Species Act to be revised, resulted in the formation of the “God Squad” of cabinet-level officials to review similar cases, and ultimately resulted in President Carter yielding to pork-barrel pressure, signing an appropriations rider waiving the law and mandating completion of the dam.

Forum to Look at Population, Climate Adaption – The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will hold a discussion tomorrow at 12:00 p.m. with Monica Das Gupta and Kathleen Mogelgaard as they explore these co-benefits and strategies to integrate them into climate change responses.  Often lacking from high-level discussions on climate change adaptation and mitigation is the inevitable role that rapid population growth plays in exacerbating vulnerability in developing countries. As Monica Das Gupta noted in her recent report, Population, Poverty, and Climate Change, “it is estimated that the effect of a 40 percent reduction in CO2 emissions per capita in developed countries between 2000 and 2050 would be entirely offset by the increase in emissions attributable to expected population growth in poorer countries over this period.” As communities grapple with the effects of climate change, there is a growing movement pointing to the multiple co-benefits that could emerge from policy interventions targeted at reducing fertility through voluntary access to family planning.

NJ to Host Global Nuclear Security SummitNational Journal will hold a summit on Wednesday to look at the future of global nuclear security at the Newseum.  National Journal’s James Kitfield will moderate panels that will  Norwegian Ambassador Kåre Aas, Netherlands Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Renée Jones-Bos, Harvard University’s Matthew Bunn, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, former House member Jane Harman and former Sen. Sam Nunn.  White House Coordinator for Defense Policy, Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction, and Arms Control at the National Security Council Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall will keynote the summit.  The 2014 Summit is being held at a time of both progress and peril in the international effort to secure the materials that could be used to build a nuclear bomb. Since 2012, seven countries have removed all or most of these dangerous materials from their territories, bringing the number of countries now storing weapons-usable materials down to 25, according to a new report out by the Nuclear Threat Initiative. Despite this progress, there is much work to be done. Terrorist organizations continue to seek weapons of mass destruction, materials are still stored at hundreds of sites with varying levels of security, and the International Atomic Energy Agency each year receives reports of more than a hundred incidents of theft and other unauthorized active involving nuclear and radiological material.

Forum to Look at China Renewables – Wilson will also hold a forum on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. to discuss the rapid development of wind and solar energy in China.  While development of renewables has happened, it has occurred within the context of an even larger trend: China’s enormous build-out of new coal-fired power plants over the past decade. Current trends indicate that by 2030, roughly two-thirds of China’s power will still come from fossil fuels, mainly coal.  Significantly reducing China’s emissions of greenhouse gas and other pollutants will therefore require carbon capture at coal- and gas-fired power plants, in conjunction with the development of advanced nuclear and renewable generation. Speakers on this panel will discuss successful and emerging “biz-to-biz” and U.S.-China bilateral partnerships to develop cleaner energy technologies in China. The discussion will highlight some drivers and obstacles to clean energy innovation in China’s economy.

House Science to Look at CCS – The House Committee on Science and its Environment panel will hold a joint hearing Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. looking at the science of capture and storage and its relation to understanding EPA’s carbon rules.  EPA’s Janet McCabe will testify as well as Bob Hilton of Alstom Power, EPRI’s Robert Trautz, Springfield Missouri City Utilities GM/CEO Scott Miller (on behalf of American Public Power Association) and NRDC’s David Hawkins.

Forum to Look at Brazil’s Nuclear Policy – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace will hold a lunch on Wednesday at Noon focused on understanding Brazil’s nuclear policy.  For a country whose importance in the global nuclear order is of potentially great significance, remarkably little is understood about the domestic drivers behind Brazil’s nuclear policy decision making. Brazil is moving toward industrializing a full nuclear fuel cycle. It operates nuclear power plants and plans to build more. It is the only non-nuclear-weapon state to work on a nuclear-powered submarine. And it does not shy away from being a confident voice on the matters of global nuclear politics.  Based on numerous conversations over two years with Brazilian policy experts, academics, former and current officials, and representatives of the nuclear industry, Togzhan Kassenova will reflect on how Brazilians think about and explain their country’s nuclear policy. The discussion will mark the release of Kassenova’s new report Brazil’s Nuclear Kaleidoscope: An Evolving Identity. Copies of the report will be available. George Perkovich will moderate.

House Approps Subpanel to Look at Installations, Environment Budget – The House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies will convene a hearing on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. in 2359 Rayburn discussing the budget for the Department of Defense’s Installations, Environment, Energy and BRAC.  Witnesses will be Installations and Environment heads at the four branches: John Conger of DoD, Dennis McGinn at Navy, Katherine Hammack of Army and Kathleen Ferguson of the Air Force.

WAPA to Host Gala – The Washington Automotive Press Assn will hold its annual gala on Thursday at the National Press Club.

CRS Tax Expert to Discuss Renewables – ACORE, the Global America Business Institute, and the Korea Institute of Energy Research will hold a lunch discussion on Thursday featuring a presentation by Phillip Brown, Specialist in Energy Policy at the Congressional Research Service that will look at Federal renewable electricity deployment incentives.  In support of the U.S. Congress, Mr. Brown provides objective and fact-based research and analysis of existing and proposed federal energy policies. Mr. Brown’s current portfolio of work is focused on U.S. crude oil exports, clean energy policies, renewable electric power, and financial mechanisms that may be used to incentivize renewable electricity project development. Mr. Brown also actively monitors world energy markets in order to provide congressional clients with a global perspective on the effectiveness of various clean energy policy mechanisms.

EPA to Look at Green Power Procurement – The EPA’s Green Power Partnership will host a webinar on Thursday at 1:00 p.m. focused on long-term green power procurements from wind projects.  In today’s green power market, many forward-thinking organizations are looking to long-term procurements from wind power projects to meet their renewable energy and greenhouse gas reduction goals. This webinar will examine various procurement options, the steps involved in making a long-term commitment, challenges, and other considerations. We’ll also hear from Renewable Choice Energy, a renewable energy provider, on what’s involved in making long-term procurements a reality.  Speakers will include EPA’s Blaine Collison, Sprint’s Amy Hargroves, Erin Decker of Salesforce.com and Quayle Hodek of Renewable Choice Energy.

SoCo Expert to Speak at Forum on Transmission in SE Region – The Energy Future Coalition will be hosting a webinar for its Americans for a Clean Energy Grid initiative, on Thursday at 3:00 p.m. The webinar topic will be Transmission in the Southeast. The event will feature John Lucas, GM of Transmission Policy and Services, Southern Company; and Frank Rambo, Senior Attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center. The driver behind the webinars is to follow-up/update to our in-person Regional Transmission Summits that we’ve been hosting around the country for the last few years, and the content of them will be discussion of hot-button transmission issues in the region, whether that be landowner compensation, siting, cost allocation, planning, or many other ones.

Brookings to Discuss Japan Electricity Sector – On Thursday at 3:30 p.m., the Energy Security Initiative at Brookings will host a discussion on the restructuring of the electricity sector in Japan and compare it to the experience of deregulation in the United States. Panelists will discuss how increasing oil and gas costs affect competition in various markets and the degree to which proposed reforms in Japan are contingent on domestic nuclear policy. The panelists will closely consider circumstances that are unique to Japan’s electricity sector in this discussion.   Senior Fellow and Director of ESI, Charles Ebinger, will provide introductory remarks and moderate the discussion.  Panelists will include Yoshiharu Tachibana of the University of Tokyo, Michael Chesser of the Energy Security Initiative, CSIS’s Jane Nakano, and Harvard expert William Hogan.

Energy Forum Continues – On Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at the Embassy of Canada, Young Professionals in Foreign Policy (YPFP) and Young Professionals in Energy (YPE) will host its second event in the ongoing series “The Future of Energy.”  Please join us for an in-depth discussion of Canadian federal and provincial level energy and climate change policy and the U.S.-Canada relationship that underpins these vital issues.  Sheila Reirdon, Minister of Political Affairs at the Embassy, as well as a panel of provincial representatives from the provincial governments of Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec will speak.

Finley to Present BP Outlook at CSIS – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Mark Finley, General Manager for Global Energy Markets and U.S. Economics at BP, on Friday at 9:30 a.m. to present BP’s Energy Outlook 2035. The outlook, seeking to describe the ‘most likely’ trajectory of the world’s energy system, contributes to the wider debate on global energy issues by addressing key questions such as: What will the world’s energy mix look like in 2035? Where is the growth in demand and supply going to come from? How and at what pace will renewables continue to grow? What are the implications for transport? Mr. Finley will review and discuss the projections as well as examine some of the key assumptions behind the data. Sarah Ladislaw, Director and Senior Fellow in the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.

Vilsack to testify on Ag Budget – The US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will begin the annual Administration parade to Congress to testify Friday on the USDA budget in front of the House Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee.

Brookings to Discuss Japan Nuclear Policy – On Friday at 1:30 p.m., the Brookings Institution, the Stanley Foundation and the Center for Public Integrity will host a panel to discuss Japan’s nuclear policy issues. Brookings Senior Fellow Robert Einhorn, former special advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, will serve as moderator. Panelists include Douglas Birch, senior national security reporter for the Center for Public Integrity; R. Jeffrey Smith, managing editor for national security at the Center for Public Integrity; Matthew Bunn, a principal investigator at the Kennedy School’s Project on Managing the Atom, Harvard University; and Ambassador Nobuyasu Abe, director for the Center for the Promotion of Disarmament and Non-Proliferation and former U.N. undersecretary-general for disarmament affairs.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

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

Fuel Cell Forum to Look at Resiliency, Security – The Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association, and the Senate Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Caucus will sponsor a forum next Monday, March 17th at Noon in Senate Visitor Center Room 200 on the resiliency and efficiency  of fuel cells and hydrogen and there impacts on energy security.  Speakers to include Ed Cohen of Honda, Daimler’s Gwen Bluemich, Katrina Fritz of ClearEdge Power and DoE Deputy Asst. Secretary for Transportation Reuben Sarkar, among others.

Forum to Look at Renewables For Poverty Reduction – The Society for International Development – Washington will hold a forum on Tuesday, March 18th at 12:30 p.m. on the promise of solar-powered irrigation pumps for poverty reduction.  When people have access to water and energy, poverty is reduced and life chances are significantly improved.  In its focus on the water-energy nexus for UN World Water Day on March 22, 2014, the World Water Report examines how the water and energy sectors are working together to increase energy services that will lead to major improvements in sanitation, agriculture, and economic growth in developing countries.  Called a ‘game changer’ for agricultural economies since first introduced in the mid-2000s, solar-powered pumps for irrigation are an application at the water-energy nexus that is contributing to food security, empowerment of women farmers, and poverty reduction.  Solar-powered pumps are also at the nexus of the development community, with donors, NGOs, financial institutions, and the private sector committed to developing technologies, best practices, and business models to make them a success.  Speakers will include UNEP’s Carla Friedrich, Richard Colback of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), USAID’s Renewable Energy Advisor Dr. Jeff Haeni and Bikash Pandy of Winrock International

AWEA Announces Siting Seminar – Following a weather postponement, the AWEA Project Siting Seminar has been rescheduled for March 19 and 20th in New Orleans at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside.  The program will be a dedicated siting program that hones in on the latest strategies and information to effectively minimize siting and permitting risks while maximizing energy output.  Keynote Speaker will be USFWS Director Dan Ashe.

MD PSC Commissioner to Address Energy Breakfast – ICF International will hold its March Morning Energy Breakfast on March 20th at the National Press Club, featuring Maryland Public Service Commissioner Kelly Speakes-Backman.  Backman will address the multiplicity of challenges confronting state regulators—and Maryland in particular—in the face of a changing utility sector. Discussion topics also include today’s critical issues affecting the electricity and gas industry that state regulators need to approve before key changes can take place.

RFF to Feature Expert on Financial, Environmental Risk – Resources for the Future will host a seminar series conversation on Tuesday, March 18th at 12:45 p.m. looking at a financial approach to environmental risk featuring Robert Engle.  Engle, 2003 Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences, is an expert in analyzing the movements of financial market prices and interest rates. His insights and methodologies are well known as indispensable tools for researchers and financial analysts alike. In recognition of his pioneering work, in 2003, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his research on the concept of autoregressive conditional heteroskedasticity (ARCH). He developed this method for statistical modeling of time-varying volatility and demonstrated that these techniques accurately capture the properties of many time series. Professor Engle shared the prize with Clive W.J. Granger of the University of California, San Diego.  Many of these methods are now featured on the innovative public web site, V-LAB, where daily estimates of volatilities and correlations for more than a thousand assets are available to assist in evaluating portfolio risk, asset allocation, derivative pricing, and systemic risk measures now incorporated in the NYU Stern Systemic Risk Rankings. His research has produced such innovative statistical methods as co-integration, common features, autoregressive conditional duration (ACD), CAViaR, and DCC models.

Forum to Look at Fate of Arctic – The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will hold a forum on Wednesday, March 19th at 3:00 p.m. on the fate of the Arctic.  The Arctic is a sentinel of global warming where scientists predict and have observed the largest warming, melting and change, yet a region with planetary impact.   Join us for a discussion of the Arctic’s many changes and their implications: Environmental changes in the form of melting sea ice, greening of the Arctic tundra, migrations of species; Challenges facing indigenous people and how they are responding and coping with this changing world; and how feedbacks in the climate system may mean that the Arctic becomes more than an indicator of climate change and perhaps a source of even more greenhouse gasses.  Our panel will help sort out the science from the speculation, and guide effective decisions for the future.  The “Managing Our Planet” seminar series is developed jointly by George Mason University, the Brazil Institute and the Environmental Change and Security Program. It is based on the premise that the impacts of humanity on the environment (including natural resources) are at a planetary scale, requiring planetary-scale solutions.  Speakers will include Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk expert David Titley, National Museum of Natural History Arctic curator Igor Krupnik, USGS Research Geologist Miriam Jones and , , Eastern Geology and Paleoclimate Science Center U.S. Geological Survey and George Mason University Professor of Oceanography Paul Schopf.

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

Group to Release Report on 2013-2014 State of the Future – On Thursday, March 20th at Noon, 17th State of the Future report produced by The Millennium Project – a global participatory think tank with over 50 Nodes and about 5,000 participants around the world will be released at the Wilson Center.  The Millennium Project CEO Jerome Glenn, NASA Langley Research Center Chief Scientist Dennis Bushnell and National Science Foundation Program Director Paul Werbos will explore global strategic prospects and strategies drawn from the 2013-14 State of the Future report and the online Global Futures Intelligence System.  2013-14 State of the Future’s executive summary gives an unparalleled overview of our current situation, prospects, and suggestions to build a better future, plus an annual World Report Card of where we are winning and losing, and the 2013 State of the Future Index. Chapter 1 on 15 Global Challenges provides a framework for understanding global change. Other chapters share international assessments of the causes of and solutions to the increasing problem of hidden hunger; vulnerable natural infrastructure in urban coastal zones; lone wolves and individuals making and deploying weapons of mass destruction; a presentation of the Global Futures Intelligence System, and some concluding thoughts.

Wharton Green Biz Roundtable to Highlight Army Energy Issues – The Wharton Green Business Forum will hold a lunch at the National Press Club on Friday, March 21st at 12:00 p.m.  featuring Richard Kidd.  Kidd, a graduate of the Yale School of Management, will summarize for the audience key aspects of the Army’s approach to energy and sustainability. He will do this first by highlighting the organization change techniques used to alter the way the Army values energy at the corporate, installation (stateside bases) and operational (combat) levels.  Also, he will provide a business operations overview of the Army’s Renewable Energy Task Force, which has created the largest renewable energy project pipeline in America by applying private sector approaches to a public sector entity. The Wharton DC Green Business Forum meets regularly with speakers in varied facets of the cleantech. energy and sustainability fields to learn about new developments and business opportunities. Sponsored by the Wharton School Club of DC, announcements of upcoming events reach over 3,000 Washington area alums of Wharton, Harvard, Columbia and other top business schools, entrepreneurs and executives. Attendance at the programs is open to anyone interested in business and the environment, with advance signup recommended.

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

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

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

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

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

Energy Update Week of March 3

Friends,

The glitz and glamour of the Academy Awards went off last night with just about the same results as the Golden Globes earlier this year.  The wealth was spread among the many good movies we saw this year with Dallas Buyers’ Club holding a slight edge.  Given the terrific performances of Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto, its honors were well deserved.  As they were for Ellen’s performance as host…She was once again subtle, creative and hilarious.  I loved the pizza stunt.  It was a great way for my daughter to end her 16th birthday, staying up late with school cancelled the next day because of the snow, dinner at Ra, and starting it off by refereeing a game on the Verizon Center Ice prior to the Caps game.

Get your hoops on.  Conference tournaments start this week to set up the NCAA March Madness tourney will be determined in just two weeks.  Shocker that Wichita State made it through the regular season undefeated at 31-0. It is the best start since UNLV began 34-0 in 1991 (but lost in national title game to Duke) and another Missouri Valley team, the Larry Bird-led Indiana State sycamores, won its first 33 games  in 1979 (but lost to Magic Johnson and Michigan State in the title game).  It should be no surprise that WSU is that good though as their last loss came in last year’s Final Four to eventual champion, Louisville.  As well. keep your eye peeled for NHL trade this week with the trade deadline Wednesday.  Already, my Buffalo friends are weeping with the trade of Ryan Miller to St. Louis (and maybe Blackhawks fans as well.)

This week is also Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday. With Senator Landrieu taking the helm of the Senate Energy Committee, I am pleased to report that our colleague Scott Segal has been deployed strategically for the next few days to again assume his position riding “krewe” in one of the largest parades in New Orleans’ Mardi Gras.  With over 40 floats and 20 marching bands, there is no doubt he will be picking valuable intelligence.  It is alleged that New Orleans founders first reach the spot on the river upon which the city was founded on Fat Tuesday in 1699 – naming their camp Point du Mardi Gras, and the rest his history.  We expect a full report from Scott upon his return.  Or at least some beads…despite last week’s enviro groups reports that they are made from hazardous chemicals.

In case you missed it yesterday morning or were still hung over from the Eagles concert at Verizon on Saturday, Platts Energy Week focused a segment of its show on BrightSource Energy’s recently unveiled Ivanpah project.  My friend Joseph Desmond discussed the competitiveness of utility-scale solar energy.  Other segments featured AAR’s Ed Hamberger discussing the recent DOT rail safety agreement and Norway CCS experts.

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

In Washington, besides another spat of snow that closed the government, votes in the House on legislation aimed at streamlining environmental regulations on EPA rules for greenhouse gas emissions, environmental reviews under NEPA and permitting for coalmines, as well as legislation aimed at addressing severe propane shortages in the Midwest.  Also, there is a slate of hearings on Transportation issues this week including MAP-21 and shipping regs, as well as a redo of the postponed Senate Commerce hearing on regulatory questions on the transportation of crude oil, Thursday. And speaking of mining, natural gas and energy, BHP’s MacKenzie will also address CSIS on Thursday.

Finally, get your low flow toilets ready because humorist/author/columnist Dave Barry will be at the National Press Club on Thursday at 1:00 hawking his new book “You Can Date Boys When You’re Forty: Dave Barry on Parenting and Other Topics He Knows Very Little About.” I worked closely with Dave on one of his signature issues, the battle over low-flow toilets when I was working for Michigan Rep. Joe Knollenberg in the mid-1990s.

Speaking of books and spring training, our friend and AP reporter Fred Frommer, who in his spare time is an expert baseball historian, will be signing copies of his newest book “You Gotta Have Heart” tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. at the MLK Library on 9th and G Streets, NW.  The book is a history of baseball in Washington from 1859 to 2012.

 

Call with questions.

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

 

IN THE NEWS

EPA Issues Tier 3 Fuel Rule – EPA released its final “Tier 3” rule setting new emission standards for sulfur in gasoline and vehicles. Refiners will have to cut sulfur in gasoline from 30 parts per million to 10 ppm in 2017, which will allow vehicle emission controls to work more efficiently.  EPA projects health-related benefits will be $6.7 billion to $19 billion annually by 2030, and the standards will provide $13 in benefits for every dollar spent meeting them.

On the Call – Along with EPA’s Gina McCarthy, the usual suspects joined her in praise of the rule.  The American Lung Assn President Harold Wimmer praised the rule, but also issued a warning they would not accept any more backsliding, especially on the implementation timeline.  NACAA Co-President Tad Aburn also praised the rule and states’ ability to implement it.  Finally, one interesting guest was GM’s Mike Robinson, who praised the rules saying EPA has harmonized state/federal emission requirements for new vehicles, a key cost efficiency.  He added that provisions for lower sulfur with help the auto industry meet lower emissions standards with the new technologies they are adding to new vehicles and well as allowing them to optimize these technologies through current in-use fuels.  Funny how the auto companies like rules where the bulk of the cost is on the fuel.

Refiners Respond – Refiners responded saying EPA’s decision to move forward on Tier 3 is yet the most recent example of the agency’s propensity for illogical and counterproductive rulemaking. AFPM’s Charlie Drevna said Tier 3 rules “not only lacks scientific justification, but in fact will lead to higher greenhouse gas emissions due to the greater energy-intense refining process required to reduce sulfur in gasoline.”  He said to date, refiners have achieved a 90% reduction in sulfur levels and the nation’s energy-related emissions are at their lowest level since 1994 according to EPA data.  Drevna: “Tier 3 will provide little, if any, benefit, while increasing fuel manufacturing costs on the backs of American consumers.  API’s Bob Greco echoed Drevnas’s comments and added they are also concerned about the timeline of EPA’s new rule. Greco: “The rushed timeframe leaves little opportunity for refiners to design, engineer, permit, construct, start up, and integrate the new machinery required. This accelerated implementation only adds costs and potentially limits our industry’s ability to supply gasoline to consumers.”

Enviros Praise Rule – Enviro groups universally praised the rule including NRDC, Sierra Club and several others.  My friend Frank O’Donnell, President of Clean Air Watch this is a great day for the breathing public.  “This could prove to be the signature clean-air accomplishment of the entire Obama second term,” he said.

Klesse to Retire at Valero, Gorder to Take CEO Spot – Speaking of refiners, Valero said CEO Bill Klesse will step down effective May 1. Klesse will remain a Valero director and Chairman of the Board.  Joe Gorder, 56, who was named Valero’s President and Chief Operating Officer in 2012, was elected to the role of CEO effective May 1 and has also been elected a director by the Board of Directors. Gorder will join Valero’s Board of Directors immediately.  Klesse became CEO in 2005 and was named Chairman of the Board in 2007. He has spent his entire 45-year career with Valero and its predecessor companies.  In addition to his current position, Gorder previously held positions at Valero including Executive Vice President, Chief Commercial Officer and President of Valero Europe; Executive Vice President-Marketing and Supply; and Senior Vice President for Corporate Development and Strategic Planning. Joe has been with Valero and its predecessors for 27 years.

NuStar Asphalt Becomes Axeon – Axeon Specialty Products LLC launched last week as a new petroleum products company serving the entire East Coast.  Formerly known as NuStar Asphalt LLC, the San Antonio-based company has a proven track record of making high-performance, cost-effective modified asphalts and warm mix products.  Axeon SP provides an array of petroleum-related specialty products through its refineries and network of company-owned and leased terminals, along with robust and comprehensive technical support services.  Axeon SP intends to make new, substantial investments in the future of its operations in Paulsboro, NJ, where the company provides more than 100 high-skilled, quality jobs.  The Paulsboro facility consists of two petroleum refining units, a liquid storage terminal for petroleum and chemical products, three marine docks, rail offloading capacity, a polymer modified asphalt (PMA) production facility and a testing laboratory.  The storage facility has a capacity of 4.1 million barrels.   Axeon SP also owns and operates a terminal facility in Savannah, GA, which currently provides an additional 24 jobs and has rail offloading capacity and a 1.2 million barrel storage capacity.  Additionally, the Savannah facility houses a fully functional refinery.  Axeon SP is wholly owned by New York-based private investment firm, Lindsay Goldberg, which previously owned a 50 percent stake in the company with NuStar Energy LP.  Originally part of the CITGO Asphalt Refining Company, Axeon SP has a proud industry lineage.

UD Rolls Out New Offshore Wind Center – The University of Delaware will steer the way toward making offshore wind turbines a reality in the United States through a new initiative it announced last week at a major offshore wind industry conference. The Special Initiative on Offshore Wind, housed at the University’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, will serve as an independent catalyst for offshore wind development and add momentum to a promising industry that is at a critical juncture.  The independent, objective and non-commercial offshore wind program, supported by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, is designed to advance the U.S. offshore wind industry, drawing together critical information on cutting-edge technologies, financing and collaboration opportunities. The University of Delaware is uniquely positioned to take on such as role given its long history of advancing offshore wind through policy analysis, research, public testimony and industrial partnerships.  For example, in 2010 UD and Gamesa Technology Corporation joined forces to install a utilityscale 2-megawatt coastal wind turbine at the University’s Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes, Del., allowing the company to test the turbine in a coastal environment and students to conduct training and research on an industrial-scale turbine.  The Initiative will connect states with international experts, especially in Europe where more than 2,000 wind turbines are now installed and grid connected in eleven countries. The resource will provide technological, financial and strategic advice to all states exploring offshore wind and help advance customized policy models.  The Special Initiative on Offshore Wind received seed funding from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, which has been a significant proponent of offshore wind efforts. The program will work with national and international experts in offshore wind, industry participants, NGOs and state and federal policy-makers. While housed at the University of Delaware, the Initiative is national in scope and already is playing a key role in major projects to harness the vast East Coast and Great Lakes wind resources.

EIA launches Coal Data Browser – The EIA launched an interactive, online Coal Data Browser  that brings together in a single tool comprehensive government information, statistics, and visualizations about the U.S. coal sector.  The Coal Data Browser gives users easy access to a vast array of coal information from EIA’s electricity and coal surveys. The browser also allows users to dig through data from the Mine Safety and Health Administration and through coal trade information from the U.S. Census Bureau.

EESI Selected as Non-Profit Partner by Juice Co – Congrats to our friends at the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) which was selected by Suja Juice Co. as one of the 12 nonprofit partners featured in the Suja Elements Cause Collective™ program. The Elements Cause Collective program seeks to raise $1 million annually for nonprofit organizations whose goals strongly appeal to Suja’s core values. The funds will be raised through the sale of Suja Juice’s ‘Elements’ line of juices and smoothies, with each of the designated nonprofits paired to a particular flavor. Among the 11 other nonprofits benefiting from the program are Healthy Child Healthy World, International Rescue Committee, and Oceana.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Forum to Look at Shale Gas in Azerbaijan – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host tomorrow featuring Vitaliy Baylarbayov, Deputy Vice-President for Investment and Marketing of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR), to discuss the development of the Shah Deniz gas field in the Caspian Sea. Stage 2 of the development, agreed upon by the project consortium in December 2013, forms the foundation for plans to develop and expand pipeline capacity through Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, Greece, Albania and Italy, establishing what many are calling a new Southern Gas Corridor in Europe. Dr. Baylarbayov, who played an integral role in concluding the final investment decision on the next stage of development and the pipeline discussions, will discuss the future of Azerbaijani gas and the significance of the Southern Gas Corridor. Elizabeth Urbanas, Director of the Office of Russian and Eurasian Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy, and Robin West, Senior Adviser with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will provide comments. Edward Chow, Senior Fellow with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.

House Tranpo Panel to Look at Shipping Fleet Emissions – A panel of the House Transportation Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. to look at the impact that recent environmental regulatory actions may have on the country’s shipping fleets.  Witnesses will include Rear Adm. Joseph Servidio, assistant commandant for prevention policy for the U.S. Coast Guard; Michael Shapiro, principal deputy assistant administrator for the Office of Water at EPA; Chris Grundler, director of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality in the Office of Air and Radiation at EPA; Thomas Allegretti, president of the American Waterways Operators; Kathy Metcalf, director of maritime affairs for the Chamber of Shipping of America; James Roussos, vice president of boat operations for LaMonica Fine Food LLC; Rod Jones, CEO of the CSL Group and Bill Terry, CEO of Eagle Rock Aggregates.

Solar Webinar to Address DOE Facilities – The Solar Energy Industries Association and DOE will hold a webinar tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. using DOE’s newest facilities. This webinar will examine six new facilities that specialize in photovoltaic validation, testing and monitoring. Energy Department participants include Steve Chalk, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Renewable Energy, and Lidija Sekaric, Program Manager for the SunShot Initiative.

DOE Solar Seminar to Look at Installations – At 3:00 p.m. the same day, the DOE will present a live webinar titled “Adding Solar to Your Building Portfolio.”  Several Better Buildings Challenge partners are incorporating solar power into their portfolio energy strategy as the technology becomes more efficient and affordable. The Dysart Unified School District in Arizona is nearing its goal of powering its buildings entirely by solar energy. MGM Resorts International is installing solar at the famous Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. The Denver Housing Authority is adding solar to multifamily housing such as apartments and condominiums.  Join these partners as they share lessons learned and best practices on going solar.

Symposium Looks at Global Implications of Enhanced Oil Recovery – On Wednesday, Mississippi will welcome state and national leaders to discuss enhanced oil recovery through carbon capture and utilization.  Hosts include the Institute for 21st Century Energy, Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission, Southern States Energy Board, North American Carbon Capture & Storage Association and the Mississippi Energy Institute.  The Symposium will be at the Jackson Marriott Hotel.  Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant will provide welcoming remarks to be followed by several guest speakers and panelists throughout the day.

Forum to Look at Future Electric Power Systems – The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF), in collaboration with the Energy Future Coalition and the Enel Group, will be holding a panel discussion on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. looking at the future of electric power systems. Electricity systems in the United States and Europe are facing unprecedented challenges. Flattening demand for electricity, rapid adoption of energy efficiency measures, and significant expansions of renewable energy generation are fundamentally altering traditional dynamics. Consumers are beginning to demand new relationships with their utilities, and technological advances are empowering smarter energy use. Simultaneously, utilities are set to become the largest consumers of information technology services.  On both sides of the Atlantic, these trends are already sparking considerable innovation. Europe is quickly becoming a hotbed for renewable energy support policies and collaborative regional approaches to new network investments. In the United States, there has been particular success in developing regional markets for reserve capacity and ancillary services in which demand-side management could also actively participate. While significant advancements are being made, further collaborative engagement amongst utilities, regulators, policymakers, investors, and consumers will be necessary for maintaining reliability, security, and affordability during this transition.

House Transpo Panel to Start MAP-21 Review – A House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee panel will hold a hearing on Wednesday looking at the role public-private partnerships can play in transportation projects. Witnesses will include CBO’s Joseph Kile, Texas DOT head James Bass, Phillip Washington of the Regional Transportation District and Fluor’s Richard Fierce on behalf of the Associated General Contractors of America.

House Energy to Continue Hearing Series on Energy – On Thursday at 9:00 a.m. the House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power will hold part two of the hearing series started last week on energy issues and improving fuel supple and infrastructure.  Witnesses will include Association of American Railroads President Edward Hamberger; National Propane Gas Association President Richard Roldan; Interstate Natural Gas Association of America President Donald Santa; Energy Information Administration chief Adam Sieminski; Association of Oil Pipe Lines President Andrew Black; Shorty Whittington, representing the American Trucking Associations and the National Tank Truck Carriers; Andrew Logan, director of oil and gas at CERES; and World Resources Institute Senior Associate Michael Obeiter.

BHP CEO to Discuss Future Energy Needs – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a conversation on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. with Andrew Mackenzie, CEO of BHP Billiton, to discuss how the world can meet the demand for resources as 1.7 billion people gain access to electricity over the next 20 years and energy demand grows by 30%. With a portfolio spanning steel making materials, metals, energy and fertilizer BHP Billiton is the world’s largest diversified resources company and the only firm to produce oil, gas, coal and uranium as well as the metals used in renewables like copper. Headquartered in Australia, the company has operations in 26 countries and a workforce of approximately 128,000 people.  Andrew Mackenzie was appointed Chief Executive Officer of BHP Billiton in May 2013. He has had over 30 years’ experience in oil and gas, petrochemicals and minerals and has held a number of senior roles at BP and Rio Tinto.

Senate Banking to Hear from Transpo Unions – The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee on Thursday will take up transportation reauthorization on Thursday. The hearing will focus on public transportation and hear from union and transit leaders. Witnesses will include Utah House Majority Whip Gregory Hughes, Michael Melaniphy of the American Public Transportation Association, Community Transportation Association of America Board President Barbara Cline and Larry Hanley, international president of the Amalgamated Transit Union.

Senate Panel to Look at Crude Transport – A Senate Commerce subpanel will hold a hearing Thursday on regulatory questions surrounding the successful transportation of both people and crude oil.  The hearing in the surface transport subpanel was postponed from its original date by previous snowy weather in the capital.  The hearing will include will include representatives from the American Petroleum Institute (API) and Association of America Railroads, as well as the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)

Dave Barry to Speak at Press Club – On Thursday at 1:00 p.m., my friend and Pulitzer Prize winner/New York Times–bestselling author Dave Barry will be at the National Press Club to discuss his new book “You Can Date Boys When You’re Forty: Dave Barry on Parenting and Other Topics He Knows Very Little About.” A book signing will follow the discussion.  In uproarious, brand-new pieces, Barry tackles everything from family trips, bat mitzvah parties and dating (he’s serious about that title: “When my daughter can legally commence dating—February 24, 2040—I intend to monitor her closely, even if I am deceased”) to funeral instructions (“I would like my eulogy to be given by William Shatner”), the differences between male and female friendships, the deeper meaning of Fifty Shades of Grey, and a father’s ultimate sacrifice: accompanying his daughter to a Justin Bieber concert (“It turns out that the noise teenaged girls make to express happiness is the same noise they would make if their feet were being gnawed off by badgers”).   I worked closely with Dave on one of his signature issues, the battle over low-flow toilets.

Enviro Attorneys to Discuss GHG Case – EESI will hold a briefing on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. in SVC 209 looking at last week’s Supreme Court case, Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which is considering whether the EPA’s authority to regulate the greenhouse gas emissions of new motor vehicles also extends to stationary sources, such as existing power plants. The case is the result of six separate challenges to EPA authority from industry groups and 12 states. On February 24, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the consolidated case.  This briefing will examine the arguments brought forth on February 24 and what can be derived from the line of questioning by the Justices. What is and is not at stake in this case, and what are the potential outcomes of the Court’s decision? What does the relatively narrow focus of the case, despite a much broader challenge, mean for future judicial challenges to EPA’s regulatory authority concerning greenhouse gases?  Speakers for this forum are Michael B. Gerrard of the Columbia Law School’s Center for Climate Change Law and former NRDC attorney Amanda Leiter of American University’s Washington College of Law.

DOT Rail Meeting Expected to Touch New Agreement – The Rail Energy Transportation Advisory Committee (RETAC) will hold its semi- annual public meeting on Thursday in Washington, D.C. Established by the Surface Transportation Board (STB) of the Department of Transportation in 2007, RETAC serves as a forum for government, industry and others to discuss emerging issues in the transportation by rail of biofuels, conventional hydrocarbons and coal. Its 25 voting members span across large and small railroads, coal producers, electric utilities, the biofuels industry, the petroleum industry and the private railcar industry.  Following last week announcement by AAR and DOT, there will likely be more interest in this meeting.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

RFF to Look at Stanford Public Climate Polling – On Tuesday, March 11th at 10:30 a.m., RFF and Stanford will present additional results from the survey and provide an in-depth discussion on what this could mean for climate policy in the United States. This event will not only offer information on American’s views as a whole but, equally important, it will also explain how these issues are viewed on a state-by-state basis. Read more about the poll here.  A recent poll by Resources for the Future (RFF), Stanford University, and USA Today reveals American’s attitudes on climate change and issues such as clean energy, power plant emissions, and energy subsidies, to name a few. Some of the survey results were previously released by USA Today regarding climate change and the Keystone pipeline. Jon Krosnick, RFF University Fellow and Frederic O. Glover Professor in Humanities and Social Sciences at Stanford University will join RFF President Phil Sharp to discuss the study.

Forum to Look at Population, Climate Adaption – The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will hold a discussion on Tuesday, March 11th at 12:00 p.m. with Monica Das Gupta and Kathleen Mogelgaard as they explore these co-benefits and strategies to integrate them into climate change responses.  Often lacking from high-level discussions on climate change adaptation and mitigation is the inevitable role that rapid population growth plays in exacerbating vulnerability in developing countries. As Monica Das Gupta noted in her recent report, Population, Poverty, and Climate Change, “it is estimated that the effect of a 40 percent reduction in CO2 emissions per capita in developed countries between 2000 and 2050 would be entirely offset by the increase in emissions attributable to expected population growth in poorer countries over this period.” As communities grapple with the effects of climate change, there is a growing movement pointing to the multiple co-benefits that could emerge from policy interventions targeted at reducing fertility through voluntary access to family planning.

WAPA to Host Gala – The Washington Automotive Press Assn will hold its annual gala on March 13th at the National Press Club.

SoCo Expert to Speak at Forum on Transmission in SE Region – The Energy Future Coalition will be hosting a webinar for its Americans for a Clean Energy Grid initiative, on Thursday, March 13th at 3:00 p.m. The webinar topic will be Transmission in the Southeast. The event will feature John Lucas, GM of Transmission Policy and Services, Southern Company; and Frank Rambo, Senior Attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center. The driver behind the webinars is to follow-up/update to our in-person Regional Transmission Summits that we’ve been hosting around the country for the last few years, and the content of them will be discussion of hot-button transmission issues in the region, whether that be landowner compensation, siting, cost allocation, planning, or many other ones.

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

AWEA Announces Siting Seminar – Following a weather postponement, the AWEA Project Siting Seminar has been rescheduled for March 19 and 20th in New Orleans at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside.  The program will be a dedicated siting program that hones in on the latest strategies and information to effectively minimize siting and permitting risks while maximizing energy output.  Keynote Speaker will be USFWS Director Dan Ashe.

MD PSC Head to Address Energy Breakfast – ICF International will hold its March Morning Energy Breakfast on March 20th at the National Press Club , featuring Maryland Public Service Commissioner Kelly Speakes-Backman.  Backman will address the multiplicity of challenges confronting state regulators—and Maryland in particular—in the face of a changing utility sector. Discussion topics also include today’s critical issues affecting the electricity and gas industry that state regulators need to approve before key changes can take place.

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

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

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

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

Energy Update Week of February 24

Friends,

The Olympics ended yesterday with a flurry, and the games were a success.  The games delivered many excellent moments without many of the problems that critics expected or worried about.  The US won lots of gold medals in many of the non-traditional Winter Olympic events (the new “X” Games- type events), but we also still won several medals in the Bobsled/luge/skeleton events and several great downhill skiing medals.

Other than the US Speedskating performance (which is usually a strong suit of USA, perhaps most disappointing were the final play of the Olympic hockey tournament.  While the preliminary rounds were fabulous, the medal games were pretty boring, grinding games.  Nothing against the Canadians, who smothered both the US in the semi and Sweden in the final, but it just wasn’t very exciting hockey.  In fact, it reminded me a lot of a late Stanley Cup Final game, with four lines of the best players, the league’s best “shut-down” defensemen and great goaltending.  A definite recipe for success.  Another big item note to be overlooked in the final was Sweden’s loss of great puck-possession centers Henrik Zetterberg and Henrik Sendin, as well big body presence of Johan Franzen.  As well, the IOC once again stuck it foot in its mouth by preventing  Caps star center Nicklas Backstrom from playing because of a game day allergy-medicine drug-test failure.    Something has to be done about this continued overreach, which cost Backstrom his Silver medal.   Anyway, now back to the NHL reality and a two-month run to the playoffs starting tomorrow.  2016 Summer games are next in Rio de Janeiro and 23rd Winter games in 2018 will be in PyeongChang, South Korea.

While it still is getting colder again in most of the country, remember that players are reporting to spring training and games start this weekend.  Finally, I hope you watched the World Golf Championship Accenture Matchplay tournament.  In the final, which went into extra holes, there was some of the most unbelievable shotmaking from terrible lies ever by French unknown Victor Dubuisson.  Even the commentators, former professional golf ears themselves had never seen such incredible play under pressure.  Jason Day eventually won on the 23rd hole.

Following on last week’s rumors, long-time Michigan Democratic Rep. John Dingell will not seek reelection.  Dingell is the longest serving lawmaker in congressional history and was one of the most powerful members of Congress ever.  Dingell replaced his father in the House some 58 years ago and served 29 terms helping to pass — if not write — the most iconic pieces of legislation of the last six decades, from the Civil Rights Act and Medicare to the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act and, in 2010, the Affordable Care Act.  See the local, excellent coverage from our friends at the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News.

Today, besides the nation’s governors being in town for a conference, the Supreme Court tackles oral arguments regarding EPA’s first-ever greenhouse gas regulations for the biggest polluting facilities.  The case focuses on a 3-year-old requirement that companies get permits anytime they construct new plants or modify existing ones that will emit a lot of greenhouse gases.  My colleague Jeff Holmstead, a former EPA Air Administrator, says the case is narrow and wont much of an impact ability to regulate carbon emissions.

Also launching today, the ARPA-E’s Energy Innovation Summit launches with comments from Waste Management Recycle America head Bill Caesar today.  Tomorrow, NRG Energy CEO David Crane, Energy Secretary Ernie Moniz and White House Policy guru John Podesta are on the agenda.

Also tomorrow at 3:30, the University of Delaware and Rockefeller Brothers will announce a major initiative at an offshore wind conference in Boston.   The project is expected to push offshore wind throughout the east coast, connecting critical information on cutting-edge technologies, financing and collaboration opportunities.  More on this tomorrow.

Next week is CERA Week in Houston, so get ready for that big event.  Call with questions.

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

 

IN THE NEWS

Southern Plant Signs Loan Guarantee for Nukes – Following a speech at the National Press Club last week, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz then traveled to Georgia to join Southern Company leaders in a ceremony that announced Georgia Power has secured approximately $3.46 billion in loan guarantees from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE.  The ceremony was at the site of the Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4, the nuclear expansion project. The nuclear loan guarantees are expected to provide Georgia Power customers approximately $225 million to $250 million of present-value benefits.  The two new nuclear units are under construction at Plant Vogtle near Waynesboro, Ga., where two existing nuclear units have been in operation since the late 1980s.

What is Southern Building at Vogtle – The new units will use state-of-the-art AP1000 technology and are among the first new nuclear units being built in the U.S. in 30 years. The addition of the new units will make Plant Vogtle the only four-unit nuclear facility in the country.   Under the terms of the agreement, total guaranteed borrowings will be the lesser of 70% of the company’s eligible projected costs or approximately $3.46 billion and will be funded by the Federal Financing Bank. Georgia Power received an initial draw of $1 billion and future draws may occur as often as quarterly. The loan guarantees apply to borrowings related to the construction of Vogtle units 3 and 4, and any guaranteed borrowings will be full recourse to Georgia Power and secured by a first priority lien on the company’s 45.7% ownership interest in the two new units.  Along with Georgia Power’s portion of the two 1,100-megawatt reactors, the remaining ownership is split among Oglethorpe Power Corporation, the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG Power) and Dalton Utilities. Georgia Power’s share of costs is currently projected at approximately $6.8 billion, which includes approximately $2 billion of financing costs to be collected during construction.

What the Construction Means to Georgia – The construction of Vogtle units 3 and 4 represents a multi-billion dollar capital investment in Georgia. It is the largest job-producing project in the state, employing approximately 5,000 people during peak construction and creating 800 permanent jobs when the plant begins operating. Georgia Power is in a position to provide customers approximately $2 billion in potential benefits in the form of savings related to recovery of financing costs during construction, DOE loan guarantees, production tax credits, lower-than-forecast interest rates and lower-than-forecast commodity costs. Once complete, the new facility will produce enough clean, safe, reliable and affordable electricity to power 500,000 Georgia homes and businesses.

When Will Vogtle Be Done – Vogtle units 3 and 4 are expected to begin commercial operation in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Positive progress continues on the facility and major milestones are being met. Procurement of all major components is complete and fabrication and delivery of these components are on track to meet project needs.

Study: Wind Turbines Effective For 25 Years – A new study by the Imperial College Business School in the U.K. says that wind turbines can last about 25 years before requiring an upgrade, going against a common claim that wind turbines have short life spans. Based on an examination of wind turbines in the U.K., researchers carried out a comprehensive nationwide analysis of the UK fleet of wind turbines, using local wind speed data from NASA. They showed that the turbines will last their full life of about 25 years before they need to be upgraded. The team found that the UK’s earliest turbines, built in the 1990s, are still producing three-quarters of their original output after 19 years of operation, nearly twice the amount previously claimed, and will operate effectively up to 25 years. This is comparable to the performance of gas turbines used in power stations.

Freight Railroads, DOT Announce Rail Safety Initiative – The nation’s major freight railroads U.S. Department of Transportation rolled out a rail operations safety initiative that will institute new voluntary operating practices for moving crude oil by rail.  The announcement follows consultations between railroads represented by the Association of American Railroads (AAR) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), including the leadership of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).  The announcement today covers steps related to crude by rail operations. Additional issues relating to the safe transport of crude oil, such as tank car standards and proper shipper classification of crude oil, are being addressed separately.

Railroads will Take Key Steps – Under the industry’s voluntary efforts, railroads will take the following steps: 1) Increased Track Inspections – Effective March 25, railroads will perform at least one additional internal-rail inspection each year above those required by new FRA regulations on main line routes over which trains moving 20 or more carloads of crude oil travel.  Railroads will also conduct at least two high-tech track geometry inspections each year on main line routes over which trains with 20 or more loaded cars of crude oil are moving.  Current federal regulations do not require comprehensive track geometry inspections.  2) Braking Systems – No later than April 1, railroads will equip all trains with 20 or more carloads of crude oil with either distributed power or two-way telemetry end-of-train devices. These technologies allow train crews to apply emergency brakes from both ends of the train in order to stop the train faster. 3) Use of Rail Traffic Routing Technology – No later than July 1, railroads will begin using the Rail Corridor Risk Management System (RCRMS) to aid in the determination of the safest and most secure rail routes for trains with 20 or more cars of crude oil. 4) Lower Speeds – No later than July 1, railroads will operate trains with 20 or more tank cars carrying crude oil that include at least one older DOT-111 car no faster than 40 miles-per-hour in the federally designated 46 high-threat-urban areas (HTUA) as established by DHS regulations.  In the meantime, railroads will continue to operate trains with 20 or more carloads of hazardous materials, including crude oil, at the industry self-imposed speed limit of 50 miles per hour.  5) Community Relations – Railroads will continue to work with communities through which crude oil trains move to address location-specific concerns that communities may have.  6) Increased Trackside Safety Technology – No later than July 1, railroads will begin installing additional wayside wheel bearing detectors if they are not already in place every 40 miles along tracks with trains carrying 20 or more crude oil cars, as other safety factors allow.  7) Increased Emergency Response Training and Tuition Assistance – Railroads have committed by July 1 to provide $5 million to develop specialized crude by rail training and tuition assistance program for local first responders.  8) Emergency Response Capability Planning – Railroads will by July 1 develop an inventory of emergency response resources for responding to the release of large amounts of crude oil along routes over which trains with 20 or more cars of crude oil operate.  This inventory will include locations for the staging of emergency response equipment and, where appropriate, contacts for the notification of communities.  When the inventory is completed, railroads will provide DOT with information on the deployment of the resources and make the information available upon request to appropriate emergency responders.

API Says Import Crude Lowest in 17 Years – Late last week, API said the United States imported less crude oil in January than at any time since the late 1990s, among many other things as it released it January statistics.  They said crude oil imports of 7.5 million barrels per day marked a 5.2% decline year-on-year and the lowest level in 17 years, attributing the decline to higher domestic crude oil production.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

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

Podesta, Moniz, WM’s Caesar to Headline ARPA-E Event  ARPA-E’s Energy Innovation Summit, will be held today through Wednesday at National Harbor, MD. Now in its fifth year, the Summit will attract influential thought leaders to discuss new and effective energy technology advancements to secure the nation’s global technology leadership.  The premier event dedicated to transformative energy solutions, the Summit will bring together a range of public and private sector leaders to discuss cutting-edge energy issues and build relationships to help move technologies into the marketplace. Additionally, the Technology Showcase includes several hundred carefully selected transformational technologies—many of which are demonstrated publicly for the first time during the Summit.  Speaker will include Waste Management Recycle America Bill Caesar, President, WM and WM Organic Growth, NRG Energy CEO David Crane, Energy Secretary Ernie Moniz and White House Policy guru John Podesta, among others.

Forum to Focus on Energy Efficiency, Distributed Generation   Today at noon, Johns Hopkins University MS Program in Energy Policy and Climate Program will present a forum next Monday at Noon featuring Bruce S. Schlein, Director of Corporate Sustainability at Citi.  Schlein will lead a discussion on aggregating and standardizing energy efficiency and distributed generation to get to scale.  Energy Efficiency and Distributed Generation (EE/DG) in the built environment hold significant promise for delivering energy savings, local jobs, and environmental benefits. Sufficient scale is needed for EE/DG to realize its full potential, and reaching scale vis-à-vis finance requires aggregation and standardization to bridge to the capital markets. This session reviews various finance and policy mechanisms, and their strengths and weaknesses by property asset class.

ELI, DC Bar to Host Court GHG Panel –Following today arguments, the environmental Law Institute and DC Bar Association will host a debrief of the Supreme Court’s Oral Argument on EPA’s GHG Rulemakings at noon.  After the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the Environmental Protection Agency’s greenhouse gas rulemakings (Coalition for Responsible Regulation v. EPA, 684 F.3d 102 (D.C. Cir. 2012)), several states and industry groups appealed to the Supreme Court.  Depending on how the Court treats the breadth of this question, the Court’s decision could have little or significant effects on EPA’s requirement that certain stationary industrial sources obtain prevention of significant deterioration or Title V operating permits for greenhouse gas emissions.  ELI and distinguished panelists, many of whom participated in the case, will discuss and dissect the previous day’s oral argument and the implications of the potential outcomes for clients and policy moving forward.  Andy Oldham, the Deputy Solicitor General of Texas and Vickie Patton of the Environmental Defense Fund will be among the speakers.

Breitling CEO to Discuss NatGas Drilling at Roundtable – The Natural Gas Roundtable will host its February luncheon panel at the University Club tomorrow at Noon featuring Chris Faulkner, Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Breitling Energy Corporation.  Faulkner will discuss “The Fracking Truth – How to Safely Manage the Process and the Impact on the U.S. and the World.”

GWU Energy Security Policy Forum Set – GW’s Elliott School of International Affairs will host a Security Policy Forum on Tuesday, February 25th looking at energy security in the 21st Century.  The forum will feature David Goldwyn, former Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs at the U.S. Department of State and GW Institute for Security and Conflict Studies Director Charles Glaser.

Marshall Forum to Look at Energy Policy – The George C. Marshall Institute will host a panel discussion tomorrow at the Capitol Hill Club on policy priorities for U.S. energy policy.  The panel will feature Marshall CEO Bill O’Keefe, Manhattan Institute fellow Mark Mills and Chamber Energy expert Steve Eule.  Energy issues remain at the forefront of the U.S. policy agenda. President Obama credited his “all-of-the-above” energy strategy for moving the U.S. “closer to energy independence than we have been in decades” in his State of the Union address.  The continued expansion of domestic energy production raises environmental, economic, and international trade questions.  Other key energy decisions facing the nation will impact economic and environmental policy, including regulations on coal-fired power plants, the Keystone XL, Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), tax and other preferences to support renewables, nuclear, and fossil fuels, and leasing of federal lands for oil and gas exploration.  Recently, the Marshall Institute released a new report, A Framework for a New U.S. Energy Policy, detailing principles to guide the development of energy policy in the years to come.

CSIS to look at China, Energy — The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a forum tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. featuring Xiaojie Xu, head of the World Energy Division at the Institute of World Economics and Politics, part of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, Xu will present the World Energy China Outlook. The outlook, an annual report, examines world energy trends from China’s perspective, addresses energy development in China (and the global repercussions thereof), and provides energy policy recommendations for the Chinese government. This year’s outlook addresses a variety of topics including unconventional gas production in China, renewable energy development, and the increasing need for a ‘social license’ for energy projects. Guy Caruso, Senior Adviser with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.

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

Offshore Wind Conference in Boston Set – The 5th annual Green Power Offshore Wind Conference will be held in Boston, Massachusetts Wednesday and Thursday at the Hynes Conference Center.  Speakers will include AWC technical expert Bill Wall, as well as Interior’s Tommy Beaudreau and DOE’s Dan Poneman and Peter Davidson, as well as Jim Gordon of Cape Wind, Jeff Grybowski of Deepwater and Abby Hopper of the Maryland Energy Administration.   The University of Delaware is also expected to make a major announcement about a new center on Tuesday afternoon.

House Resources to look at Energy Jobs for Vets – On Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., the House Committee on Natural Resources will convene an oversight hearing on American energy jobs and opportunities for veterans.

CSIS to Discuss Unconventional Shale – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will hold a forum on Thursday at 9:30a.m. to discuss the domestic economic implications of the U.S. oil and gas revolution.  CSIS will host Trevor Houser, Partner at the Rhodium Group, and Mohsen Bonakdarpour, Managing Director for Consulting Group of IHS Economics. As unconventionals production moves out of its nascence and our knowledge of the resource base improves, various impacts slowly begin to unfold. Perhaps most importantly, the economic story slowly comes to light–job growth, the effects on industry (both energy intensive and otherwise) and trade balances. Trevor Houser and Mohsen Bonakdarpour will discuss their respective reports on the topic followed by a period for Q&A. David Pumphrey, Senior Adviser with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.

GWU Forum looks at Climate, Sustainability George Washington University’s Partnerships for International Strategies in Asia (PISA) will hold a discussion on Thursday at 12:00 p.m. climate and sustainable development in Myanmar.  The presentation will provide a review of the historical, an overview of contemporary and a preview of potential outcomes of the inextricable linkage of climate and social, economic and human development as well as some policy, technical, management and institutional response measures. It will make the case for temporal and spatial inter-connectedness as well as the need to go beyond sustainability and include resiliency. The challenge in Myanmar as well as in other ASEAN countries is the fierce urgency of how to be more sustainable and resilient in crafting development policies, strategies and actions. The opportunity for transformational institutional, capacity building, technology, economic instruments, and management response options will be discussed.  Nay Htun of Stony Brook University will speak.

Forum to Address Building Resilience – EESI will host a briefing on Thursday at 3:00 p.m. I the Senate Visitor Center Room 203 looking at the emerging public-policy issue of resiliency. There is a growing, bipartisan call for urgent action to improve the resiliency of cities, communities and critical systems. Thousands of homes, buildings and other infrastructure have been damaged or completely destroyed by powerful hurricanes, tornadoes and floods in recent years. The severe drought in the Southwest is wreaking havoc in other ways and prompting widespread restrictions on water use.  Is it possible to have “strong” and “green” buildings that withstand hurricane-force winds, conserve energy and water, and remain operational during a power outage? If model building codes help ensure minimum levels of quality, health, safety and energy efficiency in new homes and buildings, why are there so many communities without basic building codes? How can we improve our existing buildings? In this briefing, experts in architecture and building science, risk management, and energy policy will address these and other questions as well as related pending legislation, community initiatives, and tangible strategies and solutions for improving the resilience of our buildings. Speakers will include Debra Ballen of Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS), Cooper Martin of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Ryan Meres of the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) and Jake Oster, Deputy Chief of Staff and Legislative Director for VT Rep. Peter Welch.

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

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

Smart Grid Forum Set – On Friday, the U.S. Trade & Development Agency will hold the first in a series of sector-specific Trade Talks at its headquarters in Arlington, VA. Attendees will learn how to expand their business in the global electricity transmission and distribution market, which is forecast to reach nearly $500 billion over the next seven years. USTDA’s Trade Talk: Smart Grid will feature briefings from technical experts and U.S. Government officials, as well as industry case studies and an open forum discussion.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

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

Forum to Look at Shale Gas in Azerbaijan – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host on Tuesday March 4th featuring Vitaliy Baylarbayov, Deputy Vice-President for Investment and Marketing of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR), to discuss the development of the Shah Deniz gas field in the Caspian Sea. Stage 2 of the development, agreed upon by the project consortium in December 2013, forms the foundation for plans to develop and expand pipeline capacity through Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, Greece, Albania and Italy, establishing what many are calling a new Southern Gas Corridor in Europe. Dr. Baylarbayov, who played an integral role in concluding the final investment decision on the next stage of development and the pipeline discussions, will discuss the future of Azerbaijani gas and the significance of the Southern Gas Corridor. Elizabeth Urbanas, Director of the Office of Russian and Eurasian Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy, and Robin West, Senior Adviser with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will provide comments. Edward Chow, Senior Fellow with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.

BHP CEO to Discuss Future Energy Needs – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a conversation on Thursday March 6th at 10:00 a.m. with Andrew Mackenzie, CEO of BHP Billiton, to discuss how the world can meet the demand for resources as 1.7 billion people gain access to electricity over the next 20 years and energy demand grows by 30%. With a portfolio spanning steel making materials, metals, energy and fertilizer BHP Billiton is the world’s largest diversified resources company and the only firm to produce oil, gas, coal and uranium as well as the metals used in renewables like copper. Headquartered in Australia, the company has operations in 26 countries and a workforce of approximately 128,000 people.  Andrew Mackenzie was appointed Chief Executive Officer of BHP Billiton in May 2013. He has had over 30 years’ experience in oil and gas, petrochemicals and minerals and has held a number of senior roles at BP and Rio Tinto.

DOT Rail Meeting Expected to Touch New Agreement – The Rail Energy Transportation Advisory Committee (RETAC) will hold its semi- annual public meeting on March 6 in Washington, D.C. Established by the Surface Transportation Board (STB) of the Department of Transportation in 2007, RETAC serves as a forum for government, industry and others to discuss emerging issues in the transportation by rail of biofuels, conventional hydrocarbons and coal. Its 25 voting members span across large and small railroads, coal producers, electric utilities, the biofuels industry, the petroleum industry and the private railcar industry.  Following last week announcement by AAR and DOT, there will Likely be more interest in this meeting.

WAPA to Host Gala – The Washington Automotive Press Assn will hold its annual gala on March 13th at the National Press Club.

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

AWEA Announces Siting Seminar – Following a weather postponement, the AWEA Project Siting Seminar has been rescheduled for March 19 and 20th in New Orleans at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside.  The program will be a dedicated siting program that hones in on the latest strategies and information to effectively minimize siting and permitting risks while maximizing energy output.  Keynote Speaker will be USFWS Director Dan Ashe.

MD PSC Head to Address Energy Breakfast – ICF International will hold its March Morning Energy Breakfast on March 20th at the National Press Club , featuring Maryland Public Service Commissioner Kelly Speakes-Backman.  Backman will address the multiplicity of challenges confronting state regulators—and Maryland in particular—in the face of a changing utility sector. Discussion topics also include today’s critical issues affecting the electricity and gas industry that state regulators need to approve before key changes can take place.

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

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