Energy Update: Week of March 6

Friends,

So tomorrow is National Pancake Day…Whether that is really a “day” or just something IHOP came up with, I’m fine with it and I’ll be ready to eat.

This week is another busy week with the full energy cabinet finalized with Perry and Zinke’s approval last week. It was great to see Sect. Zinke helping to take cars off the road (although I don’t think it likely helped reduce traffic congestion) on his first day.

It seems we will get executive orders on coal leasing and the climate action plan (with Clean Power Plan) this week.  Also late Friday, rumors abounded over whether the Administration or EPA/DOT will take some action this week to pushback against the previous Administration’s late move to extend fuel economy standards for Phase II 14-months ahead of schedule. (When does EPA ever do anything 14 months ahead of schedule?) We are on top of it with my friends at SAFE who are a good resources on the entire topic, including the opportunity to update and modernize fuel economy standards in a way that incorporates new technologies and business models.  One thing most are reporting and we are hearing will not be in the orders:  anything related to Paris.

Outside DC, this week is CERA Week, one of the biggest energy conferences of the year.  Speakers at the conference include Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Th dinner), OPEC oil ministers, Trump adviser Peter Thiel (tmr dinner), SoCo CEO Tom Fanning (tmr 2:25) Senate Energy Chair Lisa Murkowski (Fr 9:30), EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt (Th 2:10) and Duke CEO Lynn Good (Th 9:20). Our friend Karen Harbert of the Chamber’s Energy Institute will also be there on Wednesday and Thursday and will be on a panel. Numerous other CEOs including new Exxon CEO Darren Woods (tdy 2:45), COP Ryan Lance (tmr 10:20), Range CEO Jeff Ventura (Wed 2:10) will speak as well.  See schedule here.

Speaking of CERA Week, Ben Geman launches Generate, the new Axios newsletter on the politics and business of energy from Houston.  And of course, as I mentioned last week, Amy Harder will join by on April 1st. Look for coverage all week in Generate and daily updates in the Axios Stream.  You can sign up here.

Congress tackles Transportation and Infrastructure funding issues in several committees this week, as well as rural energy issues at the House Ag Committee. Our friends at NRECA are a strong voice on this subject.  Senate Environment is also looking at nuclear legislation.  ClearPath’s Jay Faison is a good resource there after his speech last week at the Third Way Nuclear Summit.

With a couple of events this week on deep decarbonization issues (JHU tomorrow, EESI Thursday), our friends at the Energy Innovation Reform Project have done an outstanding, deep-dive review on what recent scholarship says about how to decarbonize the electric power sector.  There is a surprising convergence of thinking around a number of key points that are contrary to conventional wisdom in several respects. EIRP reviewed 30 recent studies of deep decarbonization and identified key insights from the literature.  I can send you the PDF or it will be posted here.

We are all over it this week, whether it is CPP, Budget issues, RFS, tax issues or anything else. Call with questions…

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“We are pleased that the EPA has responded to our request and withdrawn its burdensome and unlawful information demand to oil and gas producers across the country. We applaud Administrator Pruitt for his adherence to the rule of law as he pursues the balance Congress has struck between preserving our environment and allowing our economy to grow.”

Texas AG Ken Paxton, responding to last week’s move by EPA to allow operators of oil and gas facilities to return an information request aimed at reducing methane emissions.

 

IN THE NEWS

Perry, Zinke Finally Approved – Late last week, both Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Energy Secretary Rick Perry were both confirmed and sworn into office.  Zinke rode into office on Thursday while Perry was on the job on Friday morning, making his first Speech to employees where he turned to self-deprecating humor and patriotism to tell DOE employees he will be their best friend if they want to solve problems.

ClearPath Weighs in on Perry Confirmation – In a blog post released Thursday, ClearPath’s Jay Faison praised Perry for his approach to lead DOE to foster carbon capture technologies, advanced nuclear reactors and innovation through our best-in-the-world national labs.  He also encouraged Perry to not micromanage our “world-class” national labs, but give them goals and hold them accountable to meet those goals.  See the blog here.

Others on Perry – A few others also weighed in on Perry:

AHRI’s Steve Yurek: “Governor Perry’s understanding of the energy economy and its relationship to economic growth will serve the nation well as the next Secretary of Energy. Because many of the HVACR products and equipment manufactured by our member companies are regulated, it is important that the Secretary ensure that the regulatory process, now 40 years old and in need of significant reform, operates fairly and consistently for all stakeholders.”

AWEA’s Tom Kiernan: “Secretary Perry’s leadership on wind energy infrastructure as governor of Texas helped attract tens of billions of dollars in private investment to rural communities, and create over 25,000 wind jobs in the state. When he became governor in 2000, the state had less than 200 megawatts (MW) of wind power. When he left there were over 14,000 MW, and there are over 20,000 MW today, after $32.7 billion of private investment. He created a pro-business environment and fostered that investment by supporting competitive markets, and the Competitive Renewable Energy Zone (CREZ) transmission lines that tapped the low-cost wind power of West Texas. The result was a more diverse power grid that is more reliable, and that saves Texas consumers hundreds of dollars a year on their electric bills. The Texas success story with wind power has now become a model for America.”

NRECA’s Jim Matheson: “America’s electric cooperatives are working with DOE to advance renewable energy and carbon capture technologies, deliver affordable hydropower to rural America, and ensure the security and resiliency of the electric grid.  We look forward to working with Secretary Perry to continue these important efforts and provide the reliable and affordable electricity that drives economic growth in the communities served by electric co-ops.”

Sportsmen Leaders on Zinke – Eric Washburn (202-412-5211), a former Senate staffer and westerner who works on many lands, species and wildlife issues, should you have questions…  Eric is a great resource on Interior issues and has led a number of sportsmen’s groups, working on hunting, fishing and conservation issues as well, is available to discuss the Challenges that Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke may face after being named to head the Department of the Interior. “Zinke is an avid hunter and angler and someone who values the opportunity to spend time pursuing those activities on the vast federal lands estate.  As Secretary, he will be someone who will pay close attention to the conservation agenda promoted by sportsmen groups and will look for ways to balance conservation needs with energy development.  His heartfelt belief that the federal lands should stay under federal management and control will be especially appreciated by sportsmen across the country.  For a lot of hunters and anglers, it offers the best publicly-accessible places in the country in which to pursue their sports.  Interior Secretary is great job for anyone who likes the outdoors, and Congressman Zinke will enjoy even the daily turmoil of refereeing among the various users of the federal lands, which include renewable energy developers, oil and gas companies, pipeline developers, hikers, campers, back country skiers, snowmobiles, off road vehicle enthusiasts, sportsmen, bird watchers and others.”  Finally, while Eric has been able to address the land and species issues, my colleague Kevin Ewing is a great expert on NEPA, environmental law and offshore issues.  He can speak to some of the significant issues Zinke may face in those arenas.  He can be reached at 202-828-7638 or kevin.ewing@bracewelllaw.com

ERIP Look s at Deep Decarbonization Literature – With a couple of events this week on deep decarbonization issues, our friends at the Energy Innovation Reform Project have done an outstanding, deep-dive review on what recent scholarship says about how to decarbonize the electric power sector.  There is a surprising convergence of thinking around a number of key points that are contrary to conventional wisdom in several respects. EIRP reviewed 30 recent studies of deep decarbonization and identified key insights from the literature, which you can see here.   Key takeaways include 1) reaching near-zero emissions is much more challenging and may require a very different mix of resources; 2) a diversified mix of low-CO2 generation resources offers the best chance of affordably achieving deep decarbonization; 3) dispatchable low-carbon resources (nuclear and/or CCS) in the generation mix is virtually indispensible for any least-cost pathway to deep decarbonization; 4) intermittent renewables such as solar and wind will contribute most efficiently to decarbonization if they are not expected to power the entire grid; and finally 5) very large amounts of long-duration seasonal energy storage technologies do not currently exist in plausible form or scale.

Platts Releases Latest OPEC Survey – Our friends at Platts have released their the latest S&P Global Platts OPEC production survey, which shows the cartel moved closer to full compliance with the landmark production cut agreement signed late last year, as output in the month fell from January levels to average 32.03 million b/d.  In all, taking an average of January and February production, the 10 members obligated to reduce output under the deal have achieved 98.5% of their total combined cuts, according to the survey, up from 91% in January.  See the Table is here.  Saudi Arabia is leading the way on compliance, with its 9.85 million b/d output in February its lowest since February 2015. Its January and February average of 9.918 million b/d is 140,000 b/d below its cut quota.  Meanwhile, Iraq remains the farthest from compliance, producing 4.40 million b/d in February. Its two-month average of 4.442 million b/d is 91,000 b/d above its quota.

Community Solar Group Celebrates One-Year – The Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA) marked its one-year anniversary last month with the addition of nine new members. The nation’s first and only trade association for community solar now represents an even-larger cross-section of project developers, manufacturers, financiers, legal experts and advocates.  In its first year, CCSA and its growing membership have been actively involved in advocating for effective community solar policies in states across the country. Some of the recent action CCSA has engaged in includes implementation of a new program in Maryland, which opens in April and enables nearly 250 MW of community solar development, as well as new programs in Hawaii and Rhode Island.  They are also working with regulators to improve market structures in existing markets, including crucial financial mechanisms in Massachusetts and New York that will enable development of hundreds more MW in each state, bringing community solar to tens of thousands of new customers over the next few years.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

CERAWeek Set for Houston – The 36th CERAWeek by IHS Markit will be held this week in Houston at the Hilton Americas.  CERAWeek is the premier annual international gathering of energy industry leaders, experts, government officials and policymakers, leaders from the technology, financial, and industrial communities – and energy technology innovators. Midst the turbulence and uncertainty in energy markets this year, CERAWeek 2017 will provide new insights and critically-important dialogue – and a very cost efficient way to engage on the most urgent questions with decision-makers from around the world.  A laundry list of other key energy speakers/CEOs will speak.  See the list here.

Cato to Host Transportation Infrastructure – Today at Noon, the Cato Institute hold a forum on setting transportation infrastructure priorities.  The event will focus on how we should decide what projects are funded, how much should we spend on new infrastructure and how much on reconstruction, as well as funding and finance priorities.  Finally, it will look at goals to create short-term jobs, long-term economic growth, or simply new transportation alternatives? Join four leading transportation experts in a discussion of highways, transit, intercity rail, airports and air traffic control, transportation finance, and regulation. They will also revisit the issue on Capitol Hill on Wednesday at Noon in 2045 Rayburn.

Forum to Look at Urban Planning, Climate – The Wilson Center will hold a forum today at 2:00 p.m. for a discussion about the latest research from the field on innovative urban approaches to climate change, accommodating refugees in urban areas, and inclusive city planning. Winning authors of the 2016 Graduate Student Reducing Urban Poverty Paper Competition will present their solutions-oriented research, with commentary offered by experienced professionals working in the urban sector.

Southern, NextEra Execs Address Transmission Summit – The 20th Transmission Summit will be held today through Wednesday at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC.  The event brings together policy makers with transmission industry leaders to develop strategies that will take advantage of opportunities created by emerging policy, regulatory and technological changes.  Topics will include post-election policy shifts and potential new opportunities for transmission infrastructure investment, dealing with the impacts of revisions to FERC’s Order 1000 processes on regional planning and competitive projects, integrating and interconnecting ever more renewable energy assets and using non-transmission alternatives and storage to defer new builds and replace aging infrastructure.  Key speakers include former FERC Chair Joe Kelliher of NextEra, Southern’s Bruce Edelston, and Georgia PSC Commissioner Tim Echols, among others.

Offshore Wind Leaders to Discuss Progress – The Business Network for Offshore Wind hosts a breakfast with Deepwater Wind Exec Clint Plummer and US Wind Exec Paul Rich tomorrow morning at the Maritime Conference Center-Maritime Institute in Linthicum Heights, MD.  With the Nation’s first offshore wind project in the water, the Block Island Wind Farm has led the way to a U.S. offshore wind market.  More than 4 GW of offshore wind will be built off the Northeast coast. Maryland is poised to capture a significant portion of the estimated 58,000 jobs anticipated from the present regional 5-6 GW offshore wind pipeline, especially if Maryland moves forward with its own project.  Maryland ports, businesses and a workforce could assemble the heavy steel components: foundations, transition pieces, and towers as well manufacture cables and crew vessels, to become the main supply hub for the U.S. east coast.

GEA to Host DC Meeting – The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) will hold its International Geothermal Forum in Washington, DC tomorrow.  GEA has annually provided leadership within the geothermal energy community and a platform for constructive dialogue and in-depth discussion on issues ranging from finance, market development, and policy to GHG emissions, new technology driving change and key markets to look out for. In light of the latest developments, the Association’s International Geothermal Forum is a recent spinoff from the traditional US & International Showcase.  For one day, the Forum will gather roughly sixty (60) top energy, finance, policy, government, ministry, and engineering experts to provide in-depth discussion and insight into the future of the geothermal market in the US and abroad.

Forum to Look at Advanced Energy – Microsoft and the Advanced Energy Economy Institute will host a conversation tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. looking at advanced energy as an economic driver.  The discussion will bring together stakeholders from industry, utilities, energy consumers, and state business organizations to discuss how advanced energy is driving economic development and job growth in states across the U.S.  The U.S. energy system is going through a transformational change—consumer preferences, dynamic new technologies, and new threats are causing the energy system, as we have known it for the past century, to evolve.  Speakers will include our friend AEE’s Malcolm Wolff, EEI’s Emily Fisher, Microsoft’s Michelle Patron, and many others.

Hydro Forum Set For Hill – Tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. in 385 Russell, the Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Caucus will host a presentation and Q&A on marine hydrokinetic energy, and the Department of Energy’s recent Wave Energy Prize.   The briefing will cover the potential of renewable ocean energy to turn the motion of waves, currents, and tides into electricity, the Department of Energy’s use of the Wave Energy Prize to spur innovation, and how AquaHarmonics created the winning entry for the Wave Energy Prize.   Our friend and Virginia Tech energy expert George Hagerman will moderate a panel of experts.

NAS to Hold Public Meeting On Surface Coal Mining Health Issues – Tomorrow at 1:45 p.m., the National Academy of Sciences’ Surface Coal Mining and Human Health Committee will be conducting a public meeting at the NAS’s Keck Center.

WaPo to Look at Infrastructure – On Wednesday at 9:00 a.m., the Washington Post will discuss the promise to rebuild America’s highways, railways, bridges, airports, and pipelines. As his administration formulates its infrastructure plan and lawmakers in Congress voice their priorities, The Post will bring together industry experts and policymakers to examine what’s needed to modernize the nation’s transportation and energy infrastructure, and how different approaches may impact job creation.

CSIS to Host IEA Oil Market Report – The CSIS Energy & National Security Program will host Keisuke Sadamori, Director of Energy Markets and Security at the International Energy Agency on Wednesday to present the IEA’s Oil Market Report 2017.  In late 2016, leading oil producers put together the most comprehensive agreement to limit oil output seen since 2009 to ensure the stabilization of oil prices and avoid economic dislocation in producing countries. Underscored by well-supplied oil markets, and this new period of production management, the Oil Market Report projects the following trends through 2022 that oil demand is expected to grow strongly at least to 2022, with main developing economies leading the way; the need for more production capacity becomes apparent by the end of the decade, even if supply appears plentiful today; it is not clear that upstream projects will be completed in time due to the unprecedented two-year fall in investment in 2015 and 2016, although major reductions in costs will help and there is a  risk of prices rising more sharply by 2022 as the spare production cushion is eroded.  A discussion moderated by Kevin Book will follow.

Microgrid Forum Set – The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES), George Washington University and state, business and city leaders will join together on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. to examine the opportunities and challenges of successful microgrid deployment. Microgrids are an innovative solution to reduce emissions, improve electricity system reliability and resilience, and tighten grid security. But financial, legal and technological barriers can slow their deployment.

Senate Approps Panel to Look at Transpo, Infrastructure Issues – The Senate Appropriations Committee’s panel on Transportation will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. focused on investing in America’s transportation infrastructure needs.  Witnesses include Maine DOT Commissioner David Bernhardt, Jim Tymon of the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials, American Association of Airport Executives CEO Todd Hauptli, Chamber Transportation Infrastructure director Edward Mortimer and Beth Osborne of Transportation for America.

Senate Enviro Panel to Look at Nuclear – The Senate Environment Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. addressing on S. 512, the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act.

JHU to Look at Carbon Fee/Dividend Program – The JHU SAIS program will hold a forum on carbon fees and dividend programs Wednesday at 5:00 p.m.  The event will feature a panel that includes RFF’s Marc Hafstead, WRI’s Noah Kaufman, Adele Morris from the Climate and Energy Economics Project and others.

House Ag to Look at Rural Energy Programs – On Thursday at 10:00 a.m., the House Ag panel that deals with energy will hold a public hearing on rural development and energy programs in the next Farm Bill.

Forum to Look at Deep Decarbonization – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will hold a briefing on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. showcasing two new reports on how to transition the United States toward a low carbon economy. The reports, From Risk to Return: Investing in a Clean Energy Economy and the United States Mid-Century Strategy for Deep Decarbonization, present a range of pathways that can achieve deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions between now and 2050. These pathways involve mixtures of: energy efficiency, renewable energy, nuclear power, carbon capture and storage, increased carbon sequestration in U.S. lands, and reductions in non-CO2 emissions. These pathways rely on commercial or near-commercial technologies that American companies are adopting and developing. The briefing will explore how deeper investment in clean energy can yield long-term dividends for the American economy.  The speakers for this forum are WRI’s Karl Hausker and Noah Kaufman.

Forum to Look at Gas, Electricity – The Young Professionals in Energy will host a forum at PJM Interconnection’s DC office at 6:00 p.m. Thursday to explore the relationship between power and gas and for a conversation about new solutions to optimize reliability, security, and costs. In today’s world of abundant and low-cost natural gas, the electric power sector is becoming increasingly dependent on the natural gas sector. The further intertwining of the markets and operations of both sectors provides new challenges and opportunities for each industry.  PJM’s Brian Fitzpatrick is the featured speaker.

OAS Panel to Look at Food Security, Climate Migration – The Organization of American States hosts a forum on Friday at 10:00 a.m. on food security and migration with climate change.  The event provides an opportunity for a dynamic and inclusive debate, in Davos-style format, on how climate change and food security can be factors for migration in the Americas.

ELI to Host Forum on Climate Justice – On Friday at 12:00 p.m., the Environmental Law Institute hosts a forum on Climate Justice.  Climate justice can be defined generally as addressing the disproportionate burden of climate change impacts on poor and marginalized communities. It seeks to promote more equitable allocation of the burdens of these impacts at the local, national, and global levels through proactive regulatory initiatives and reactive judicial remedies that draw on international human rights and domestic environmental justice theories. Yet, efforts to define climate justice as a field of inquiry can be elusive and underinclusive because the concept is so vast in scope.  This seminar will begin with discussions of recent atmospheric trust litigation in the U.S., and the Urgenda case in the Netherlands, as examples of the advantages and limitations of using domestic courts to promote climate justice objectives. It will then address topics outside the litigation context by exploring the climate justice implications of the new differentiation model between developed and developing nations as reflected in the Paris Agreement and the human rights dimensions of global deployment of bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS). Join the editor and three contributing authors of Climate Justice: Case Studies in Global and Regional Governance Challenges to learn about important and timely topics addressed in this recent publication.

 

IN THE FUTURE

Wilson to Premier Earth, Sky –The Wilson Center will host an environmental film premier of Between Earth and Sky on Wednesday March 15th at Noon.  Mixing interviews with some of the world’s leading scientists in climate change and arctic soils, with the day to day struggle of native Alaskans living on the front lines of global warming, Between Earth and Sky attempts to highlight the challenge of climate change in places in Alaska.

WCEE Event to Focus on BCSE Factbook – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment will host an event on Wednesday March 15th discussing the Business Council on Sustainable Energy’s Sustainable Energy in America Factbook, which provides the latest industry information and trends from the energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy sectors in the United States. The Factbook is created to provide policymakers, journalists and industry professionals with up-to-date market information.  The Factbook is free and available to download at www.bcse.org/sustainableenergyfactbook.

ACORE Policy Forum Set – ACORE holds its annual national renewable policy forum on March 16th at the W Hotel in Washington D.C.  Industry leaders and senior officials offer a pragmatic perspective on challenges and opportunities for the renewable energy industry in the new political alignment. Key topics include renewable energy’s importance to the American economy, the timing and outlook of the upcoming push for comprehensive federal tax reform, the prospects for a large-scale infrastructure initiative and the benefits of increased investment in renewables, grid expansion, resiliency, and modernization and the important role of state policy in the energy sector, and the potential for new and innovative state initiatives that promote renewable energy investment and deployment.  Speakers include Brightsource Energy’s Joe Desmond BNEF’s Ethan Zindler, AWEA’s Jim Reilly, SEIA’s Tom Kimbis and several others.

USEA to Discuss Fuel Cells, Carbon Capture – On Thursday, March 16th at 10:00 a.m., the U.S. Energy Association hosts a forum on CO2 Capture Utilizing Fuel Cells.  Efficiently and affordably capturing CO2 from utility scale power generation is a global challenge and a large potential market opportunity.  Conventional carbon capture technologies use power and represent an expense.  FuelCell Energy and ExxonMobil are advancing a novel application for installing carbonate fuel cells at combustion-based power plants to efficiently capture CO2 while simultaneously producing power from the fuel cells.  Affordable and scalable, fuel cell carbon capture is a potential game-changer. This presentation will explain fuel cell carbon capture supported with discussion of a demonstration project to be placed at Plant Barry, a mixed coal/gas-fired plant owned by Alabama Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company.  Speakers include Exxon’s Michael Kerby and FuelCell Energy’s Tony Leo and Frank Wolak.

Forum to Look at Efficiency in Infrastructure – The Alliance to Save Energy will hold an event on Thursday, March 16th at 12:15 p.m. looking at the role of energy efficiency in infrastructure investments. The session will outline the role of energy efficiency policy as an indispensable element of what has been a major policy theme for the new administration and members of the 115th Congress: infrastructure. Briefing attendees will hear from business leaders about the importance of energy efficiency policy in a diverse range of energy sectors: transportation, utility, buildings, water and finance. Following panelist presentations, the moderator will open the briefing for questions from attendees.

Group to Toast Former EIA Head – The NCAC, USAEE, and IAEE will hold a special event on Thursday evening on Match 16th that will feature a roast ‘n Toast of former EIA Head Adam Sieminski.  The event will feature live music provided by former White House economist Bob McNally and his band “Sound Policy” featuring fellow NCAC members and energy wonks Dan Poneman and Kevin Book.

WAPA Gala Set – The Washington Automotive Press Assn will hold its annual “non” gala on Thursday, March 16th at Pinstripes in Georgetown for an evening of drinks, dinner, networking, and some sporting fun courtesy of Nissan, with automotive journalism’s industry leaders from around the area and the nation.

Heartland Climate Conference Set – The 12th International Conference on Climate Change, taking place on Thursday and Friday, March 23–24 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, DC.  ICCC-12 is hosted by The Heartland Institute.  See the speakers, including Myron Ebell, here.

Pollution Control Agencies Set Spring Meeting – The Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies’ 2017 Spring Meeting will be held in Tucson, Arizona from March 27 – 29 at the Hilton Tucson East Hotel.  More on this in the future.

Energy Update: Week of June 15

Friends,

 

Finally we are to the point in the basketball and hockey seasons where the Naismith trophy and Lord Stanley’s Cup will be “in the house” at a pair of Game 6s tonight/tomorrow, and at latest, be awarded this week, if not sooner.  Both series have been great with the hockey being among the best I’ve seen in a while.  And the battle between Steph Curry and LeBron James has been pretty strong as well with each putting their team on his back at key times.   What will be do after it is over?  Look to late July/early August for the launch of Football and the Baseball playoff stretch.   By the way, already getting college and HS Football officiating assignments so it is not that far off…

 

While it was supposed to come out Thursday, apparently an Italian Magazine leaked the Pope’s encyclical on climate change today.  Former Financial Times DC bureau friend Steph Kirchgaessner, now in Rome with The Guardian,  has the scoop featuring the document in Italian which says the Pope hoped his encyclical would inspire action not just by Roman Catholics but by people of all creeds and religions around the world.  It also calls for changes in lifestyles and energy consumption to avert the “unprecedented destruction of the ecosystem” before the end of this century.  Following the leak, the conservative E&E Legal Foundation posted a video that says flawed policies to tackle climate change will actually cause more harm for the world’s poor.

 

In town today and tomorrow is the big EIA 2015 Energy Conference at the Renaissance Washington, DC Downtown Hotel.  Keynote Speakers will be DOE Secretary Ernie Moniz, Mexican Energy secretary Pedro Joaquín Coldwell, ND Sen. John Hoeven, Tesla’s JB Straubel, BNSF CEO Matt Rose and Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm.  It is always a high-profile event that is a news generator.  See you there…

 

Lots going on in Congress this week with tomorrow focused on Interior/EPA funding as both the full House Approps Committee and Lisa Murkowski’s Approps panel handling their versions of the funding.   There will also be a joint hearing in House E&C on the potential impacts of EPA’s proposed ozone standard on manufacturers and House Resources on the latest Interior Arctic drilling plan.  On Wednesday, Senate Environment discusses Coal Ash with NRECA member South Texas Electric Cooperative GM Mike Kezar leading the testimony.  After a bumpy performance last week on Ozone, EPA’s Janet McCabe visits Senate Homeland Security to discuss another controversial subject, the EPA’s management of the RFS (hint:  NOT GOOD).  Look for more bumps as they discuss the latest ethanol proposal.  Also Thursday, the House E&C Health Subcommittee will take up the Rep. Pompeo-led GMO labeling bill—critics have dubbed it the DARK Act—that would preempt state efforts to mandate GMO labeling.  We can provide experts and info on this issue should you need it.   Speaking of GMOs, looks like France just banned glyphosate (Round Up to you and me) today.  I’m sure that will come up a time or two on Thursday.

 

Today is Global Wind Day.  Every year on June 15th Global Wind Day celebrates a chance to reflect and be inspired by all that great opportunities and advances wind power in making in the world. Wind farms now operate in more than 75 countries, while here in the US, they power the equivalent of 15.5 million homes.  You can tweet about it on #GlobalWindDay and find 8 Fun Wind Day Facts here.

 

Finally, if you are Looking for some networking opportunities, on Wednesday evening at Hawk ‘n Dove on Capitol Hill, OurEnergyPolicy.org (OEP) and the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment are hosting a happy hour for DC area energy professionals.  RSVP Here.

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

 

IN THE NEWS

 

DOE Furnace Rule Analysis Flawed – In a meeting last week with key environmental and industry stakeholders to discuss in Energy’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Energy Conservation Standards for Residential Furnaces, AGA unveiled a significant flaw in the economic model used to test the rule, which has led to faulty outcomes and an inaccuracy in what the Department indicates will occur if this rule is put in place.  The DOE model began with 10,000 sample homes and used a “Monte Carlo” method to determine which households are “affected” by the rule and which ones are not, by assigning furnaces to homes in a random fashion irrespective of economics. The determination whether or not the family would have an 80% energy efficient natural gas furnace or a 92% efficient natural gas furnace was completely random, removing the rational, economic decision making process that takes place both with homeowners and builders. AGA’s analysis points to a few specific homes included in the DOE model, including one California household that would pay $3,287 to replace its furnace, but would only see annual savings of $27 with a payback period of 90 years, and a New York household that would not install an efficient furnace despite associated savings of $1,656 in installation costs and $76 annually. AGA, AHRI and other industry groups contend the rule would have unintended consequences, including raising costs for low-income customers and causing customers to switch from gas to electric heat, in some cases increasing greenhouse gas emissions.

 

Summit Discusses Key Issues Facing Rural Communities – On Thursday, NRECA hosted the Summit on Rural America where policymakers and leaders discussed the future of our rural communities. Numerous speakers, including several from the administration, Congress and other key stakeholders in rural America offered insights on the rural agenda.  As well, Arkansas statewide CEO Duane Highley represented electric co-ops at a U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing. Duane testified on the importance of sharing information with utilities in the event of cybersecurity threats. He also shared concerns over coordination between agencies and stakeholders when new rules are implemented that could threaten grid reliability.

 

France Bans Weedkiller Used On GMOs – French Ecology Minister Segolene Royal yesterday asked French garden centers to stop selling the popular weedkiller Roundup as part of a wider fight against pesticides that have been deemed potentially harmful to humans.  The active ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate, was in March classified as “probably carcinogenic to humans” by the UN’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

 

Clean Air Group releases Ozone Survey that Raises Concerns – The Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies (AAPCA) released a new survey, State Environmental Agency Perspectives on Background Ozone & Regulatory Relief. This report includes a review of all state environmental agency comments on U.S. EPA’s proposed revision to National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone, as well as a detailed follow up survey of state members of AAPCA’s Board of Directors.  The results indicate that a majority of state environmental agencies, including geographically-diverse states with differing perspectives on the proposed ozone NAAQS revisions, view background ozone as a potential implementation and achievability challenge. While U.S. EPA has stated that there are “tools for air agencies to address exceedances of an ozone standard potentially caused by background ozone,” this survey found significant limitations and several common concerns with Clean Air Act tools designed to address exceptional events, international transport, and rural transport areas.

 

E&E Hub Interview: Honorable sees a ‘proactive’ FERC on Clean Power Plan – FERC should play a “proactive” role in helping states and regions respond to challenges posed by compliance with the forthcoming final version of U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan, Colette Honorable, FERC’s newest member, said in a Friday interview with our friend s at E&E News’ Power Plan Hub.  While Honorable and her colleagues are on record in support of EPA, including a so-called reliability safety valve in the final rule, she also wants FERC to use its “tools” to “provide certainty and support for this [EPA] planning effort.”  “It might be a technical conference or FERC could direct assessments or studies to be conducted. FERC is going to be needed now more than ever to support the vast work that will have to be undertaken in states, in [organized market] regions and in multistate groups that are not part of regions.”

 

US Adds Solar in 1Q – On the renewable front, the first quarter numbers are in and the U.S. added more than 1.3 gigawatts of new solar from January to March. GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association project a total of 7.9 gigawatts of new solar by the end of the year. Check out our solar map that demonstrates the depth and breadth of co-op solar projects.

 

Vogtle Adds Concrete Dome to Protect Back up Power Sources – Georgia Power has erected a 39-foot-tall, 50-foot-wide dome at Plant Vogtle that will guard backup power equipment for emergencies. The dome boasts 2-foot-thick concrete walls that can withstand an earthquake or a direct hit from a tornado.  Nuclear facilities across the U.S. built concrete domes with backup equipment as part of the nation’s response to the 2011 nuclear meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi in Japan. Vogtle will unveil its dome today during an emergency preparedness event.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

 

EIA Annual Energy Conference Set – EIA will hold its 2015 Energy Conference today and tomorrow in Washington, DC at the Renaissance Washington, DC Downtown Hotel.  Keynote Speakers will DOE Secretary Ernie Moniz, Mexican Energy secretary Pedro Joaquín Coldwell, ND Sen. John Hoeven, Tesla’s JB Straubel, BNSF CEO Matt Rose and Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm, among others.  Breakout session topics will include the effects of changing world oil prices: production, economy, and geopolitics, North American energy markets, the role of emerging energy storage technologies in electricity markets, domestic and global natgas markets, greenhouse gas emissions on power and methane, developments in hydrocarbon gas liquids markets, electric distribution markets in the 21st century, energy by rail and water, energy infrastructure needs and options and residential and commercial energy consumption.  You can see the full agenda here.

 

Lt Dan to Speak to National Press Club – Academy Award nominee and Emmy-winning actor and director Gary Sinise will address an NPC Speakers Breakfast tomorrow at 8:30 a.m.  Sinise will discuss his tireless advocacy for America’s servicemen and women through the Gary Sinise Foundation.  Sinise will be in Washington to receive the 2015 Service to America Leadership Award from the NAB Education Foundation (NABEF).

 

Senate Energy to Look at DOE Nominees – The Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing to consider the nominations of Jonathan Elkind to be an Assistant Secretary of Energy (International Affairs), and Monica Regalbuto to be an Assistant Secretary of Energy (Environmental Management).

 

House Approps , Senate Panel Mark Up Interior, EPA Funding – The House Appropriations Committee will hold a full markup of the FY 2016 Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m.  Following that, Senate Approps Subcommittee on the bill will mark up their version of same funding bill at 2:30 p.m.

 

House E&C Panels Look at Ozone Impact on Manufacturers – Two panels of the House Energy & Commerce Committee will hold a joint hearing tomorrow focusing on how the EPA Ozone proposal could affect the nation’s manufacturing sector. The hearing comes after the above mentioned rough ride EPA air office head Janet McCabe received last week on the agency’s plans for the standard and the potential costs of the proposal.   Witnesses include NAM’s Ross Eisenberg, Erin Monroe Wesley of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, Michael Freeman of WD-40 Co. and several others.

 

House Resources to Look at Arctic Drilling Plan – The House Natural Resources panel on Energy and Mineral Resources will hold a hearing tomorrow that will scrutinize the new Interior draft rule governing oil and gas exploration in the Arctic Ocean.  The hearing before the Subcommittee will feature diverging views on the Interior Department rule, released in February, which garnered praise from conservationists and criticism from industry.  Witnesses will include BSE head Brian Salerno, Richard Glenn of the Arctic Slope Regional Corp., Christine Resler of Schlumberger and Michael LeVine of Oceana.

 

WCEE Forum to Look at Water-Energy Nexus – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will host a lunchtime forum on the challenges and opportunities in the water-energy nexus.  Energy and water are undeniably linked, and droughts, such as the one that California is currently experiencing, can constrain the operation of power plants and other energy production activities.  Moreover, vital water infrastructure serving millions of people can lose power during major storm events, as we witnessed during Hurricane Sandy.  Becoming more resilient to these types of events will require a mix of policy and technology.  Panelists will break down the issues and suggest ways for meeting the challenges to ensure that our energy and water needs continue to be met.  They include EEI’s Richard Bozek, Chris Kearney of the Senate Energy Committee and Eileen O’Neill of the Water Environment Federation.

 

ELI Forum Looks At Oil Pollution Act – The Environmental Law Institute will hold a forum tomorrow at Noon on oil pollution issues.  In 1990, following the Exxon Valdez oil spill, Congress enacted the Oil Pollution Act (OPA) to strengthen the federal government’s ability to prevent and respond to oil spills, establish financial resources to aid response, and raise standards for contingency planning.  The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill cleanup and allocation of responsibility have severely tested that program, as have a variety of transportation related spills, both from pipelines and railroads. As U.S. domestic oil production rapidly increases and strains the transportation system’s capacity to move large new volumes of crude oil and refined product without mishap, the time is ripe to address how the legal system is adapting to these new and unexpected challenges.  ELI’s expert panelists , including former DOT Secretary Rodney Slater, will brief participants about developments in oil pollution law and related issues such as the pending Deepwater Horizon civil penalty action and resolution of related issues stemming from the disaster, challenges posed by rapidly increasing pipeline and railroad transportation of crude oil and products,  developments regarding natural resource damage assessments and liability and how current law can be used to address future challenges in the supply and demand of crude oil.   ELI will also be making copies of Oil Pollution Deskbook authored by Russ Randle available.

 

Forum Looks at RFS – The Center on Global Energy Policy will hold a presentation and discussion tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. on the future of the Renewable Fuel Standard. Dr. James Stock, a non-resident Fellow at the Center, former member of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers and the Harold Hitchings Burbank Professor of Political Economy at the Harvard Kennedy School, will present the findings of his new report, “The Renewable Fuel Standard: A Path Forward.”  After the presentation, there will be two panel discussions moderated by Center Founding Director Jason Bordoff. The first will feature analysis and commentary from Iowa State Bruce Babcock, Scott Irwin of the University of Illinois, former Bush White House Energy National Economic Council staffer Bob McNally, former Obama White House National Economic Council staffer Ron Minsk, and James Stock.  The second panel will feature Growth Energy’s Tom Buis, Michael McAdams of the Advanced Biofuels Association and Shell’s John Reese, among others.

 

NAS to Host Truck Rule Assessment – The National Academy of Sciences will host a forum on the assessment of technologies and approaches for reducing the fuel consumption of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.  The rule is expected to be released this week.

 

DOE Loan Official to Speak at Offshore Conference – Peter Davidson, the Executive Director of the Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office to give Special Luncheon Address at Infocast’s 6th North American Offshore Wind Development & Finance Summit, Wednesday and Thursday in New York. Leading offshore wind players will discuss the unique value of offshore wind, the latest financial innovations, public/private partnerships, and technological advances being developed to reduce development time and cost and maximize ROI of offshore wind power projects in North America.

 

Brookings to Host Forum on Advanced Nuclear – On Wednesday at 12:30 p.m., Brookings will gather four energy experts at the Senate Visitor’s Center to talk about the opportunities for advanced nuclear energy and the challenges posed both in the U.S. and abroad. The conversation will be moderated by Quartz Washington Correspondent Steve LeVine and will feature Josh Freed of Third Way and others.

 

WRI Forum to Look at Security, Climate – The World Resources Institute will hold a forum on Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. accelerating on-grid technology solutions to improve electricity access. Energy planners and other stakeholders can tap into these opportunities to improve grid performance and integration of renewable resources, as well as being able to deliver more reliable electricity.  WRI will host a salon-style approach where distinguished panelists are featured, but the audience size is limited to encourage open and active audience discussion.  Sarah Martin and Joshua Ryor from the World Resource Institute will kick the conversation off as our lead speakers.

 

Senate Environment to Look at Coal Ash – On Wednesday, at 9:30 a.m., the Senate Environment Committee is holding an oversight hearing on EPA’s final rule to regulate disposal of coal ash from electric utilities.  Witnesses will include Alexandra Dunn of ECOS, Frank Holleman of the Southern Environmental Law Center, South Texas Electric Cooperative GM Mike Kezar on behalf of NRECA,  Danny Gray for the American Coal Ash Association and Nancy Cave of the Coastal Conservation League.

 

CSIS Forum to Look at Community Relations in Extractive Industries – CSIS will hold a discussion on Wednesday looking at ways companies in the extractive industry engage indigenous communities in their areas of operation. Many extractive companies find themselves operating in close proximity to indigenous people and their territories. Working constructively with these communities is now a major business priority. The panelists will offer their perspectives on how both companies and indigenous communities can benefit from greater cooperation, whether through creating new education opportunities, offering extractive industry-related job training to potential indigenous employees, and by encouraging local economic growth.

 

Atlantic Council Forum Aims at Global Security, Climate – On Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., the Atlantic Council hosts a forum on COP21 and global security issues surrounding climate.  In honor of the European Union’s (EU) Climate Diplomacy Day, the Atlantic Council will be joined by EU members for a discussion exploring the critical dynamic between climate change and global security. An introduction will be delivered by H.E. David O’Sullivan, the Ambassador of the EU to the United States and keynote remarks will be provided by H.E. Gerard Araud, the Ambassador of France to the United States. Panelists include The Hon. Sharon Burke, Senior Adviser to the New America Foundation’s International Security Program, Tom Burke, Founding Director and Chairman of E3G, Third Generation Environmentalism, Major General Munir Muniruzzaman (Ret.), Chairman of the Global Military Advisory Council on Climate Change (GMACCC) and President and CEO of the Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Security Studies (BIPSS), and Dennis Tänzler, Director of International Climate Policy at Adelphi.  The discussion will be moderated by Dan Chiu, Deputy Director of the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at the Atlantic Council.

 

House Science to Look at Energy Innovation Hubs – The House  Science Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy will convene an oversight hearing on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. to look at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Innovation Hubs.  Witnesses will include Harry Atwater of the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP), Jess Gehin of the Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors (CASL), George Crabtree of the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR) and Alex King of the Critical Materials Institute (CMI).

 

House Small Biz to Look at Crude Export Ban – On Wednesday at 11:00 a.m., the House Committee on Small Business will hold a held a hearing on the crude export ban and its impacts on America’s small businesses.  Witnesses will include several small business owners, Ken Medlock of the Center for Energy Studies and Public Citizen’s Tyson Slocum.

 

Brookings to Host Forum on Advanced Nukes – On Wednesday at 12:30 p.m., Brookings will gather four energy experts at the Senate Visitor’s Center to talk about the opportunities for advanced nuclear energy and the challenges posed both in the U.S. and abroad. The conversation will be moderated by Quartz Washington Correspondent Steve LeVine and feature Leslie Dewan of Transatomic Power, Josh Freed of Third Way and Brookings’ Charles Ebinger. Nuclear energy was once regarded by many as the answer to our energy needs. That enthusiasm waned in the U.S. after the Three Mile Island accident in 1979. Today, there’s a growing interest in advanced nuclear energy and new reactor designs that are safer and more efficient. As Third Way’s Josh Freed details in his Brookings Essay, “Back to the Future,” a flood of young engineers and private firms are focusing on advanced nuclear energy as the best option for battling climate change. Freed also argues that if the U.S. doesn’t invest in these new technologies, other countries will lead the way in this game-changing field.

 

WRI to Host Food Security Forum – The World Resources Institute will hold a discussion on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. featuring the keynote presentation “Agricultural Research on Adaptation to Climate Change” by Dr. François Houllier, the President of INRA (the French National Institute for Agricultural Research).  A discussion on “Food Security in the Face of Climate Change” will follow the presentation and will include a panel that features US AID’s Rob Bertram, Keith Wiebe of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Princeton’s Tim Searchinger also with WRI.

 

Senate Homeland Security Committee Tackles RFS, Program Management – The Senate Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management will hold a hearing on Thursday on re-examining EPA’s management of the RFS program.  The hearing will feature Janet McCabe, Acting Assistant Administrator at EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation.

 

House E&C Panel Looks at GMO Labeling – The House E&C panel on Health will hold a hearing on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. in 2123 Rayburn labeling of Biotechnology in Food.  The hearing will discuss the role biotechnology plays on our nation’s farms, food supply, and economy. They will hear from experts about the safety of foods derived from genetically engineered crops and the need for national review and labeling standards for such products. Committee members Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) and Rep. G. K. Butterfield (D-NC) have introduced H.R. 1599, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, and together are circulating updated legislative language, building on their continued efforts in this space.  The subcommittee last year heard from the Food and Drug Administration, outside experts, and interested stakeholders about the agency’s current review process for food ingredients and discussed the role that foods with genetically modified ingredients play in our nation’s food supply and economy.

 

Members to Speak at Hill NatGas Roundtable – The Natural Gas Roundtable will host a forum on Capitol Hill Thursday.  Members of Congress Tom Reed (R-NY), Jim Costa (D-CA), Gene Green (D-TX) and Glenn Thompson (R-PA) will speak at a special Natural Gas Roundtable Luncheon on Capitol Hill in B339-340 Rayburn.

 

Forum to Look at Grid – The Global America Business Institute (GABI) and the Korea Institute of Energy Research (KIER) will host a roundtable discussion on Thursday at Noon focused on rethinking the Electric Grid.  Guest Speaker will be Edward Yim, the Associate Director of Energy Policy & Compliance in the DC Department of the Environment.

 

USEA Look at DOE’s Loan Program – On Thursday at 2:00 p.m., the US Energy Assn will host a forum on the DOE’s Loan Guarantee office.  DOE’s Loan Programs Office (LPO) invests in the power of American innovation.  LPO investments accelerate the deployment of innovative clean energy projects and advanced vehicle manufacturing facilities across the United States. The office’s team of financial, technical, environmental, and legal professionals is dedicated to advancing an all-of-the-above energy strategy that avoids, reduces, or sequesters greenhouse gases.  To date, LPO has supported a large, diverse portfolio of more than $30 billion in loans, loan guarantees, and commitments covering more than 30 projects in the United States. Together, these projects have generated more than $50 billion in total project investment, supported tens of thousands of jobs, cut pollution, and enhanced American competitiveness in the global economy.  This presentation will focus on the more than $40 billion in remaining loan and loan guarantee authority LPO currently has available through open solicitations to finance innovative clean energy projects and advanced technology vehicle manufacturing.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

 

DOE Hosts Sustainable Transpo Day – Next Monday, June 22nd  is Sustainable Transportation Day, an afternoon on the grounds of the Forrestal Building in D.C., with the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE’s) Bioenergy Technologies Office, Fuel Cell Technologies Office, and Vehicle Technologies Office.  You can meet with federal staff, EERE leadership, and stakeholders from the public sector and private industry. Enjoy exhibits such as the Green Racing Simulator—a one-of-a-kind racing game that brings together sustainable transportation and arcade thrills;  the first Washington, D.C. visit of the 12.2 mpg Freightliner SuperTruck; and a unique opportunity to see some of the world’s first commercial fuel cell electric vehicles.  EERE will also discuss its strategic investments in sustainable transportation research, development, and demonstration projects are improving vehicle efficiency, advancing the use of alternative fuel vehicles, and lowering production costs of advanced biofuels and hydrogen.

 

Wilson Report Focus On Climate, Security Issues – Next Monday at 3:00 p.m., the Wilson Center for Scholars will convene leaders from the development, diplomatic, and security communities and the report’s coauthors for the U.S. launch of a “New Climate for Peace.” The high-level interagency panel will explore how these climate-fragility challenges are changing the way the United States and its partners work, and will also identify opportunities for joint action to address them.  The ultimate “threat multiplier,” climate change is increasing the challenges facing the U.S. development, diplomatic, and security communities.  “A New Climate for Peace: Taking Action on Climate and Fragility Risks,” an independent report commissioned by the members of the G7, identifies seven compound climate-fragility risks that pose serious threats to stability in the decades ahead. Based on a thorough assessment of existing policies, the report recommends that the G7 take concrete actions to tackle climate-fragility risks and increase the resilience of states and societies.

 

Bay, Clark, Moeller Headline Utility Commissioners Education Forum – The 20th Annual Education Conference of the Mid-Atlantic Conference of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (MACRUC) will be held on June 21 – 24 at the Williamsburg Lodge in Virginia.  Speakers will include former Senator/Governor Evan Bayh, FERC Commissioners Norman Bay, Tony Clark and Philip Moeller, NARUC President and Florida PSC Chair Lisa Edgar, Dominion CEO Tom Farrell, PSE&G President  Ralph LaRossa, and American Water Works CEO Susan Story.

 

Energy CyberSecurity Forum Set for Houston – The 3rd Annual Cyber Security for Oil and Gas Summit will be held in Houston on June 22-24th.  The event brings together the oil and gas industry to address critical concerns and trends with regard to the development of cyber security practices.  The complex nature of cyberattacks and those specifically levied against the oil and gas industry have been increasing over the years and while the industry is well prepared, continuous improvement is always necessary to maintain an edge on the nefarious actors working against the industry.

 

Bio Energy Event, DOE Conference Set – On Monday evening next week, Leaders in Energy will host bioenergy and clean energy professionals to discuss the evolving bioeconomy and renewable fuels.  Topics will include the renewable fuels standard, how bioenergy resources can be produced in sustainable ways, utilizing algae as a way to produce products and capture carbon, and employment and career opportunities in the bioenergy sector.  This event will take place on the evening before the U.S. Department of Energy, Bioenergy 2015 Conference on Tuesday and Wednesday, June 23-24th at the DC Convention Center.  The DOE Bioenergy 2015 conference is the 8th annual conference and will look at opportunities in the changing energy landscape.  The Clean Energy Research and Education Foundation co-hosts this year’s conference, which will focus on opportunities and challenges in our current highly dynamic energy ecosystem.  Each year, approximately 600 participants attend the conference, including key stakeholders from the bioenergy industry, Congress, national laboratories, academia, and the financial community.

 

WP host Answers Forum with Moniz, Fanning, Others – On June 23, The Washington Post will host business leaders, elected officials, government innovators, tech pioneers and scientists from around the country at a forum to discuss and debate what’s working in their cities, states and businesses when it comes to producing, delivering, securing and conserving energy. The event, the third live event in The Washington Post’s America Answers series, will look at technologies, policies and programs related to clean energy, batteries and energy storage, the grid, energy efficiency, innovations in oil and gas and more.  Speakers with include Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning, Hawai’i Gov. David Ige, Phoenix, AZ Mayor Greg Stanton, former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, former EPA head Carol Browner, and several others.

 

API to Release New Policy Study – The American Petroleum Institute’s (API) President/CEO Jack Gerard will host a briefing next Tuesday morning at the St. Regis Hotel’s Astor Ballroom to release a new policy study conducted by industry experts Wood Mackenzie. A panel of leading energy stakeholders will discuss the importance of an all of the above approach to U.S. energy policies and a pro-growth strategy for our energy future leading up to the 2016 elections. Panelists will include Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council President Karen Kerrigan, American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE) President Paula Jackson, Vets4Energy National Liaison Rear Admiral Don Loren, USN (RET.) and LIUNA General President Terry O’Sullivan.

 

House Science Tackles EIA Report on GHG Plan – The House Science Committee will hold a hearing next Tuesday on the recent EIA report that focused on the Administration’s Clean Power Plan.   EIA’s Howard Gruenspecht is expected to testify with several others.

 

Inhofe Headline Social Cost of Carbon Event – The Heritage Foundation host a forum Next Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. in its Allison Auditorium for a discussion on the social cost of carbon, and the science, policy, and politics of carbon regulation.  The Administration is forcefully pushing its carbon regulations with the quantitative basis for these rules being the social cost of carbon (SCC).  Heritage research shows the models used to calculate the SCC can support encouraging CO2 emissions rather than actually restricting them. Other quantitative measures of CO2 policy, such as the likely impact on world temperatures, provide little support for any of the policies offered to date. Ignoring this evidence, the Obama Administration appears resolute in its stance to promote its policy goals – even at the detriment of those adversely impacted by these misguided policies.  Keynote speaker will be Senate Environment Committee Chair Jim Inhofe. There will also be a panel discussion hosted by our friend David Kreutzer of Heritage.

 

Coal Council Exec to Discuss CCS Report – USEA will host Janet Gellici, Executive Vice President & COO of the National Coal Council on next Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. to discuss a recently completed a report for the U.S. Secretary of Energy that provides recommendations on how to accelerate the deployment of CCS technologies.  The U.S. Department of Energy is a world leader in the development of CCS technology.  The DOE CCS/CCUS program, however, has not yet achieved critical mass.  There is a need for a substantial increase in the number of large scale demonstration projects for both capture and storage technologies before either system even approaches commercialization.

 

SoCo Fanning Headlines REFF Wall Street – ACORE hosts it 12th annual REFF-Wall Street 2015 on June 24 and 25th at The Grand Hyatt in New York City.  REFF-Wall Street is the premier renewable energy financing event in the U.S.  Attendees of this event include CEOs and other senior company officials, lenders, investors, investment bankers, private equity investors, venture capitalists and other top transactional professionals in renewable energy finance.  The event draws an especially senior audience, comprising of over 600 senior decision makers, financiers and professionals in the renewable energy finance field.  Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning will headline a list of speakers that also includes DOE EERE’s David Danielson and former EERE head Cathy Zoi.

 

Summer Solstice Begins – June 24th, the Longest Day of the Year.

 

Sen. Gardner to Headline ASE Event – The Alliance to Save Energy will have an intimate Policy Perspectives discussion with Senator Cory Gardner on Wednesday, June 24th at 8:45 a.m. at Bobby Van’s Steakhouse.  Gardner has served in both the House and the Senate and is a national leader on energy efficiency initiatives.

 

House Natural gas Caucus to Host Forum – The House Natural Gas Caucus will host a forum on infrastructure on the importance of infrastructure to the demand coming from new natural gas power plants.   Speakers will include Cabot’s George Stark, a member company representative from INGAA and  LIUNA’s Dave Mallino. They also may have a panelist from the Congressional Research Service to go over the natural gas infrastructure reform bills introduced this Congress.

 

Solar Foundation to Hold Solstice Event – Speaking of Summer Solstice, every June, the Solar Foundation (TSF) hosts its Summer Solstice, a celebration of solar energy and the beneficial role it plays across many aspects of our society. We will be returning to the most incredible rooftop in downtown Washington, D.C. to roll out the “yellow carpet” in recognition of all things solar.  With their admission, this year’s Solstice guests will be treated to great food and drinks, barefoot bocce ball, electrifying beats, amazing twilight views of the Capital’s skyline, and the company of many of the most eclectic personalities in solar! The evening will also play host to the presentation of the 2015 Solar Foundation Awards, honoring the year’s preeminent solar heroes.

 

Energy Breakfast Focused on Utility of Future – ICF International will hold its Energy and Environment Breakfast on Thursday at the National Press Club, featuring one of the top U.S. utilities and one of its leading regulatory thinkers for a discussion on the utility of the future.  Much discussion has surrounded distributed energy resources such as rooftop solar, storage, and demand side management (DSM). Some regions are considering the best ways to reform the distribution system, perhaps by turning its operation over to a nonprofit entity—for example, a regional transmission organization (RTO) at the distribution level—and allowing third parties to use the system to offer an innovative set of energy services to customers.  Speakers will include Garry Brown, Former Chair and Commissioner of the NY PSC and Mark Webb, General Counsel, and Chief Risk Officer of Dominion

 

BPC Event to Feature Udall, Shimkus on TSCA – On Thursday June 25th, the Bipartisan Policy Center hosts a bicameral, bipartisan dialogue where Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) and Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) provide their views on why the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) needs updating, and what the next steps are toward modernizing this important law.    Udall and Shimkus will join a Bridge-Builder discussion about the nation’s chemical safety law.  At nearly 40 years old, TSCA has been rendered ineffective by court decisions and is in need of serious reform. This year, it just might get one. Both the House Energy and Commerce Committee as well as the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee have reported bipartisan bills.  BPC’s Bridge-Builder Series highlights the institutions and individuals who are crossing party lines and developing solutions to the critical challenges facing our country.

 

IEA to Present Medium-term Gas Report – On Thursday, June 25th at 10:00 a.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Laszlo Varro, Head of Gas, Coal & Power Markets Division at the International Energy Agency (IEA), to present the IEA’s Medium-Term Gas Market Report 2015. The annual report, which gives a detailed analysis and five-year projections of natural gas demand, supply and trade developments, examines the interaction of increased gas demand in light of substantial price drops while the upstream sector is suffering amid large capital expenditure cuts. The impact on global gas markets of Russia’s strategic shift in its gas export policy and the rising tide of liquefied natural gas supplies are also given special consideration. The Medium-Term Gas Market Report is part of a series of annual reports the IEA devotes to each of the main primary energy sources: oil, gas, coal, renewable energy and energy efficiency.

 

Forum to Look at Green Finance Tools – The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) is hosting a forum at GWU’s Lerner Hall on Thursday morning, June 25th looking at states and companies deploying new tools like green bonds, clean energy banks, energy service companies and more to pay for improved energy technology and infrastructure.  Speakers will looking into progress, scalability, past efforts and what financial tools can spur clean energy and efficiency upgrades.  They include Robert Martineau of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Pennsylvania Deputy Treasurer Keith Welks,  Treasury, JPMorgan Chase’s  Granville Martin, Anna Pavlova of Schneider Electric, Citi’s Bruce Schlein and Bob Perciasepe, President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES).

 

Cato Offers Skeptical Look at Ozone Science – On Thursday, June 25th at 4:00 p.m. the Cato Institute will hold a forum on the new EPA Ozone regulation.  The EPA’s most costly air-pollution and global-warming regulations are justified by the belief that small particles in outdoor air, like soot and dust, kill people. Based upon internal EPA documents and original research, Steven Milloy, publisher of the widely read blog JunkScience.com, will demonstrate that the agency’s belief does not pass scientific muster. As has been the case with climate change research, the dangerous liaison between regulatory agencies and academia has again resulted in a substantial distortion of reality. Please join us for a probing critique of science in service to regulatory overreach.  The event will feature Steven Milloy, Founder, JunkScience.com and be moderated by Pat. Michaels.

 

National Security Conference Set – The 2015 Center for New American Security Annual Conference will be held on June 26th at the JW Marriott Hotel in Washington, D.C.  CNAS’ annual national security conference will feature keynote addresses and discussion topics designed to chart a course for the next administration and beyond.

 

July 4th

 

Congressional Renewable Energy Forum, Expo Set – The 18th Annual Congressional Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Technology EXPO and Policy Forum will be held on Thursday, July 9th in the Cannon House Office Building.  The exhibits will be in Cannon Caucus Room (Cannon 345) while the Policy Forum will be in 334 Cannon. The event brings together close to 50 businesses, trade associations, and government agencies to showcase renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies and is Co-Hosted by the House and Senate’s Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Caucuses, as well as the Sustainable Energy Coalition.

 

August Recess

 

GenForum Set For Columbus – ICF International Natural Gas VP Leonard Crook will kick-off the one-day GenForum/POWER-GEN event August 18th on natural gas generation in Columbus, Ohio.  Crook will offer an overview of the recent rise of natural gas-fueled power generation over the years at the expense of coal-fired power plants.  GenForum is organized by PennWell’s GenerationHub. The event is scheduled at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. GenForum leads into PennWell’s POWER-GEN/Natural Gas conference, scheduled for Aug. 18-to-20 at the same convention center.

 

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 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 January 21

Friends,

A short week after yesterday’s MLK holiday, expected to be slowed by some winter storm activity and cold.  After the polar vortex, I thought we might have been in the clear since college lacrosse teams are already starting practices.  But no such luck I think looking at today’s weather forecast/radar.

Our weekend was buoyed by a visit to see the new Panda cub at the National Zoo.  It was crowded but pretty exciting.  Here is the panda cam link should you want to check in on Bao Bao.

The Washington Auto show kicks off this week with some policy follow up to last week’s NAIAS Detroit Show.  All the muscle cars and the policy wonkness in one place.  Sounds like dream for a kid from Detroit that has spent the second half of his life in DC’s policy circles…  Am I talking about Dave Shepardson or myself???

Also two events this week on Arctic issues including our friends at the Bipartisan Policy Commission, who are hosting a major forum on tight oil supply on Thursday and a CSIS/UN Environmental Program event on the future of the Arctic on Wednesday.

Perhaps though, the most important event of the week is Friday’s environmental policy press forum at the Wilson Center hosted by our friends at the Society of Environmental Journalists.  It features real environmental media experts like NYT report Coral Davenport, Douglas Fischer of The Daily Climate, The Guardian’s Suzanne Goldenberg, C&EN’s Cheryl Hogue and former NYT science expert Andy Revkin, among others. Bloomberg BNA Larry Pearl will moderate.

Finally on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., the Women’s Council on Energy and Environmental (WCEE) will hosts its January Happy Hour at the Bar at the Mayflower Hotel.  It is a good group that does a number of great events so I hope if you are interested you will join them.

Call with questions.

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

 

IN THE NEWS

Ivanpah Featured in Solar Expansion Story – With all the discussion of solar in the media last week (remember, I focused on the glass half vs. glass half approaches in the LAT and CNBC), The Washington Post ran an excellent, balanced and significant A1 story on solar projects starting to come on in the West.  The report featured a look at the BrightSource Energy Ivanpah project (where reported Lenny Bernstein visited) and not only had some cool pictures, but a nicely done info graphic (kudos to the Post’s designers for that one.

SAFE Commission on Energy, Geopolitics Releases Oil Security 2025 – Securing America’s Future Energy’s Commission on Energy and Geopolitics released its inaugural report last week.  Oil Security 2025: U.S. National Security Policy in an Era of Domestic Oil Abundance is the first product to be released in association with SAFE’s new P.X. Kelley Center for Energy Security. We are proud to provide you with some of the top broadcast coverage of the Commission, including interviews on CNBC and MSNBC, as well as print articles covering the report’s release by leading investigative reporters in oil and petroleum politics. We hope you enjoy the report and coverage, and thank you for your continued support of SAFE and our work to improve America’s energy security.

Nebraska Files CCS, NSPS Lawsuit – The state of Nebraska is filing suit challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) greenhouse gas standards for new power plants.   “The impossible standards imposed by the EPA will ensure no new power plants are built in Nebraska,” Attorney General Jon Bruning said.  “This federal agency continues to overstep its authority at the detriment of Nebraska businesses.”  Bruning’s challenge comes under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 which prohibits the EPA from considering federally-funded projects when determining the appropriate form of control technology. Contrary to the Act, the EPA proposed greenhouse gas standards based on three inoperable coal plants which have received more than $2.5 billion in federal subsidies. The EPA referenced the inoperable plants as evidence to support Carbon Capture and Storage technology should be the standard for all new coal plants.  A copy of the complaint can be found here.

B&G Launches ShalePlay App – In response to the shale energy boom taking place in the United States and around the world, Bracewell & Giuliani has launched the ShalePlay app. Powered by the firm’s energy law and environmental law attorneys and government relations professionals, the ShalePlay app is the first of its kind, offering a comprehensive resource on news and information related to shale gas and hydraulic fracturing, including the latest industry trends and updates.  With oil and gas production near record levels as a result of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), a drilling technique that frees trapped hydrocarbons by injecting water, sand and chemicals into shale rock, this free app will prove vital to companies and individuals interested in keeping up to date with developments in the sector.  The ShalePlay app includes 1) News aggregated from a variety of key sources’ 2) Legislation/regulation

Shale studies, 3) Interactive map of shale plays, 4) Glossary of common terms, 5) Historical timeline of hydraulic fracturing, 6) Analysis from Bracewell & Giuliani attorneys.  The app requires iOS 6.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5. An Android version will be available in the first half of 2014.

FOIA Documents Hit EPA, Sierra Club Over Coordination – A 2012 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal), has produced several hundred documents affirming an uncomfortably close working relationship between the current EPA officials and environmental activists in their effort to undercut energy resources, particularly coal.  Mostly e-mails between EPA top officials and the Sierra Club, the records illustrate how certain EPA employees with backgrounds working for green pressure groups serve as liaisons to those groups in advancing a shared agenda. Other documents affirm the close advisory role the pressure groups play in key EPA actions, like EPA’s recently published New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for new coal-fired plants.

How Are They Working Together – The collaboration takes place in many forms: emails providing, e.g., a list of coal plants the green groups insist any EPA standards block from coming or staying on-line, meetings at EPA and at the green groups’ offices where EPA comes to brief them, frequent conference calls, and at the Starbucks at Washington’s J.W. Marriott, across the street from EPA.  The latter is reminiscent of the Caribou Coffee revelations about this most transparent, White House, in history arranging off-site meetings with other lobbyists to avoid signing them in to the building. Numerous other emails show close collaboration on EPA public hearings to generate support for the rule.

Who’s Mostly Involved – The e-mails show the central players to be two EPA officials who worked in the agency’s policy office at the time of the e-mails, Michael Goo (former legislative director of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) who left EPA for a senior Department of Energy post), Alex Baron, and EPA senior counsel Joe Goffman (a former EDF lawyer).  They all work closely with John Coequyt, who heads the Sierra Club’s “Beyond Coal” campaign.  In one e-mail Coequyt sent to Goo and Barron, he said, “Attached is a list of plants that companies said were shelved because of uncertainty around GHG [greenhouse gas] regulations.  If a standard is set that these plants could meet, there is a small chance that they [sic] company could decide to revive the proposal.”  Coequyt is clearly signaling that that if the EPA sets achievable standards, proposed power plants on hold as the new standards are developed could ultimately be built, which is contrary to his group’s agenda.

Who to Call for More Info, Copies of E-mails – The actions have been spearheaded by FOIA gadfly Chris Horner, Counsel to the Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal), formerly the American Tradition Institute.   Primarily through its petition litigation and transparency practice areas, E&E Legal seeks to correct onerous federal and state policies that hinder the economy, increase the cost of energy, eliminate jobs, and do little or nothing to improve the environment.  For More info, you can call Craig Richardson at Richardson@eelegal.org; 703-981-5553.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

BGov Holds Auto Policy Briefing – Bloomberg Government will held Its 2014 Auto Policy Briefing this morning.  American auto sales last year were the highest since 2007, but 2014 will bring new challenges and opportunities, especially on the regulatory front. From fuel-economy standards and infrastructure spending to the prospect of improved export opportunities through new trade deals, policymakers in Washington will have a major impact on the course of the U.S. auto industry.  BGov analysts will offer a detailed look at the policy and regulatory issues facing this important industry in 2014.

Ritter, Zichal, Esty to Discuss New Report on Energy – Colorado State’s Center for the New Energy Economy led by former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter Tuesday will discuss a new report this morning at 9:30 a.m. at the National Press Club’s Holeman Lounge. The report provides a guide to removing or restructuring legal, economic and regulatory barriers to clean energy and climate action. The plan is designed to unleash private capital and unshackle state governments and would require no action from Congress.  Over the past few days, officials representing the executive branch have been briefed on a new plan to push climate and energy policy forward in the United States.  Speakers will include Ritter, former White House Climate advisor Heather Zichal, Connecticut DEP head and former Yale Climate expert Dan Esty and former DOE official Sue Tierney.

Sen. Small Biz Field Hearing to Look at Impacts on Domestic Production – In one of her final hearings as chair, Mary Landrieu will hold a Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee field hearing today at 3:00 p.m. in Lafayette, LA to discuss empowering small businesses to impact domestic production.  Witnesses will include API’s Stephen Comstock, Gigi Lazenby of Bretagne,  Southwestern Energy’s Jennifer Stewart, Lee Jackson of Jackson Offshore Operators, PerPetro Energy’s  Joe LeBlanc, and Stephen Landry of Ernst & Young.

PA NatGas Public Hearings to Look at Court Ruling, Regs – On the heels of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s recent decision that struck down key portions of the state’s oil and gas law, the PA Environmental Quality Board is holding public hearings throughout the state to accept public comment on proposed new regulations for oil and gas development in Pennsylvania. The new regulations will significantly shape PA DEP’s actions on oil and gas activities. After four hearing last week, they continue in Washington County Wednesday, Indiana County on Thursday and Wyoming County next Monday.  A complete listing of hearing dates and locations, as well as other information, can be found here.

Detroit Auto Show Rolls On – The North American International Auto Show in Detroit launched last week in Detroit with a flood of public officials and parties.  Vice President Biden, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Commerce’s Penny Pritzker and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy all attended last week.  The public show runs through Sunday of this week.  Now in its 26th year as an international event, the NAIAS is among the most prestigious auto shows in the world, providing unparalleled access to the automotive products, people and ideas that matter most – up close and in one place.

EPA Science Committee Meeting Set to Discuss GHG Concerns – EPA’s Science Advisory Board will hold a teleconference today from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. to conclude its discussion about questions board members had about the science backing EPA’s proposed greenhouse regulations for new power plants.  Late last year, the SAB raised concerns about whether EPA appropriately reviewed the issue before deciding that carbon capture and sequestration is commercially available for new coal-fired power plants.  House Science Chair Lamar Smith and other committee members highlighted the problems in a recent letter to EPA Administrator McCarthy.  Specifically, the Committee members pointed out that any EPA rule requiring the capture of carbon must address where the carbon is stored.

Early Stage Tech Webinar Set – ARPA-E will hold a webinar today at 1:00 p.m. that will identify path to market for early-stage technologies.  In early 2013, ARPA-E partnered with NSF for a pilot program that put several ARPA-E project teams through the rigorous I-Corps program curriculum. I-Corps guides applied research teams through an iterative customer and business model discovery process aimed at identifying a path to market for early-stage technologies. Join us for an informative discussion about the i-Corps process and its value to researchers.  ARPA-E Program Director and Senior Commercialization Advisor Dr. Ilan Gur will moderate a session featuring first-hand accounts by Dr. Anita LaSalle, NSF I-Corps Program Officer, and Sri Narayan, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Southern California and recent I-Corps graduate.

Program to Look at Energy, Environment in Turkmenistan The Central Asia Program at IERES will host a forum tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. at George Washington University’s Voesar Conference Room, Suite 412 to discuss environment, human rights, and oil development in Turkmenistan.  Kate Watters, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Crude Accountability will discuss the links between environmental and human rights violations and oil and gas development in Turkmenistan, one of the world’s most opaque and authoritarian countries. She will focus on the various responses of international financial institutions, multi-national oil companies and western governments to Turkmenistan’s official policies, and discuss the role of civil society in highlighting and uncovering environmental and human rights abuses.

CSIS to Host Arctic Forum – Center for Strategic and International Studies and the United Nations Environment Program will hold the second session of its Arctic Speaker Series forum on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. aimed at understanding the 21st Century Arctic.  The series is designed to provide important information on critical political, environmental, economic, and governance developments in the Arctic.  This particular session will gather leading environmental scientists and U.S. government officials to examine the dramatic environmental changes confronting the Arctic region and their implications for Arctic and non-Arctic states alike.  The expert panel will address what the environmental, economic, and security consequences of the rapidly melting ice in the High North could be and how the phenomenon affect Arctic and non-Arctic actors.  Speakers will be OSTP’s Brendan Kelly, Oceanographer and Navigator of the Navy Rear Admiral Jonathan W. White and United States Arctic Research Commission advisor Martin Jeffries.

Policy Auto Show Locked In, Ford COO to Keynote – Following Detroit, the Washington Auto Show, the automotive industry’s annual public policy show and the largest public show held in Washington, D.C., will be held on  Wednesday through February 2nd.  This year, Mark Fields, chief operating officer of Ford Motor Company, will deliver the keynote address at the Newsmaker Breakfast on Wednesday to launch the event.  The Newsmaker Breakfast – co-sponsored by Washington Automotive Press Association (WAPA) and the International Motor Press Association (IMPA) – is part of the show’s Public Policy Days. The breakfast follows the Policy Days’ kickoff event on Capitol Hill. For more information about The Washington Auto Show, please visit www.washingtonautoshow.com

McCarthy to Head to World Economic Forum in Davos – The World Economic Forum will be held in Davos, Switzerland Wednesday through Saturday and why wide-ranging in its issues scope, it will likely touch on environmental and energy issues.  EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy will be there to highlight President Obama’s Climate Action Plan and discuss the business and economic opportunities that come from addressing climate change.

DOE’s Kenderdine Addresses ICF Breakfast Series – ICF International’s Energy Breakfast Series continues on Thursday, January 23rd at 8:00 a.m. when it hosts DOE’s Melanie A. Kenderdine as the keynote speaker at the University Club to address a wide range of topics pertinent to DOE’s current and future roles, including energy policy and systems analysis office, quadrennial energy review and the President’s climate action plan.  Additional discussion topics include new energy technologies, the impact of expanded oil and gas production, and grid reliability.

Iowa to Hold Public Session on EPA Ethanol Regs – Gov. Terry Branstad is hosting a public hearing on Thursday in Des Moines to give Iowa citizens a chance to comment on the EPA proposal that would reduce the amount of ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply.  Wonder what they’ll say?

BPC to Look at Arctic Oil Issues – The Bipartisan Policy Center will hold a forum on Thursday at the Washington Court Hotel focused on navigating the oil frontier that will focus on the implications of the tight oil boom on Arctic and ultra-deepwater oil development. The topics include disaster response and spill cleanup, Arctic climate change adaptation, and the specific challenges of the Arctic’s unique geology and environment.

WRI to Look ay On-Grid Renewable Resources – The World Resources Institute will launch the first publication in the 10 Questions to Ask series on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. The “10 Questions to Ask About Scaling On-Grid Renewable Energy” is a framework designed to facilitate multi-stakeholder engagement for improving renewable energy policy. The authors will present the framework, and WRI partners from India, Brazil, South Africa and Kyrgyzstan will discuss its relevance to their respective countries. A wine reception will follow.  By the end of 2012, 138 countries worldwide had introduced renewable energy (RE) targets, and investments in new RE capacity totaled US$244 billion that year. Globally, RE is gaining momentum, with over 480 gigawatts (GW) of installed renewable power capacity. RE is now at the forefront of many national energy development plans.  The progress made in many countries has also highlighted the complexities of increasing the rate of RE deployment at the national level. Deploying renewable energy on an economy-wide scale requires solutions to a range of short- medium- and long-term challenges. These include resolving economic questions about how the costs of new RE generation will be distributed among electricity consumers, investors, taxpayers, and other stakeholders, and technological challenges such as accommodating intermittent supply, upgrading or adding transmission and distribution grids, and addressing knowledge gaps.  Speakers will include report authors Davida Wood and Sarah Martin of WRI and Shantanu Dixit of Prayas Energy Group, India.

SEJ to Host Forum to Look at Year Ahead in Energy, Environment – The Society of Environmental Journalists, the Wilson Center and the Global Sustainability and Resilience Program will host a panel on Friday at 3:00 p.m. at the Wilson Center to look at the year ahead in environmental and energy issues. A panel of veteran journalists will offer their thoughts on what will be the biggest environment and energy stories in the U.S. and around the world. Bloomberg BNA’s Larry Pearl will kick off the discussion with an overview of the key legislative, regulatory, and legal developments expected in 2014, followed by a roundtable with six top journalists covering local, national, and international environmental issues.  Others panelists will include Douglas Fischer of The Daily Climate, NYT’s Coral Davenport, Dennis Dimick of National Geographic Magazine, The Guardian’s Suzanne Goldenberg, Cheryl Hogue of Chemical & Engineering News and Andy Revkin, New York Times Environmental Blogger (Dot Earth) and Pace University Journalism professor.

SEIA will Host “Shout Out” Day on Social Media – On Friday, the Solar Energy Industry Association will host its National “Shout Out For Solar” Day. Supported by both business and environmental groups, hundreds of thousands of people from across the United States and around the world are expected to take part in the event taking place on Facebook, Twitter and other social media venues. The event coincides with SEIA’s 40th anniversary as a national trade association and the “voice” of solar energy in America.  It will also mark the launch of a new “America Supports Solar” campaign, which will highlight solar energy’s explosive growth across the United States, as well as its record-shattering year in 2013.  It’s estimated that the U.S. now has 13 gigawatts of installed solar capacity – enough to power more than 2 million American homes.  What’s more, when all of the numbers are in, solar is expected to account for more new electric capacity in the U.S. in 2013 than any other renewable energy source. To participate: 1. Take a picture with your sign
2. Upload your picture to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and use the hashtag #GoSolar.  Today, there are nearly 120,000 Americans employed by the U.S. solar industry at more than 6,100 American companies.  While 2013 was a record-breaking year, 2014 may be even better, with 30 percent growth being forecast. Part of this unprecedented growth is due to the fact that the average price of a solar system has dropped by more than 50 percent since 2010, benefitting consumers, businesses, schools and government entities.

JHU Forum to Discuss GHGs from Cars – The Johns Hopkins University’s African Studies program hosts an event on Friday at 4:30 p.m. featuring Antonio Bento, associate professor with the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University.  Bento will discuss “Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Passenger Vehicles: Evidence from Programs around the World”.

  

FUTURE EVENTS

Energy Summit Set – The 2014 American Energy Summit will be held on January 27 – 28, 2014 in Arlington, Virginia and will focus on the hundreds of billions of dollars being spent on new energy projects by the federal government, state and local governments, and by private industry.

STATE OF THE UNION, January 28th – President Obama will deliver his State of the Union Address to Congress on Tuesday, January 28th.  While healthcare and job creation are expected to get top billing, Energy is expected to play a prominent role.

Alt Fuels Workshops Set for Next Week at DC Auto Show – The Greater Washington Region Clean Cities Coalition and the Washington Auto Show are partnering Tuesday-Thursday, January 28-30 to provide alternative fuels training, workshops, and panels during this year’s show. This represents the first time that the Coalition is partnering with the Auto Show in this way, and we will be providing alternative fuels training, panels, and workshops relevant to the needs of fleets and organizations in our region.

The agenda is available here.

Conference to Look at Science, Climate Solutions – The 14th  National Conference & Global Forum on Science, Policy & the Environment will be held on Tuesday-Thursday, January 28-30th at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City at Reagan National Airport.  Over 1,200 key individuals from many fields of sciences and engineering, government and policy, business and civil society to advance solutions to climate change.  The conference will be organized around two areas: [1] The Built Environment; and, [2] Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Forum to Look at 2014 Energy Choices – The American Security Project will host a forum on Tuesday, January 28th at 8:30 a.m. to look at America’s Energy Choices for 2014.  The way America uses and produces energy remains a hotly debated issue in Washington and around the country. We will discuss the various energy choices available to the United States currently and in the years to come.  A range of speakers from across multiple energy producing industries will be announced shortly.

Krosnick, Sharp to Discuss Climate Public Attitudes – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) invites you to a briefing Tuesday, January 28th at 3:00 p.m. in 2325 Rayburn discussing American perceptions of climate change following a new in-depth survey conducted in December by Resources for the Future, Stanford University, and USA Today. For the first time, the survey explored in detail the public’s attitudes toward generating electricity from various sources and its attitude toward fracking in particular.  Speakers will include Stanford’s  Jon Krosnick and RFF President Phil Sharp.  Initial results from the survey were featured in the December 20 issue of USA Today, but Dr. Krosnick will present a wide array of additional results, including whether the public believes climate change has been happening, what should and should not be done about it, whether the public supports or opposes specific government policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and more. RFF President Phil Sharp will discuss the poll results in the context of the current U.S. climate and energy policy landscape.

SNL Conference On Energy M&A Set for NYC – SNL Energy’s 27th Annual Exnet Power and Gas M&A Symposium – an national energy conference will be held on January 28th and 29th  at the Ritz-Carlton in New York.  The Symposium is the annual go-to event for industry executives, as well as financial and legal advisors who are concerned with strategic planning, business development and the economics of the sector. The speakers and audience are comprised of industry decision-makers, plus heads of power and utility practices at leading investment banks, law firms and consultancies.

Energy Happy Hour Set – The Leaders in Energy LinkedIn and CSRinDC (Corporate Social Responsibility) Meetup group will be co-hosting their professional networking Happy Hour on Tuesday, January 28th at 6:00 p.m. at the Banana Cafe & Piano Bar.  The mission of the Leaders in Energy group is to gather people together who delight in thinking about, discussing, and collaborating on energy, environmental and sustainability topics.

IEA Coal Report to be Released at CSIS – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will release the IAE’s Medium-Term Coal Market Report from 2013 in Wednesday January 29th.  The event will feature Keisuke Sadamori, Director for Energy Markets and Security at the International Energy Agency (IEA), to present IEA’s Report. The report, part of the IEA’s Medium-Term Reports series, provides IEA forecasts on coal markets for the coming five years as well as an in-depth analysis of recent developments in global coal demand, supply, and trade.  This third annual report shows that while coal continues to be a growing source of primary energy worldwide, its future is increasingly tied to developments in non-OECD countries, led by China. The current low prices for coal add a new challenge to the sector, which is facing uncertainty due to increasing environmental legislation and competition from other fuels, like US shale gas or European renewables. The report addresses significant questions including whether depressed prices for coal will boost the fuel’s consumption; if other developing countries will follow in China’s footsteps by increasingly relying on coal to fuel economic growth; and, above all, whether the strong growth of coal in China will continue between now and 2018. Jane Nakano, Fellow with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.

Fusion Power to Be Focus of Forum – The American Security Project will host a forum on Wednesday, January 29th at Noon in 2325 Rayburn (House Energy/Commerce) focused on fusion power.  Sustainable and controlled fusion power has been a dream for the scientific community for decades. However, recent advances in research and technology have raised hopes that fusion could become a new source of electricity. U.S. ITER Project Office Director Ned Sauthoff will discuss the topic with a panel.

RFF Event to Look at Forest, GHG Management – Resources for the Future will host an event on Wednesday, January 29th 12:30 p.m. in its First Floor Conference Center on the contributions of forest on GHG management. Responsible management of temperate forests in the United States can play an important and ongoing role in climate change mitigation at a national and international scale. This RFF Seminar, co-sponsored by Resources for the Future and the Society of American Foresters, will delve into some of the questions that surround carbon accounting and forest management. The event, moderated by RFF Senior Fellow Roger Sedjo, will feature presentations by David Cleaves, explaining the integral role of the US Forest Service’s Forest Inventory and Analysis Program in determining carbon stocks; William Stewart, describing the results of new research comparing best practices and regulators’ assumptions about the carbon profiles of managed forests and the harvested products from such forests in northern California; and Robert Malmsheimer, discussing the recent work of the SAF’s Carbon Accounting Team to dissect the latest science underlying these discussions.

Forum, Report to Look at Arctic Energy – The Canada Institute, the Kennan Institute, and the Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program will launch of “In Search of Arctic Energy” on Wednesday, January 29th at 1:00 p.m.  The program will discuss the findings of the new paper and delve into the implications that arctic energy exploration will have for the region and the globe’s energy economy.  Speakers will include Mikkal Herberg of the National Bureau of Asian Research, Chevron’s Bill Scott, RFF’s Joel Darmstadter and State of Alaska State-Federal Relations Director Kip Knudson, among others.

Forum to Discuss Energy Security Book – Georgetown University will host a book launch Wednesday, January 29th at 6:00 p.m. in the Mortara Building Boardroom to celebrate the recent publication of Energy and Security: Strategies for a World in Transition  (co-editors Jan Kalicki and David Goldwyn) by Wilson Center Press and Johns Hopkins University Press.  Goldwyn, Kalicki, Dr. Raad Alkadiri and Dr. Brenda Shaffer will also join in a panel discussion.

USDA Industry Day to Focus on Biofuels – The USDA will host an industry day on Thursday, January 30th for the newly established Farm to Fleet program. Under the Navy Biofuels program established through the Defense Production Act Title III, the USDA is required to support one-third of the total $510 million program. Through the Farm to Fleet program, the USDA will commit Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) funds to purchase 70 million gallons of JP-5 or F-76 fuel for the Navy from biofuel blends ranging up to 50 percent. If biofuels meeting these specifications have a higher cost than the bulk fuel purchase made by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), CCC funds will be used to offset this price difference and result in an overall price-equivalent biofuel portion of the total 700 million gallons of JP-5 and F-76 to be purchased in this round of contracts.  The Industry Day will include discussions on which feedstocks are eligible or preferred, as well as partnerships between experienced biofuel developers who have worked with the Navy, Air Force, or DLA and traditional suppliers of bulk fuel contracts. Sample contracts may become available as soon as this month.

EEI, ELI to Host GHG Emissions Conference – The Edison Electric Institute and the Environmental Law Institute will hold a day-long conference on Thursday, January 30th to look at GHG regulations. As you know, the President aims at reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions to 17% below 2005 levels by 2020 by using Section 111 of the Clean Air Act to reduce both new and existing power plant greenhouse gas emissions with a goal of implementing regulations before the end of his term in office.  The legal issues inherent in undertaking this task are extremely complex with significant economic, environmental, and social implications. And the timetable laid out by the President is extremely ambitious.  This conference brings together top experts in the field of energy and environmental law to discuss the legal hurdles and possibilities as well as the real-world ramifications of using Section 111 to address power plant greenhouse gas emissions.  Discussion leaders will focus on the legal uncertainties EPA and power producers will face as well as the day-to-day implications these regulations and the regulatory uncertainty will have for power producers, users, and state regulators as this new regulatory regime is constructed.  In a wrap up session, panelists will discuss relevant legislative history and review likely legal arguments to be made in response to and in support of proposed GHG rules for the power sector.

Senate to Tackle Crude Exports – The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will hold an oversight hearing on Thursday, January 30th to examine opportunities and challenges associated with lifting the ban on United States crude oil exports.  Already, Senator Murkowski has made several important speeches on the topic, which is fast becoming an issue of importance.

Forum to Look at Energy in Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania – The George Washington University’s IERES Petrach Program on Ukraine will hold a forum on Thursday, January 30th at 4:00 p.m. to look at the politics of energy in Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania.  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 Politics of Energy Dependency looks at these issues from the perspective of post-independence energy politics in three post-Soviet states: Ukraine, Belarus, and Lithuania. It compares 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 dependent 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 tool in the region, and these states’ own political development.  Seton Hall University’s Margarita M. Balmaceda will address the topic.

Green BRT to Look at Forestry – The January Green Business Roundtable will be held on Friday, January 31st at 11:30 a.m. at the National Wildlife Federation National Advocacy Center to look at sustaining forests and improving supply chains via credible certifications.  Forest products for industrial and personal consumption are some of the most freely traded commodities in today’s global marketplace. But the trade in these products have also been implicated in the increasingly historic loss of forest cover worldwide, contributing 15-20 % of the CO2 emissions attributed to the global climate change challenge.  Forestry economics expert Bruce Cabarle will speak to his efforts during his 20 year tenure with the World Wildlife Fund and the Forest Stewardship Council to promote sustainable supply chains via public-private partnerships to promote environmentally, socially and economically sound solutions to this challenge.

Forum to Look at Energy in Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania – The George Washington University’s IERES Petrach Program on Ukraine will hold a forum on Thursday, January 30th at 4:00 p.m. to look at the politics of energy in Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania.  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 Politics of Energy Dependency looks at these issues from the perspective of post-independence energy politics in three post-Soviet states: Ukraine, Belarus, and Lithuania. It compares 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 dependent 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 tool in the region, and these states’ own political development.  Seton Hall University’s Margarita M. Balmaceda will address the topic.

Green BRT to Look at Forestry – The January Green Business Roundtable will be held on Friday, January 31st at 11:30 a.m. at the National Wildlife Federation National Advocacy Center to look at sustaining forests and improving supply chains via credible certifications.  Forest products for industrial and personal consumption are some of the most freely traded commodities in today’s global marketplace. But the trade in these products have also been implicated in the increasingly historic loss of forest cover worldwide, contributing 15-20 % of the CO2 emissions attributed to the global climate change challenge.  Forestry economics expert Bruce Cabarle will speak to his efforts during his 20 year tenure with the World Wildlife Fund and the Forest Stewardship Council to promote sustainable supply chains via public-private partnerships to promote environmentally, socially and economically sound solutions to this challenge.

Maisano to Headline Media Seminar – For those of you focused on media relations and policy communications, I will be participating in a webinar on February 4th focused on creating a successful media strategies for the policy environment.  We will look at the nexus between policy communications and government affairs, as well as crisis management.  Finally, we will offer some of the tools of the trade.  We can also help you with a discount if you want to join in.

ELI Panel to Look at 2014 Enviro Agenda – The Environmental Law Institute will hold an ELI Research Seminar on February 5th to discuss of what effects the next Obama Administration will have on environmental law, policy, and practice in 2014. Four expert practitioners will have an “inside-baseball” discussion about upcoming policies and regulatory agendas at the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Justice, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and the Department of Interior, among other regulatory agencies.  Panelists will include former EPA GC Scott Fulton, former White House CEQ expert Gary Guzy, former FERC enforcement expert Sheila Slocum Hollis and Bill Meadows of the Wilderness Society.

NASEO Policy Outlook Conference Set for DC – The National Assn of state Energy Officials will hold its 2014 Energy Policy Outlook Conference at the Fairmont on February 4th through 7th.   The conference will focus on the energy and economic opportunity in modernizing the nation’s energy infrastructure—electric grid, pipelines, buildings, and transportation—to achieve a more resilient, sustainable, and energy efficient future.   The need to modernize our aging energy infrastructure is among the most important global competitive challenges facing the United States.  Our energy system is being stressed in order to meet complex operational demands, such as grid integration, shifts in resources and energy flows, cybersecurity, and an infusion of digital technologies across every sector of the economy.

NARUC Winter Meetings Set – The National Assn of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) will host its Winter Meetings on February 9th through 12th at the Renaissance Washington Hotel.  Speakers will Include Sens. Lamar Alexander, Mary Landrieu, Joe Manchin, Lisa Murkowski and Mark Pryor, as well as EPRI CEO Mike Howard, among others.

Bracewell to Host Environmental Symposium in Houston – On February 11th, Bracewell & Giuliani will host a forum on environment issues in Houston.  More on this in the upcoming weeks.  While it will not be open to the media, it will feature B&G experts in a series of briefings and discussions about the most challenging environmental legal issues facing the energy and heavy industries today.

Chamber Sets Transpo Summit – On February 20th, the U.S. Chamber will gather leaders and experts from all sectors of transportation for the second annual Let’s Rebuild America Transportation Summit-Infrastructure Intersection-to examine the important role transportation infrastructure plays across major sectors of America’s economy. At the summit, presenters will explore five key infrastructure intersections-Energy, Manufacturing, Agriculture, Technology, and Healthcare-and how each sector requires well-functioning transportation infrastructure systems to realize its full potential.

Vilsack, Ag Economist Glauber, Trade Rep Froman to Headline USDA Forum – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will hold the 2014 Agricultural Outlook Forum on February 20th and 21st at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel, Arlington, Va.  Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will moderate two general session panels on the Future of Agriculture.  Speaking in the first panel will be Administrator of the U. S. Agency for International Development Rajiv Shah; President of the Produce Marketing Association Cathy Burns; and Kellee James, founder and CEO of Mercaris, a market trading platform for organic agricultural commodities.  The second panel focuses on young farmers and includes Executive Director of the Farmer Veteran Coalition Michael O’Gorman; Joanna Carraway, a young Kentucky farmer who won the 2013 Top Producer Horizon Award; Greg Wegis, who operates a 17,600-acre vegetable and nut farm in California; and the Interim Director of the National Young Farmers Coalition, Emily Oakley.  USDA’s Chief Economist Joseph Glauber will deliver the 2014 Agricultural & Foreign Trade Outlooks. The Forum’s dinner speaker will be U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman.

Interior Sects, former WY Gov Headline CO Law Forum – The University of Colorado Law School will host the inaugural Martz Winter Symposium on February 27th and 28th 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.

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.

Energy Update Week of January 13

Friends,

Last night, the Golden Globes were entertaining…And out just in time for the 11:00 news.  I thought the winners were a good mix that showed what a quality year it was for film and TV.  The funniest part of the excellent low-key hosting from Tina Fey and Amy Poehler was watching Poehler make out with Bono.  How great are the members of U2 to still be such important players on our cultural and political scene after all these years.  Pretty impressive.

Many people are focus on the chemical spill in West Virginia.  While some in the enviro community played their usual political theater, our friend David Biello at Scientific American has a terrific, matter-of-fact piece that discusses the issue and the potential hazards.

The Senate jumps back in this week with a hearing on the President’s Climate Plan on Thursday as a birthday gift to me.  While I love going to EPW to celebrate, unfortunately some of the expert witnesses are scientists like Georgia Tech’s Judy Curry, so who knows what they will be saying about the President’s Policy.  Usually, most scientists will steer clear of the policy game (in the past, Curry has tended not to be one of them).  Of course, that may be a bit of the plan for Chairwoman Boxer, if our past experience of these climate hearings bears out.

In town this week, we continue the 2014 preview events after last week’s Chamber of Commerce and API speeches.  On the docket, the US Chamber’s 21st Century Energy group will roll out Energy Works For US, its new plan to move the energy revolution forward on Wednesday.  That same day, ACCCE/Real Clear Politics holds a 2014 energy preview and Black & Veatch releases its Electricity Market Perspective in the evening.  The US Energy Assn’s State of the Energy Industry event will be at the Press Club on Thursday afternoon.   Finally, given the recent incidents, more people might be interested in the 8:30 a.m. Friday meeting hosted by DOT and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) that will look at current and future research projects.

The North American International Auto Show in Detroit opens today with previews for press, government officials before public opening tomorrow. Earlier talk is focused on EVs and lighter weight material use, such as aluminum, in additional to the usual concept cars and product lines.  Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx attends today with Vice President Biden, Commerce’s Penny Pritzker, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy attending later in the week.  Of course, they will also play a bigger role later this month when the products move to DC for the Washington Auto show, which has become the auto policy version of the Detroit Product show.   Speaking of Auto Policy, keep your eyes peeled for a BGov even next Tuesday on the subject.

 

Finally, in case you missed it last week, I am re-sending the top 14 issues for 2014.  Call with questions.

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

 

Top 14 Issues for ‘14

As you know, each year for the first update of the year, I highlight a number of important issues for you to put on your agenda for the year.  So here we go with the Top 14 issues for 2014:

1) Politics, Politics, Politics – In 2014, the year will be impacted greatly by the politics of the mid-term election in November.  More so than usual, there is great uncertainty about who has the advantage heading into this key year.  Expect most of the air in the room to be taken up between health care politics and continued budget battles that will play out in 2014, but there will be energy issues that invade the limelight, especially regionally and when key decisions are made like the Keystone pipeline decision and the Supreme Court’s expected Spring ruling on power plant emissions.   Conventional wisdom reminds that that Democrats are defending the majority of the vulnerable Senate seats and the mid-term of a President’s second term are usual difficult for his party, but also Congress is at all-time low approvals.

2) New Personnel Might Changes Some Minds, Approach –  1) Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu: Speaking of vulnerable Senate seats, Landrieu is among them, but the appointment on Max Baucus to be ambassador to China and Ron Wyden’s expected move to Finance might give Landrieu an early gift as chair of the Senate’s Energy Committee.   2) John Podesta: Podesta’s move to the White House to head the President’s Energy team will create some credibility that this Administration has not had to date.  While Podesta is definitely in line with the enviro community and will be their advocate, he also has significant political and process knowledge that will make him a much more powerful force than either Heather Zichal or Carol Browner.   3) FERC Chair:  With Wellinghoff out and Bins sacked, who steps up next will be another interesting question for 2014.  Look for NARUC power broker Collette Honorable of Arkansas to be at the front of the line.

3) NatGas 2014 – One of the biggest issues on the energy front this year will be the continued role of natural gas in the energy sector.  Its availability will remain the most important question, but other issues including state/federal regulations, political battles and legal fights will create additional potential problems. EIA says in a new report that Shale energy production will “continue to lift domestic supply and reshape the U.S. energy economy” and will result in near-historic levels of domestic crude oil production, higher levels of natural gas production, and dramatically reduce our reliance on imported energy.  All the more reason why we are in a better position that even just a few short years ago.

4) Key LNG Decisions – The chipping away of application approvals continues to be a steady drip despite some strong internal industry competition and opposition.  The key won’t be whether more applications are approved though.  The key for 2014 will be whether one of those already approved beats litigation and opposition to finally makes it to the finish line and starts exporting.

5) RFS: To Cut or Not to Cut – Expect this to remain an interesting talking point this year after the EPA issued a proposal to reduce the amount of ethanol.  While both sides have hammered each other for years, there are two key players to watch: environmental groups and Valero.  Valero is the largest independent refiner in the US, but also one of the largest ethanol manufacturers so they carry extra credibility.  As for enviros have never been enamored with the RFS.  For years they really looked the other way and hoped that second gen biofuels and cellulosic industries would emerge, but they haven’t.  Adding to the challenge for ethanol, the industry has lost much of its clout, both in politics and in the marketplace.  It has been some years in the making, but combined with the lack of development of the 2nd gen/cellulosic, they have lost a lot of credibility.  The politics just aren’t as favorable as they used to be for ethanol, especially since this election year doesn’t run through Iowa.

6) Keystone – Is it finally time?  That is the question.  Why this has become such a flash point for some environmental activists may be an even more important question.  Most expect the President to approve the pipeline, but look for a good cop/bad cop approach with Secretary John Kerry and a heavy dose of focus on implementing the new GHG rules, which would have a much more dramatic impact on the environment and the economy.

7) Focus on Crude Transportation – Speaking of transporting crude, given a number of incidents, expect a wider, more detailed focus on the infrastructure issues surrounding transportation of oil.  Enviro activists who have at times struggled to rally support against Keystone may be able to mainstream themselves with other enviros who have stayed in the background on the Keystone fight.  The first shot in this battle was the recent revelation from PHMSA saying that Bakken oil may be more flammable than traditional crude. (that won’t move to the top of the activists’ key talking points…oh it already has?)

8) Crude Oil Exports? – Speaking of Keystone, there is a growing debate over whether we should be exporting crude oil.  The fire was stoked by Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz when he suggested revisiting the ban on almost all oil exports.  Expect this to be a key point for the oil industry and I expect it to come up tomorrow at API’s State of the industry event.   Don’t kid yourself though: this one doesn’t break down along the typical party lines and politics 2014 (and the usual gas price increases in the summer) may ice this issue to another future time.

9) Vogtle Nuclear Success – Last year, we pegged action on some nuclear projects as a key for the future of expanding nuclear power.  While others have fallen off the radar screen, the brightest shining light continues to be Southern’s Vogtle Plant, which is currently fighting through the challenges, crossing significant milestones and will soon be at the point where we know it will happen.  Keep a close eye on Georgia, especially now that several older coal plants are also timelined to close in a few years, which makes Vogtle that much more important.

10) Loan Guarantee Successes – As I mentioned in the blurb about 60 Minutes, the DOE Loan Guarantee program will be seen in a different light after 2014.  Already, several important projects are just going on-line and will generate some real-world successes for the program.  They start with Tesla and several solar projects in California like Ivanpah.

11) PTC Deal in Larger Tax Reform – While the Production Tax Credit (PTC) expired quietly on January 1st, not much noise was made given the change in status that allows the trigger point to be “commence construction”  rather than “in-service. “  That change gave developers another year or so to finish projects already started.  But this leads to a larger question:  Will it be renewed again?  I suspect the answer is yes in the long-time tax extenders package that is expected to run along with the mandatory debt ceiling legislation which is required sometime in the first quarter of 2014 (depending on whom you ask).   Most experts think it may take the form of a longer-term phase out, maybe 4 or 5 years.  A key player to watch is Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley.

12) Impacts of Mexican Energy Reforms – Energy is the most contentious and challenging reform for the Mexican government. With declining oil revenues and increasing dependence upon imports of refined oil and gas from the United States, the Mexican government will need to significantly reform its national oil company PEMEX, as well as modify the role played by international oil and service companies. While constitutional reforms approved in December 2013 are a necessary precondition, forthcoming enabling legislation and its implementation will determine the shape and success of Mexico’s energy reforms.  And it will have an important impact on what we do here, especially in the Gulf of Mexico. The reform will open investment opportunities for American energy and service infrastructure companies seeking new energy markets as well as access to Mexico.

13) Offshore Wind Will Blow in This Year – We have been saying to watch this for a couple years now, but this IS the year for offshore wind.   With the litigation, delays and construction challenges finally getting resolved, most experts really expect that we will see our first offshore wind projects finally completed. There is no doubt that 2013 saw significant progress for the fledgling industry. With strong government leadership at the state and federal levels working together with the innovators on the front lines of the economic and technical development, we are closer than ever to really starting an entirely new industry that promises revenue, jobs and clean energy, all in one.  This year will finally be time to get a project in Rhode Island, Delaware or New Jersey or Massachusetts in the water and operating.

14) The Biggest and Most Important: GHG regulations – This will be the epic battle of 2014.  So much to say…  This will not be resolved this year, but nearly every fight starts with this issue.  This year will feature the released draft rule, the comment period and more EPA hearings.  It is also expected to have the release of rules for existing plants (one year from the President’s Summer 2013 Georgetown Speech).  Most experts say the challenges will be much more difficult, more costly and legally questionable.   They also say the timelines may have to slip, especially in a tough political year.  Finally, as stated earlier, the SCOTUS decision on the Cross State pollution rule will also have an impact.

 

IN THE NEWS

Rockefeller, Wyden Look for Rail Investigation on Oil Incidents – In the wake of a series of explosive train derailments containing crude oil – including two in the last two weeks – Chairman Rockefeller (Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation) and Chairman Wyden (Senate Committee on Energy) wrote a letter to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz urging prompt and decisive action on crude oil transportation.  In the letter, Rockefeller and Wyden request the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Department of Energy (DOE) begin an investigation to thoroughly understand the current and future volumes of crude oil that will be shipped on railroads; evaluate the crudes to understand whether they require special precautions and handling; evaluate and update safety requirements to ensure they adequately address the risks of carrying crude oil and finalize DOT’s rule implementing the rail risk reduction program that was signed into law in 2008.

Vogtle Plant Video on Mother Nature Network – I mentioned Vogtle above in the Top 14 in ’14 as being essential to the future of nuclear power.  That being said, Southern Company and Mother Nature Network have collaborated on a video highlighting the size and scope of the Vogtle 3 and 4 project.  When completed, the Vogtle complex will be the largest nuclear generating station in the US. Walking across it will be equivalent to walking from the Washington monument to the Lincoln Memorial.  It runs for about two minutes and has a really great narrator…

UK Looking to NatGas Drilling –The French oil giant Total is on the verge of becoming the first major oil company to explore for natural gas and oil in shale rock in Britain. Under the deal, which may be announced as soon as today, Total would commit about $50 million for a roughly 40% stake in licenses held by a group of companies.  I know this won’t surprise you, but the Bracewell London Office has some of the best natgas experts in the region who are very familiar with what is happening in Britain.  I can connect you if you are interested or look here for Jason Fox, Olivia Caddy and several others.

Solar Glass Half Full, Half Empty – The LA Times’ Julie Cart has another piece today hitting the solar industry this time over the pace of utility project development.  Citing the uncertainty of the future of federal tax credits and the cost of solar power, Cart says development of big solar projects have slowed to a standstill.  While acknowledging several major projects coming on-line this year (including the innovative CSP Ivanpah project) she still strings together a number of separate facts to fit her thesis.  But while the LA Times highlights supposed woes, the business network CNBC has a very different take saying  even as the U.S. churns out more fossil fuels, evidence abounds that alternative energy in general—and solar in particular—is staging a comeback of sorts.  CNBC: “Observers credit an increase in solar capacity, falling photovoltaic (PV) costs and the extension of tax credits for renewable energy for the sector’s revival.  Rather than mounting a competitive threat to oil and gas, solar energy is instead carving a niche in creating electricity, experts say.”   The story goes on to highlight how the solar revival is sending solar stocks on a tear.  It even uses some of the same Cart stats about utility use of solar slowing.  But just shows whether you are looking at the glass half full or half empty, it matters in how you view the larger picture.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

PA NatGas Public Hearings to Look at Court Ruling, Regs – On the heels of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s recent decision that struck down key portions of the state’s oil and gas law, the PA Environmental Quality Board is holding public hearings throughout the state to accept public comment on proposed new regulations for oil and gas development in Pennsylvania. The new regulations will significantly shape PA DEP’s actions on oil and gas activities. The first hearing was last Thursday in West Chester, and tonight, there will be a hearing in Williamsport, with two others on Wednesday and Thursday in Crawford County and Cumberland County respectively.  A complete listing of hearing dates and locations, as well as other information, can be found here.

Detroit Auto Show Rolls Again after New Year – Just like the sun rising, a New Year means important college football games and the roll out of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit launches Monday through January 26th.  Now in its 26th year as an international event, the NAIAS is among the most prestigious auto shows in the world, providing unparalleled access to the automotive products, people and ideas that matter most – up close and in one place.

House Committee to Focus on Transpo Bill – The House Transportation Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow to look at building the foundation for surface transportation reauthorization.

Whitfield, Manchin GHG Legislation Gets to House Energy Mark Up – The Energy and Commerce Committee’s Energy and Power Subcommittee will mark up legislation from Chairman Whitfield and Sen. Joe Manchin that targets EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations.

NSF Meeting to Focus on Science, Math – National Science Foundation will hold a meeting tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. of the Advisory Committee for Mathematical and Physical Sciences to study data, programs, policies, and other information pertinent to the National Science Foundation and to provide advice and recommendations concerning research in mathematics and physical sciences.

BPC Forum to Look at Ukraine – The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) will hold a discussion tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. on Ukraine democracy, geopolitics, economics and energy.  Our friend and former Undersecretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky will speak along with Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to the United States Ryszard Schnepf and Angela Stent, director of the Center for Eurasian Russian & East European Studies at Georgetown University.

Brookings Event to Look at US, Japan Energy – The Energy Security Initiative at Brookings will host a discussion tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. on the overall energy security implications for Japan resulting from the hydrocarbon “renaissance” in the U.S. Panelists will include Mikkal Herberg, research director in the Energy Security Program of the National Bureau of Asian Research; James Jensen, principal of Jensen Associates, Inc.; Hidehiro Muramatsu, general manager of the Washington Office of Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation; and Shoichi Itoh, senior researcher of the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan. Senior Fellow Charles Ebinger, director of the Energy Security Initiative, will provide introductory remarks and moderate the discussion.

MIT Grid Series Continues – The MIT Club of Washington will continue its US electric grid series tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. featuring Western Electricity Coordinating Council Synchrophasor Program Manager Vickie VanZandt.  A modernized grid enables the use of renewables, which are part of the strategy to reduce the reliance on fossil fuels and reduce our carbon footprint. The discussion will focus on how the grid will incorporate the diversity of sources that may arise from our research into distributed production techniques and renewable energy possibilities.

Chamber Energy Group to Roll out Agenda – The US Chamber’s 21st Century Energy Institute will roll out its 2014 agenda on Wednesday morning.

ACCCE, RCP to Host Energy Policy Event – The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) and Real Clear Politics will host an event on Wednesday at Noon at the Newseum looking the road ahead on U.S. Energy Policy.  The event features a keynote by Senator Joe Manchin, and a panel discussion moderated by Carl Cannon of Real Clear Politics. Panelists will be Ross Eisenberg of the National Association of Manufacturers, Daniel Kish of the Institute for Energy Research, Peter Ogden of the Center for American Progress and William Yeatman of the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Webinar to Tackle Key Energy Issues for 2035 – Energy Outlook 2035 webinar will be held Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. The Energy Outlook 2035 examines the wider debate on global energy issues by asking key questions.

UN Climate Chief to Address Investor Action – Global financial leaders gather in New York at the United Nations to discuss climate change and investor actions that are needed to mitigate economic risks Wednesday.  At 1:00, they will hold a news conference to discuss the agenda.  Among those speaking will be UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres and Bloomberg New Energy Finance President Michael Liebreich.

B&V to Release 2014 Energy Market Perspective – Black & Veatch holds a briefing on Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. at the National Press Club to preview the 2014 Energy Market Perspective. The report provides an integrated long term outlook of the U.S. energy market.  Dean Oskvig, CEO of Black & Veatch, will speak.

World Bank to Hold Transportation Conference – The World Bank and EMBARQ, the sustainable transport program of the World Resources Institute, will co-host the 11th annual Transforming Transportation conference at the World Bank in Washington, DC on Thursday and Friday.  The event provides a unique opportunity for the global transport community to discuss how to achieve large-scale and widespread adoption of sustainable solutions.  This year’s conference will look at opportunities for business to help advance the sustainable transport agenda for cities.

AGA to Release New NatGas Study – On Thursday at 9:30 a.m., the American Gas Association will release a new IHS CERA study on the availability of domestic natural gas and its impact on consumers, businesses and industries.   AGA President Dave McCurdy, Chris Johns of Pacific Gas & Electric and IHS CERA gas/coal/renewables expert Tim Gardner.    The event will be held at 101 Constitution Ave.

Senate Environment to Look at Climate Plan – The Senate Environment Committee will hold a hearing on Thursday at 9:15 a.m. looking at the President’s Climate Action Plan.  Panel one witnesses will include EPA’s Gina McCarthy, CEQ Chair Nancy Sutley, GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini and Dan Ashe, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  On panel two, witnesses include former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter (who directs Colorado State’s Center for the New Economy, Andrew Dessler of Texas A&M, NRDC’s Dan Lashof, Georgia Tech’s Judy Curry and Kathleen Hartnett White of the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

Senate Banking to Look at MAP 21, Pubic Transportation – The Senate Banking Committee will meet in open session to hold a hearing on Thursday at January 16th at 10:00 a.m., providing a progress report on public transportation under MAP-21.  Witnesses will include Federal Transit Administration Administrator Peter Rogoff and GAO’s Director of the Physical Infrastructure Team, David Wise.

USEA to Host State of Energy – On Thursday starting at Noon, the US Energy Association will host its 10th Annual State of the Energy Industry Forum at the National Press Club.  Distinguished leaders from the most influential and active energy trade associations will present the priorities, issues, trends, and challenges affecting the industry in 2014.  See more here.

Brookings to Look at Mexico Energy Reform – The Brookings Institution will host a forum on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. in the Falk Auditorium to look at the future of energy reform in Mexico.  Energy is the most contentious and challenging reform for the Mexican government.  Accordingly, the Latin America Initiative and the Energy Security Initiative at Brookings will host Dr. Fluvio Ruiz Alarcón, professional counselor (independent director) on the executive board of PEMEX, for a discussion on the opportunities and challenges facing the Mexican government as it moves towards introducing future reforms. Dr. Ruiz Alarcón will be joined by Arturo Sarukhan, former Mexican ambassador to the U.S. and distinguished affiliate at Brookings. LAI Director and Senior Fellow Harold Trinkunas will provide introductory remarks and moderate the discussion.

McGinn to Focus on Powering Navy Energy Future – On Thursday at 3:30 p.m. at the U.S. Naval Heritage Center, Dennis McGinn will discuss what steps can be taken to enhance the department’s energy posture and improve operational effectiveness.  McGinn was recently confirmed as the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations, and the Environment.

Transportation, PHMSA Meeting Set to Look at Future Research – Given the recent incidents, more people might be interested in the 8:30 Friday meeting hosted by the Transportation Department (DOT); Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) that will present the results of recently completed and current research projects and to solicit comments relative to potential new research projects which may be considered for inclusion in its future work.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

WCEE Forum to Look at Stakeholder Involvement – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment and the National Capital Area Chapter of the Society for Risk Analysis will hold a forum on Monday, January 20th at 5:30 p.m. on stakeholder’s involvement through scientific reasoning.  José Palma-Oliveira, Ph.D., University of Lisbon will be the speaker.  Palma-Oliveira will focus on ways to help stakeholders without using risk communications.  The way risk communication is usually conceptualized and implemented has stakeholder persuasion as its main focus. This has failed in many cases resulting in significant stakeholder unease and stress. This talk will focus on alternative approaches of bringing stakeholders on board in projects where risk is a significant driver for decision.

EPA Science Committee Meeting Set to Discuss GHG Concerns – EPA’s Science Advisory Board will hold a teleconference on Tuesday January 21st from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. to conclude its discussion about questions board members had about the science backing EPA’s proposed greenhouse regulations for new power plants.  Late last year, the SAB raised concerns about whether EPA appropriately reviewed the issue before deciding that carbon capture and sequestration is commercially available for new coal-fired power plants.  House Science Chair Lamar Smith and other committee members highlighted the problems in a recent letter to EPA Administrator McCarthy.  Specifically, the Committee members pointed out that any EPA rule requiring the capture of carbon must address where the carbon is stored.

BGov to Hold Auto Policy Briefing – Bloomberg Government will hold Its 2014 Auto Policy Briefing on Tuesday, January 21st at 8:00 a.m.  American auto sales last year were the highest since 2007, but 2014 will bring new challenges and opportunities, especially on the regulatory front. From fuel-economy standards and infrastructure spending to the prospect of improved export opportunities through new trade deals, policymakers in Washington will have a major impact on the course of the U.S. auto industry.  BGov analysts will offer a detailed look at the policy and regulatory issues facing this important industry in 2014.

Early Stage Tech Webinar Set – ARPA-E will hold a webinar on Tuesday January 21st at 1:00 p.m. that will identify path to market for early-stage technologies.  In early 2013, ARPA-E partnered with NSF for a pilot program that put several ARPA-E project teams through the rigorous I-Corps program curriculum. I-Corps guides applied research teams through an iterative customer and business model discovery process aimed at identifying a path to market for early-stage technologies. Join us for an informative discussion about the i-Corps process and its value to researchers.  ARPA-E Program Director and Senior Commercialization Advisor Dr. Ilan Gur will moderate a session featuring first-hand accounts by Dr. Anita LaSalle, NSF I-Corps Program Officer, and Sri Narayan, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Southern California and recent I-Corps graduate.

Policy Auto Show Locked In, Ford COO to Keynote – Following Detroit, the Washington Auto Show, the automotive industry’s annual public policy show and the largest public show held in Washington, D.C., will be held on January 22nd through February 2nd.  This year, Mark Fields, chief operating officer of Ford Motor Company, will deliver the keynote address at the Newsmaker Breakfast on Wednesday to launch the event.  The Newsmaker Breakfast – co-sponsored by Washington Automotive Press Association (WAPA) and the International Motor Press Association (IMPA) – is part of the show’s Public Policy Days. The breakfast follows the Policy Days’ kickoff event on Capitol Hill. For more information about The Washington Auto Show, please visit www.washingtonautoshow.com

DOE’s Kenderdine Addresses ICF Breakfast Series – ICF International’s Energy Breakfast Series continues on Thursday, January 23rd at 8:00 a.m. when it hosts DOE’s Melanie A. Kenderdine as the keynote speaker.

Iowa to Hold Public Session on EPA Ethanol Regs – Gov. Terry Branstad is hosting a public hearing on Thursday, January 23rd in Des Moines to give Iowa citizens a chance to comment on the EPA proposal that would reduce the amount of ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply.  Wonder what they’ll say?

BPC to Look at Arctic Oil Issues – The Bipartisan Policy Center will hold a forum on Thursday, January 23rd at the Washington Court Hotel focused on navigating the oil frontier that will focus on the implications of the tight oil boom on Arctic and ultra-deepwater oil development. The topics include disaster response and spill cleanup, Arctic climate change adaptation, and the specific challenges of the Arctic’s unique geology and environment.

WRI to Look ay On-Grid Renewable Resources – The World Resources Institute will launch the first publication in the 10 Questions to Ask series on Thursday January 23rd at 4:30 p.m. The “10 Questions to Ask About Scaling On-Grid Renewable Energy” is a framework designed to facilitate multi-stakeholder engagement for improving renewable energy policy. The authors will present the framework, and WRI partners from India, Brazil, South Africa and Kyrgyzstan will discuss its relevance to their respective countries. A wine reception will follow.  By the end of 2012, 138 countries worldwide had introduced renewable energy (RE) targets, and investments in new RE capacity totaled US$244 billion that year. Globally, RE is gaining momentum, with over 480 gigawatts (GW) of installed renewable power capacity. RE is now at the forefront of many national energy development plans.  The progress made in many countries has also highlighted the complexities of increasing the rate of RE deployment at the national level. Deploying renewable energy on an economy-wide scale requires solutions to a range of short- medium- and long-term challenges. These include resolving economic questions about how the costs of new RE generation will be distributed among electricity consumers, investors, taxpayers, and other stakeholders, and technological challenges such as accommodating intermittent supply, upgrading or adding transmission and distribution grids, and addressing knowledge gaps.  Speakers will include report authors Davida Wood and Sarah Martin of WRI and Shantanu Dixit of Prayas Energy Group, India.

SEJ to Host Forum to Look at Year Ahead in Energy, Environment – The Society of Environmental Journalists, the Wilson Center and the Global Sustainability and Resilience Program will host a panel on Friday, January 24th at 3:00 p.m. at the Wilson Center to look at the year ahead in environmental and energy issues. A panel of veteran journalists will offer their thoughts on what will be the biggest environment and energy stories in the U.S. and around the world. Bloomberg BNA’s Larry Pearl will kick off the discussion with an overview of the key legislative, regulatory, and legal developments expected in 2014, followed by a roundtable with six top journalists covering local, national, and international environmental issues.  Others panelists will include Douglas Fischer of The Daily Climate, NYT’s Coral Davenport, Dennis Dimick of National Geographic Magazine, The Guardian’s Suzanne Goldenberg, Cheryl Hogue of Chemical & Engineering News and Andy Revkin, New York Times Environmental Blogger (Dot Earth) and Pace University Journalism professor.

Energy Summit Set – The 2014 American Energy Summit will be held on January 27 – 28, 2014 in Arlington, Virginia and will focus on the hundreds of billions of dollars being spent on new energy projects by the federal government, state and local governments, and by private industry.

STATE OF THE UNION, January 28th – President Obama will deliver his State of the Union Address to Congress on Tuesday, January 28th.  While healthcare and job creation are expected to get top billing, Energy is expected to play a prominent role.

SNL Conference On Energy M&A Set for NYC – SNL Energy’s 27th Annual Exnet Power and Gas M&A Symposium – an national energy conference will be held on January 28th and 29th  at the Ritz-Carlton in New York.  The Symposium is the annual go-to event for industry executives, as well as financial and legal advisors who are concerned with strategic planning, business development and the economics of the sector. The speakers and audience are comprised of industry decision-makers, plus heads of power and utility practices at leading investment banks, law firms and consultancies.

Maisano to Headline Media Seminar – For those of you focused on media relations and policy communications, I will be participating in a webinar on February 4th focused on creating a successful media strategies for the policy environment.  We will look at the nexus between policy communications and government affairs, as well as crisis management.  Finally, we will offer some of the tools of the trade.  We can also help you with a discount if you want to join in.

Bracewell to Host Environmental Symposium in Houston – On February 11th, Bracewell & Giuliani will host a forum on environment issues in Houston.  More on this in the upcoming weeks.  While it will not be open to the media, it will feature B&G experts in a series of briefings and discussions about the most challenging environmental legal issues facing the energy and heavy industries today.

Chamber Sets Transpo Summit – On February 20, the U.S. Chamber will gather leaders and experts from all sectors of transportation for the second annual Let’s Rebuild America Transportation Summit-Infrastructure Intersection-to examine the important role transportation infrastructure plays across major sectors of America’s economy. At the summit, presenters will explore five key infrastructure intersections-Energy, Manufacturing, Agriculture, Technology, and Healthcare-and how each sector requires well-functioning transportation infrastructure systems to realize its full potential.

Vilsack, Ag Economist Glauber, Trade Rep Froman to Headline USDA Forum – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will hold the 2014 Agricultural Outlook Forum on February 20th and 21st at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel, Arlington, Va.  Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will moderate two general session panels on the Future of Agriculture.  Speaking in the first panel will be Administrator of the U. S. Agency for International Development Rajiv Shah; President of the Produce Marketing Association Cathy Burns; and Kellee James, founder and CEO of Mercaris, a market trading platform for organic agricultural commodities.  The second panel focuses on young farmers and includes Executive Director of the Farmer Veteran Coalition Michael O’Gorman; Joanna Carraway, a young Kentucky farmer who won the 2013 Top Producer Horizon Award; Greg Wegis, who operates a 17,600-acre vegetable and nut farm in California; and the Interim Director of the National Young Farmers Coalition, Emily Oakley.  USDA’s Chief Economist Joseph Glauber will deliver the 2014 Agricultural & Foreign Trade Outlooks. The Forum’s dinner speaker will be U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman.

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.

Energy Update Week of January 6

Friends,

Just a short intro today because 1) I want to get to the Top 14 for ‘14 and 2) I am completely overloaded with sports.  From the Winter Classic at the Big House (105K-plus) to the football playoffs, the firing of a bunch of NFL coaches and the end of the College Bowl season with tonight’s Florida State-Auburn game, there is just so much going on.  And this doesn’t even contemplate the upcoming 2014 winter Olympics which begin next month.  (can’t wait for the Olympic Hockey and the Curling competitions.)

The other story of 2014 so far seems to be the cold weather…  While I know some of you thought I was going to make a global warming comment, but really, I just remind you that it is winter…  Have you ever been ice fishing on Green Bay in the middle of January?  I can tell you that it is pretty cold.

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

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

Finally, last night the respected news magazine 60 Minutes did a significant and serious piece on Clean Tech issues.  Unfortunately, its title “Clean Tech Crash” and its over focus on the few high-profile failures tends to undermine the true state and significant successes of the industry.   More on this below.

BTW, Stop hording the incandescent light bulbs… They are not as good as the newer, improved (and much more efficient) light bulbs.  On to the Top 14…

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

 

Top 14  Issues for ‘14

As you know, each year for the first update of the year, I highlight a number of important issues for you to put on your agenda for the year.  So here we go with the Top 14 issues for 2014:

1) Politics, Politics, Politics – In 2014, the year will be impacted greatly by the politics of the mid-term election in November.  More so than usual, there is great uncertainty about who has the advantage heading into this key year.  Expect most of the air in the room to be taken up between health care politics and continued budget battles that will play out in 2014, but there will be energy issues that invade the limelight, especially regionally and when key decisions are made like the Keystone pipeline decision and the Supreme Court’s expected Spring ruling on power plant emissions.   Conventional wisdom reminds that that Democrats are defending the majority of the vulnerable Senate seats and the mid-term of a President’s second term are usual difficult for his party, but also Congress is at all-time low approvals.

2) New Personnel Might Changes Some Minds, Approach –  1) Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu: Speaking of vulnerable Senate seats, Landrieu is among them, but the appointment on Max Baucus to be ambassador to China and Ron Wyden’s expected move to Finance might give Landrieu an early gift as chair of the Senate’s Energy Committee.   2) John Podesta: Podesta’s move to the White House to head the President’s Energy team will create some credibility that this Administration has not had to date.  While Podesta is definitely in line with the enviro community and will be their advocate, he also has significant political and process knowledge that will make him a much more powerful force than either Heather Zichal or Carol Browner.   3) FERC Chair:  With Wellinghoff out and Bins sacked, who steps up next will be another interesting question for 2014.  Look for NARUC power broker Collette Honorable of Arkansas to be at the front of the line.

3) NatGas 2014 – One of the biggest issues on the energy front this year will be the continued role of natural gas in the energy sector.  It’s availability will remain the most important question, but other issues including state/federal regulations, political battles and legal fights will create additional potential problems. EIA says in a new report that Shale energy production will “continue to lift domestic supply and reshape the U.S. energy economy” and will result in near-historic levels of domestic crude oil production, higher levels of natural gas production, and dramatically reduce our reliance on imported energy.  All the more reason why we are in a better position that even just a few short years ago.

4) Key LNG Decisions – The chipping away of application approvals continues to be a steady drip despite some strong internal industry competition and opposition.  The key won’t be whether more applications are approved though.  The key for 2014 will be whether one of those already approved beats litigation and opposition to finally makes it to the finish line and starts exporting.

5) RFS: To Cut or Not to Cut – Expect this to remain an interesting talking point this year after the EPA issued a proposal to reduce the amount of ethanol.  While both sides have hammered each other for years, there are two key players to watch: environmental groups and Valero.  Valero is the largest independent refiner in the US, but also one of the largest ethanol manufacturers so they carry extra credibility.  As for enviros have never been enamored with the RFS.  For years they really looked the other way and hoped that second gen biofuels and cellulosic industries would emerge, but they haven’t.  Adding to the challenge for ethanol, the industry has lost much of its clout, both in politics and in the marketplace.  It has been some years in the making, but combined with the lack of development of the 2nd gen/cellulosic, they have lost a lot of credibility.  The politics just aren’t as favorable as they used to be for ethanol, especially since this election year doesn’t run through Iowa.

6) Keystone – Is it finally time?  That is the question.  Why this has become such a flash point for some environmental activists may be an even more important question.  Most expect the President to approve the pipeline, but look for a good cop/bad cop approach with Secretary John Kerry and a heavy dose of focus on implementing the new GHG rules, which would have a much more dramatic impact on the environment and the economy.

7) Focus on Crude Transportation – Speaking of transporting crude, given a number of incidents, expect a wider, more detailed focus on the infrastructure issues surrounding transportation of oil.  Enviro activists who have at times struggled to rally support against Keystone may be able to mainstream themselves with other enviros who have stayed in the background on the Keystone fight.  The first shot in this battle was the recent revelation from PHMSA saying that Bakken oil may be more flammable than traditional crude. (that won’t move to the top of the activists’ key talking points…oh it already has?)

8) Crude Oil Exports? – Speaking of Keystone, there is a growing debate over whether we should be exporting crude oil.  The fire was stoked by Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz when he suggested revisiting the ban on almost all oil exports.  Expect this to be a key point for the oil industry and I expect it to come up tomorrow at API’s State of the industry event.   Don’t kid yourself though: this one doesn’t break down along the typical party lines and politics 2014 (and the usual gas price increases in the summer) may ice this issue to another future time.

9) Vogtle Nuclear Success – Last year, we pegged action on some nuclear projects as a key for the future of expanding nuclear power.  While others have fallen off the radar screen, the brightest shining light continues to be Southern’s Vogtle Plant, which is currently fighting through the challenges, crossing significant milestones and will soon be at the point where we know it will happen.  Keep a close eye on Georgia, especially now that several older coal plants are also timelined to close in a few years, which makes Vogtle that much more important.

10) Loan Guarantee Successes – As I mentioned in the blurb about 60 Minutes, the DOE Loan Guarantee program will be seen in a different light after 2014.  Already, several important projects are just going on-line and will generate some real-world successes for the program.  They start with Tesla and several solar projects in California like Ivanpah.

11) PTC Deal in Larger Tax Reform – While the Production Tax Credit (PTC) expired quietly on January 1st, not much noise was made given the change in status that allows the trigger point to be “commence construction”  rather than “in-service. “  That change gave developers another year or so to finish projects already started.  But this leads to a larger question:  Will it be renewed again?  I suspect the answer is yes in the long-time tax extenders package that is expected to run along with the mandatory debt ceiling legislation which is required sometime in the first quarter of 2014 (depending on whom you ask).   Most experts think it may take the form of a longer-term phase out, maybe 4 or 5 years.  A key player to watch is Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley.

12) Impacts of Mexican Energy Reforms – Energy is the most contentious and challenging reform for the Mexican government. With declining oil revenues and increasing dependence upon imports of refined oil and gas from the United States, the Mexican government will need to significantly reform its national oil company PEMEX, as well as modify the role played by international oil and service companies. While constitutional reforms approved in December 2013 are a necessary precondition, forthcoming enabling legislation and its implementation will determine the shape and success of Mexico’s energy reforms.  And it will have an important impact on what we do here, especially in the Gulf of Mexico. The reform will open investment opportunities for American energy and service infrastructure companies seeking new energy markets as well as access to Mexico.

13) Offshore Wind Will Blow in This Year – We have been saying to watch this for a couple years now, but this IS the year for offshore wind.   With the litigation, delays and construction challenges finally getting resolved, most experts really expect that we will see our first offshore wind projects finally completed. There is no doubt that 2013 saw significant progress for the fledgling industry. With strong government leadership at the state and federal levels working together with the innovators on the front lines of the economic and technical development, we are closer than ever to really starting an entirely new industry that promises revenue, jobs and clean energy, all in one.  This year will finally be time to get a project in Rhode Island, Delaware or New Jersey or Massachusetts in the water and operating.

14) The Biggest and Most Important: GHG regulations – This will be the epic battle of 2014.  So much to say…  This will not be resolved this year, but nearly every fight starts with this issue.  This year will feature the released draft rule, the comment period and more EPA hearings.  It is also expected to have the release of rules for existing plants (one year from the President’s Summer 2013 Georgetown Speech).  Most experts say the challenges will be much more difficult, more costly and legally questionable.   They also say the timelines may have to slip, especially in a tough political year.  Finally, as stated earlier, the SCOTUS decision on the Cross State pollution rule will also have an impact.

 

IN THE NEWS

60 Minutes Focuses On CleanTech Challenges – The news magazine 60 Minutes released its long-expected story on Sunday that said tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer support for green-technology companies were wasted.  The unfortunately titled, “Cleantech Crash,” set off a furious battle over the true story surrounding clean tech issues.   While the 60 Minutes segment underscores some hard to argue facts about failures at Solyndra, A123 and Fisker, among others, it really only acknowledges successes of the program which we are just starting to see.  This one line in the 15 Minute report:  “The stimulus investment wasn’t a total bust. It helped create the successful electric car company Tesla.  A few of other companies are starting to show promise, and loans are being repaid.”  This makes the CBS timing fortunate for their story’s approach, but not reflective of the successes that will really start to be evident this year.  Our friends on both sides mention the story.  At ACORE, they pushed back during the segment on social media with their Energy Fact Check web site.  Others added that the DOE Loan Program has a 97% success rate. In July 2012, the former head of the loan guarantee program testified to Congress that funds that went to bankrupt companies represented less than 3 percent of the total Department of Energy portfolio, a far better success than the venture capitalists.  As well, solar and wind continue to play a significant role in energy generation and job creation in the US.  All fair and important points…and ones missed by 60 Minutes.   Also our friend Katie Fehrenbacher has a fair piece that looks at what 60 Minutes may have gotten right and where they went astray.

NYT:  Wall Street on Solar Craze – As I mentioned earlier on the timing of the 60 Minutes story, the timing seems to be everything…In fact, over the weekend, the New York Times focused on Solar City and its exploding interest on Wall Street.

WSJ’s Gold Releases New NatGas Book – Award-winning journalist and Pulitzer Prize finalist Russell Gold offers an insightful, no-holds-barred exploration of natural gas drilling practices in his new book that will be released this month.  Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is the process of injecting fluid into the ground at extremely high pressure in order to fracture shale rocks and release the oil and natural gas inside. It has been the subject of three major films, countless news articles, and has become a hotly contested topic both for its environmental impact and its positive effect on the economy and job creation. In The Boom, Gold examines both sides of the arguments and illuminates the truth of this frequently misunderstood technology. It is a thrilling journey filled with memorable and colorful characters: a green-minded Texas oilman who created the first modern frack; an Oklahoman natural gas empire–builder who gave the world an enormous new supply of energy but was brought down by his own success; and a cast of many. Gold melds his natural gift for engaging, in-depth storytelling and reportage with his insight into the energy industry to bring to life the fascinating history of how this major new source is changing the way we use energy. The Boom is not simply the story of fracking: It is the compelling and thought-provoking story of the modern global economy and how the United States—and the world—have been forever changed.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Forum to Look at Future Energy Trade – The Brookings Institution’s Energy Security Initiative will host Senate Energy Committee ranking member Lisa Murkowski tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. to discuss the future of U.S. energy trade and its implications on the domestic economy and national security.  The boom in American oil and gas production over recent years has generated widespread discourse on U.S. energy security and policy moving forward. In its 2014 Annual Energy Outlook, the U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasts domestic crude oil production to nearly double from 2008 levels to 9.6 million barrels per day by 2019. The report also projects the U.S. will become a net natural gas exporter by 2018. This boom in domestic energy production has raised calls for a fresh look at existing U.S. strategies surrounding its resources.  William Antholis, managing director at Brookings, will provide introductory remarks. He will be joined by Charles Ebinger, senior fellow and director of the Brookings Energy Security Initiative, for a moderated discussion and audience Q&A following the senator’s speech.

Oil Trade Group to Discuss State of Energy – API will host its 2014 State of American Energy luncheon tomorrow at the Newseum.

US Chamber Sets Business Speech – On Wednesday at 9:00 a.m., U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue will give his annual State of American Business Address to outline the business community’s top policy priorities for the year.

WRI to Look at Stories to Watch – The World Resources Institute CEO Andrew Steer will offer his perspectives on the major global developments in economics, business, natural resources and sustainability in the coming year on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. at the National Press Club’s Holeman Lounge.  Steer will look at what stories will impact people and the planet in 2014, who are the influential people and what policy decisions will take place.  Now in its 11th year, WRI’s “Stories to Watch” at the National Press Club is a go-to event for D.C.’s media, policymakers, business leaders, and consultants.

Author To Discuss Storm, Grid Resilience – The CSIS Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Program will hold a discussion on Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. focused on strengthening homeland security and disaster management to achieve resilience featuring Dr. Dane S. Egli, Author and Senior Advisor, National Security Strategies.  In the face of natural disasters such as Superstorm Sandy and man-made disasters like the Boston Marathon attacks, some have argued that there is a growing need to shift towards a posture that emphasizes resilience across all elements of the homeland security enterprise. A career Coast Guard officer and former White House National Security Council staffer, Dr. Dane Egli makes the case in “Beyond the Storms” that the nation needs to expand its focus beyond prevention and protection to a more systemic analysis of mitigation, response, and recovery.

House Resources to Look at Coal Policies – The House Resources The House Committee on Natural Resources will hold an oversight hearing on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. to look at the recent report by the Interior’s office of the Inspector General that focuses on the Administration’s coal policies.

Forum to Look at US-Japan Economic Issues – The East-West Center in Washington will host a forum on Thursday afternoon to look at innovation and growth in US-Japan economic relations in an Asia-Pacific Political Economy Seminar featuring Sean Connell.  Innovation is a key characteristic and comparative advantage of the US and Japanese economies, and it is widely recognized by policy makers, business leaders, and the broader public in both countries as essential for future growth and competitiveness. The two governments increasingly recognize innovation as an area with good potential for expanding bilateral cooperation, and in recent years this topic has risen to the fore within several joint initiatives and policy dialogues.  With Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic revitalization initiatives and Japan’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations bringing new momentum to US-Japan economic ties, increased focus on innovation offers a potentially valuable framework for identifying new opportunities to collaborate in advancing shared goals, while addressing challenges both countries face in a competitive global environment.  In his presentation, Connell will offer views on these themes, examine ongoing bilateral initiatives including related to energy technology, and explore potential areas for new engagement.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

Detroit Auto Show Rolls Again after New Year – Just like the sun rising, a New Year means important college football games and the roll out of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit launches January 13th through the 26th.  Now in its 26th year as an international event, the NAIAS is among the most prestigious auto shows in the world, providing unparalleled access to the automotive products, people and ideas that matter most – up close and in one place.

House Committee to Focus on Transpo Bill – The House Transportation Committee will hold a hearing on Tuesday, January 14th to look at building the foundation for surface transportation reauthorization.

MIT Grid Series Continues – The MIT Club of Washington will continue its US electric grid series on Tuesday January 14th at 7:00 p.m. featuring Western Electricity Coordinating Council Synchrophasor Program Manager Vickie VanZandt.  A modernized grid enables the use of renewables, which are part of the strategy to reduce the reliance on fossil fuels and reduce our carbon footprint. The discussion will focus on how will the grid incorporate the diversity of sources that may arise from our research into distributed production techniques and renewable energy possibilities.

World Bank to Hold Transportation Conference – The World Bank and EMBARQ, the sustainable transport program of the World Resources Institute, will co-host the 11th annual Transforming Transportation conference at the World Bank in Washington, DC on Thursday and Friday, January 16th and 17th.  The event provides a unique opportunity for the global transport community to discuss how to achieve large-scale and widespread adoption of sustainable solutions.  This year’s conference will look at opportunities for business to help advance the sustainable transport agenda for cities.

USEA to Host State of Energy – On Thursday, January 16th, the US Energy Association will host its 10th Annual State of the Energy Industry Forum at the National Press Club.  Distinguished leaders from the most influential and active energy trade associations will present the priorities, issues, trends, and challenges affecting the industry in 2014.  See more here.

Brookings to Look at Mexico Energy Reform – The Brookings Institution will host a forum on Thursday, January 16th at 3:30 p.m. in the Falk Auditorium to look at the future of energy reform in Mexico.  Energy is the most contentious and challenging reform for the Mexican government.  Accordingly, the Latin America Initiative and the Energy Security Initiative at Brookings will host Dr. Fluvio Ruiz Alarcón, professional counselor (independent director) on the executive board of PEMEX, for a discussion on the opportunities and challenges facing the Mexican government as it moves towards introducing future reforms. Dr. Ruiz Alarcón will be joined by Arturo Sarukhan, former Mexican ambassador to the U.S. and distinguished affiliate at Brookings. LAI Director and Senior Fellow Harold Trinkunas will provide introductory remarks and moderate the discussion.

WCEE Forum to Look at Stakeholder Involvement – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment and the National Capital Area Chapter of the Society for Risk Analysis will hold a forum on Monday, January 20th at 5:30 p.m. on stakeholder’s involvement through scientific reasoning.  José Palma-Oliveira, Ph.D., University of Lisbon will be the speaker.  Palma-Oliveira will focus on ways to help stakeholders without using risk communications.  The way risk communication is usually conceptualized and implemented has stakeholder persuasion as its main focus. This has failed in many cases resulting in significant stakeholder unease and stress. This talk will focus on alternative approaches of bringing stakeholders on board in projects where risk is a significant driver for decision.

Policy Auto Show Locked In, Ford COO to Keynote – Following Detroit, the Washington Auto Show, the automotive industry’s annual public policy show and the largest public show held in Washington, D.C., will be held on January 22, 2014 through February 2nd.  This year, Mark Fields, chief operating officer of Ford Motor Company, will deliver the keynote address at the Newsmaker Breakfast on Wednesday to launch the event.  The Newsmaker Breakfast – co-sponsored by Washington Automotive Press Association (WAPA) and the International Motor Press Association (IMPA) – is part of the show’s Public Policy Days. The breakfast follows the Policy Days’ kickoff event on Capitol Hill. For more information about The Washington Auto Show, please visit www.washingtonautoshow.com

Energy Summit Set – The 2014 American Energy Summit will be held on January 27 – 28, 2014 in Arlington, Virginia and will focus on the hundreds of billions of dollars being spent on new energy projects by the federal government, state and local governments, and by private industry.

SNL Conference On Energy M&A Set for NYC – SNL Energy’s 27th Annual Exnet Power and Gas M&A Symposium – an national energy conference will be held on January 28th and 29th  at the Ritz-Carlton in New York.  The Symposium is the annual go-to event for industry executives, as well as financial and legal advisors who are concerned with strategic planning, business development and the economics of the sector. The speakers and audience are comprised of industry decision-makers, plus heads of power and utility practices at leading investment banks, law firms and consultancies.

Bracewell to Host Environmental Symposium in Houston – On February 11th, Bracewell & Giuliani will host a forum on environment issues in Houston.  More on this in the upcoming weeks.  While it will not be open to the media, it will feature B&G experts in a series of briefings and discussions about the most challenging environmental legal issues facing the energy and heavy industries today.

Chamber Sets Transpo Summit – On February 20, the U.S. Chamber will gather leaders and experts from all sectors of transportation for the second annual Let’s Rebuild America Transportation Summit-Infrastructure Intersection-to examine the important role transportation infrastructure plays across major sectors of America’s economy. At the summit, presenters will explore five key infrastructure intersections-Energy, Manufacturing, Agriculture, Technology, and Healthcare-and how each sector requires well-functioning transportation infrastructure systems to realize its full potential.

 

Energy Update Week of March 25

Friends,

Well, I don’t about your NCAA pool performance, but mine pretty much blew up after the Florida Gulf Coast’s run to the Sweet 16, among other surprises.  It has been four exciting days though with many surprises.  But not surprised were Louisville, KU, Michigan/MSU, Indiana, Miami, Duke, etc.  Still lots of high-seeds remain.  Back to the NCAA grind on Thursday, but not before some golf today (Bay Hills/Tiger).

The NCAA Frozen Four draw is out following this past weekend’s conference tournaments.  Quinnipiac is the overall #1 seed (they do more than just high-stakes public opinion polling), with UMass-Lowell, Minnesota (yah-sure) and Notre Dame (the final CCHA Champ) rounding out the top seeds.  As always, dangerous teams are North Dakota (their longest-in-the-nation 11th straight NCAA appearance despite being scrubbed of their longstanding “Fighting Sioux” nickname), Miami (Ohio), UNH, Boston College, Wisconsin and Yale.  Oh, and in case you missed it, UW-Eau Claire knocked off Oswego State 5-3 to win the NCAA D-III hockey title Saturday night.

Before we get to other things though, it seems the right time to take this week to reflect on the two of most important religious days we celebrate: Passover today and Easter Holy days this upcoming weekend.  My best wishes to all this week.  Please enjoy the time with your families.

As it is the Passover/Easter holiday week, there is not much happening.  Of course, much of the action on Congressional budgets and on ethanol and RINs went down last week.  I added a special section on the Senate Budget Vote-fest that occurred all-day/night Friday and into early Saturday morning.  The most politically-significant (but substantively-meaningless) budget vote was the Senate’s 62-37 endorsement of the Keystone XL pipeline with 17 Democrats supporting it.  You know that is going to really anger KXL opponents and true enviro believers.  Maybe billionaire Tom Steyer will bring his transformer Keystone billboards to DC after the Massachusetts Senate election he was “asked” to stay out of ends.  If they act this way over non-binding Budget votes, can you imagine how these groups/individuals may come unglued if/when the President approves Keystone?

I also have a special section on the debate over ethanol and RIN costs that goes beyond the silly finger pointing between “Big Oil” and Big Corn.”  While you all saw the back-and-forth between the API and RFI, our friends at Valero ought to be your interest point.  Valero is the world largest independent refiner and the second largest producer of ETHANOL.  They can get away from the finger pointing because they are involved on both sides and have more credibility.  My friend Bill Day at Valero (210-345-2928) is ready to help.

By the way, mark your calendars for next Thursday at the Press Club for an April 4th Newsmaker that I will be hosting on the battle over bottled water.  I will have Nestle Water CEO Kim Jeffrey available to take your questions about the on-going effort to ban bottled water over environmental concerns in places like the University of Vermont and Concord, Massachusetts.   More than 90 colleges and universities have banned or restricted the sale of bottled water on campus.  It should be an interesting discussion.

Call with any questions.

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

BUDGET IN THE NEWS

Budget Votes Making Noise – The late Friday night Budget “vote-a-rama” had several interesting environmental twists, including a significant win for Keystone supporters.  In a politically-significant, but substantively-meaningless budget vote, the Senate endorsed Keystone XL pipeline with a 62 to 37 vote.  In the vote, 17 Democrats supported Keystone.  The Senate’s final budget resolution was approved 50-49 around 5:00 a.m. Saturday.

Which Democratic Senators Supported Keystone? – The Democrats who supported the measure were Sens. Max Baucus (Mont.), Mark Begich (Alaska), Michael Bennet (Colo.), Tom Carper (Del.), Bob Casey (Pa.), Chris Coons (Del.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Kay Hagan (N.C.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Tim Johnson (S.D.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Joe Manchin (W. Va.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Bill Nelson (Fla.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Jon Tester (Mont.) and Mark Warner (Va.).  Maybe the only real surprises were Nelson, Coons and Carper…maybe Bennet, but Colorado is a big oil/gas state.

Enviros Outraged – Shockingly, enviro groups and other Keystone supporters were incensed over the vote and took to social media to express their outrage.  As I am on many enviro listservs I just think it is funny how many of the true believers are seriously clueless about Keystone, politics, elections, public opinion, energy and the make-up of many states.  Of course, the enviro community will respond and is already threatening Delaware Sens. Carper and Coons, Colorado’s Bennet.

Other Votes on Budget – There were a number of other budget energy votes.  The votes on the nonbinding budget resolutions were largely symbolic, but they illustrate the political reality that we have seen for some time:  that there seems to be a majority in the Senate oppose restrictions on oil and coal producers, power plants and other sources.  Some other Notable votes included a vote on a climate change amendment by Sheldon Whitehouse, who Has been saying he was going to try and put climate votes in to many bills.  Senator, probably not a good idea since 13 Democrats opposed his measure that would move any carbon tax revenues to deficit reduction.  The leadership also blocked a vote on Roy Blunt’s plan to offer a straight-up vote on a carbon tax.  Maneuvering prevented the actual vote and only allowed a procedural vote where only kept 8 Dems jumped ship.  I suspect Majority Leader Reid didn’t want another 60-plus vote on an environmental issue.   One amendment that did fall short was one offered by Sen. Inhofe to block GHG rules.  It only garnered 3 Dems and 47 total votes.  Sen. Barrasso (R-Wyo.) successfully offered an amendment to bar federal agencies’ analyses under NEPA from considering GHG emissions produced outside the United States by exported goods.

ETHANOL/GASOLINE IN THE NEWS

RINs Price Shows Hitting Blend Wall – While the budget votes took lots of attention on Friday, the rest of the week belonged to a new twist in the long-standing argument over ethanol and gasoline.  Back in 2007, the Congress set an ethanol mandate – the renewable fuel standard (RFS) – at 36 billion gallons by 2022. In years in between, EPA sets an annual number to keep the country on the path.  This year’s 16.5 billion is arguably already more than the current gasoline pool can absorb in light of environmental constraints (called the blend wall) and the overall shrinkage of the gasoline pool because of energy efficiency gains and the recession.  Accordingly, the market price for RINs – or renewable identification numbers needed as evidence of compliance if you can’t produce ethanol – was $0.05 as recently as late-2012. However, recent prices for RINs have spiked to as high as $1.02.  Reports have cited several reasons for the sudden price increase, such as: declining gasoline demand; the ethanol “blend wall”; unrealistic RFS mandates; and recent instances of fraud in the RIN market which have increased uncertainty among obligated parties.

Results: Higher Prices Likely – The current projected RINs impact will result in large price increases at the pump.  Recent reports make clear that, as RIN prices continue to move higher, refiners will be forced to: pass along the increased costs to consumers; export more product overseas; or lower refinery utilization rates.  These concerns are not mere analyst speculation as a March 8th article in Platts cited a report that “RIN costs have added 10 cents to a gallon of gasoline at retail.”  Valero, one of the largest refiners and also largest ethanol producers, says costs over last year could be $500-750 million.

EPA Never Thought It would go This Way – EPA did not anticipate or plan for this run-up in RINs prices.  In the Regulatory Impact Analysis and Summary and Analysis of Comments for the RFS itself – EPA seemed to think that the “cost of RINs should be very low—near the level of transaction costs,” and they did “not foresee RINs adding any significant costs to the use of renewables.”  This is because they mistakenly anticipated excess RINs would be available. Comments were submitted on the issue of speculation in the market, and EPA responded that they did not anticipate this being an issue.

Wyden Letter Asks Key EPA Questions – After a midweek letter from Lisa Murkowski and David Vitter raised the RINs issue, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Ron Wyden penned one to EPA asking for data to help explain why corn ethanol renewable identification numbers fluctuated widely between pennies on the gallon to more than $1 in recent weeks.

“Some industry analysts have blamed the increase on a glut of ethanol, while others have blamed it on a shortage. What is abundantly clear is that this level of market volatility is unprecedented,” Wyden wrote acting EPA Administrator Bob Perciasepe. “Given that ethanol is an increasingly important factor in the cost and supply of motor fuel in the U.S., it is critical that the committee have a better understanding of the causes and effects of RIN market volatility and developments.” 

But What About the Tier III Rules – Some industry folks see the increasing oversight by Congress as an opportunity to address cost concerns over EPA’s “Tier III” fuel and vehicle rule.  The plan is at OMB and is expected soon.  The Tier III rule and high RFS targets could create a “perfect storm” that will continue to increase gasoline prices – especially though the summer driving season which traditionally sees higher prices anyway.  Something to monitor…

IN OTHER NEWS

EIA Says Production will Pass Imports – EIA’s Short-Term Energy Outlook released last week says the amount of domestic crude oil produced in the United States could exceed the amount imported this year for the first time since 1995. EIA credits a rapid rise in oil production from shale and other tight rock formations in Texas and North Dakota and the steady decline of net oil imports. The federal agency forecasts that, by the end of 2013, the U.S. will be pumping 2 million more barrels than it imports each day.

EnergyBiz Honors SoCo EnergyBiz magazine has named Southern Company “Energy Company of the Year” for its demonstrated business leadership in technology innovation, insight and sustained achievement in 2012.  CEO Tom Fanning accepted the award last week at the EnergyBiz KITE Awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.  An industry leader in energy innovation, Southern Company has been actively engaged in robust, proprietary research and development since the 1960s. Company-managed research and development investments – which totaled more than $1.8 billion from 1970 through 2012 – have yielded technologies that will change the way America produces electricity. Southern’s 582-megawatt Kemper County, MS advanced coal energy facility and its new nuclear units at Plant Vogtle were examples of Southern’s innovation and leadership.  The EnergyBiz KITE Awards are presented to executives and organizations in the energy industry that exemplify the characteristics of knowledge, innovation, technology and excellence as a cornerstone of success.  Recent past winners include our friends at Trans-Elect.

Super Bowl Outage Caused by Device to Prevent Outages – If the irony of losing a portion of one of the most–watched events to a blackout doesn’t get any better, a new report says the New Orleans Superdome Super Bowl XLVII blackout was caused by a relay device that was intended to improve reliability and prevent outages.  The device had a design defect that malfunctioned and cause the partial outage.  Entergy, which supplies electricity to the Superdome, and the stadium’s management company hired forensic engineer John Palmer to perform an independent analysis of the big game’s outage. Palmer’s report says the primary cause of the disruption was a malfunction or “misoperation” of the relay.  The report also notes the relay had a design defect, and under testing it did not perform entirely as its instruction manual said it was supposed to. It says the factory default setting of the relay was inappropriate. Finally, it says there was “inadequate communication between the manufacturer and the utility.”

GOING ON THIS WEEK 

Bush 43 To Headline International Refiners Conferences – following last week’s American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers annual meeting, the International Petrochemical Conference starts at the Grand Hyatt San Antonio today and tomorrow.  The event, which always follows AFPM’s annual meeting, is the world’s largest and most prestigious conference representing the petrochemical industry and will feature former President George W. Bush as its luncheon speaker.  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. 

Market Transformation Symposium Set – The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy and the Consortium for Energy Efficiency will host the 17th annual National Symposium on Market Transformation today and tomorrow at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel. The Symposium will offer an opportunity for a diverse group of attendees to network, compare programs, learn about new MT approaches, and discuss the latest issues facing the energy efficiency and market transformation communities.  Participants will include policymakers; energy efficiency program implementers; local, state, and federal agency personnel; utility staff; NGOs; energy efficiency professionals; consultants; and behavioral scientists.  This year’s ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year Awards Ceremony will also be held the tomorrow evening.

Interior to Hold Public Hearings on Drilling EIS – The Interior Department will hold public hearings this week on its recent draft environmental impact statement for two proposed oil and gas lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico’s Eastern Planning Area and is seeking public comment on the document. Lease Sales 225 and 226, scheduled for 2014 and 2016, are part of the Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program: 2012-2017 (Five Year Program). The hearings will be held in Tallahassee, Florida tomorrow, (Hilton Garden Inn Tallahassee Central), Panama City Beach, Florida on Wednesday  (Wyndham Bay Point Resort), Mobile, Alabama on Thursday (Five Rivers-Alabama’s Delta Resource Center), Gulfport, Mississippi on Friday (Courtyard by Marriott Gulfport Beach) and New Orleans (BOEM Offices).  All meetings begin at 1:00 p.m. CDT.

Oak Ridge Experts to Report on Geo-Spatial Modeling for Nuke Capacity – Nuclear Policy Talks and Institute for Nuclear Studies will host a seminar with GWU’s Elliott School tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. to present the results of a recent study conducted at Oak Ridge National Laboratory that applied the principles of geo-spatial data modeling on siting ISFSIs. The study identified two key factors namely transportation distance and population along the route as the optimization variables to formulate the problem in a mathematical way. Application of sound siting principles and subsequent simulations revealed potentially favorable locations for ISFSIs given the current quantity and distribution of UNF as well as future quantities based on three growth scenarios for nuclear capacity. The study also addresses some key recommendations of the BRC.  Oak Ridge’s Dr. Sacit M. Cetiner, of the Advanced Reactor Systems & Safety Group Reactor & Nuclear Systems Division will speak.  

Forum to Look at Oil, War – The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will hold a forum on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. on Petro Aggression Issues.  Oil is the world’s single most important commodity and its political effects are pervasive.  Wilson’s Jeff Colgan extends the idea of the resource curse into the realm of international relations, exploring how major oil-exporting countries form their foreign policy preferences and intentions. Petro-Aggression shows that oil creates incentives for both aggression and peace in its biggest producers. The net effect depends critically on a petrostate’s domestic politics, especially the preferences of its leaders. Revolutionary leaders are especially significant. Using case studies including Iraq, Iran, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, this book offers new insight into why oil politics has a central role in global peace and conflict.

Stanford Climate Data to Be Discussed – On Thursday at 8:30 a.m. at the National Press Club’s Murrow Room, Stanford University Professor Jon Krosnick will present key findings from a March 2013 survey of public attitudes on preparing for climate change and extreme weather. Co-sponsored by the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and the Center for Ocean Solutions, the national survey includes oversampling of New York and California. The poll focuses on risk reduction in coastal areas, how to pay for adaptation strategies, and implications for the economy and jobs at the local, state and national levels. Following Professor Krosnick’s presentation, representatives from government, the nonprofit world and the private sector will discuss the results, their concerns and strategies for making communities more resilient in the future.  The panel will be moderated by Woods Senior Lecturer Meg Caldwell, Executive Director of the Center for Ocean Solutions and Director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law and Policy Program at Stanford Law School.  Other panelists include NYC Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway, NOAA’s Laurie McGilvray and EESI head Carol Werner.  EESI will also host a similar event on Capitol Hill in 2318 Rayburn at 3:00 p.m.

Shelk to Address NatGas Roundtable – The Natural Gas Roundtable will host John Shelk, President and CEO of Electric Power Supply Association will be the guest speaker at the next luncheon on Thursday at Noon at the University Club.  Shelk has been EPSA President and CEO, the national trade association representing leading competitive electricity suppliers, since 2005.

Forum to Discuss Defense Biofuel Plans – The Atlantic Council Will hold a discussion on Thursday at 3:00 p.m. looking at the risks and benefits of the US Department of Defense’s (DoD) biofuels policies and the ongoing efforts to reduce the department’s petroleum footprint. As the largest organizational user of petroleum in the world and with fuel costs that continue to rise, the DoD faces financial, operational, and strategic risks. The discussion will focus on DoD’s alternative fuels policy, will provide a critical analysis of this policy, will offer potential pathways for the commercial biofuels industry to mature enough to meet capacity and be cost-competitive, and will provide views from an industry leader.  Following the presentations, the panelists will answer questions from the audience. The roundtable will provide a particularly timely discussion with the arrival of the new Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and the unknown impacts of the federal budget crisis.  Panelists will include RAND’s James Bartis, Jan Koninckx of DuPont Industrial Biosciences, DoD’s Adam Rosenberg and Bloomberg New Energy Finance Biofuels Industry Specialist Alejandro Zamorano-Cadavid

FUTURE EVENTS

Former AIG CEO Greenberg Returns to DC for Chamber Talk – The US Chamber Foundation will hold a book discussion with former AIG CEO Maurice R. “Hank” Greenberg April 2nd at 5:30 p.m. focused on Greenberg’s book, The AIG Story,with GWU professor Lawrence Cunningham.  The book is Greenberg’s firsthand account of American International Group’s rise and near-destruction.  In this story, AIG’s CEO of forty years, Maurice R. “Hank” Greenberg, and corporate governance expert, Lawrence Cunningham, relate the complete, inside story of the rise and near-destruction of AIG. Readers are regaled with tales from Hank Greenberg’s firsthand experience at AIG, combined with Cunningham’s additional research and interviews.  The book tells the story of Greenberg, who transformed a scattered collection of insurance businesses into American International Group, a global financial colossus with nearly $1 trillion in assets on its balance sheets-and how, in the process, he revolutionized the insurance industry.   At the same time, The AIG Story is an account of the world’s rough ride toward globalization and the triumph of free and open markets over communism, nationalism, protectionism, and isolationism, and the significant role Greenberg and AIG played.  Integral to the story is the authors’ take on the 2008 global financial crisis. Through Greenberg’s direct involvement and Cunningham’s craftsmanship, The AIG Story reveals much about those events that until now, has been kept hidden from the public.

WRI to Release NatGas Emissions Working Paper – On Thursday, April 4th at 9:00 a.m., the World Resources Institute will roll out a new working paper, “Clearing the Air on Natural Gas: Reducing Upstream Greenhouse Gas Emissions from U.S. Natural Gas Systems”.  The rapid expansion of unconventional natural gas development has reshaped the U.S. energy picture through increased production and reduced prices of natural gas. The shale gas production boom has also ignited divisive debates over its near- and long-term environmental impacts. The new study looks to clarify what is known about leakage rates of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from the U.S. natural gas sector, what progress has been made to reduce those emissions, and what more can be done to further reduce leakage.  The paper outlines tools that federal and state governments can employ to reduce these harmful emissions, helping to clear the air and slow the rate of climate change.

Nestle CEO to Discuss Bottled Water Ban at NPC Newsmaker – The National Press Club Newsmakers Committee will host Kim Jeffery, Chairman of Nestlé Waters North America, at a Newsmaker forum in the Club’s Zenger Room at 10:00 a.m. Thursday, April 4th.  Jeffery will focus on policy issues, health benefits and environmental controversies surrounding the growth of bottled water. Concord, Massachusetts made history this year by becoming the first town to ever ban the sale of water, citing environmental concerns over the plastic bottles. Critics question the logic of banning bottled water at a time when the nation faces a serious obesity crisis. Nestlé Waters North America is the number one bottled water company in the United States and the third largest non-alcoholic beverage company in the country.

Moniz Nomination Hearing Set – On Tuesday, April 9th at 10:00 a.m. , the Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing to consider the nomination of Dr. Ernest Moniz to be the next Secretary of Energy.

International Geothermal Forum Set – The Geothermal Energy Association will hold its International Geothermal Energy Finance Forum on Thursday April 11th at New York’s Marriott Marquis. The full day Forum will provide a day long discussion featuring the leaders of geothermal development, private and public financing, and project risk and reward.  Confirmed speakers include The World Bank Group’s Energy Sector Management Assistance Program Manager Rohit Khanna, Jennifer Graham of the Prudential Capital Group, JP Morgan’s John Eber, Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s Head of Geothermal & CCS Research Mark Taylor, and MidAmerican Energy’s Jonathan Weisgall.

McCarthy, Nichols, UNFCCC Figueres to Address Carbon Conference – The 11th annual Navigating the American Carbon World (NACW) will be held in San Francisco’s Palace Hotel April 16th through 18th.  The event is the largest and most comprehensive gathering for information and discussion around climate change policy and carbon markets.  NACW will take an in-depth look at California’s historic cap-and-trade program, including discussions on market structure, revenue allocation, legal issues and forecasts. The conference will also delve into other established and emerging carbon markets around the world and potential linkages. And, NACW will provide a platform for discussing offsets and offset supply, U.S. federal policies, and business leadership.  Speakers will include EPA’s Gina McCarthy, CARB head Mary Nichols, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres and NWF President Larry Schweiger.

Farrell to Headline Chamber Energy CEO Leadership Event – The Institute for 21st Century Energy and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation will hold a CEO Leadership Series luncheon on Thursday, April 23rd at Noon featuring Dominion Energy CEO Thomas Farrell. 

The American Foundry Society (AFS) is hosting their annual Government Affairs Conference on Wednesday, May 1, 2013 at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Washington, D.C.  My colleague Jeff Holmstead will address over 80 owners and plant managers  on what they can expect from EPA in the next 12 to 24 months, including new regulations to limit greenhouse gas emissions at existing power plants.  Of particular interest to these manufacturers is the upcoming ozone rule.

WINDPOWER 2013 – May 5th through 8th in Chicago, IL.

Energy Update Week of April 1

Friends,

It is with great regret that I inform you that this will be the last Energy update sent to our illustrious list of policy and media sources.  With all the burdens we face every day here at Bracewell’s PRG, constantly keeping you all informed about DC events and environmental and energy policy for free has finally become too much bear.  So it is with great sadness and incredible pain in my heart, I say April Fools…

Seriously, we could never give up on this update.  It is too much fun to write every week… Plus, today is the real beginning of Baseball season.  In fact, need to get this out ASAP so I can head over to National’s Park for the festivities to kick off this new season.

That was pretty exciting weekend of sports with the hoops and ice final fours.  Kudos to Michigan, Louisville, Wichita State (shocker) and Syracuse.  And on the ice, congrats to #1 seeds Quinnipiac and UMass-Lowell, surprise #4 seeds St. Cloud State (MN) and Yale.  Should make for some great hoops in Atlanta and hockey in Pittsburgh.

Well, even though the week ended with Good Friday, apparently, EPA thought Good Friday meant a good Friday to put out controversial rules.   Three items popped Friday, the long-awaited, often politically-delayed EPA Tier III gasoline rule  (which got a lot of coverage so I don’t devote much to it), a mercury rule revision and a court decision in an NSR case focused on DTE energy in Michigan.  (And just when you thought it was safe to forget NSR).  See below for details.

Congress returns next week with the Senate Energy Committee holding a hearing next Tuesday April 9th for DOE nominee Ernie Moniz hearing.  EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy’s hearing will be Thursday, April 11th in Senate Environment Committee.

Finally, two excellent events this week: tomorrow evening at 5:30 p.m., our friend and former AIG CEO Hank Greenberg returns to DC to continue his discussion of the government’s treatment of the AIG Bailout at the US Chamber’s CEO series.  Hank is always good for a few blasts and great quotes. Secondly, on Thursday at the Press Club, I will host a Newsmaker on the battle over bottled water.  I will have Nestle Water CEO Kim Jeffrey available to take your questions about the on-going effort to ban bottled water over environmental concerns in places like the University of Vermont and Concord, Massachusetts.   More than 90 colleges and universities have banned or restricted the sale of bottled water on campus.  It should be an interesting discussion.    

Call with Questions

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

IN THE NEWS

EPA Issues Tier 3 Gasoline Rules – EPA rolled out its long-awaited, politically controversial new environmental rules to reduce smog-producing sulfur in gasoline.  The sulfur standard, called Tier 3, would lower allowable sulfur content from 30 to 10 ppm starting in 2017, when the next phase of higher auto mileage targets are to begin. It follows the Tier 2 sulfur standards that lowered limits by 90%.  While EPA said it would only have a 1-cent per gallon impact, refiners say it will likely be 9-cents, could impact refinery operations and will certainly hike gas prices.  In fact, the gas price impact is pone of the major reasons it wasn’t released last year in the middle of the 2012 Presidential campaign.

Added to Ethanol, New Rule Creates Worries for Refiners – API, APFM and other individual refiners protested the new sulfur rules but focused on a larger swell of issues that will have gasoline supply and price impacts that have emerged in recent days. API’s Bob Greco said the plan is part of a “tsunami of regulations” by EPA that could drive up pump prices. He pointed to a study that estimated the potential pump price increase of 9-cents, separate from possible upward pressure from potential fuel vapor pressure rules and increased use of ethanol.  Of course, last week refiners already raised major cost questions over the most recent ethanol requirements. Each year, EPA is required to increase the amount of ethanol that must be blended into gasoline, but at the same time, the recession and efficiency gains have significantly decreased demand for gasoline.  No one expects that gasoline demand will rebound strongly, and there are physical constraints on safely using higher blends of ethanol.  As a result, there aren’t enough gallons of gasoline to put all of the required gallons of ethanol into – and that has driven up the price of renewable credits.  Valero alone says the costs could be $500-750 million more this year, which will likely be passed through to consumers

EPA Also Rolls Out Mercury Revision – Even though it was Good Friday, EPA was not done.  They also issued updates to pollution limits for new power plants under the mercury and air toxics standards, based on new information and analysis that became available to the agency after the rule was finalized. From the moment the MATS rule was proposed, complaints were raised that the rule was not achievable in practice, a clear and unambiguous requirement of the Clean Air Act.  In the case of the MATS rule as it applied to “new” sources – meaning future power plants – even the manufacturers of pollution control equipment (typically beneficiaries of inflexible rules) had to admit that mercury control levels were set so high that monitoring equipment couldn’t even detect compliance levels.   It was always suspected that EPA would have to address new-source MATS or face fairly certain defeat in court.  So, most experts are not surprised that EPA acted upon the petitions for reconsideration.  This is the second time in the last few weeks that EPA seems to be admitting that it may have taken positions regarding new coal- and oil-fired facilities that go beyond what the Clean Air Act will allow.  Two weeks ago, the Agency quietly admitted that the proposed new source performance standard for carbon emissions from new plants was also probably illegal and would need far more work before it could be finalized.  EPA continues to miss the real opportunity to address the underlying MATS rule as it applies to the existing fleet of coal-fired power plants.  While Assistant Administrator McCarthy did make some improvements in the rule before it was finalized, the rule still exacerbates certain market trends and reduces the diversity of affordable and reliable fuels upon which the US depends.  The MATS rule remains one of the most expensive rules in EPA history with potentially significant adverse impacts on unemployment and manufacturing.  Despite press claims to the contrary, the MATS rule can lay little claim to any significant benefits once double-counting is taken into account.

Court Rule in DTE NSR Case – And If you thought we were done with the old “New Source Review” argument, think again.  On Thursday evening, an important but heavily spun result occurred in the 6th Circuit case.  You may remember, DTE won a lower court case on NSR changes at its Monroe coal plant.  While the 6th Circuit remanded the case back to the District Court, the actual thrust of the opinion was positive for industry in many ways.  The decision can be found here:  http://www.ca6.uscourts.gov/opinions.pdf/13a0080p-06.pdf. Scott Segal, director of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, a group of energy companies working on sensible approaches to Clean Air Act implementation and enforcement, said the

court largely affirmed the position taken by DTE finding that ‘the district court’s premises are largely correct.’  The court even heard evidence that in the period since DTE’s activities took place, emissions at its Monroe facility have actually declined, not increased as would be necessary to trigger enforcement actions. Segal: “The Sixth Circuit explicitly rejected any second guessing of properly submitted projections in advance of construction.  The Court further found that the timing of DTE’s submissions was ‘fully consistent’ with the regulatory scheme.  And the Court waived off any suggestion of bad faith.  The Court even found that DTE’s actions at the Monroe facility ‘to keep its emissions from increasing’ actually ‘further the goal’ of the Clean Air Act.  Rather, the Court explicitly states that its reversal ‘does not constitute endorsement of EPA’s suggestions,’ instead only focusing on the very narrow question of whether adequacy of pre-construction projections can ever be reviewed by EPA.  In limited conditions (for example, according to the majority, using the wrong significance level or baseline), they can.”  Segal says the case continues a firm trend: The NSR program should be triggered in limited circumstances and is not intended to be a roving basis for a prior approval scheme. 

Enviros Seek Relook at CSAPR – Following a significant defeat in the US Court of Appeals, a collection of environmentalist groups have filed a cert petition before the US Supreme Court asking for review of the DC Circuit decision that set aside EPA’s cross-state air pollution rule, or CSAPR.   My colleague Scott Segal says the filing is by no means a novel approach, with the Supreme Court receiving over 8,000 cert petitions a year out of which the Court hears oral argument on about 100 or so cases.  Segal adds it is hard to imagine that this petition has a great likelihood of being one of those cases.  Segal: “First, the petition does not raise any novel legal issues or address particular circuit splits that make Supreme Court review likely.  The questions the petitioners would certify for appeal are critical of the DC Circuit decision, to be sure, but they are garden variety.  They are matters of statutory interpretation and court procedure of the type frequently advanced at least since the Chevron case almost thirty years ago.  The chances of the Supreme Court taking a case like this is very, very low.  Second, on the merits, the EPA was given an opportunity after the Clean Air Interstate Rule, or CAIR, decision to formulate a rule that met with the guidance of the court.  Instead, the Agency developed a CSAPR rule that overreached and they have ended up coming away with nothing.  Even when faced the real possibility of codifying the CAIR standards, some of the self-same petitioners on this brief counseled the Agency to push for more than the Act allowed.  Last, the petitioners’ discussion of the “national importance” of the relief is misplaced.  The CAIR rule remains in place even as EPA considers its options for a potential replacement for the interstate rule.  Further, the Agency’s actions in the MATS rule and in the carbon rules add other layers of expensive redundancy to the effort.  And if the Agency shares this sense of urgency they would do well to propose reasonable rules rather than to petition the courts to reinstate unreasonable ones.”

Poll: More Emphasis on Domestic Renewable Energy – A new Gallup poll says a majority of Americans want the U.S. to place more emphasis on the domestic production of renewable energy than on that of oil, coal and nuclear power.  The poll, which surveyed 1,022 Americans, found that 76% of respondents want the U.S. to emphasize domestic production of solar power, followed by 71% of respondents urging for wind power. According to Gallup, this means that no fewer than two in three Americans support the further domestic production of renewables.

DOE Launches Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has launched the Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative (CEMI), which will focus on growing U.S. manufacturing of clean energy products and boosting U.S. competitiveness through major improvements in manufacturing energy productivity.  As part of the CEMI, the DOE has awarded over $23 million in funding for clean energy manufacturing research and development and plans to award more funds in the coming months. In addition, the CEMI involves hosting a series of summits to gather input on manufacturing priorities and opportunities, as well as launching new public-private partnerships focused on improving U.S. clean energy manufacturing competitiveness.  The announcement was made at the ribbon cutting of the DOE’s Carbon Fiber Technology Facility in Oak Ridge, Tenn., a new manufacturing facility that will be used to help reduce the cost of carbon fiber – a critical material for next-generation wind turbines.  Now open to U.S. manufacturers, this state-of-the-art facility provides clean energy companies and researchers with a test bed for the development of less-expensive, better- performing carbon fiber materials and manufacturing processes, the DOE says. The 42,000-square-foot facility is supported by a $35 million DOE grant and will produce up to 25 tons of carbon fiber each year.

GOING ON THIS WEEK 

EPA to Look at Climate Goals – EPA’s Green Power Partnership will host a webinar tomorrow at 1:00p.m., looking at innovative approaches to climate goals.  They will focus on recent efforts by Microsoft to develop an internal carbon fee.  As companies and organizations strive to meet carbon reduction goals and climate commitments, many are undertaking innovative strategies to help meet these goals. A leading example of such innovation is Microsoft’s adoption of an internal carbon fee. An EPA Green Power Partner, Microsoft recently instituted a company-wide commitment to achieve carbon neutrality for its data centers, software development labs, offices, and employee air travel, and the carbon fee is a key component of this aggressive goal. By internalizing the cost of GHG pollution through financial measures, the carbon fee incentivizes employees to reduce emissions while raising funds for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects and purchases.

Former AIG CEO Greenberg Returns to DC for Chamber Talk – The US Chamber Foundation will hold a book discussion with former AIG CEO Maurice R. “Hank” Greenberg tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. focused on Greenberg’s book, The AIG Story,with GWU professor Lawrence Cunningham.  The book is Greenberg’s firsthand account of American International Group’s rise and near-destruction.  In this story, AIG’s CEO of forty years, Maurice R. “Hank” Greenberg, and corporate governance expert, Lawrence Cunningham, relate the complete, inside story of the rise and near-destruction of AIG. Readers are regaled with tales from Hank Greenberg’s firsthand experience at AIG, combined with Cunningham’s additional research and interviews.  The book tells the story of Greenberg, who transformed a scattered collection of insurance businesses into American International Group, a global financial colossus with nearly $1 trillion in assets on its balance sheets-and how, in the process, he revolutionized the insurance industry.   At the same time, The AIG Story is an account of the world’s rough ride toward globalization and the triumph of free and open markets over communism, nationalism, protectionism, and isolationism, and the significant role Greenberg and AIG played.  Integral to the story is the authors’ take on the 2008 global financial crisis. Through Greenberg’s direct involvement and Cunningham’s craftsmanship, The AIG Story reveals much about those events that until now, has been kept hidden from the public.

Energy to Discuss CHPs, State Energy Plans – The Energy Department will present a live webinar Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. looking at combined heat and power and energy infrastructure. This webinar will discuss how combined heat and power (CHP) systems can fulfill the need for resilient critical infrastructure while making energy more cost- and fuel-efficient for the user and more reliable and environmentally friendly for society at large. Presenters will discuss the benefit of CHP systems in critical infrastructure applications, detailed case studies of how CHP systems powered facilities through Hurricane Sandy, and federal and state policies promoting the use of CHP technology in critical infrastructure. Also on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m., DOE will also hold a live webinar titled “State Energy Strategic Planning.” During this webinar, the National Association of State Energy Officials will discuss their recent analysis of 39 State Energy Strategic Plans and accompanying “Guide to State Energy Planning.” This webinar will focus on describing the necessary steps to create an effective State Energy Plan, hearing from state agencies that have recently completed the process, and highlighting best practices from NASEO’s research.

JHU to Host Forum on Global Food Security – The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies will host a discussion featuring Robert Thompson, SAIS visiting scholar and former director of rural development at the World Bank Wednesday at Noon.  Thompson will discuss global food security and building resilience to climate impacts.

WRI to Release NatGas Emissions Working Paper – On Thursday at 9:00 a.m., the World Resources Institute will roll out a new working paper, “Clearing the Air on Natural Gas: Reducing Upstream Greenhouse Gas Emissions from U.S. Natural Gas Systems”.  The rapid expansion of unconventional natural gas development has reshaped the U.S. energy picture through increased production and reduced prices of natural gas. The shale gas production boom has also ignited divisive debates over its near- and long-term environmental impacts. The new study looks to clarify what is known about leakage rates of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from the U.S. natural gas sector, what progress has been made to reduce those emissions, and what more can be done to further reduce leakage.  The paper outlines tools that federal and state governments can employ to reduce these harmful emissions, helping to clear the air and slow the rate of climate change.

Nestle CEO to Discuss Bottled Water Ban at NPC Newsmaker – The National Press Club Newsmakers Committee will host Kim Jeffery, Chairman of Nestlé Waters North America, at a Newsmaker forum in the Club’s Zenger Room at 10:00 a.m. Thursday.  Jeffery will focus on policy issues, health benefits and environmental controversies surrounding the growth of bottled water. Concord, Massachusetts made history this year by becoming the first town to ever ban the sale of water, citing environmental concerns over the plastic bottles. Critics question the logic of banning bottled water at a time when the nation faces a serious obesity crisis. Nestlé Waters North America is the number one bottled water company in the United States and the third largest non-alcoholic beverage company in the country.

FUTURE EVENTS

Forum to Look at Africa, Climate Issues – The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will hold a forum next Monday, April 8th at 3:00 p.m. to look at Africa ‘s population dynamics, climate change and sustainable development.  A large share of the population of Africa is living in marginalized areas that are susceptible to climate variation and extreme weather events. Population growth is occurring most rapidly in sub-Saharan Africa, increasing vulnerability to the projected impacts of climate change. Incorporating population dynamics into climate change mitigation and adaptation in these areas can help organizations better understand and address these challenges, yet issues like access to family planning, reproductive health, and women’s education and empowerment are rarely considered in climate change planning.  The African Institute for Development Policy recently conducted a study in collaboration with Population Action International to analyze the challenges and opportunities for incorporating population considerations into climate change and development interventions in sub-Saharan Africa. The results highlight policy and program implications in Kenya and Malawi and will help guide responses to climate change that include population dynamics and work towards sustainable development.  Speakers will include Eliya Msiyaphazi Zulu, of the African Institute for Development Policy, Clive Mutunga of Population Action International and Abigail Jones of Climate Advisers.

Moniz Nomination Hearing Set – On Tuesday, April 9th at 10:00 a.m. , the Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing to consider the nomination of Dr. Ernest Moniz to be the next Secretary of Energy.

CSIS Forum to Look at Water Issues – CSIS will hold the 17th annual NCAC Washington Energy Policy Conference on Tuesday April 9th to examine the energy-water nexus with a specific focus on water management issues relative to electric power generation. The availability of clean and reliable water resources is a critical issue across the North America and throughout the world. Electricity production is the second largest consumer of water in the United States, after agriculture. This one-day conference will feature experts to discuss some of the most central issues related to water and electricity use:  the technological opportunities and financial challenges of; the regulatory and environmental outlooks; and insights into the regional U.S. and international dynamics. Recently, the U.S. Department of State released its draft Supplement Environmental Impact Statement on the Keystone XL pipeline, which, if approved by the Obama administration, would connect Canada’s oil sands with U.S. refineries in the Gulf Coast. The debate surrounding the pipeline has brought increased attention to the Canadian province of Alberta,—which, with an estimated 170 billion barrels—is home to the world’s third-largest proven reserves of oil.

Alberta Premier to Speak at Brookings – The Energy Security Initiative at Brookings will host Alison Redford, the premier of Alberta, on Tuesday April 9th at 2:00 p.m. for a discussion on the Alberta-U. S. energy relationship, environmental efforts undertaken by her administration, and the Keystone XL pipeline.  Senior Fellow Charles Ebinger, director of the Energy Security Initiative, will provide introductory remarks. Brookings Trustee Daniel Yergin, chairman of Cambridge Energy Research Associates, will moderate the discussion with Premier Redford to include questions from the audience.

Marine Renewable Conference Set – The Global Marine Renewable Energy Conference will be held at the Almas Temple Club on Wednesday and Thursday, April 10th & 11th to provide a venue where technical experts from across disciplines can publish and present cutting-edge wave and water current energy research that helps accelerate the pace of technology development.

EPA McCarthy Nomination Hearing Set – On Thursday, April 11th at 10:00 a.m. , the Senate Environment Committee will hold a hearing to consider the nomination of Gina McCarthy to be the next EPA Administrator.

RFF Academic Brief to Discuss Energy Efficiency – RFF will hold its usual Academic Seminar on Thursday April 11th to discuss a handful of Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs offered property-secured loans to homeowners for residential clean energy investments. This analysis uses difference-in-differences models and synthetic counterfactual models to estimate the effect of three California PACE programs on residential photovoltaic installations.  The Duke Nicholas School expert Lori Bennear will discuss.

International Geothermal Forum Set – The Geothermal Energy Association will hold its International Geothermal Energy Finance Forum on Thursday April 11th at New York’s Marriott Marquis. The full day Forum will provide a daylong discussion featuring the leaders of geothermal development, private and public financing, and project risk and reward.  Confirmed speakers include The World Bank Group’s Energy Sector Management Assistance Program Manager Rohit Khanna, Jennifer Graham of the Prudential Capital Group, JP Morgan’s John Eber, Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s Head of Geothermal & CCS Research Mark Taylor, and MidAmerican Energy’s Jonathan Weisgall.

McCarthy, Nichols, UNFCCC Figueres to Address Carbon Conference – The 11th annual Navigating the American Carbon World (NACW) will be held in San Francisco’s Palace Hotel April 16th through 18th.  The event is the largest and most comprehensive gathering for information and discussion around climate change policy and carbon markets.  NACW will take an in-depth look at California’s historic cap-and-trade program, including discussions on market structure, revenue allocation, legal issues and forecasts. The conference will also delve into other established and emerging carbon markets around the world and potential linkages. And, NACW will provide a platform for discussing offsets and offset supply, U.S. federal policies, and business leadership.  Speakers will include EPA’s Gina McCarthy, CARB head Mary Nichols, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres and NWF President Larry Schweiger.

WAPA Forum to Focus on Feasibility of ZEV Mandate – The Washington Automotive Press Association (WAPA) will hold its April luncheon on Wednesday April 17th at Noon in the National Press Club.  Mike Stanton, president and CEO of the Association of Global Automakers, will explore issues related to the feasibility of Zero-Emissions Vehicle mandates and other transportation policy issues.  As automakers work to meet the new national fuel economy regulations, they are also faced with the challenge of complying with California’s Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) program. Between MY 2018 and MY 2025, the ZEV sales “mandate” will require manufacturers to sell approximately 5 million ZEVs cumulatively in California and the nine states that have adopted the program, regardless of market conditions and infrastructure availability.  Stanton, a trusted voice for the auto industry, will outline the ZEV program and how the government can play an active role to help bring alternative fuels, advanced technology vehicles, and the necessary infrastructure to the marketplace.

Farrell to Headline Chamber Energy CEO Leadership Event – The Institute for 21st Century Energy and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation will hold a CEO Leadership Series luncheon on Thursday, April 23rd at Noon featuring Dominion Energy CEO Thomas Farrell. 

Hydrogen, Fuel Cell Expo Set for Hill – The House Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Caucus will host a Fuel Cell and Hydrogen EXPO and POLICY FORUM Wednesday, April 24th from 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in 345 Cannon.  The forum will include Congressional and Administration speakers as well as a panel of state experts.

The American Foundry Society (AFS) is hosting their annual Government Affairs Conference on Wednesday, May 1st at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Washington, D.C.  My colleague Jeff Holmstead will address over 80 owners and plant managers on what they can expect from EPA in the next 12 to 24 months, including new regulations to limit greenhouse gas emissions at existing power plants.  Of particular interest to these manufacturers is the upcoming ozone rule.

WINDPOWER 2013 – May 5th through 8th in Chicago, IL.