Energy Update Week of January 14

Friends, 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IN THE NEWS  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GOING ON THIS WEEK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 21st – Presidential Inauguration Day

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

FUTURE EVENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

February 12 – State Of The Union Speech  

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

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

Energy Update Week of April 30

Friends,

Well, it sounds like the President was a big hit at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Saturday.  I, of course, missed this year because I was sitting in the rain at a lacrosse game (so unfair, but you do what you have to do to make sure you can go to the Caps game).  Anyway, President was solid with his jibes at Donald Trump, GSA, Mitt Romney, the secret service and Hillary Clinton texting.  Not to be outdone, host Jimmy Kimmel also blasted away on a bunch of folks, including the President, telling him “there’s a term for guys like President Obama. Probably not two terms.”  Kimmel also skewered Keith Olberman who didn’t take it so kindly.   Anyway, it seems a good time was had by all at one of DC biggest nights.  In fact, one of my colleagues celebrating a birthday dinner with his wife at Café Milano was showered with stars at a pre-dinner dinners, rubbing elbows with new Redskins Draft pick RG3, Reece Witherspoon, Mayor Bloomberg and Ivanka Trump, among others.

With Congress out this week (must be an election year), there is less action in DC, but that hasn’t slowed the firestorm around EPA Region 6 Administrator Al Armendariz, the former enviro advocate that has been under fire after controversial comments about “crucifying” the oil & gas industry.  Dr. Al, EPA and the Administration apparently have had enough and Armendariz just resigned.  More detail on this below. 

We are still hearing a lot about gas prices despite a slight price drop, which has consumers feeling a little better.  It must be all the hard work politicians and the President have done in the last three weeks to lower the price… (I hope I don’t need to mention that I’m kidding).  Also with Congress out, many of you may focus on the DC Court of Appeals which will hear arguments regarding NRC’s mishandling of the Yucca Mountain application on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m., its second Yucca case in as many weeks.

Also, check out the new CNN iReport on drilling in Dimock.  Remember, EPA has released three sets of water samples already in Dimock, PA, most in late Friday afternoon releases, that say the water doesn’t possess a threat to human health and the environment, are consistent with literally thousands of pages of water quality data accumulated by state and local authorities and have no relationship to oil and gas development in the area. 

Finally, today the President is scheduled to speak to the AFL-CIO’s Building and Construction Trades during their 2012 National Legislative Conference.  Of course, the unions have taken him to task over the Keystone Pipeline decision so that might be a little uncomfortable.  Certainly, the President’s opponents at RNC and other places are already making hay over it, as evidenced by a HuffPost piece from RNC Chair Reince Priebus.  Not too often HuffPost and Union leaders side with RNC, especially in even-numbered years.

We’re talking energy politics, Dr. Al, hockey playoffs (Caps/Rangers looks to be a great epic battle) and the NFL draft (It seems that the Redskins are already ready for the Super Bowl now that RG3 is here). 

By the way, this weekend features a couple of cool items.  Saturday is Cinco de Mayo so you should get out and celebrate.  I’m heading to a great new Mexican Restaurant Poncho & Pepe’s that has taken over the old Jaspers in Crofton on Rt 3 just north of Rt 50 for you “east of DC” folks.  Secondly, NCAA lacrosse men’s and women’s brackets are chosen Sunday night in the run up to the finals over Memorial Day weekend.  And finally, if you’re into battlebots and you happen to be in Indianapolis, head over to the National Tooling and Machining Association’s 2012 National Robotics League (NRL) Championships, a robot combat competition that connects students with local manufacturers to build robots designed to do battle.  (there should be a TV show on that!)

Best,

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

IN THE NEWS

EPA Regional Admin Under Fire, Resigns – Last week, EPA Region 6 Administrator Al Armendariz under fire for remarks made two years ago when he used the word “crucify” to describe his approach to enforcement, resigned today at Noon.  Armendariz, often at odds with many folks in his region over recusals and other issues as well, was the EPA ‘s top environmental official in Texas and the parts of the Southwest.  Over the weekend, Armendariz sent a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson saying he regrets his words and stresses that they do not reflect his work as administrator of the five-state region including Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.  Armendariz was particularly under attack for his aggressive attack on Range Resources in which the EPA had to completely backtrack.  Of course enviro groups that love his work had already started online petition efforts to support Armendariz, but after but EPA’s top enforcement official and Administrator Jackson both rejected his view and offered only lukewarm support for Armendariz, the writing seemed to be on the wall for him in this contested  election year.   Senate Environment Ranking Member Jim Inhofe, who assailed Armendariz in a floor speech last week exposing the issue, said it was only right for Armendariz to resign today, but  he isn’t backing down just yet because “his resignation in no way solves the problem of President Obama and his EPA’s crucifixion philosophy.”  Inhofe: “Armendariz was just being honest: his choice of words revealed the truth about the war that EPA has been waging on American energy producers under President Obama.   Inhofe added he will continue his investigation into the situations surrounding EPA’s apparent crucifixion victims, saying “the American people deserve to know why, in at least three separate cases, EPA tarnished the reputation of companies by accusing them of water contamination; then when the results of their study did not turn out the way they hoped, and they had no definitive evidence to make that link, they quietly walked back their accusations.”

CNN iReports Video Highlights Positive Impacts on Drilling on Dimock – Speaking of Dimock, supporters of drilling miffed at recent opponent’s CNN iReport that they say mischaracterized the drilling impacts on water and the community have completed their own iReport that CNN has now posted.    The five-minute video talks about the water in the region and has its own “flaming moment” when an interviewee actually lights their creek on fire.  See the video here.  

IER Releases Energy Primer – The Institute for Energy Research has released a comprehensive energy primer that assesses the U.S. production and consumption levels of all major sources. Grounded in IER’s free market-based approach to global energy and environmental policy, “Hard Facts: An Energy Primer” lays out an in-depth explanation of domestically-produced fossil fuel and renewable energy sources.

THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK:

Offshore Tech Conference Starts in Houston – The Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) starts today in Houston at the Reliant Center running Thursday.  The event is the world’s foremost event for the development of offshore resources in the fields of drilling, exploration, production, and environmental protection.  The show offers cutting edge technology, presentations from experts across the industry

and over 2,500 companies offering impressive booth displays. The OTC technical sessions have grown to include new topics, such as standards for jackups and platforms, global LNG, offshore offloading solutions, drilling over 15,000 psi and deepwater cementing.  Also on the agenda are new developments in offshore wind energy and local power generation for offshore facilities. Steve Balint from Shell International is this year’s OTC Chair.

Rendell to Sustainable Cities Workshop – The Environmental Law Institute, World Business Council on Sustainable Development and World Environment Center will hold a workshop today at the Pew Charitable Trusts D.C. Conference Center to look at driving innovation to build sustainable cities.  Many experts envision that cities of the future will utilize more sustainable water, waste, energy, and transportation infrastructures. But, what will drive the innovation needed to create these cities? And, what role will government, industry, and NGOs play in bringing about this innovation?  Focusing on case studies related to sustainable transportation and energy efficiency, the workshop will bring together representatives from corporations, NGOs, and federal, state and local governments to discuss the various technologies and products that corporations have created for more sustainable cities. Participants will also discuss what has driven and will be needed to drive innovation and the expansion of these technologies and products across the country and globe.  Speaker will include former PA Governor Ed Rendell and many others. 

Sustainable Energy Conference Set for Boston – The 3rd Annual Sustainable Energy Conference will be held in Boston today at The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.  SEC is designed to advance the knowledge, perspective and networks of all sector leaders and others working to create a sustainable economy, improve economic recovery and growth, reduce operation costs, drive job creation, build sustainable communities and expand the green economy in Massachusetts. This is achieved with interactive panels, roundtable discussions and single-leader sessions on diverse and relevant topics with distinguished Conversation Leaders.  Keynote speaker will be EPA Regional Administrator Curt Spalding.

Sunstein to Visit NYU Law School for Meeting – The Institute for Policy Integrity at New York University School of Law will hold a conversation with Cass Sunstein today at 5:00 p.m.  Sunstein is the Administrator of OMB’s OIRA office, where he oversees the Obama administration’s regulatory agenda.  The NYU event will be one of only a few public speaking engagements this spring.

USEA to Host German EE Innovators – The US Energy Assn will host several energy efficiency technology innovators from the German cites of Bottrop and Lingen, Germany for a discussion on implementing efficient technologies for the benefit of municipalities tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. at USEA.  Winner of the InnovationCity Ruhr project, Bottrop has developed a credible plan to reduce its CO2 emissions by 50% by 2020 while maintaining the city’s quality of life and enhancing its economic competitiveness. Technologies tested in Lingen include biogas-powered sewage treatment systems, hydrothermal carbonization and hydrogen from biogas.  Presenters will include Bernd Tischler, Lord Mayor of the City of Bottrop; Ekkehard Pfeiffer, Head of River Basin Management at the Emscher River Collaborative; Arno Ester of Stadtwerke Lingen GmbH and Purdue University professor Klaus Hermann.  The same panel will also focus on energy from sewage at 2:30 in an event sponsored by the German Embassy, USEA and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.

ELI to Release “Harvesting Wind” Book – The Environmental Law Institute will hold forum to celebrate the release of “Harvest the Wind: America’s Journey to Jobs, Energy Independence, and Climate Stability,” a new book by former ELI Senior Attorney Philip Warburg at the National Press Club’s First Amendment Lounge tomorrow at 5:30 p.m.

Hill Hosts OH Jobs Forum – The Hill will host an Ohio Energy Jobs Summit on Wednesday in the Sheraton Columbus at Capitol Square.  The forum will feature a half-day, balanced discussion of the economic benefits of energy production in Ohio.   Speakers will include Associate Editor for The Hill A.B. Stoddard, Gov. John Kasich, Reps. Bill Johnson and Marcy Kaptur.  There will also be a state Elected-Officials Panel which will include Ohio Senate President Tom Niehaus (R), Ohio House Speaker Bill Batchelder (R), Ohio Senator Lou Gentile (D) (Ranking Minority Member of the Senate Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee) and State Rep. Dave Hall (R), Chairman of House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.  There will also be a manufacturing jobs and natural gas production panel featuring Mark Kvamme of JobsOhio, Jeff Daniels of The Ohio State University, Jerry James of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association and Jack Shaner of the Ohio Environmental Council.

JHU Hosts Brazilian Official to Talk Rio+20 – The Johns Hopkins University Center for Transatlantic Relations will host a speech Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. in the Bernstein-Offit Building featuring Alfredo Sirkis, a journalist and Brazilian congressman representing the state of Rio de Janeiro.  Sirkis will discuss sustainable development perspectives for the RIO+20.

DC Court to Tackle NRC Yucca Decision – On Wednesday at 9:30 a.m., the D.C. Court of Appeals will hear arguments regarding the NRC’s mishandling of the Yucca Mountain application. Whereas the first court hearing on last Friday dealt with the payments into the Nuclear Waste Fund, this case is straightforward.  NARUC, along with Aiken County, S.C., and the State of Washington, are asking the court to force NRC to make a decision, yes or no, on the Department of Energy’s June 2008 application to build a nuclear-repository in Yucca Mountain, Nev.   Of course the battle has been waging for some time.  For a full brief, reach out to our friend at NARUC, Rob Thormeyer rthormeyer@naruc.org (202-898-9382)

WCEE to Host Renewable Energy Experts – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will host a luncheon discussion on Wednesday at the downtown Washington DC office of Deloitte looking at renewable energy featuring Dr. Benjamin Zycher, Visiting Scholar, American Enterprise Institute, and Heidi Van Genderen, Director, National & Regional Outreach, American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE).  The speakers are very well respected thought leaders who will examine the challenges and opportunities facing renewable energy, particularly in light of the scheduled 2012 expiration of the wind energy production tax credit. 

RFF to Host Forum to Discuss Speculators, Oil Prices – Resources for the Future (RFF) will hold their May First Wednesday Seminar on Wednesday at 12:45 p.m. to address speculators and oil prices.  Concerns have been raised in the popular press and elsewhere that an influx of speculators drove the price of oil to unprecedented heights in 2008, and that it may now be happening again. Although futures markets play an important role in our economy, do we need more safeguards to prevent financial traders from manipulating prices? Panelists will review the claims and counterclaims, present evidence gleaned from ongoing research, and discuss the still-to-be completed process of reform that was mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010.  Panelists will include RFF’s James Smith, Syracuse University Whitman School of Management professor Jeffrey Harris, American University’s Michel Robe and our friend Kevin Book of ClearView Energy.

Brookings to Release LNG Export Report, Host Panel – The Brookings Institution’s Energy Security Initiative will host the release of the new report on “Liquid Markets: Assessing the Case for U.S. Exports of Liquefied Natural Gas”  Wednesday at 2:00 p.m.   Senior Fellow and ESI Director Charles Ebinger, lead author, will present the report’s conclusions and recommendations. Following his presentation, Ebinger will moderate a discussion featuring three representatives from the report’s expert task force, including our friend Kevin Book of Clearview Energy Partners, MIT Energy Initiative Executive Director Melanie Kenderdine and Michael Levi of the Council on Foreign Relations.  The boom in domestic natural gas production has raised the prospect of the United States becoming a significant exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG). Proponents of natural gas exports argue that it would provide valuable foreign exchange income, a strategic asset for U.S. foreign policy, and a source of economic growth and job creation. Some domestic natural gas consumers contend that exporting U.S. gas would increase domestic natural gas prices, resulting in higher prices and reduced competitiveness for domestic businesses. The Energy Security Initiative at Brookings (ESI) has conducted a year-long study into the feasibility and implications of potential U.S. LNG exports.

RFF Forum to Look at Biofuel Impact on Food Prices, Poverty – Resources for the Future will hold a forum on Thursday at Noon taking on the topic of effects of biofuel policy on food prices and poverty.  More than 40% of US grain is now used to produce biofuels, which are used as substitutes for gasoline in transportation. Biofuels have been blamed universally for recent increases in world food prices. Many studies have shown that these energy mandates in the US and EU may have a large (30-60%) impact on food prices. In this paper we show that demand-side effects – in the form of population growth and income-driven preferences for meat and dairy products rather than cereals – may play as much of a role in raising food prices as biofuel policy. Because of new land that can be brought under farming, the rise in food prices is likely to be much smaller than predicted by other studies. However, biofuels may increase aggregate world carbon emissions, due to leakage and conversion of new land for farming.  Presenters will include Ujjayant Chakravorty, University Professor and Canada Research Chair at the Alberta School of Business and Department of Economics Fellow at the Toulouse School of Economics.  Chakravorty also heads the Institute for Policy & Social Research at the University of Kansas.

Conference to Highlight Asian Americans in Energy – Asian Americans in Energy, the Environment and Commerce (AE2C) will hold its first annual conference Friday at EEI featuring with a series of distinguished speakers. They will share insights about energy projects in Asia, U.S. and China relations, and global flows of capital and personnel.  Speakers include Tseming Yang, Deputy General Counsel, US EPA (keynote) Gary Zheng, CEO, Lubbock Power & Light; Colin Tam, CEO, Crystal Vision Energy Ltd.; Sarav Periasamy, President & CEO, Peri Software, Inc.; Jimmy Rhee, Assistant Secretary of Commerce, Commonwealth of Virginia, and Rachelle Chong, Former Commissioner, California Public Utilities Commission. Speakers will address the value of diversity in maintaining and growing a workforce for clean energy.  

WRI to Release Climate Book Based on International Weapons, Trade Regimes – The World Resources Institute will launch Building International Climate Cooperation on Friday morning at 9:30 a.m.  The effort will focus on lessons from the weapons and trade regimes for achieving international climate goals. This new book, coauthored by Ruth Greenspan Bell and Micah S. Ziegler of WRI, Barry Blechman and Brian Finlay of the Stimson Center, and Thomas Cottier of the World Trade Institute, explores the question of what the climate change community can learn from the experiences of other regimes that have had some success and by their nature require global action.

JHU Forum to Look at Global Oil Consumption – The Johns Hopkins University Energy, Resources and Environment Program Global Leaders Forum will host a speech Friday at 12:30 p.m. in the Rome Building Auditorium featuring Leonardo Maugeri, a research fellow at the Geopolitics of Energy Project at Harvard University Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.  Maugeri will discuss the unnoticed revolution in global oil markets, looking at the new trend of global oil supply outpacing consumption.

Robot Battle Contest to Highlight Manufacturing – The National Tooling and Machining Association (NTMA) will head to Indiana for its annual mayhem in the ring contest featuring robot gladiators collide at the 2012 National Robotics League (NRL) Championships at the Circle Centre Mall in Indianapolis on Saturday and Sunday.  NTMA created the NRL, a robot combat competition, to introduce a new generation of Americans to manufacturing.  This is the second year in a row that the National Championships will be held in Indianapolis.  Schools participating include Bloomsburg (PA) Area High School, Cambridge Springs (PA) High School, Centerville (OH) High School, Conneaut Lake (PA) High School, Dunwoody (MN) College of Technology, Milford (OH) High School, N. St. Paul (MN) High School, Plum (PA) Senior High School, Prosser Career Education Center (IN), Slinger (WI) High School, Somerset County (PA) Technology Center, Springboro (OH) High School, Penn State University-University, University of South Florida, Upper Valley Career Center in Piqua (OH), Wright State University in Dayton and Celina, OH.  NTMA founded the NRL to help change misperceptions about manufacturing and attract a new generation of students to well-paying technical careers.  The program partners teams of middle school, high school, and post-secondary school students with local NTMA manufacturers to work together to build robots designed to do battle.  The result is not only a destruction-driven face-off of incredible machines, but also an opportunity to develop high-tech skills and cultivate the interest of a new generation of students who will determine the future of manufacturing.  The National Championship matches will feature student teams who have competed in NRL-sanctioned competitions across the U.S.  Clashes begin Saturday, May 5 with preliminary rounds followed by quarterfinals, semi-finals and final rounds that will take place through Sunday, May 6.

THE WEEKS AHEAD:

Kelliher to Headline NE Energy Conference – The Northeast Energy and Commerce Association and the Connecticut Power and Energy Society will host the 19th Annual New England Energy Conference and Exposition May 7th and 8th in Boston at the Sea Crest Beach Hotel looking at energy policy at the crossroads.  The two-day conference will bring together public officials and energy industry leaders to discuss and debate the key issues facing the industry. With the economy remaining slow to recover and the end of incentive programs supporting certain types of resources, policy makers and industry participants are faced with some hard choices. More than ever, the need to balance long-term policy considerations against near-term economic consequences is driving much of the decision making in our industry. This conference will consider how these conditions are shaping the energy landscape in New England.  Joseph Kelliher, Executive Vice President for Federal Regulatory Affairs for NextEra Energy and a former FERC Chairman, will lead off the conference discussing federal regulatory issues and their impact on our region. Gordon van Welie, President and CEO of ISO New England Inc., will provide his outlook on issues affecting the wholesale power markets in the region.

Heritage Forum to Look at Implications of Middle East Oil Disruption – The Heritage Foundation will host a forum in its Lehrman Auditorium on Tuesday, May 8th at 12:00 Noon to look at the potential implications of oil disruption in Saudi Arabia.  If an “Arab Spring” uprising completely disrupted Saudi oil production, the U.S. and the global economy would face a massive economic and strategic crisis. A crisis in Saudi Arabia would have drastic implications for the United States, its economy, and the whole world.  The U.S. must plan ahead and develop pro-active, multi-layered preventive and responsive strategies to deal with political threats to the security of oil supply. These would combine intelligence, military, and diplomatic tools as well as outline domestic steps the United States should take in such a crisis. A distinguished panel of experts will discuss strategic threats to oil supply; policy options available to the United States and to the oil consuming and producing states; and examine lessons learned from other Heritage Foundation energy crisis simulation exercises.  Heritage’s energy expert David Kreutzer will Ariel Cohen of Heritage, Bruce Everett of the Tufts University Fletcher School and Simon Henderson of the Gulf and Energy Policy Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Chamber to Discuss Economy, Data – The US Chamber will hold a first quarter report for its Quarterly Economic Roundtable Series on Wednesday May 9th at 8:45 a.m. to look at the first quarters economic data.   The briefings led by Martin Regalia, Ph.D., Chief Economist and Senior Vice President for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Will focus on GDP data released by the U.S. Department of Commerce from the previous quarter, before leading a panel of chief economists representing crucial sectors of the economy. The goal of these briefings will be to offer the business community better insight into the impact of policies on their industries as well as to offer solutions to potentially negative effects.  In addition to Regalia, speakers will include GM Chief Economist Mustafa Mohatarem and Dan Meckstroth, Chief Economist and Director of Economic Research at the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI).

Nebraska Hearings Set for new Pipeline Route – The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality will hold four hearings between May 9th and May 17th in O’Neill, Neligh, Albion and Central City to discuss the new path for the Keystone Pipeline.  The meetings will be one opportunity for the agency to meet with interested persons and discuss where the pipeline review process stands.  NDEQ says they will have detailed maps available, so that people can get a clearer idea of where the corridor is proposed.

Wilson Forum to Look at China, US Energy Issues – Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will host a forum on Wednesday, May 9th at its Ronald Reagan Building offices to discuss the current state of US-China clean energy relations in the wake of recent trade investigations.  While significant progress has been made under the clean energy cooperation agreements signed by Presidents Hu Jintao and Barack Obama in the fall of 2009, The United States and China may be on the verge of a clean energy trade war.  The seven new bilateral clean energy initiatives launched in 2009 focused on many key technology areas and including renewable energy, advanced coal technology, energy efficiency and electric vehicles, and have propelled numerous other collaborations within the private sector. However, at the end of last year the United States initiated antidumping and countervailing duty investigations into China’s practices in the solar and wind sectors, and the Department of Commerce recently decided to impose duties on Chinese solar panels.   In the meantime, election year politics and a slow economic recovery are fueling competitive tensions. President Obama announced in his State of the Union address that he would establish a new trade enforcement unit to speed investigations of unfair trading practices by China. Beijing has (not surprisingly) responded with its own investigation into American clean energy support programs. This comes as the U.S. renewable energy industry is increasingly divided over China’s role. The event features leading experts from government, industry and academia including Department of Commerce Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asia Craig Allen, Georgetown University prof and Wilson Center Fellow Joanna Lewis and Jigar Shah of the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy.

Forum to Look at Clean Energy – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy’s State of the Industry Series continues on Wednesday May 9th at 2:30 p.m. in the Gold Room looking at “Clean Energy Markets: Investment and Policy Trends.”  The BCSE forum is an educational briefing with the House Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus focused on market trends and policy drivers for commercially available clean energy technologies. The moderated panel discussion with Q&A will give attendees an overview of the investment and market trends in clean energy industries.  Panelists will discuss 1) Commercial dynamics impacting the energy sector, 2) New innovations in the power sector and the benefits to consumers, 3) Opportunities and challenges to more widespread deployment and job creation, and 4) How Congress can support the business community in creating jobs and increasing domestic competitiveness.   Speakers include Ethan Zindler of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, George Williams of Sempra Energy, Mark Wagner of Johnson Controls and Joe Allen of Solar Turbines.

Detroit Good Jobs Conference will Tackle Clean Energy, Auto Jobs – Following their event in Philadelphia, the 2012 Good Jobs, Green Jobs Regional Conferences will continue in Detroit on May 10-11th.  The regional meetings reflect the character and uniqueness of their locations and will bring together thousands of labor, environmental, business, elected and community leaders working in their area and around the country to promote, preserve, and build coalitions that create good jobs and preserve our economic and environmental future. The Regional Conferences provide a renewed focus on networking opportunities and showcase the best and most innovative ideas and strategies in the public, private and non-profit sectors.  See the agenda and speakers here.

API to Look at Politics, Energy – API will host a discussion at The National Press Club on Tuesday, May 15th at 8:30 a.m. to look at the importance of sound energy decisions for our nation.  At the event, API will release a report to the Democratic and Republican Platform Committees followed by a bipartisan panel discussion with energy advisors and experts.

CFTC Chairman to Address the National Press Club Luncheon – Gary Gensler, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, will address the National Press Club at a luncheon on Tuesday May 15th at 12:30 p.m. at a luncheon speech.  Gensler and his agency are at the center of implementing the sweeping – and controversial — Dodd-Frank financial reform law, enacted in 2010. Congress passed the law in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, which was triggered by liquidity problems in the U.S. banking system and collapse of the housing bubble.  The law contains the most comprehensive changes to financial-market regulation since the Great Depression. It has drawn withering criticism from many conservatives for its far-reaching efforts to impose enough rules to prevent another financial crisis. Opponents object in particular to its establishment of a new consumer protection agency, which supporters say is a vital reform.

CHP Spring Forum Set – The U.S. Clean Heat & Power Association will hold its Spring CHP Forum on Wednesday, May 16 at the Washington Plaza Hotel in DC. 

WAPA to Discuss Mercedes Mobile Technology – The Washington Automotive Press Association will host its May luncheon on Wednesday May 16th at the National Press Club featuring Matthew Wiethoff, Manager of Business to Consumer Marketing for Mercedes-Benz Financial Services.  Wiethoff will discuss the strategy behind the company’s mobile technology initiatives and what’s in the pipeline.  In October 2009, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services became the first captive auto finance company to introduce an app for customers with iPhones to enable them to make monthly payments.  Since introducing its iPhone app giving customers the convenience to make payments “anytime, anywhere,” Mercedes-Benz Financial Services (MBFS) has received over $68 million in payments via mobile channels through the first quarter of this year — and the number is growing.  Given the strong demand, MBFS continues to build capabilities in the mobile space, having recently enhanced the My MBFS app to include: request a quote from a dealer; payment reminders; and GPS dealer locator capability.

NYU to Host EPA Regional Enviro Conference – EPA and New York University’s Columbia Law School will host its biennial conference on May 23rd in New York that examines key and emerging environmental issues in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 2 area, which includes New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Topics will include natgas extraction, as well as air and climate issues.  Speakers will include EPA’s Judith Enck, several state Environmental Commissioners and other experts. 

Geothermal Energy Conference Set – The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) will be holding the 4th annual GEA International Geothermal Energy Showcase on May 23rd at the Reagan Trade Center in Washington, DC to highlight international geothermal projects, policies, and development in top international markets.  Industry leaders, government officials, and other power sector representatives from the U.S. and around the world are expected to participate.   This year, the event will focus on success in the leading countries and geothermal markets. Participants from the countries which are showing the most dramatic growth will be asked to address the event. Discussion will highlight what measures are succeeding in expanding geothermal energy production, with special attention paid to U.S. geothermal exports and financing for international geothermal development.   GEA is inviting representatives from both government and business involved in key geothermal markets including the Caribbean, Central America, Chile, East Africa, Europe, Indonesia, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines and Turkey. The program will encourage discussion and interaction about government policies, projects in development, market potential, and opportunities for U.S. companies. Attendees will also hear from U.S. Government agencies involved in export assistance for geothermal companies, and from U.S. companies developing projects overseas.

Segal to Speak at ECOS meeting – The Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) will host state environmental agency leaders on June 7-8th at the Hotel Monaco in Washington, DC for the State Environmental Protection in 2012 conference.  This is a critical time for state environmental programs as officials try to balance federal budget cuts with the need to address new, more complex pollution problems.  The meeting will provide a forum for state officials, business and industry, nonprofits, governmental agencies, and others to explore current challenges in meeting environmental and public health demands in an era of declining resources.  Panel topics will include implementation of federal rules and regulations, state innovation, air and energy, coal combustion residuals, green partnerships, nutrients and other water issues, toxics reform and more.  Speakers will include our colleague Scott Segal.

Nat Gas Vehicles Conference Set – Penn State-Lehigh will hold a natural gas vehicles forum on Monday June 11th hosting clean-air/clean-transportation advocates, industry stakeholders, fleet managers and policymakers.  They will discuss the fundamentals of using natural gas as a transportation fuel, network with other NGV stakeholders, and discuss opportunities and challenges to greater adoption of natural gas as a transportation fuel. The conference will provide a comprehensive discussion on utilizing natural gas as a transportation fuel in Pennsylvania and the greater mid-Atlantic region.

Chamber Holds Jobs Summit – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will hold its third annual Jobs Summit 2012 on Wednesday, June 13th at the Chamber in DC.  , The Summit will bring together governors and thought leaders from across the country to discuss the state of our nation’s job market, outline policies that are needed to generate jobs and accelerate economic growth, and highlight what policies are working in each participating governor’s state.   A central part of the Summit will be the release of an updated edition of Enterprising States, which will take a comprehensive look at how states are positioning themselves for economic growth and investing in the future.  The bipartisan Governors’ Roundtable will be moderated by Major Garrett, Congressional Correspondent for the National Journal, following remarks by Tom Donohue and a research presentation based on the data released in the Enterprising States study.

Congressional Renewable Expo Set for Hill – On June 21st, the Sustainable Energy Coalition – in cooperation with Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Caucuses – will host the 15th annual Congressional Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency EXPO + Forum on Capitol Hill.  This year’s EXPO will bring together over fifty businesses, sustainable energy industry trade associations, government agencies, and energy policy research organizations to showcase the status and near-term potential of the cross-section of renewable energy (biofuels/biomass, geothermal, solar, water, wind) and energy efficiency technologies.  The late morning program will feature Members of the U.S. Congress while speakers throughout the day will discuss the role sustainable energy technologies can play in meeting America’s energy needs.   As Congress, the Administration, the business community, environmental advocates, and American voters search for options to stimulate the economy and “green jobs,” as well as address issues of national security, higher energy costs, increased reliance on energy imports, and the environmental threats associated with energy consumption, the EXPO will help address the role that sustainable energy technologies might play.  This will include not only the technical aspects of renewable energy and energy-efficient technologies but also related issues such as economics, jobs potential, environmental benefits, current and near-term market potential, model programs in the public and private sectors, and institutional, financial and legal barriers.

Energy Update: Week of October 10

Friends,

For us Italian-Americans, yesterday was our holiday.  So I celebrated by avoiding the usual Monday traffic and breezing into work unfettered.  Unfortunately, with a hectic parade of activities to prepare for the AWEA Offshore Conference and some computer woes, I couldn’t get the update out until this morning. 

It won’t matter anyway since they just cancelled the first few weeks of the NBA season.  But who really cares since nobody pays attention until the 4th quarter.  And with the Detroit Lions now 5-0, were watching at football.  It looks like for once the Noon Thanksgiving Day showdown with POLITICO Packer Patrick Reis’ Cheeseheads (also 5-0) may actually be something to watch this year.  MOVE THE DINNER TO 5:00 p.m.!!!!  While I’m glad to see the Lions doing well as a Hockeytown, I mean, Detroit native, you can’t really be a Lions fan since they let Barry Sanders slip away to retirement (and also later managed to set a record for futility).  Usually they are out of it by time hockey season starts – which was this weekend thank you.  About 1492 games (some more Columbus for you) to go before someone raises Lord Stanley’s Cup.

The House continues floor action on the second half of its Big MACT agenda when it takes up the legislation aimed at slowing EPA’s Boiler MACT legislation.  They will also move legislation to prevent EPA from declaring Coal Ash a hazardous waste, although EPA has pretty much seemingly already shelved that plan themselves much to the chagrin of the enviro community. 

And how appropriate that we think about how Columbus sailed the ocean blue with only wind power as his engine.  Tomorrow begins the AWEA Offshore Wind Conference in Baltimore where Interior Secretary Salazar and Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley will speak, with much of the focus on tapping the very same resources that brought Columbus west – the offshore winds.  Many different panels follow on Wednesday and Thursday, featuring all sorts of topics with panelists like our friends Jim Lanard of the Offshore Wind Development Coalition, AWEA’s Denise Bode, Atlantic Wind Connection’s Bob Mitchell, Alstom’s Fredric Hendrick, U of Delaware expert Jeremy Firestone, BOEM’s Maureen Bornholdt, Robert Gibbs of PSEG’s Garden State Wind, Freshwater Wind’s Chris Wissemann and many others.

Remember, next week is the big annual Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) conference in Miami, FL.   Sect. Salazar is expected to speak there as well.   Lots of fun panels and interesting topics, highlighted by the huge annual Thursday night Bracewell Giuliani reception, this year cosponsored by many of our friends. We hope you are going.  If you are, please let me know so we can connect on South Beach.  I’ll be the one in the colorful, tight, satin shorts and old, four-wheeler roller skates.

Again this week, if there is a reason to provide a mid-week update we will, but I will be in Baltimore most of the week spinning on offshore wind…  Please call with you questions, media requests or political inquiries.

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

IN THE NEWS

States File Challenges to EPA Rule – Attorney Generals in 25 states lead by Michigan AG Bill Schuette filed an amicus brief urging the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to require EPA to delay implementation new, burdensome air emissions regulations in order to protect and preserve jobs and affordable electricity rates.   The EPA’s proposed Utility Maximum Achievable Control Technology (Utility MACT) rule would create a new federal regulation to address the emissions of “hazardous air pollutants” from coal and oil-fired power plants. The proposed rule may require the installation of new expensive control technologies to meet the new limits mandated by the EPA. Power plants that can’t meet these new EPA limits may simply have to shut down.  I can send the brief if you want to see. 

Segal Comment on States – On behalf of ERCC, my colleague Scott Segal said 25 States made clear to EPA that its rush to judgment on the utility air toxics rule (utility MACT) has not taken enough time to resolve severe threats to electric reliability, consumers and small businesses in the states.  And EPA has ignored the order of President Obama himself to account for the cumulative economic impact of multiple overlapping rules.  Segal said, “the utility MACT imposes the highest direct costs of any EPA rule.  The rule threatens manufacturing jobs in our energy intensive industries, power sector, and mining.  The rule has almost no incremental health benefit as most of the benefits claimed have already been addressed in other rulemakings.  Today, a historically large, bipartisan group of legal officers calls on EPA to follow law and process, and to take the time necessary to develop a rule based on science and policy – and not on interest-group politics.”

And Now Holmstead…. – Jeff Holmstead, former EPA Air Administrator and one of the authors of the mercury rule in the previous Administration said he’s been involved in Clean Air Act issues for more than 20 years, and he’s never seen anything like this.  Holmstead: “It’s pretty amazing to have 25 states going into federal court to say that EPA is in such a rush to regulate that it’s not even dealing with concerns raised by the states themselves.  This would be the most expensive rule in EPA history, and EPA is very anxious to rush it out before an election year.  Half the states are now saying that EPA needs to take the time to get the rule right.  It’s not just delay for the sake of delay.  EPA just hasn’t done the type of analysis necessary to get the rule right.  In the past, EPA has designed its regulations pretty carefully to make sure that they wouldn’t be forcing any facilities to shut down.   But now, it looks like there are senior folks at EPA whose main goal is to shut down as many coal-fired power plants as possible.”

New Poll Shows Strong Support for Offshore Wind – As the wind industry gathers in Baltimore for its annual offshore wind conference, new polls in the Mid-Atlantic show overwhelming support for development of offshore wind and strong support for proactive planning for a single offshore transmission grid to move the clean energy to shore.  Respondents’ support for offshore wind did not waver when told that it could mean some increased costs.   The Frederick and National Research, Inc., polls of 1,700 Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey voters was done for the Atlantic Wind Connection, developer of a new offshore wind transmission grid off the Mid-Atlantic coast.  According to the poll, offshore wind production is extremely popular among Mid-Atlantic voters with 78% supporting the development of wind power off the coast.  The poll also revealed that an overwhelming majority of those polled are also willing to pay more to develop offshore wind projects off the Mid-Atlantic coast.  While the vast majority are willing to pay more, a large majority is willing to pay as much as $5 more per month with 68% are willing to pay $5 more per month in utility bills to receive offshore wind-generated power.   There is also strong support among voters for legislation that would require utilities to purchase offshore wind to supply their customers.   A strong majority (63%) support a requirement that the state’s utilities buy a small percentage of their power from offshore wind production.   Finally, in a summary question, voters overwhelmingly want their leaders to support the development of offshore wind and to plan a central offshore transmission grid.   A strong majority (66%) “want elected officials to support offshore wind, even if it is initially more expensive” while 74% want elected officials to plan for a central offshore wind transmission grid even if it costs more.  The poll interviewed 1,700 Registered Voters in Maryland (500), Delaware (400) and New Jersey (800) between September 15-26, 2011 and has a margin of error of +/- 4.3%.  Can send summaries if you want to see them.

EPA Alters CSAPR – Late last week, as rumored the EPA proposed some “technical” Changes to its Cross State Air Pollution Rule that adjusted the emissions limits for a number of states.   My colleague Scott Segal said he was glad to see EPA was attempting to fix the mess of the cross-state air pollution rule.  He added that while he is still reviewing the proposed changes, they are likely insufficient to fix all the problems with the rule.  Segal said most worrisome is that the Agency has retained its January 1, 2012 effectiveness date in the rule.  Segal: “One of the greatest problems with the rule is the completely inadequate implementation time allowed, meaning that we are still likely to see a crunch in available capital, access to engineering resources, and technology.”   Even if the Agency cleans up its mess on the cross-state rule, its intransigence on the utility maximum achievable control technology, or MACT, rule all but ensures the same job losses, stifled growth, reliability threats – all with no incremental benefits to the public.  EPA can and must fix the power-sector rules as a whole. 

NRC Says RFS is Flawed – A new report from the National Research Council says that the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) has “contributed to upward price pressure on agricultural commodities, food and livestock feed since 2007.  The report also said that it is highly unlikely that the ethanol industry can meet the RFS mandate to produce 16 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol by 2022.  The report addressed greenhouse gas emissions, economic impacts, environmental effects, and market barriers and opportunities.  The study was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Energy, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

NPRA to Become American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers – National Petrochemical & Refiners Association will change its name in late January to the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers.  NPRA becomes AFPM in late January the association will mark the occasion with an event in Washington to discuss energy issues, will launch a more user-friendly website and will do a small about of advertising to increase public awareness of the new name. When NPRA becomes AFPM in January it will also adopt a new red, white and blue logo.   The name change in 2012 – the 110th anniversary of the trade association – will be the fourth in its history. It was founded in 1902 as the National Petroleum Association, became the National Petroleum Refiners Association in 1961, and became the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association in 1998. It will remain NPRA until it becomes AFPM in late January.

THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK:

AWEA Meeting to Feature Salazar, O’Malley – The American Wind Energy Association’s fourth Annual Offshore wind conference will be held in Baltimore on today through Thursday at the Baltimore Convention Center.   The sessions open tomorrow with Interior Secretary Salazar and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley that will kick it off. Many different panels follow on Wednesday and Thursday, featuring all sorts of topics with panelists like our friends Jim Lanard of the Offshore Wind Development Coalition, AWEA’s Denise Bode, Atlantic Wind Connection’s Bob Mitchell, Alstom’s Fredric Hendrick, U of Delaware expert Jeremy Firestone , BOEM’s Maureen Bornholdt, Robert Gibbs of PSEG’s Garden State Wind, Freshwater Wind’s Chris Wissemann and many others.

WRI, Germany to Host Transmission Forum – The World Resources Institute and the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany are holding a panel discussion on US and German efforts to adapt the grid to a rapidly changing energy landscape today at 4:30 p.m.  The event will feature Matthias Kurth, President of the German Federal Grid Agency. Kurth is currently responsible for ensuring the German grid is stable and secure, absorbs the growing contributions of renewable energy, and provides sufficient energy supplies while nuclear energy is phased out. He will discuss the German experience through this period of dramatic change and the strategies that have ensured that transmission infrastructure and practices meet the new challenges. Experts in US transmission policy and the renewable energy industry will compare and contrast this experience with the US transmission landscape, discussing both challenges and successes in the US context.  Other panelists that will include FERC’s Kevin Kelly, Mike Gregerson of the Great Plains Institute and Brattle’s Peter Fox Penner.  

CIBO Annual Meeting Set – The Council Of International Boiler Owners will hold its annual meeting Wednesday through Friday in Fort Lauderdale, FL.  Obviously, significant focus at the meeting will be on EPA rule like Boiler MACT and the legislative and legal activity surrounding the potential slowdown of the rules.

EIA, DOE, State Energy Officials Lead Winter Fuels Outlook Conference – The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, U.S. Energy Information Administration, and the National Association of State Energy Officials will host the 2011 – 2012 Winter Fuels Outlook Conference at The Newseum on Wednesday.  The conference will address global oil supply uncertainty, and the effects of projected winter weather on the demand for heating and key transportation fuels.  A range of market factors that may impact the supply, distribution and prices of petroleum, natural gas and electricity this winter will be discussed in great detail by some the nation’s leading energy data and forecasting experts.  The annual event helps to inform the entire energy policy and business community, trade associations, federal and state agencies, policy makers, and consumer groups about the current and anticipated energy supply and demand balances and outlook for prices.  This year’s conference includes a presentation on EIA’s Winter Fuels Outlook, as well as presentations from well-known industry representatives and energy experts who will provide their views on factors that will affect energy markets this winter in the United States and globally.  Speakers will include DOE’s Alice Lippert, EIA Administrator Howard Gruenspecht, David Terry and Jeffrey Pillon, of the National Association of State Energy Officials, NOAA’s Michael Halpert and many others.

Senate Energy Chair Speaks to NatGas Roundtable – The Natural Gas Roundtable is hosting Sen. Jeff Bingaman, Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee as the speaker at its breakfast held at American Gas Association on Wednesday at 8:00 a.m.     

Oil Council Members to Address – CSIS will hold a forum on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. featuring member of the National Petroleum Council discussing prudent development strategies.  Leaders from the NPC will present and discuss findings from the recently released NPC report, “Prudent Development-Realizing the Potential of North America’s Abundant Natural Gas and Oil Resources.” Speakers will include our friend Paul Hagemeier of Chesapeake Energy, Clay Bretches of Anadarko Petroleum Company, Shell’s Andrew Slaughter, Ken Yeasting of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates and Fiji George of El Paso Corporation

Oversight Panel to Look at Green Energy Impact on Small Business – The House Oversight & Government Reform Committee’s Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs, Stimulus Oversight and Government Spending will hold a hearing on Wednesday looking at the green energy issues and Solyndra and its impacts on small business and consumers.

House Resources to Look at Gulf Impacts One Year Later – The House Natural Resources Committee will hold an oversight hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. looking at the one year after President Obama’s Gulf of Mexico 6-Month Moratorium was officially lifted.  It will also focus on examining the lingering impacts on jobs, energy production and local economies.   This hearing will provide an opportunity to hear from Gulf Coast residents and businesses about the economic challenges they are still facing one year after the Obama Administration lifted its official offshore moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico. The moratorium has caused hardship for Gulf families and slowed much needed American energy production.

House Energy To Look at EPA Spending – The House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. reviewing federal spending at EPA.  This is the second hearing in its series on line-by-line review of the federal budget.  Witnesses will include EPA CFO Barbara J. Bennett, EPA IG Arthur A. Elkins Jr. and GAO’s David C. Trimble.

Forum to Release New GAO Report on Climate Engineering – The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will hold an event on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. to release a new GAO Report on Wednesday that assesses climate engineering technologies, focusing on their technical status, future directions for research and potential responses.  Reports of rising global temperatures have raised questions about responses to climate change, including efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, adapt to climate change, and design and develop climate engineering technologies for deliberate, large-scale interventions in Earth’s climate.  In response to a congressional request for a technology assessment on climate engineering, the Government Accountability Office released a new report in August. An interdisciplinary team prepared the report, employing a multi-method approach based on GAO’s quality assurance framework and best practices in technology assessment. The report examined the current state of climate engineering science and technology, experts’ views of the future of U.S. climate engineering research, and potential public responses to climate engineering.  The report also discusses key considerations for the use of climate engineering technologies and their policy implications.  GAO official Tim Persons will lead a discussion of the new report.

Navy to Hold Energy Forum – The Department of the Navy is holding its 2011 Naval Energy Forum Thursday-Friday in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center during which national energy leaders from the Department of the Navy and other federal agencies, industry, and academia will be meeting to discuss energy reform.  Speakers and panelists will engage in a wide variety of topics that stress energy as a tactical advantage, including the importance of culture change; fleet challenges and successes; expeditionary issues; investments in biofuels and energy efficiency; energy efficient acquisition; and C5I considerations.

House Energy Looking at Transmission – The House Energy panel on Energy and Power will hold its 13th hearing on “The American Energy Initiative” Thursday at 9:30 a.m. to look at electric transmission issues, including topics related to the siting, planning, and allocation of costs for electricity transmission infrastructure.  Last week the President proposed new transmission projects that will likely be the subject of much of the discussion. 

House Panel Tries to Talk Deepwater Horizon Report Again – Maybe the third time is the charm.  The full House Natural Resources Committee will convene a hearing on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. on the BOEMRE (Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement)/U.S. Coast Guard Joint Investigation Team Report on the causes of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill.  Witnesses will include Coast Guard Deputy Commandant for Operations Vice Adm. Brian Solerno and others.

Senate Environment Talks Green Jobs – With the image of green jobs under attack, the Senate Environment panel’s Subcommittee on Green Jobs and the New Economy will hold a hearing on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. to examine innovative practices that create jobs and reduce pollution. The focus will be on on-bill financing programs, initiatives where property or business owners take out loans from their utilities to finance energy efficiency upgrades or renewable energy installations that are then paid back in utility bills.

Nuclear Panel Member to Discuss Waste Issues – The Institute for Security and Conflict Studies and the Nuclear Policy Talks will hold a forum with Allison Macfarlane, a member of the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future and Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Policy at George Mason University on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. in the Lindner Family Commons at George Washington University.  Macfarlane will speak on important and timely issues related to the back-end of the nuclear fuel cycle, specifically the Commission’s work on resolving a number of pressing issues related to nuclear energy: management and disposal of wastes and the potential impact of new reactor and fuel cycle technologies.

LaHood to Speak at Press Club Luncheon – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will discuss distracted driving and other transportation issues at a National Press Club luncheon on Thursday.  Lunch will be served at 12:30 p.m.

House Science Looks at Coal R&D – The House Science Committee’s Energy and Environment panel will hold a hearing on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. to look at advancing coal research and development for a future energy use.  Witnesses include Janet Gellici of the American Coal Council, AEP’s Nick Akins, David Foerter of the Institute of Clean Air Companies and EPRI’s Stu Dalton.   Early in the day, the Committee’s Oversight Panel will hold a hearing on the Endangered Species Act.  

EPA’s Jackson Questioned at POLITICO Forum – POLITICO will host a forum on Friday morning with EPA chief Lisa Jackson and members of POLITICO’s energy team.  The questioning will focus on the policies, politics and priorities facing the energy sector.

House Energy to Revisit Solyndra Issue – House Energy Committee’s Oversight panel will hold has scheduled a hearing Friday at 9:30 a.m. looking at continuing developments regarding the Solyndra Loan Guarantee.  On Friday, the committee received some 2,000 new pages of documents from the White House, including emails between Energy Department officials and senior White House advisers in 2009 discussing moving the loan guarantee forward and correspondence earlier this year from OMB and Obama aides preparing for the company’s bankruptcy news to break.

Forum to Look at Climate, Coffee Production – The Union of Concerned Scientists will hold an event on Friday at 10:00 a.m. looking at climate change and coffee production. Recent scientific studies show that climate change is taking a toll on coffee production and reliability, with implications for the cost and availability for U.S. consumers of that morning cup of coffee. UCS climate scientist Dr. Todd Sanford and Starbucks’ Director of Environmental Impact Jim Hanna will speak.

RFF Forum to Talk Climate, Opinion Polls – Resources for the Future will hold a forum on Friday at 12:45 p.m. to look at American public opinion on climate change and its impact on voting in elections.  In recent years, observers have speculated that the American public has become increasingly skeptical about the existence and potential threat of climate change and that the public desire for action by government on this issue has declined.  In this talk, Jon Krosnick will present new survey evidence tracking public opinion in the nation and in Massachusetts to explore what changes have occurred in the entire population and in population subgroups.  In addition, Dr. Krosnick will present the results of a new study examining whether candidates’ positions on climate change policy have influenced their electoral success, using three methods of investigation: (1) analysis of the relation of candidate website statements on climate with the victory rates of Congressional candidates in 2010, (2) experiments embedded in surveys describing a hypothetical candidate running for a Senate seat, and (3) a statistical analysis predicting votes in the 2008 U.S. Presidential election using data collected from survey respondents before and after the election.  The findings paint a portrait of the likely role of climate change in the upcoming elections.

THE WEEKS AHEAD:

Energy Summit Set to Tackle Supply, Demand Challenges – International Congress on Energy will hold a summit on October 17-21 at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minneapolis, MN to focus on sustaining supplies of energy and meeting the world’s growing energy demands.  Now in its second year the 2011 International Congress on Energy will feature more than 100 sessions related to technology, markets, business strategies and policy covering the solar, nuclear, lignocelluosics, biorefineries, hydrogen production, hydrogen storage and green innovation energy sectors.  Anthony Cugini, Director of US Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory will keynote the event.

VA Governors Conference to Focus on Energy – Governor Bob McDonnell, the VA Chamber of Commerce and the VA Alternative & Renewable Energy Assn will host the 2nd annual Governor’s Conference on Energy in Richmond on October 17-19th.  More than 1000 participants and over 100 exhibitors attended last year.  Private and public sector leaders will join together with entrepreneurs, researchers, and policymakers and talk about what it will take to develop ALL of our domestic energy resources and meet our nation’s demand for abundant, reliable and affordable energy for our future.  My colleague Mike Olsen, a former Interior Department official, will be speaking on offshore drilling issues.

Forum to Look at Science in Deepwater Crisis – Johns Hopkins University’s Energy, Resources and Environment Program will hold a forum Monday October 17th at 12:30 p.m. featuring Gary E. Machlis, science adviser to the director of the National Park Service and lead scientist of the U.S. Department of the Interior Strategic Sciences Working Group.  Machlis will discuss “Science During Crisis – Lessons Learned From the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.”

RFF Forum to Look at Carbon Tax – Resources for the Future will hold a day-long forum on Tuesday October 18th looking at fiscal reform and climate protection, considering the role of a U.S. carbon tax.  The fiscal policy debate now underway in Washington could quite likely result in fundamental U.S. federal tax reform.  Many economists agree that lowering distortionary taxes (for example, payroll and corporate income taxes) can accelerate economic growth and job creation. Putting a price on carbon dioxide emissions via a carbon tax—and using the resulting revenue to reduce distortionary taxes—has the capacity to both strengthen the economy and protect the global climate.  Accordingly, Resources for the Future’s Center for Climate and Electricity Policy and the Peterson Institute for International Economics are co-hosting a one-day workshop to discuss the design, implications, and prospects of a federal carbon tax.  Morning sessions will discuss how a carbon tax fits into the broader landscape of fiscal reform, economic growth, and environmental protection. The workshop’s afternoon segment will draw upon recent empirical modeling and conceptual thinking by RFF, PIIE, and other independent and government research institutions to evaluate key carbon tax policy design options.

Forum Discusses India Energy Options – The Center for Strategic and International Studies will hold a forum on Tuesday, October 18th, looking at India’s energy options for new sources, innovations and areas of cooperation.  India is the world’s fourth-largest energy consumer, and is projected to be the third-largest by 2030.  India’s continued economic growth and energy security are intimately associated, in substantial need of a modern and diversified energy supply, and a high priority for closer U.S.-India collaboration and cooperation.  The event will feature a discussion about India’s Energy Options with guest speaker Mr. Vikram Mehta, Chairman of Shell Group of Companies in India.

Experts Headline Future Energy Discussion – The Future Tense partnership between the New America Foundation, Slate magazine, and Arizona State University is holding an all-day event Wednesday, October 19th that will look at future energy issues.    Speakers will include our friends Paul Sankey of Deutsche Bank, author Steve LeVine, Time energy writer Bryan Walsh and David Biello of Scientific American, among many others.

SEJ Conference Set for Miami – The Annual Society of Environmental Journalists annual meeting will be held at the University of Miami on October 19-23.  Bracewell will hold its annual Thursday night reception.  Ken Salazar is expected to speak at the conference.

ELI to Host Annual Dinner, Policy Panel – The Environmental Law Institute holds its annual dinner on October 19th at the Omni Shoreham Hotel.  The event will feature a reception and dinner honoring U.S. Secretary of Energy Dr. Steven Chu.  Events will kick off in the late afternoon in the Hampton Room at the Omni when ELI hosts the annual Miriam Hamilton Keare Policy Forum focused on a rational energy policy starting at 4:00 p.m.  The event feature a panel will take up many issues in a multi-stakeholder debate that will highlight the policy issues and search for middle ground upon which the debate might move forward.  Panelists will include Jason Grumet of the Bipartisan Policy Center, Kateri Callahan of the Alliance to Save Energy, former FERC commissioner Suedeen Kelly, Exelon CEO John Rowe and DOE Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs David Sandalow.  The following day at 8:00 a.m., ELI will also hold a panel on recent EPA regulations featuring NACAA’s Bill Becker, enviro Frank O’Donnell, and industry attorneys Pam Giblin of Baker Botts and Patrick Traylor of Hogan Lovells.  The panel will discuss the potential benefits and drawbacks of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule and the proposed Utility MACT rule. The panel will look at EPA’s rule designating NSPSs and NESHAPs for oil and gas production and natural gas transmission and storage and introduce attendees to anticipated proposed and final rules on topics such as the ozone NAAQS and upcoming greenhouse gas regulations

Yergin to Speak at Colorado Law School Event – As part of the Energy Innovation Speaker Series and The Big Energy Seminar Series, the University of Colorado Law School will hold the 4th Annual Schultz Lecture featuring Daniel Yergin, Pulitzer Prize Winning Author and Chairman of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates.  Dr. Yergin will present on his newest book, The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World.  The event will be in the UC Law School’s Wittemyer Courtroom in the Wolf Law Building on Wednesday, October 19th at 5:30 p.m.

Nuclear Commission to Hold Public Hearing – The Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future (Commission), in association with state regional groups that work on high-level radioactive waste policy, will be hosting public meetings on Thursday, October 20th at the Washington DC Hilton Garden Inn to solicit feedback on the draft commission report. The participant host groups include; the Western Governors’ Association/Western Interstate Energy Board, the Southern States Energy Board, the Council of State Governments-Midwestern Office, and the Council of State Governments- Eastern Regional Conference.  The meeting will be held to present the draft Commission report (issued on July 29, 2011) and hear feedback from state, local and tribal perspectives – as well as from interested members of the public. The meeting will begin with a briefing from Commission staff on the draft report, followed by comments from elected and appointed state and regional representatives. The latter portion of the meeting will be devoted to facilitated and interactive breakout sessions open to all who attend and will conclude with a public comment period.

Forum to Investigate Development, Climate Issues – Johns Hopkins University’s International Development Program and Energy, Resources and Environment Program will host a forum on Friday, October 21st at 12:30 p.m. in its Rome Building featuring Ed Carr, associate professor of geography at the University of South Carolina and climate change coordinator for the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance at USAID.  Carr will discuss delivering development in a changing climate.

Rep. Tonko to Discuss Energy, Environment at NY Event – On Monday, October 24th at Noon, NDN with host Rep. Paul Tonko to discuss energy and environmental issues in the House of Representatives at New York’s Harvard Club.  Tonko’s background as CEO of NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority) and as Chair of the Energy Committee in the NY Assembly have made him a rising star on the Energy and Environment Subcommittee of the House Science Committee. 

Border Energy Forum to Highlight Issues in Southwest, Mexico – The 18th Border Energy Forum will be held in El Paso, Texas on October 27-28 in partnership with Re-Energize the Americas.   The conference is hosted by the Texas General Land Office and focuses on the potential of clean energy like natural gas and renewables in the 10 border states.

NatGas Communications Workshop to Feature Experts – Several of our good friends in the natural gas industry will be headlining a conference in Houston on October 31 and November 1st aimed at improving the communication coordination of the industry.    Our friends Michael Kehs, VP of Strategic Affairs and Public Relations of Chesapeake Energy; Matt Pitzarella, Director of Corporate Comms and Public Affairs at Range Resources; Chris Tuck of Energy in Depth, John Haubert of the Western Energy Alliance, Cabot Oil & Gas’ George Stark and API’s Linda Rozett will be panelists, among others. 

Fall Wind Symposium Set for CA – The 2011 AWEA Wind Energy Fall Symposium is set for November 2-4 in Carlsbad, CA.  This year’s program includes sessions that address not only industry trends and innovations, but teach you how to best communicate wind energy’s benefits to external audiences – both steadfast and skeptical.

NARUC 123rd Annual Meeting – November 13-16 in St. Louis

Energy Update: Week of October 17

Friends,

After a wild last week with votes on coal ash and Boiler MACT legislation, as well as offshore wind in Baltimore all taking center stage, things level out this week as we all start to prepare for Halloween – only two weeks away!!!! We also have our World Series match-up finally featuring the Cards and Rangers. Would have been better if the Tigers were playing the Brewers, but the Cards prevailed in the Battle of the Beer while the Rangers continued to put Detroit out of work (as they have since the 80s stealing our industries). Enviros have announced they will oppose the Rangers because they were once owned by George Bush. Finally, rumor has it that almost everybody in St. Louis (and throughout the Midwest for that matter) are still angry and seeking revenge over Arlington, TX (home of the Rangers) stealing the Bowling Hall of Fame from St. Louis a few years ago.

But first, the big annual Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) conference starts Wednesday in sunny, warm Miami, FL. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is expected to speak there as well. There will be a number of fun panels and interesting topics, highlighted by the huge annual Thursday night Bracewell Giuliani reception, this year cosponsored by many of our friends. Our get-up will rival all previous years with a food /beverage display that will be unmatched. As well, we will also be raffling off a new iPad. We hope you are going. If you are, please let me know so we can connect on South Beach.

But before we go, some action in Congress. The Senate Energy Committee digs onto offshore drilling in Cuba tomorrow morning and our well-containment experts at Helix can help. On Thursday, a Senate energy panel will delve into shale gas production and the impacts on water.

Speaking of shale gas, in case you missed it on Friday, a bipartisan group of Pennsylvania legislators sent a letter to make sure the administration is taking a good look at the benefits of Marcellus Shale natural gas development.

Finally, following last week’s offshore wind conference in Baltimore, the energy action slides down I-95 to Richmond today through Wednesday where Gov. Bob McDonnell hosts a conference that will feature a wide-range of generation issues including offshore wind, coal, natural gas, and transmission issues , among many others.

Please call with you questions, media requests or political inquiries.

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

IN THE NEWS

Coal Ash Bill Passes – Despite that EPA has delayed coal ash regulations dramatically already , the House passed legislation on a vote of 267-144 Friday to give states primary oversight over coal ash disposal and block EPA from regulating the material as hazardous waste. House Republicans argued that the Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act (H.R. 2273) will ensure that coal ash, which is disposed of in surface impoundments and landfills or recycled into wallboard and other materials, will not be stigmatized by stringent EPA regulation. My Colleague Scott Segal said that Congress has sent an unmistakable signal on a bipartisan basis that the regulation of coal ash as a hazardous waste would set a dangerous precedent. Segal: “It would undermine recycling and resource recovery and would greatly increase the cost of power generation at the expense of our fragile economic recovery. Further, when coupled with expensive air rules, treatment of ash as hazardous would present a further threat to electric reliability. Now it is up to the Administration to do the right thing on coal ash, and follow the clear precedent established for other high volume low toxicity wastes under federal law.” The Obama administration proposed a coal ash rule last year after significant delays and missed deadlines on a rule following a coal ash pond breech at a TVA plant in Tennessee. But because of the complexities of trying to regulate coal ash more aggressively, the EPA has been unable to finalize it.

PA Delegation Letter Points Out Shale Gas Economic Benefits – A new letter from a bipartisan group of 13 members of Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation want to make sure the administration is taking a good look at the benefits of Marcellus Shale natural gas development. Obama has oft praised the benefits of domestic natural gas – cheaper energy, more domestic production, etc. But the signatories think he could do more to highlight the local economic growth that accompanies its development. In a letter to National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling, sponsor Rep. Mike Kelly and his colleagues write, “In recent months, the White House has emphasized the central role that safe shale gas production can play in our Nation’s drive for energy security and a low-carbon energy portfolio. However, as four different Federal agencies now study issues relating to shale gas production, and as our Nation’s economic recovery remains fragile, we are concerned that the economic benefits of shale gas to ordinary citizens in states such as Pennsylvania and across the country are not part of the discussion.” They go on urge the NEC to study (and publicize) the impacts of drilling on economic development, employment, and job training. The letter was signed by Republican Congressmen Kelly, Lou Barletta, Charlie Dent, Mike Fitzpatrick, Tom Marino, Pat Meehan, Tim Murphy, Joe Pitts, Todd Platts, and Bill Shuster (all but Reps. Jim Gerlach and Glenn Thompson). Democrats Jason Altmire, Mark Critz and Tim Holden signed as well.

Republican Jobs Plans Looks for Boost From Drilling – With no doubts that the missing piece of President Obama’s jobs Plan would be a significant addition to its own, Republican leaders rolled out a jobs plan on Friday heavy on employment increases from expanded drilling. A full year after the moratorium on deepwater drilling was lifted, federal permitting for drilling in the Gulf of Mexico continues to greatly lag behind America’s demand and capacity for domestic energy development, and Americans are losing out on the job opportunities and tax revenue that a more robust permitting process would create. “Every day, thousands of Americans whose livelihoods depend on a healthy Gulf energy industry feel the impact of the Gulf slowdown through lost wages, delayed jobs, and a general sense of unpredictability about the future of an industry they count on to put food on the table. Local, state and federal government budgets also feel the impact, through decreased sales tax and royalty revenue,” says Lori LeBlanc, Executive Director of the Gulf Economic Survival Team (GEST), a grassroots organization that has been working to clarify and streamline the permitting process. Since October 12, 2010, only 14 permits have been issued for unique new deepwater wells, allowing operators to drill to full depth for the purpose of production. In addition, out of the original 33 rigs impacted by the moratorium, ten have left the Gulf in favor of markets where permitting is more predictable and transparent. According to an August 2011 report by IHS CERA, a more efficient and timely permitting process could create over 200,000 new jobs in the U.S., one third of which would be generated outside the Gulf region, in states like California, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania and New York. In addition, a healthy level of Gulf energy activity puts money back into the pockets of American taxpayers via revenue flows to the U.S. Treasury. Industry operating under an improved permitting process could generate $12 billion in tax and royalty revenues by 2012. A permitting pace that matches industry’s ability to invest in the Gulf also translates to reduced reliance on foreign suppliers.

Permit Activity Shows Slowdown – Speaking of the Gulf Economic Survival Team, they continue to compile and track drilling permit activity data from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (formerly BOEMRE). Charts depicting this activity can be viewed at www.GulfEconomicSurvival.org.

Drilling Claims Miss Mark – Last week before Congress at a House Natural Resources Committee hearing on the “BOEMRE/U.S. Coast Guard Joint Investigation Team Report”, BSEE Director Bromwich dismissed as “urban legends” assertions that his agency’s estimated time to approve permits is considerably longer than reported due to a preliminary, unreported period of time in which the agency decides whether permits are worthy of being deemed “submitted”. Jim Noe, executive director of the Shallow Water Energy Security Coalition, said Bromwich’s remarks we incorrect since, according to the agency’s own data, since June 2010, BOEMRE’s timetable to conduct permit reviews has roughly doubled compared to prior years. Noe: “This timetable means a great deal to industry, which has struggled to meet demand for Gulf energy due to the agency’s current extended review period. Moreover, this timetable is conservative, as it does not factor in the initial grace period of indeterminate length that the agency grants itself to decide whether a permit even warrants formal review – an added delay that, unfortunately, is quite real to the companies operating in the Gulf. The bottom line from the industry’s perspective is that there is still room to make the agency’s permitting process more efficient. Permits necessary for offshore operations have declined to levels not seen during 2009, when energy demand bottomed out amidst the recession. At the current pace of permitting for new wells (5.2 per month), it could take 3 months for an operator to obtain a permit for a new well, a time lag that is insufficient to satisfy current demand. The backlog of permits waiting for action recently reached its highest level since the Macondo blowout.” Noe said while there is no doubt that Interior Department regulators have worked tirelessly to implement the new regulatory regime, industry also is doing everything it can to comply with the new rules in an earnest attempt to get back to work in the Gulf.

Offshore Wind Testing Center Open in VA – Poseidon Atlantic, a joint-venture between US-based Real NewEnergy and Ecofys, a subsidiary of the Dutch utility Eneco, will develop a cutting edge wind turbine test and certification facility in Northampton County, Virginia, as part of a partnership between renewable energy and engineering firms with support from the state and local governments. The proposed facility is intended for testing and certification of existing-and-next generation land-based and offshore wind turbine generators, and will be designed to address the needs of offshore wind technology developers, according to the companies. “The Poseidon Atlantic project is transformational for the future development of offshore wind technology,” said Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who announced the project . “There is currently a worldwide lack of facilities that are suitable for full-service certification testing of offshore wind turbine technology.”

Nuclear Waste Discussion Sees Opportunities at WIPP – Our friend Jim Conca, a nuclear waste expert, will be back in DC this week to talk about the Blue Ribbon Commission’s recommendations and what it means, costs, schedule and the implications on the Hill and to DOE, NEI and NNSA. The Commission visited WIPP earlier this year and suggested that the salt be resurrected as possible main repository. Advocates like Conca say it would create twice as many jobs in Washington state, Idaho, South Carolina and New Mexico twice as fast than if Yucca Mountain comes back.

NJ Offshore Wind Project Aims for Construction by End of Year – Fishermen’s Energy is aiming to begin construction before the end of 2011 on its six-turbine pilot project near Atlantic City. The project, situated in state waters, could qualify for an expiring federal tax incentive if construction begins before December 31. The project is slated to cost between $200 and $250 million.

GE Announces New Solar Facility – Despite pushback on the Solyndra failure, GE plans to build its new solar panel factory in Aurora, Colorado. When completed, the advanced manufacturing facility will create 355 jobs in Colorado and will be larger than any existing solar panel factory in the country today. GE anticipates the new factory will first start up earlier than expected with the first panels coming off the line in 2012 with commercial availability in 2013. GE will locate the factory in an existing building in Aurora, just east of Denver. This location, which also is in proximity to GE’s existing solar center of excellence, enables an accelerated start-up schedule with production equipment installation beginning in January 2012. At capacity, the new factory will produce enough panels per year to power 80,000 homes and will be larger than 11 football fields. When complete, the new solar factory will highlight a $600 million investment in GE’s solar business. Colorado already is home to GE Energy’s thin film solar pilot line, where joint technology advancements from GE’s Global Research Center and PrimeStar Solar have been validated and tested.

Wind, Shipping Companies Join Forces to Work on Offshore Wind – Apex Offshore Wind, LLC and Maersk Line, Limited have established a working relationship to support the development, financing and construction of utility-scale offshore wind energy facilities in North America. Maersk Line, Limited (MLL) is a subsidiary of A.P. Moller-Maersk, a global corporation with a long history of successful operation in offshore energy. MLL has decided to partner with a reputable offshore wind energy firm to collaborate on the development of potential wind energy projects. MLL views offshore wind energy as a way for the company to expand its existing portfolio of maritime technical and transportation services and to build upon its commitment to environmental sustainability. In September, Maersk acquired two multipurpose ships with heavy lifting capabilities. These vessels, with their lifting capacity and open configuration, are ideal for the transportation of wind energy components such as blades, turbines and towers. The Apex Offshore Wind management team has been working to develop offshore wind energy projects in North America for over 9 years. Apex sees significant potential for the industry’s growth and supports the U.S. government’s vision of an offshore wind energy sector capable of providing 54 gigawatts of clean domestic energy by 2030.

THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK:

Energy Summit Set to Tackle Supply, Demand Challenges – International Congress on Energy will hold a summit today through Friday at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minneapolis, MN to focus on sustaining supplies of energy and meeting the world’s growing energy demands. Now in its second year the 2011 International Congress on Energy will feature more than 100 sessions related to technology, markets, business strategies and policy covering the solar, nuclear, lignocelluosics, biorefineries, hydrogen production, hydrogen storage and green innovation energy sectors. Anthony Cugini, Director of US Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory will keynote the event.

VA Governors Conference to Focus on Energy – Governor Bob McDonnell, the VA Chamber of Commerce and the VA Alternative & Renewable Energy Assn will host the 2nd annual Governor’s Conference on Energy in Richmond today through Wednesday. More than 1000 participants and over 100 exhibitors attended last year. Private and public sector leaders will join together with entrepreneurs, researchers, and policymakers and talk about what it will take to develop ALL of our domestic energy resources and meet our nation’s demand for abundant, reliable and affordable energy for our future. My colleague Mike Olsen, a former Interior Department official, will be speaking on offshore drilling issues.

Forum to Look at Science in Deepwater Crisis – Johns Hopkins University’s Energy, Resources and Environment Program will hold a forum today at 12:30 p.m. featuring Gary E. Machlis, science adviser to the director of the National Park Service and lead scientist of the U.S. Department of the Interior Strategic Sciences Working Group. Machlis will discuss “Science During Crisis – Lessons Learned From the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.”

RFF Forum to Look at Carbon Tax – Resources for the Future will hold a day-long forum tomorrow looking at fiscal reform and climate protection, considering the role of a U.S. carbon tax. The fiscal policy debate now underway in Washington could quite likely result in fundamental U.S. federal tax reform. Many economists agree that lowering distortionary taxes (for example, payroll and corporate income taxes) can accelerate economic growth and job creation. Putting a price on carbon dioxide emissions via a carbon tax—and using the resulting revenue to reduce distortionary taxes—has the capacity to both strengthen the economy and protect the global climate. Accordingly, Resources for the Future’s Center for Climate and Electricity Policy and the Peterson Institute for International Economics are co-hosting a one-day workshop to discuss the design, implications, and prospects of a federal carbon tax. Morning sessions will discuss how a carbon tax fits into the broader landscape of fiscal reform, economic growth, and environmental protection. The workshop’s afternoon segment will draw upon recent empirical modeling and conceptual thinking by RFF, PIIE, and other independent and government research institutions to evaluate key carbon tax policy design options.

Forum Discusses India Energy Options – The Center for Strategic and International Studies will hold a forum tomorrow looking at India’s energy options for new sources, innovations and areas of cooperation. India is the world’s fourth-largest energy consumer, and is projected to be the third-largest by 2030. India’s continued economic growth and energy security are intimately associated, in substantial need of a modern and diversified energy supply, and a high priority for closer U.S.-India collaboration and cooperation. The event will feature a discussion about India’s Energy Options with guest speaker Mr. Vikram Mehta, Chairman of Shell Group of Companies in India.

Senate Energy to Look at Cuba Drilling – The Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. to discuss offshore drilling in foreign waters. In recent months, Cuba has started to get closer to starting drilling. Of course, our friends at Helix, the well intervention specialists who contained the BP spill will likely be expert resources here. Witnesses will include BSEE director Michael Bromwich, director, Vice Adm. Brian Salerno of the U.S. Coast Guard; Jorge Piñon of the Cuban Research Institute at Florida International University, Paul Schuler of Clean Caribbean and Americas and Mark Myers, vice chancellor for research at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

Experts Headline Future Energy Discussion – The Future Tense partnership between the New America Foundation, Slate magazine, and Arizona State University is holding an all-day event Wednesday, that will look at future energy issues. Speakers will include our friends Paul Sankey of Deutsche Bank, author Steve LeVine, Time energy writer Bryan Walsh and David Biello of Scientific American, among many others.

SEJ Conference Set for Miami – The Annual Society of Environmental Journalists annual meeting will be held at the University of Miami on Wednesday through Sunday. Bracewell will hold its annual Thursday night reception. Ken Salazar is expected to speak at the conference.

Nixon Energy Officials Address Challenges – The Richard Nixon Foundation, the National Archives, and CSIS will host a lively discussion on how the 37th president responded to America’s most serious energy crisis since World War II on Wednesday at 1;00 p.m. at CSIS. The event will include a panel discussion with former Nixon cabinet officials including former CSIS President and White House Domestic Council for Energy and Natural Resources Richard Fairbanks, former Secretary of Energy, Secretary of Defense and CIA Director Jim Schlesinger and Jim Tozzi, former Chief of Environment, Assistant Director, and Deputy Director in Nixon’s OMB. The panel will be moderated by former EIA Administrator Guy Caruso

ELI to Host Annual Dinner, Policy Panel – The Environmental Law Institute holds its annual dinner on Wednesday at the Omni Shoreham Hotel. The event will feature a reception and dinner honoring U.S. Secretary of Energy Dr. Steven Chu. Events will kick off in the late afternoon in the Hampton Room at the Omni when ELI hosts the annual Miriam Hamilton Keare Policy Forum focused on a rational energy policy starting at 4:00 p.m. The event feature a panel will take up many issues in a multi-stakeholder debate that will highlight the policy issues and search for middle ground upon which the debate might move forward. Panelists will include Jason Grumet of the Bipartisan Policy Center, Kateri Callahan of the Alliance to Save Energy, former FERC commissioner Suedeen Kelly, Exelon CEO John Rowe and DOE Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs David Sandalow. The following day at 8:00 a.m., ELI will also hold a panel on recent EPA regulations featuring NACAA’s Bill Becker, enviro Frank O’Donnell, and industry attorneys Pam Giblin of Baker Botts and Patrick Traylor of Hogan Lovells. The panel will discuss the potential benefits and drawbacks of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule and the proposed Utility MACT rule. The panel will look at EPA’s rule designating NSPSs and NESHAPs for oil and gas production and natural gas transmission and storage and introduce attendees to anticipated proposed and final rules on topics such as the ozone NAAQS and upcoming greenhouse gas regulations

Yergin to Speak at Colorado Law School Event – As part of the Energy Innovation Speaker Series and The Big Energy Seminar Series, the University of Colorado Law School will hold the 4th Annual Schultz Lecture featuring Daniel Yergin, Pulitzer Prize Winning Author and Chairman of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates. Dr. Yergin will present on his newest book, The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World. The event will be in the UC Law School’s Wittemyer Courtroom in the Wolf Law Building on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.

Constellation CEO to Address Breakfast – ICF international will host its October Energy Breakfast on Thursday featuring Mayo A. Shattuck III, chairman, president, and CEO of Constellation Energy. Shattuck will describe his firm’s entrepreneurial drive to navigate a dynamic competitive market and provide an overview of its pending merger with Exelon.

Holmstead Headlines CSAPR Seminar – SNL Financial will hold a Cross State Air Pollution Rule webinar on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. featuring Bracewell air expert and former EPA air administrator Jeff Holmstead Imminent deadlines are giving utilities the chills. The Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) is replacing the 2005 Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) and compliance is looming. The new regulation requires power plants in 23 states to reduce annual emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and NOx, with 20 states required to reduce nitrogen dioxide (NOx) emissions during the ozone season, which runs from May to September. Among other things, CSAPR will create four new emissions trading markets. Utility industry and transmission grid operators have raised concerns about the rule’s tight implementation deadline and how the new rule may compromise the reliability of the nation’s electric grid in the face of wide-scale plant retirements or fuel conversions. In addition, CSAPR may result in job losses and higher utility rates for consumers.

Energy Panel Looks at Shale Gas Drilling, Water – The Senate Energy panel on Water and Power will hold a hearing on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. looking at whether water supplies are adequately protected in shale gas production. Witnesses will include Cynthia Dougherty, director of EPA’s Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water; David Russ, USGS Northeast regional director; Lori Wrotenbery, Oil and Gas Conservation Division, Oklahoma Corporation Commission; Tom Beauduy, deputy executive director and counsel, Susquehanna River Basin Commission; Cal Cooper, worldwide manager for environmental technologies, greenhouse gas and hydraulic fracturing, Apache Corporation; and Katy Dunlap, Eastern Water Program director, Trout Unlimited.

Nuclear Commission to Hold Public Hearing – The Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future (Commission), in association with state regional groups that work on high-level radioactive waste policy, will be hosting public meetings on Thursday at the Washington DC Hilton Garden Inn to solicit feedback on the draft commission report. The participant host groups include; the Western Governors’ Association/Western Interstate Energy Board, the Southern States Energy Board, the Council of State Governments-Midwestern Office, and the Council of State Governments- Eastern Regional Conference. The meeting will be held to present the draft Commission report (issued on July 29, 2011) and hear feedback from state, local and tribal perspectives – as well as from interested members of the public. The meeting will begin with a briefing from Commission staff on the draft report, followed by comments from elected and appointed state and regional representatives. The latter portion of the meeting will be devoted to facilitated and interactive breakout sessions open to all who attend and will conclude with a public comment period.

NAS to Hold Meeting on Nuclear Radiation Issues – The NAS Nuclear Radiation and Studies Board is having its final meeting in Thursday at 1:00 p.m. in the NAS’s Keck Center before its phase one report on proper ways to assess this risk is released in December, 2011. Phase two should begin following this report. The NAS has been asked by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to assess the cancer risks around NRC-licensed facilities. The NRC has made several presentations downplaying the potential health effects of radiation even to children, who are more vulnerable.

Forum to Investigate Development, Climate Issues – Johns Hopkins University’s International Development Program and Energy, Resources and Environment Program will host a forum on Friday at 12:30 p.m. in its Rome Building featuring Ed Carr, associate professor of geography at the University of South Carolina and climate change coordinator for the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance at USAID. Carr will discuss delivering development in a changing climate.

THE WEEKS AHEAD:

Rep. Tonko to Discuss Energy, Environment at NY Event – On Monday, October 24th at Noon, NDN with host Rep. Paul Tonko to discuss energy and environmental issues in the House of Representatives at New York’s Harvard Club. Tonko’s background as CEO of NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority) and as Chair of the Energy Committee in the NY Assembly have made him a rising star on the Energy and Environment Subcommittee of the House Science Committee.

Defense Summit to Look at Green Issues – The Institute for Defense and Government Advancement (IDGA) will hold its third annual alternative energy for defense summit on Monday-Wednesday, October 24-26 at the Sheraton Premiere at Tysons Corner Hotel in Vienna, VA. The DoD is making alternative energy a bigger priority than ever before. Conserving energy, lowering costs, reducing reliance on foreign oil, and increasing tactical and strategic security are the goals of new efforts toward “greening” the services. With a new partnership with the DoE and a new Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Plans and Programs, the DoD has gotten serious about taking action. In time with the DoD’s Energy Awareness Month, summit will provide the forum for senior-level experts from the DoD, Department of Energy, government agencies, and key industry leaders to discuss the most strategic and cost-efficient alternative energy solutions for defense as well as how to increase energy independence, “green” the military, and more.

WRI, UNEP Forum to Look at Climate Steps Forward – World Resources Institute and the United Nations Environment Program will hold a forum next Monday at 1:00 p.m. to launch a new paper shows that a menu of options is available for scaling up action on the part of national governments and designing a climate regime capable of delivering adequate mitigation action. A few months from now, countries will gather in Durban, South Africa to try to reach agreement on an ambitious program for tackling climate change. The world’s level of effort on climate change mitigation is not in line with the science. In a call to do more, the World Resources Institute and the United Nations Environment Program, with the support of the Government of Ireland, are releasing a paper that outlines various options put forward by governments, NGOs and academics for designing a climate regime capable of delivering adequate mitigation action. A full slate of UNEP and WRI speakers will be available.

Forum to Look at Glaciers, Decline – The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will hold a forum on Wednesday, October 26th at 3:00 p.m. on the environmental and social consequences of glacial decline. Climate change is impacting mountain environments – and the people who live there – in very dramatic ways. Glaciers are melting, forests are disappearing and mountain water systems are eroding. These changes have consequences for mountain communities as well as potentially devastating consequences for downstream communities. Scientists from the Himalayas, Andes and Appalachians met recently at Nepal’s Imja Lake, a new and unstable body of water formed by melting glaciers in the shadow of Mt. Everest. The expedition reached a number of conclusions that have wide-ranging implications for those living in mountain communities, policymakers and the public at large. They include the need for greater focus on community-based research and adaptation efforts in high-altitude regions; recognition that greenhouse gas sequestration and mitigation are no longer sufficient for protecting fragile ecosystems; a sense of urgency in drawing on lessons learned from decades of development in the world’s major mountain systems; and a more sustained effort in pooling and applying the knowledge, research and analytical skills of scientists from around the globe. This Roundtable will be organized into three parts: (i) a general overview of climate change impacts on high mountain systems and downstream consequences; (ii) a muddy-boots account of the expedition to Imja Lake and lessons learned; and (iii) a discussion of broader policy implications for driving much-needed climate change adaptation strategies, with particular emphasis on involving local communities in the management of follow-up projects. Event speakers will include our friend Lisa Friedman of ClimateWire, among several others.

Border Energy Forum to Highlight Issues in Southwest, Mexico – The 18th Border Energy Forum will be held in El Paso, Texas on October 27-28 in partnership with Re-Energize the Americas. The conference is hosted by the Texas General Land Office and focuses on the potential of clean energy like natural gas and renewables in the 10 border states.

RFF Seminar To Look at Climate Economics – Resources for the Future Stanford University and EPA will hold a two-day forum on Thursday, October 27th and Friday, October 28th on the next round of climate economics and policy research in its First Floor Conference Center. With Congressional action on climate policy at an impasse, U.S. efforts now are proceeding through other channels, including various clean energy initiatives and provisions of the Clean Air Act. Presented by the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research and Resources for the Future, we are bringing together a group of outstanding research economists and policy leaders to take stock and help provide guidelines for future climate policy. The papers commissioned for this conference, together with discussants’ comments by academic and policy experts, will summarize existing scholarship and set an agenda for policy relevant research for the near-term future. Speaker will include Ian Parry of the International Monetary Fund, DOE’s Michael Holland, Stanford’s Jim Sweeney, EIA’s Howard Gruenspecht and former EIA head Richard Newell (now at Duke University), DOE Science Under Secretary Dr. Steve Koonin, RFF’s Dallas Burtraw, Harvard’s Bob Stavins, Harvard University, Nate Keohane of the National Economic Council, and EPA’s Al McGartland, among many others.

Conference to Look at Energy Efficiency for Housing – The Passive House Institute U.S. and the Environmental and Energy Studies Institute will hold the6th Annual North American Passive House Conference on October 28th in Silver Spring, MD. The North American Passive House Conference gathers building experts – from architects to engineers to contractors – to share the latest technology developments and best practices for building sustainable, comfortable and affordable Passive House buildings and retrofits in the US market. Ellen Vaughan, policy director of High Performance Green Buildings at EESI, will present at the conference, addressing the crucial role of the government in forwarding the highest green building standard to grow the Passive House sector in the United States.

NatGas Communications Workshop to Feature Experts – Several of our good friends in the natural gas industry will be headlining a conference in Houston on October 31 and November 1st aimed at improving the communication coordination of the industry. Our friends Michael Kehs, VP of Strategic Affairs and Public Relations of Chesapeake Energy; Matt Pitzarella, Director of Corporate Comms and Public Affairs at Range Resources; Chris Tuck of Energy in Depth, John Haubert of the Western Energy Alliance, Cabot Oil & Gas’ George Stark and API’s Linda Rozett will be panelists, among others.

Fall Wind Symposium Set for CA – The 2011 AWEA Wind Energy Fall Symposium is set for November 2-4 in Carlsbad, CA. This year’s program includes sessions that address not only industry trends and innovations, but teach you how to best communicate wind energy’s benefits to external audiences – both steadfast and skeptical.

MD Wind Farm Project Commissioned – The western Maryland wind farm project at Roth Rock will be commissioned on Tuesday November 8th at a lunch and ceremony in Garrett County. The project, which was purchased from Synergics by Gestamp was completed earlier this year and has been in operation since mid-summer.

Forum Targets Making US Cities More Sustainable – The Atlantic’s 4th Annual Green Intelligence Forum will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday, November 16-17 at The Madison, Washington, DC. The Green Intelligence Forum has a three-year tradition of showcasing energy policy, sustainable business, and green initiatives through dynamic conversations with news-making speakers. The 2011 Forum, recognizing a global trend toward urbanization, features a full day of programming curated by Richard Florida, Senior Editor, The Atlantic, and Author, The Rise of the Creative Class, Who’s Your City?, and The Great Reset, focused on how the U.S. government and industry can better support cities, states and local businesses seeking to decrease their carbon footprint through sustainable practices, as well as what is driving industry’s shift toward more sustainable business models.

NARUC 123rd Annual Meeting – November 13-16 in St. Louis

Energy Update: Week of October 24

Friends,

I return from Miami this weekend with a new appreciation for South Beach, and hopefully, a new guest spot on CSI Miami.  I am telling you, one trip down South Beach on a Friday night tells me I am in the wrong business – I should have been a plastic surgeon. 

SEJ really was a great event with a giant crowd, substantive panels (including one on my favorite topic, Cuba Drilling) and lots of socializing and fun.   In fact, my dinner guests (who’s reporter names have been changed to protect the innocent and allow us all to get our expenses approved) and I on Friday had a dinner filled with the ethnic flavor of the community having a Haitian cab driver take us to Little Havana to eat Vietnamese food served by an older Swedish lady who owned the fabulous, hole-in-the-wall bistro that served us German beers (since it was so late, I went crazy and had an extra Coke Zero).   While it took forever to get our food, it was well worth the wait.

A special thanks to everyone who joined us at the Big Bracewell reception on Thursday night – it sure seemed like everyone at the entire event stopped in.   And a special thanks to our sponsors who helped us hold such a nice event and make a small contribution to a great organization.  Special thanks to ACCCE, Waste Management, Alstom, Southern, EEI, Valero, Potomac Communications, ERCC and the Shallow Water Energy Security Coalition.  Next year, get ready for Lubbock, TX…  Maybe not as exciting as Miami, but still a great event.  And Congrats to all the SEJ award winners for journalism excellence, with our friends Abrahm Lustgarten, Mike Hawthorne and Kate Sheppard among them. 

On to the action this week…Another busy week in Washington policy circles with more focus starting to turn to the budget issues and the Supercommittee.  Today, our friends at the Bipartisan Policy Center will tackle the topic head-on with discussions about what taxes energy tax breaks are most likely to be targeted by the super committee and the need to overhaul the entire energy tax and subsidy system in general.

Utility MACT was in the news late last week when EPA Administrator Jackson wrote in an angry op-ed in the Los Angeles Times that she wouldn’t be delaying anything, then EPA promptly delayed the utility rule for 30 more days.  This follows the Boiler MACT reconsideration, the political ozone backdown, and the recent GHG delay when Jackson just announced it before even telling the parties involved.  (Oops)  Probably comes in response to the difficultly of administratively “dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s” as much as the pressure from Republicans and moderate Democrats, many state AGs and local business leaders have put on the EPA and the President over potential job impacts of EPA’s reg push.  Whether they are real (as many states and business groups say), made up (as enviros say) or somewhere in between, there is no doubt that this type of response from Administrator Jackson confirms White House is on the defensive over the aggressive regulatory approach and its impacts.  Thursday, House Oversight led by Chairman Issa will review the bidding at 1:00 p.m. on the rule.

Finally, as many of you know, I enjoy a hockey game or two, so I was very excited to head to Saturday’s matchup of undefeated teams featuring Washington (where I now reside) and Detroit (where I am from).  As a Red Wings guy, I was disappointed greatly with the whooping the Caps put on Detroit (Detroit had played the night prior while the Caps were fresh and it showed), but I do know that if the teams play again this year, it will be for Lord Stanley’s Cup – and I suspect it will be a little tighter game.  It is great to win in October in baseball, but for hockey, you need to win in June…  Detroit has done it many times; only time will tell if the Caps can…  For our sake, I hope so because I’d like to be there for the rematch…

Please call with your questions, media requests or political inquiries.

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

IN THE NEWS

EPA Delays Air Rule – Despite a blistering, un-cabinet-official-like op-ed from EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson that said they would not delay any air rules, on the very same day EPA said they were delaying its mercury MACT rule for utilities by one month to December 16th.  My colleague Scott Segal, director of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, said:  “EPA has admitted that it candidly is not ready to address the volumes of comments pointing to technical and policy errors in the utility air toxics rule.  This rule imposes the highest direct costs of any rule in EPA history.  Given that the rule has little or no incremental benefits, and will likely result in substantial job losses and threats to electric reliability, the American people have every reason to expect better.  While it’s been said that admitting you have a problem is the first step to making a recovery, the EPA has much more work to do to fix this rule than a mere 30 days of time will allow.”

Shell Permit Granted – While it was released from the Seattle office, still a 7:30 p.m. EST release on a Friday on a long-delayed and controversial permit for Shell to drill in the Arctic certainly ought to raise some hackles from enviros.  As you may recall, when this happened in the previous administration, all Hell broke loose from the enviro community if a late Friday announcement was made. EPA issued a final air permit for Shell’s Arctic drilling on Friday and limits air emissions during exploration drilling to less than 250 tons per year. Last time it reached this point, the agency’s Environmental Appeals Board held up enviro challenges the permit, which raised significant complaints from supporters.  The deadline to appeal the permit this time is Nov. 28th.

California Approves Cap, Trade Program – the long-suffering California cap and trade program was approved late last week when the California Air Resources Board voted to adopt final rules that will regulate carbon emissions across a broad cross section of the state’s economy, including oil and gas producers, utilities and transportation companies, farmers and the building industry.  Passed in 2005, the law known as AB 32 has survived numerous legal and political challenges from both environmental activists and industry groups.  The still remain questions about the laws effectiveness because of potential job and emissions leakage that has plague other regional efforts like the northeast’s RGGI Program. 

Indiana Bat Found at PA Site – Duke Energy notified the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) that a dead Indiana bat had been found at its 35-turbine, North Allegheny wind facility. The wind farm, located in Cambria and Blair counties in Pennsylvania, has been in operation since September 2009, and the bat carcass was located during voluntary post-construction mortality monitoring.  Duke immediately curtailed nighttime operations of the turbines at the North Allegheny facility and reported the incident to the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the FWS.  Since the discovery of the dead Indiana bat, Duke has not operated the wind farm at night – the company curtails the North Allegheny project beginning roughly 30 minutes before dusk until 30 minutes after dawn.  The migration season for bats ends in mid-November.  While we have long known that there have been some bat impacts at wind facilities, Duke followed proper procedures and will continue working with state and federal officials.

IEA says Developing Countries Emissions Rising, Developed Falling – New analysis from the International Energy Agency said that emissions in Developing countries rose more than 3% in 2009, while those in Developed countries fell by 6.5%.  IEA also said in 2009 the global economic recession led to the first decline in carbon dioxide emissions since 1990.  They added, however, that they expected a large rebound in CO2 emissions when it reviews records from 2010, when the global economy showed signs of recovery. Statistics for 2009 show that emission levels for the group of countries participating in the Kyoto Protocol – a multinational agreement to mitigate climate change – were just shy of 15% below their 1990 level. Key findings in the IEA analysis include that 1) two-thirds of global emissions for 2009 originated from just ten countries, with the shares of China and the United States far surpassing those of all others. (Combined, these two countries alone produced 41% of the world’s CO₂ emissions); 2) between 1990 and 2009, CO₂ emissions from the combustion of coal grew from 40% to 43% and natural gas from 18 to 20%, while CO₂ emissions from oil fell from 42% to 37% and 3) two sectors – Electricity and heat generation and transport – produced nearly two-thirds of global CO₂ emissions in 2009, up from 58% in 1990.

Study Says Nations Missing Copenhagen Targets – A new study in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Climate Change by researchers at the Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science at ETH Zurich in Switzerland says that meeting the target for global warming enshrined in the 2009 Copenhagen Accord will require carbon emissions to decline by more than eight percent by 2020 compared to 2010 and then continue their fall.  World leaders at the UN climate-change summit in Copenhagen in December 2009 set a goal of limiting warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.  In scenarios that saw a “likely” — higher than 66% — chance of staying below 2 C (3.6 F), global emissions would have to peak between 2010 and 2020.  By 2020, annual emissions would have to be 44 billion tons, or gigatons, of carbon dioxide or its equivalent (CO2e) per year.

Rare Earths Group Calls for Congressional Caucus to Address Issues – RARE, The Association for Rare Earth, urged the creation of Senate/House caucuses to focus on the challenges of securing supplies of rare earth elements for the nation’s high technology, clean energy, and defense communities.  The request comes in the wake of a Defense Department report released earlier this month warning of America’s overdependence on foreign sources of rare earth elements (REEs).  In a request letter to members of Congress, RARE’s president and board wrote that such elements are “critical to the production of virtually every high-tech and clean energy product and are fundamental to the national security of the United States. A secure and sustainable supply of REEs affects thousands of companies and millions of American jobs.” The letter urged the creation of the bipartisan caucus to “assist the REE community in navigating the rapidly changing and still emerging issues surrounding rare earths.” RARE Advisory Board Member Roger Ballentine, former Chairman of the White House Climate Change Task Force in the Clinton Administration said important legislative work is already being undertaken on this issue, and much more needs to be done to ensure reliable access to these materials that are critical to our technology and clean energy needs.” He cited House passage last year of the Rare Earths and Critical Materials Revitalization Act of 2010, and a hearing focused on the subject last month in the House Foreign Affairs Committee.  In addition to Ballentine, RARE’s board members include former Ambassador Stuart Holliday, former Ambassador to the United Nations for Special Political Affairs; John L. Howard, former United States Federal Environmental Executive; Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr., U.S. Navy (Ret), former Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator; former Congressman Thomas McMillen (D-MD), Chairman of Homeland Security Capital Corporation and an active Advisory Board Member of Clean Energy Systems; and John Paul Woodley, former Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works.  Of course, our friends at Molycorp in Colorado are the leading US company in the sector and are investing aggressively in a new facility in California. Last week, they announced they were accelerating the initial start-up of our new, state-of-the-art rare earth processing facility at Mountain Pass, California to deliver more products sooner.

THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK:

Defense Summit to Look at Green Issues – The Institute for Defense and Government Advancement (IDGA) will hold its third annual alternative energy for defense summit on Monday-Wednesday at the Sheraton Premiere at Tysons Corner Hotel in Vienna, VA.  The DoD is making alternative energy a bigger priority than ever before. Conserving energy, lowering costs, reducing reliance on foreign oil, and increasing tactical and strategic security are the goals of new efforts toward “greening” the services. With a new partnership with the DoE and a new Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Plans and Programs, the DoD has gotten serious about taking action.  In time with the DoD’s Energy Awareness Month, summit will provide the forum for senior-level experts from the DoD, Department of Energy, government agencies, and key industry leaders to discuss the most strategic and cost-efficient alternative energy solutions for defense as well as how to increase energy independence, “green” the military, and more.

WRI, UNEP Forum to Look at Climate Steps Forward – World Resources Institute and the United Nations Environment Program will hold a forum today at 1:00 p.m. to launch a new paper shows that a menu of options is available for scaling up action on the part of national governments and designing a climate regime capable of delivering adequate mitigation action.  A few months from now, countries will gather in Durban, South Africa to try to reach agreement on an ambitious program for tackling climate change. The world’s level of effort on climate change mitigation is not in line with the science.  In a call to do more, the World Resources Institute and the United Nations Environment Program, with the support of the Government of Ireland, are releasing a paper that outlines various options put forward by governments, NGOs and academics for designing a climate regime capable of delivering adequate mitigation action.  A full slate of UNEP and WRI speakers will be available.

Vilsack to Headline Food, Policy SummitNational Journal will hold a policy summit on Wednesday at the Newseum starting at 8:30 a.m. to look at healthy food and sustainability issues.  A panel of experts will discuss new paradigms for ensuring a future of both healthy food and a healthy planet and will explore what steps are being taken to protect the environment as it relates to food production, how the public and private sectors are working together to lower the impact of food production on the environment, and how the United States can implement policy and legislation that address these issues.   USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack will deliver the keynote address.  The panel will feature EWG President Ken Cook, former Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman, MIT environmental policy expert John Reilly and Corby Kummer of The Atlantic.

House Energy to Look at EPA Farm Dust Issue – The House Energy and Commerce’s energy and power panel will hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on legislation to block the EPA from regulating farm dust despite the agency’s statements that it has no intentions of doing so. EPA air chief Gina McCarthy, the Farm Bureau and a number of others will testify.  

House Transportation Panel Tackles Challenges for U.S. Ports – The House Transportation and Infrastructure’s water resources panel will hold a hearing Wednesday to look at the state of U.S. seaports and whether they are prepared to meet the demands of a modern economy. As we represent the American Bureau of Shipping and a number of US ports, we may be able to help with questions.   Army Corps assistant secretary Jo-Ellen Darcy, Jerry Bridges of the American Assn of Port Authorities, World Shipping Council Chris Koch and port heads from Jacksonville, Oakland and Cleveland will testify.

Forum Looks at Chinese Nuclear Issues – The Union of Concerned Scientists and the Carnegie Institute will hold a forum on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. to look at talks between China and the United States on their nuclear weapons programs. U.S. officials want more frequent and direct high-level military-to-military strategic nuclear dialogue, but the Chinese have not been as active or forthcoming in strategic nuclear dialogues as the Americans have wished. Why has China been a reluctant participant? How can the United States promote more effective dialogue?  Two scholars Greg Kulacki and Li Bin will provide their insights on the dialogue and make recommendations for how to improve it going forward.

Forum to Look at Glaciers, Decline – The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will hold a forum on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. on the environmental and social consequences of glacial decline.  Climate change is impacting mountain environments – and the people who live there – in very dramatic ways.  Glaciers are melting, forests are disappearing and mountain water systems are eroding.  These changes have consequences for mountain communities as well as potentially devastating consequences for downstream communities.  Scientists from the Himalayas, Andes and Appalachians met recently at Nepal’s Imja Lake, a new and unstable body of water formed by melting glaciers in the shadow of Mt. Everest.  The expedition reached a number of conclusions that have wide-ranging implications for those living in mountain communities, policymakers and the public at large.  They include the need for greater focus on community-based research and adaptation efforts in high-altitude regions; recognition that greenhouse gas sequestration and mitigation are no longer sufficient for protecting fragile ecosystems; a sense of urgency in drawing on lessons learned from decades of development in the world’s major mountain systems; and a more sustained effort in pooling and applying the knowledge, research and analytical skills of scientists from around the globe.  This Roundtable will be organized into three parts: (i) a general overview of climate change impacts on high mountain systems and downstream consequences; (ii) a muddy-boots account of the expedition to Imja Lake and lessons learned; and (iii) a discussion of broader policy implications for driving much-needed climate change adaptation strategies, with particular emphasis on involving local communities in the management of follow-up projects.  Event speakers will include our friend Lisa Friedman of ClimateWire, among several others.  

Border Energy Forum to Highlight Issues in Southwest, Mexico – The 18th Border Energy Forum will be held in El Paso, Texas on Thursday and Friday in partnership with Re-Energize the Americas.   The conference is hosted by the Texas General Land Office and focuses on the potential of clean energy like natural gas and renewables in the 10 border states.

House Science to Look at Nuclear Issues – The House Science Committee’s Subcommittees on Investigations & Oversight and Energy & Environment will host a joint subcommittee hearing on Thursday looking at America’s nuclear future.  The hearing will feature a “Review of the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future Draft Recommendations.”  Witnesses will include Argonne National Laboratory expert Dr. Mark Peters, Dr. Peter Swift of the Sandia National Laboratory, Heritage’s Jack Spencer, Nye County Board of County Commissioners Chair Gary Hollis, Rick McLeod, of the Savannah River Site Reuse Organization.  Of course, as I mentioned last week, our friend and waste expert Jim Conca is also available to discuss the topic.

RFF Seminar To Look at Climate Economics – Resources for the Future Stanford University and EPA will hold a two-day forum on Thursday and Friday on the next round of climate economics and policy research in its First Floor Conference Center.  With Congressional action on climate policy at an impasse, U.S. efforts now are proceeding through other channels, including various clean energy initiatives and provisions of the Clean Air Act. Presented by the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research and Resources for the Future, we are bringing together a group of outstanding research economists and policy leaders to take stock and help provide guidelines for future climate policy. The papers commissioned for this conference, together with discussants’ comments by academic and policy experts, will summarize existing scholarship and set an agenda for policy relevant research for the near-term future.  Speaker will include Ian Parry of the International Monetary Fund, DOE’s Michael Holland, Stanford’s Jim Sweeney, EIA’s Howard Gruenspecht and former EIA head Richard Newell (now at Duke University), DOE Science Under Secretary Dr. Steve Koonin, RFF’s Dallas Burtraw, Harvard’s Bob Stavins, Harvard University, Nate Keohane of the National Economic Council, and EPA’s Al McGartland, among many others. 

House Oversight to Relook at EPA Utility Rule – Following EPA’s back and forth this week, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will hold a hearing on Thursday at 1:00 p.m. looking at the impacts of the EPA’s Utility MACT Rule.  Rumor has I, our friend Scott Segal may even testify. 

Forum Looks at Chinese Coal Issues – The Carnegie Institute is holding a forum on Thursday at 9:30 a.m. to look at the Chinese coal industry and the concerns about a carbon constrained world. China currently consumes almost half of global coal output, and relies on indigenous coal for more than 80 percent of its electricity generation. While the use of coal has greatly benefited China in terms of economic growth and energy security, it has created enormous environmental and social challenges, from land subsidence and regional water shortages to global issues concerning air quality and greenhouse gas emissions.  Carnegie’s Kevin Tu will share insights from his work on the Chinese coal value chain and Mark Jaccard, professor at Simon Fraser University, will discuss how the United States and China could work together on coal issues in order to move the climate agenda forward.

Conference to Look at Energy Efficiency for Housing – The Passive House Institute U.S. and the Environmental and Energy Studies Institute will hold the 6th Annual North American Passive House Conference on Friday in Silver Spring, MD. The North American Passive House Conference gathers building experts – from architects to engineers to contractors – to share the latest technology developments and best practices for building sustainable, comfortable and affordable Passive House buildings and retrofits in the US market.  Ellen Vaughan, policy director of High Performance Green Buildings at EESI, will present at the conference, addressing the crucial role of the government in forwarding the highest green building standard to grow the Passive House sector in the United States.

THE WEEKS AHEAD:

NatGas Communications Workshop to Feature Experts – Several of our good friends in the natural gas industry will be headlining a conference in Houston on October 31 and November 1st aimed at improving the communication coordination of the industry.    Our friends Michael Kehs, VP of Strategic Affairs and Public Relations of Chesapeake Energy; Matt Pitzarella, Director of Corporate Comms and Public Affairs at Range Resources; Chris Tuck of Energy in Depth, John Haubert of the Western Energy Alliance, Cabot Oil & Gas’ George Stark and API’s Linda Rozett will be panelists, among others. 

Forum to Highlight Distributed Energy Issues – The Brookings Institution Energy Security Initiative and the Hoover Institution’s Energy Task Force will hold a forum next Monday, October 31st on the role of distributed power systems in the U.S. electricity sector energy, infrastructure, energy and climate.  Designed for the supply and demand of the 19th and 20th centuries, the current electric grid requires substantial investment to continue to provide reliable power for a growing, increasingly electricity-dependent population. Interest in strengthening America’s grid has increased attention to Distributed Power Systems (DPS), a combination of distributed generation sources and grid storage. DPS technologies include rooftop solar installations, “microwind” turbines, electrochemical fuel-cell systems, and combined heat and power applications.  By using localized sources of generation, electricity consumers in the commercial and residential sectors have an opportunity to bypass the centralized system of generation and dispatch to meet their own electricity needs and play a role in stabilizing and supporting the grid. DPS are also a method for cleaner energy sources to provide a larger share of the electricity mix. DPS applications also have potential value to the U.S. military as it seeks to increase the efficiency of its operations both at home and in the battle theater.  Following introductory remarks by Brookings President Strobe Talbott and Hoover Institution Distinguished Fellow George Shultz, panelists will assess the environmental, national security, and economic strengths and weaknesses of DPS and examine the policies that will enable DPS in a feasible and cost-effective manner.  Several of the panelists include our friends former Bush Energy EERE head Andy Karsner, DC PSC Commissioner Rick Morgan, Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers and California Energy Commission Chairman Bob Weisenmiller.

WCEE To Host OpinionShapers Roundtable on Energy Issues – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) is holding an opinionmakers roundtable on Tuesday, November 1st at 11:30 a.m. at Dickstein Shapiro to focus on energy and environment issues in the era of severe budget politics.   The event will feature our friends Juliet Eilperin of the Washington Post and Amy Harder of National Journal as well as NRDC’s David Goldston, among a few others.  Experts in energy and environmental reporting and governance discuss critical national issues such as the renewable energy, Keystone pipeline, oil shale production regulations, drilling in the Arctic, EPA and climate change rules, California’s new cap and trade program, and nuclear energy. This program will cover breaking news topics and provide information on recent public opinion polling on the environment and climate change.

Event to Focus on Industrial Energy Efficiency – The Alliance to Save Energy will hold a forum on Wednesday November 2nd to discuss the role of standards such as ISO 50001 and the American Society for Mechanical Engineering (ASME) system assessment standards and how they are impacting industrial energy use.  It’s been nearly a year since the American Society for Mechanical Engineering (ASME) issued new standards for assessing four industrial systems: Compressed Air, Pumping, Steam and Process Heating. More recently, the ISO 50001 energy management standard was launched, with input from some of our Associates.  Together, these two sets of standards offer powerful tools to improve energy efficiency in the industrial sector, bolstering ways for industrial corporations to become more energy efficient. For example, 26 plants in the U.S. are currently using ISO 50001 by participating in the demonstration phase of the Superior Energy Performance program. As part of SEP these plants are likely to apply one or more of the ASME standards in assessing the industrial systems they possess.  Industry experts Bill Meffert, Manager, Energy and Sustainability Services Group, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Paul Hamilton, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs, Schneider Electric, discuss these standards and how they are impacting industrial energy use.

RFF Seminar Looks at Forestry Issues – Resources for the Future will hold its November First Wednesday Seminar on Wednesday November 2nd at 12:45 p.m. on trade and sustainability of forest products and the global challenges and opportunities they present.  International buyers of forest products know the importance of identifying sustainable and legal sources—they also know this is challenging in today’s complex global markets. Although estimating the scale of illegal logging is difficult, a recent Chatham House report suggests that illegal activities may account for more than one tenth of the total global timber trade, representing products worth at least $15 billion per year. A significant portion of global deforestation is the result of such illegal activities—and according to the 2006 Stern Review, emissions resulting from deforestation are greater than those produced by the entire global transport sector, making illegal logging a serious concern.  Around the world, private and public procurement policies are focusing on ways to eliminate illegal fiber from supply chains. This includes a shift from voluntary to mandatory government regulations, such as the amended Lacey Act in the United States and the European Union Timber.  RFF’s Roger Sedjo will moderate an expert panel that includes Al Goetzl of the U.S. International Trade Commission, WRI’s Adam Grant and Nadine Block of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc.

Peak Oil Conference Set – The 2011 ASPO-USA Conference on peak oil, energy & the economy will be held on Thursday November 3rd and Friday November 4th in Washington. The conference itself will gather many of the biggest names and leading experts on Peak Oil, resource depletion, and how changing energy realities will affect the economy and all aspects of modern life. It is a unique opportunity to better understand this critical but often overlooked issue.  The conference will kick things off with a forum at the Congressional Visitors Center on Thursday to look at adapting to cheap oil.  

Report, Forum Look at Climate Lobbying Impacts – Transparency International and the World Resources Institute will launch its 2011 Global Corruption Report and host a panel discussion on Thursday, November 3rd at 4:00 p.m., focusing on how efforts to promote climate policy in the U.S. and around the world have managed these challenges, and about new initiatives to promote transparency and accountability around climate data and national-level commitments. Building from the Global Corruption Report: Climate Change, speakers will address the questions of transparency and accountability of climate information and decision-making, with a focus on the U.S.  Speakers will include WRI’s Jacob Werksman, Paul Blumenthal of the Huffington Post, Lisa Ann Elges of Transparency International and WRI’s Taryn Fransen.

Fall Wind Symposium Set for CA – The 2011 AWEA Wind Energy Fall Symposium is set for November 2-4 in Carlsbad, CA.  This year’s program includes sessions that address not only industry trends and innovations, but teach you how to best communicate wind energy’s benefits to external audiences – both steadfast and skeptical.

Oil Sands Protects Set for November 6 – Protestors will again descend on the White House and Washington.  Look for much more on this next week

MD Wind Farm Project Commissioned – The western Maryland wind farm project at Roth Rock will be commissioned on Tuesday November 8th at a lunch and ceremony in Garrett County.  The project, which was purchased from Synergics by Gestamp was completed earlier this year and has been in operation since mid-summer.

Forum Targets Making US Cities More SustainableThe Atlantic’s 4th Annual Green Intelligence Forum will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday, November 16-17 at The Madison, Washington, DC.  The Green Intelligence Forum has a three-year tradition of showcasing energy policy, sustainable business, and green initiatives through dynamic conversations with news-making speakers.  The 2011 Forum, recognizing a global trend toward urbanization, features a full day of programming curated by Richard Florida, Senior Editor, The Atlantic, and Author, The Rise of the Creative Class, Who’s Your City?, and The Great Reset, focused on how the U.S. government and industry can better support cities, states and local businesses seeking to decrease their carbon footprint through sustainable practices, as well as what is driving industry’s shift toward more sustainable business models.

NARUC 123rd Annual Meeting – November 13-16 in St. Louis

Renewable Transmission Newsmaker to Feature AWC, Google Execs – The National Press Club’s Newsmakers’ Committee will host an Forum on November 30th at 3:00 p.m. to look at Offshore wind development and the infrastructure needed to allow the industry to develop.  Speakers are expected to include a representative from the Atlantic Wind Connection and one of its key funders, Google.   

Annual Rate Forum Features Federal, State Regulators, Comms Experts – SNL Financial will hold its 4th annual Utility Rate Case Symposium on December 6th and 7th at the Marriott at Metro Center to discuss the environment surrounding rate cases.  Speakers will include FERC Commissioner John Norris, Missouri PSC Commissioner Jeff Davis, Larry Brenner of the Maryland PSC and our communications colleagues Andy Hallmark of Potomac Communications and Chet Wade of Dominion, who will do a special forum on communications issues surrounding a rate case.

Energy Update: Week of October 31

Friends,

Happy Halloween everyone.  After my kids plowed through our 12 pumpkins de-seeding them and carving them up (there are some pretty sad designs), I have batched up a special set of pumpkin seeds for my colleagues at Bracewell as I do every year and I must say… this year the seeds are particularly good.   This year’s batches feature Corona/Lime, Jose Cuervo/Southwestern spices, Garlic, a spicy Worcestershire/cayenne combo, traditional Seas Salt and my regular Old Bay/Soy mainstay.

Trying to get this update moved so I can get home and mentally prepare the kids for the minimum 500 houses they are required to hit by Maisano Family tradition.  We have been training for this since last year’s disappointment when my youngest Olivia passed out with 20 houses to go.  Right then, we vowed to come into this year stronger and better than ever.    Everybody was in bed early last night in preparation so we should be good.  Thank goodness, they know nothing of (and I will not tell them about) the other Detroit tradition my friends and I used to join in on the night before Halloween.  You may remember some of the news reports back then…

Back to the action…Last week closed with EPA delaying another rule (the GHG power plants) and looking like it will need more delays for the GHG refinery rule.  All the delays, pullbacks and slowdowns give you the sense that the EPA political train was always moving way faster than what is administratively possible.    In addition, those pesky issues like a continued struggling economy, little or no job growth and 2012 politics all have seemingly piled on.  

It is a busy week this week as we approach t-minus 23 days until the Supercommittee must produce the goods.  We see a lot of paper rustling, but still not much movement.  Cuba drilling gets another hearing on Wednesday, this time in the House Resources Committee.  Rumor has it our friends from Helix, while not on the testimony list, may be in the house.   Also hearings on Wednesday look at motor fuel standards in House Science featuring NPRA’s Brendan Williams and EPA’s Margo Oge; and part two of the Resources Deepwater Horizon report review.

Tomorrow, B&G is expected to announce the arrival of two new environmental experts, John Riley and Chris Thiele, who can help you with natural gas drilling and other environmental issues.   And get your checkbooks ready as Solyndra heads to auction this week.  I want to add some items to my Enron Collection.

In case you missed it, our friend Andy Revkin at the New York Times Dot Earth blog gives us a detailed reality check on ambitious climate targets this week, highlighting some of the problems and their counter arguments with various GHG reduction plans: “An interesting commentary published in Nature this week explores what it would take to achieve California’s ambitious plan to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. It is worth exploring here because it holds lessons that apply far beyond that state.”

Finally, my apologies to my friend David Hammer of the New Orleans Times-Picayune who I inadvertently left off the SEJ Award Winners list last week for his most-excellent coverage of the Gulf Spill.   Congrats Dave on your well-deserved honor for the all great coverage.

Please call with your questions, media requests or political inquiries.

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

IN THE NEWS

Segal Takes on EPA Administrator – Bracewell’s Scott Segal took to the airwaves on E&E TV last week to discuss the short-term outlook for new air regulations coming out of U.S. EPA.  During OnPoint, Segal, head of the policy resolution practice and founder of the strategic communications practice at Bracewell & Giuliani, said his expectations for the roll out of key air rules, including Utility MACT and Boiler MACT show that EPA is likely underplaying the significant cost and reliability concerns. He also gives his take on recent comments by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson on Congress’ attempts to block air regulations.

Bracewell Brings in Environmental Experts – Speaking of Bracewell, the firm has brought in two new environmental experts that will be at your disposal for questions about natural gas drilling and other environmental issues.  John Riley and Chris Thiele have joined the firm’s Austin office as partners in the environmental strategies practice. Prior to joining the firm, Riley was a partner and Thiele was counsel in Vinson & Elkins LLP’s environmental litigation and regulation practice.  Riley represents clients in permitting and enforcement matters in the air, water and waste media. He advises entities in the power generation, hydraulic fracturing, manufacturing and waste disposal sectors in matters before the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.   Thiele’s practice focuses primarily on the regulation of air pollution under the federal Clean Air Act and related state and local laws and regulations, notably in Texas. He represents industrial clients on a wide range of air permitting, rulemaking, compliance auditing, enforcement, and litigation matters, including contested permit proceedings.  Riley was the Director of the Litigation Division at the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (now TCEQ) from 1994 to 1998. While there, he was directly responsible for overseeing the agency’s environmental crimes unit and the development and implementation of the Texas Environmental, Health and Safety Audit Privilege Law and other legislation, rulemaking, and policies.  Prior to practicing law, Thiele was an engineer for an environmental consulting firm, where he represented the oil and gas, petrochemical, surface coating and wood-products industries, and a senior engineer for a major electric utility.

GHGs Rules Delayed Again – The EPA will delay another regulation this time on GHG restrictions for power plants, getting another month to set a timetable.   Under a settlement agreement with New York City, Washington, 11 states and three environmental groups, EPA was to propose the regulations this summer and finalize them next May.  They have already delayed them once earlier this year and now will get another 30 days.   In a letter sent to the Justice Department on Friday according to Reuters, Environmental groups said they will hold EPA to its new November 30th deadline to issue its draft rules for regulations or they will take legal action.

Refinery Rule in Trouble Too – Speaking of delays, it seems EPA is having trouble on its refinery rule as well.  EPA is struggling with new rules to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from petroleum refineries.  The advocates that sued are also open to giving the agency more time to propose the rule if it cannot meet the December court deadline.  EPA has until December 15th to propose new source performance standards for greenhouse gas emissions from refineries as part of a court settlement with the environmental groups.  From a joint NPRA/API letter to Gina McCarthy, EPA Assistant Administrator: “we are writing to restate our request that EPA defer the deadline to propose multiple refinery rules associated with the December 10, 2010 settlement agreement. As we have indicated in prior correspondence and discussions, this rulemaking is unprecedented in scope for our industry and includes revisions to multiple NESHAP and NSPS regulations, application of Uniform Standards for different emission sources that have yet to be proposed, and first-time greenhouse gas (GHG) standards. Now, our request is only strengthened by 1) recent developments where EPA has agreed twice to defer a similar GHG NSPS proposal for the utility sector and 2) recent remarks by an attorney representing the non-industry litigants in the settlement agreement.”

Permit Indicator Still Shows Drilling Lag – Greater New Orleans Inc. and several partnering organizations released its 21st Gulf Permit Index (GPI) showing that the rates of issuance for new deep-water well permits continue to lag historical averages, while issuance levels for new shallow-water well permits are on the rise.  Deep-water permit issuance continues to lag the monthly average observed in the year prior to the oil spill. Only 4.0 deep-water permits are being issued per month since August 2011, representing a 1.8-permit — or a 31% — monthly reduction from the average of 5.8 permits per month. This number also represents a 3.0-permit — or a 43% — reduction from the historical average of 7.0 permits per month over the past three years.  Shallow-water permit issuance is slightly above the three-month trailing average, but still falls short of the historical average. Since August 2011, 7.3 shallow-water permits, on average, were issued. That number represents an increase of 0.2 permits — or 3% — from the monthly average of 7.1 permits per month observed in the year prior to the oil spill. This number also represents a 7.4-permit — or a 50% — reduction from the historical average of 14.7 permits per month over the past three years.   The GPI+ also shows a sharp increase in the average number of days taken to approve plans and a significant decrease in the percentage of plans being approved, compared with the number of plans submitted to BOEMRE.  In 2011, the average approval time for a plan is 115 days, compared to the historical average of 61 days. All deep-water plans that include any type of drilling activity must now undergo an environmental assessment (EA) process; for those plans requiring EAs in 2011, the average approval time is 235 days, significantly higher than the overall average approval time. Additionally, in 2011, 37% of plans submitted to BOEMRE are being approved, compared to the historical 73.4% approval rate.

UMd Study Undercuts Cornell Research on Gas – A new University of Maryland study has joined researchers from Carnegie Mellon, Wood Mackenzie, and even U.S. Dept. of Energy in locating gaping holes in an anti-drilling study from researchers from Cornell University — Robert Howarth and Anthony Ingraffea.  The Cornell study claimed that emissions from shale gas production are worse than coal, based chiefly on the global warming potential (GWP) of methane.  The new study, entitled “The Greenhouse Impact of Unconventional Gas for Electricity Production,” says that GHG impacts of shale gas are only 56% that of coal and that the argument  shale gas is more polluting than coal are largely unjustified.

MD Polls Support Nat Gas Drilling – Speaking of Maryland and natgas drilling, a new poll by Gonzales Research & Marketing Strategies finds that an incredible 80% of Marylanders support natural gas production in the United States, including 60% who “strongly support” it. The poll finds large majority support for developing natural gas among both men and women, across all political affiliations, and in every region of the state.  As for producing natural gas specifically in western Maryland, where the Marcellus Shale could provide significant new economic opportunities for the Old Line State, nearly 75% of voters in the state express support. Production in western Maryland also enjoys majority support across all demographics polled in the state.  This poll comes as another Quinnipiac survey in New York shows a plurality of voters support Marcellus Shale development, a fact that has remained consistent in Quinnipiac’s polling over the past few months. A Siena poll from last month also found more New Yorkers supported than opposed natural gas production.  And in neighboring Pennsylvania, where the Mighty Marcellus is the source of significant job creation and the rebirth of manufacturing, voters say the economic benefits of drilling outweigh any perceived environmental issues by 62 percent to 30 percent.  Throughout the United States, natural gas development enjoys 81% support according to a recent poll by the American Consumer Institute (ACI).  It also follows recent polling that indicating Maryland voters overwhelming support offshore wind development and would be willing to pay more for it. 

CU Students Produce New On-Line Magazine – Our SEJ friend Tom Yulsman passed some new info on The Boulder Stand, an online environmental magazine, created by graduate students in the environmental journalism program at the University of Colorado. The Stand publishes a growing mix of news, commentary and analysis related to the sciences, environment and technology.  It is an independent student-run publication based in Boulder, Colorado. Contributors include students at the CU Center for Environmental Journalism and faculty from the University of Colorado Boulder. We also publish work from professional journalists in the Boulder community.

Study Details Corporate Political Reporting – A new report from the Center for Political Accountability in conjunction with the Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania says America’s largest publicly traded companies are voluntarily moving to disclose their corporate expenditures on politics, a new index shows on the eve of a blockbuster election year for political spending.  Less than two years after the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Citizens United ruling allowed much greater corporate political spending, almost one-third of these companies also place some limits on how they spend corporate dollars on politics, the index reveals. The companies include Microsoft, Wells Fargo, Merck, Colgate-Palmolive and IBM.  These are among the key findings of the CPA-Zicklin Index of Corporate Political Disclosure and Accountability.  The Index provides the first comprehensive portrait of how S&P 100 companies are navigating political spending both as to disclosure and board oversight since Citizens United.  Of course, our own lobbying/campaign finance expert Josh Zive (202-828-5838) can handle your questions.

THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK:

NatGas Communications Workshop to Feature Experts – Several of our good friends in the natural gas industry will be headlining a conference in Houston today and tomorrow aimed at improving the communication coordination of the industry.    Our friends Michael Kehs, VP of Strategic Affairs and Public Relations of Chesapeake Energy; Matt Pitzarella, Director of Corporate Comms and Public Affairs at Range Resources; Chris Tuck of Energy in Depth, John Haubert of the Western Energy Alliance, Cabot Oil & Gas’ George Stark and API’s Linda Rozett will be panelists, among others. 

Forum to Look at Green Government – The 2011 GreenGov Symposium will be held today through Wednesday at the Washington Hilton The event brings together thought leaders from the public and private sectors to address innovative practices surrounding the greening of the Federal Government.  Speakers will include Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew, CEQ Chair Nancy Sutley, GSA Administrator Martha Johnson, Sacramento Mayor and former NBA star Kevin Johnson and our friend Jim Connaughton of Constellation, among many others. 

Forum to Highlight Distributed Energy Issues – The Brookings Institution Energy Security Initiative and the Hoover Institution’s Energy Task Force will hold a forum today on the role of distributed power systems in the U.S. electricity sector energy, infrastructure, energy and climate.  Designed for the supply and demand of the 19th and 20th centuries, the current electric grid requires substantial investment to continue to provide reliable power for a growing, increasingly electricity-dependent population. Interest in strengthening America’s grid has increased attention to Distributed Power Systems (DPS), a combination of distributed generation sources and grid storage. DPS technologies include rooftop solar installations, “microwind” turbines, electrochemical fuel-cell systems, and combined heat and power applications.  By using localized sources of generation, electricity consumers in the commercial and residential sectors have an opportunity to bypass the centralized system of generation and dispatch to meet their own electricity needs and play a role in stabilizing and supporting the grid. DPS are also a method for cleaner energy sources to provide a larger share of the electricity mix. DPS applications also have potential value to the U.S. military as it seeks to increase the efficiency of its operations both at home and in the battle theater.  Following introductory remarks by Brookings President Strobe Talbott and Hoover Institution Distinguished Fellow George Shultz, panelists will assess the environmental, national security, and economic strengths and weaknesses of DPS and examine the policies that will enable DPS in a feasible and cost-effective manner.  Several of the panelists include our friend and former Bush Energy EERE head Andy Karsner, DC PSC Commissioner Rick Morgan, Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers and California Energy Commission Chairman Bob Weisenmiller.

WEC Forum to Address Energy Strategies for Buildings – SAIL Capital Partners and John Picard & Associates will host a World Environment Council Roundtable tomorrow at the National Press Club on breakthrough energy strategies for existing buildings.  Major focus areas will include innovation strategies; new technologies and their application; and achieving market scale. Speakers will include senior level executives, entrepreneurs and representatives of the financial sector.

WCEE To Host OpinionShapers Roundtable on Energy Issues – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) is holding an opinionmakers roundtable tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. at Dickstein Shapiro to focus on energy and environment issues in the era of severe budget politics.   The event will feature our friends Juliet Eilperin of the Washington Post and Amy Harder of National Journal as well as NRDC’s David Goldston, among a few others.  Experts in energy and environmental reporting and governance discuss critical national issues such as the renewable energy, Keystone pipeline, oil shale production regulations, drilling in the Arctic, EPA and climate change rules, California’s new cap and trade program, and nuclear energy. This program will cover breaking news topics and provide information on recent public opinion polling on the environment and climate change.

Oversight Gets EPA Power Plant Rules Re-Set – The new date for last week’s postponed House Oversight  Committee hearing on EPA power plant rules is tomorrow in the committee at 1:00 p.m.

VLS to Honor NOAA’s Lubchenco – The Vermont Law School’s Washington, D.C., Alumni Association will present its annual Alumni Achievement Award tomorrow evening at Bracewell & Giuliani to Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator.   The award recognizes leaders in the field of environmental policy.  Dr.  Lubchenco is a marine ecologist and environmental scientist with expertise in oceans and climate change. She has a track record of balancing activism with thoughtful policymaking. Since her confirmation as NOAA head, Dr. Lubchenco has made great strides in implementing the 35-year-old Magnuson Act, which gives NOAA the tools to restore sustainability to our nation’s fishing practices.  VLS boasts many expert lawyers including B&G natgas expert Jason Hutt. 

House Oversight Looks at Green Energy Spending – The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s Regulatory Affairs, Stimulus Oversight and Government Spending Subcommittee will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. to look at green energy spending.   Witnesses will include Department of Energy inspector general Gregory Friedman, Labor’s assistant inspector general Elliot Lewis, NERA’s David Montgomery and Brett McMahon of Miller & Long Concrete Construction.

Resources Tackles Cuba Drilling, Deepwater Horizon – Following last week’s Senate hearing, on-going panel coverage and new media focus, the House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will hold an oversight hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. to look at North American offshore energy, including Mexico, Canada and new drilling by Cuba and Bahamas.  Witnesses include a similar Line-up to last week in the Senate, including Michael Bromwich and USCG Vice Adm. Brian Salerno, deputy commandant for operations.  Then at 2:00 p.m., the full committee will hold its second hearing on the BOEMRE (Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement)/U.S. Coast Guard Joint Investigation Team Report on the causes of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill.  This hearing will focus on the recently released Joint Investigation Team report conducted by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement and the United States Coast Guard into the rig operations, and subsequent explosion, fire and sinking of the Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit Deepwater Horizon owned by Transocean and operated by BP on April 20, 2010. After repeated delays, the federal government has finally released the findings of its investigation into the tragic Deepwater Horizon incident.  This is another significant report on the disaster that provides a clearer picture about what caused the tragedy and how Congress, industry and the Administration can move forward to ensure that U.S. offshore drilling is the safest in the world. American offshore energy production is vital to jobs, our economy and our national security. Any reforms must be thoughtful and must be done right. Our goal must be to ensure offshore energy production can be done effectively and efficiently, while still meeting the highest safety standards

House Science Digs Into Fuel Standards – The House Science Committee’s Energy and Environment Subcommittee will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. looking at the conflicts and unintended consequences of motor fuel standards.  Witnesses will include NPRA’s Brendan Williams, Ingrid Burke of the University of Wyoming (co-Chair, National Research Council Committee on Economic and Environmental Impacts of Increasing Biofuels Production), EPA’s Margo Oge and several others. 

Murkowski to Headline Rare Earths Conference – The National Center for Policy Analysis will hold the first conference on rare earths, critical metals, energy and national security on Wednesday at the Capitol Hill Hyatt Regency in Washington.  The first of its kind, this conference will explore the direct link between the U.S. rare earths supply and the nation’s safety, as well as policy proposals to decrease our dependence on foreign suppliers, improve our domestic energy production, and enhance our national security.  Critical metals are key elements in dozens of weapons systems, surveillance platforms and, increasingly, to our energy supply that serve as the cornerstone of our national security, which underscores how important it is for the U.S. to reduce its dependence on critical metals.    The conference is expected to raise awareness of how current public policies lead to dependence on China for the U.S. supply of rare earths, and thus undermine our national security.  The conference features key policy makers and executive branch analysts who will play a key role in shaping U.S. resource policies, including Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, Colorado Congressmen Doug Lamborn and Mike Coffman.  Each of these members has a bill in the present Congress advancing domestic rare earths development and critical metals more broadly to provide strategic resource supply.  Also presenting at the conference will be speakers and panelists from the Dept. of Defense’s Defense Logistics Agency, the Department of Energy, USGS and many others. 

Event to Focus on Industrial Energy Efficiency – The Alliance to Save Energy will hold a forum on Wednesday to discuss the role of standards such as ISO 50001 and the American Society for Mechanical Engineering (ASME) system assessment standards and how they are impacting industrial energy use.  It’s been nearly a year since the American Society for Mechanical Engineering (ASME) issued new standards for assessing four industrial systems: Compressed Air, Pumping, Steam and Process Heating. More recently, the ISO 50001 energy management standard was launched, with input from some of our Associates.  Together, these two sets of standards offer powerful tools to improve energy efficiency in the industrial sector, bolstering ways for industrial corporations to become more energy efficient. For example, 26 plants in the U.S. are currently using ISO 50001 by participating in the demonstration phase of the Superior Energy Performance program. As part of SEP these plants are likely to apply one or more of the ASME standards in assessing the industrial systems they possess.  Industry experts Bill Meffert, Manager, Energy and Sustainability Services Group, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Paul Hamilton, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs, Schneider Electric, discuss these standards and how they are impacting industrial energy use.

RFF Seminar Looks at Forestry Issues – Resources for the Future will hold its November First Wednesday Seminar on Wednesday at 12:45 p.m. on trade and sustainability of forest products and the global challenges and opportunities they present.  International buyers of forest products know the importance of identifying sustainable and legal sources—they also know this is challenging in today’s complex global markets. Although estimating the scale of illegal logging is difficult, a recent Chatham House report suggests that illegal activities may account for more than one tenth of the total global timber trade, representing products worth at least $15 billion per year. A significant portion of global deforestation is the result of such illegal activities—and according to the 2006 Stern Review, emissions resulting from deforestation are greater than those produced by the entire global transport sector, making illegal logging a serious concern.  Around the world, private and public procurement policies are focusing on ways to eliminate illegal fiber from supply chains. This includes a shift from voluntary to mandatory government regulations, such as the amended Lacey Act in the United States and the European Union Timber.  RFF’s Roger Sedjo will moderate an expert panel that includes Al Goetzl of the U.S. International Trade Commission, WRI’s Adam Grant and Nadine Block of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc.

Fall Wind Symposium Set for CA – The 2011 AWEA Wind Energy Fall Symposium is set for Wednesday through Friday in Carlsbad, CA.  This year’s program includes sessions that address not only industry trends and innovations, but teach you how to best communicate wind energy’s benefits to external audiences – both steadfast and skeptical.

Peak Oil Conference Set – The 2011 ASPO-USA Conference on peak oil, energy & the economy will be held on Friday and Saturday in Washington. The conference itself will gather many of the biggest names and leading experts on Peak Oil, resource depletion, and how changing energy realities will affect the economy and all aspects of modern life. It is a unique opportunity to better understand this critical but often overlooked issue.  The conference will kick things off with a forum at the Congressional Visitors Center on Thursday to look at adapting to cheap oil.  

Report, Forum Look at Climate Lobbying Impacts – Transparency International and the World Resources Institute will launch its 2011 Global Corruption Report and host a panel discussion on Thursday at 4:00 p.m. focusing on how efforts to promote climate policy in the U.S. and around the world have managed these challenges, and about new initiatives to promote transparency and accountability around climate data and national-level commitments. Building from the Global Corruption Report: Climate Change, speakers will address the questions of transparency and accountability of climate information and decision-making, with a focus on the U.S.  Speakers will include WRI’s Jacob Werksman, Paul Blumenthal of the Huffington Post, Lisa Ann Elges of Transparency International and WRI’s Taryn Fransen.

MD Town Meetings for Offshore Wind Start – Before they launch their oil sands protest on Sunday, the Sierra Club’s Maryland Chapter will launch a series of town hall meetings across the state on offshore wind.  Advancing state legislation to promote offshore wind was considered last year and in an on-going summer session.  It is expected to be revisited again next year.  The meetings start on Thursday in Montgomery County at the Mid-County Community Center in Silver Spring at 6:00 p.m.  Others will be November 9th  in Prince George’s County at the Hillcrest Heights Community Center in Temple Hills, November 16th in West Baltimore County at the Randallston Community Center, December 5th on the Eastern Shore at Salisbury University and December 13th in East Baltimore County.  They are also expected to host a meeting in Baltimore City the week of  November 28th.

Forum to Look at NatGas Future – The American Clean Skies Foundation will hold a conference on Friday at the Hotel Monaco focused on gas-fired power after 2020.  The event will bring together experts from the electric utility industry, manufacturers, government agencies and the environmental community. Participants will include members of the Clean Energy Group, Clean Air Task Force, Great Plains Institute, President’s Interagency Task Force on CCS and the California CCS Review Panel.  A companion web site has been launched to support the event. It will host background on CCS and natural gas and eventually include the analyses and results from the day-long Forum. The Forum presents an opportunity to demonstrate policy leadership in a key area where there is barely any discussion at present, and to help shape substantial new markets that could emerge.   Speakers will include ACSF’s Greg Staple, Alstom’s Bob Hilton, Stanford’s Joel Swisher, Howard Herzog of MIT’s Energy Initiative and many more.

House Resources to Look at Stream Buffer Rule – The House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources Oversight will hold a hearing on Friday at 9:30 a.m. looking at the waste and mismanagement of the stream buffer zone rule related to mining.  Witnesses will include Joe Pizarchik, Director of the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, and several others

Oil Sands Protects Set for Sunday – Protestors will again descend on the White House and Washington.  Look for much more on this next week

THE WEEKS AHEAD:

Forum to Look at Sustainable Business Models – The Dow Chemical Company will host a World Environmental  Council (WEC) Roundtable next Monday November 7th at the National Press Club on sustainable business issues. The forum will be an examination of the impacts on innovation, markets and civil society.  Speakers will include  Mark Kramer, Co-Founder, FSG and co-author (with Michael Porter of Harvard University) of the January 2011 Harvard Business Review cover story on “How to Fix Capitalism,” as well as leading sustainability thought leaders and practitioners from global companies, non-governmental organizations and universities.

Nissan LEAF Topic of WAPA Meeting – The Washington Automotive Press Assn (WAPA) and Nissan will host the November lunch on Monday, November 7th at Noon at the W Hotel in Washington.  Nissan North America’s Brendan Jones will speak about what Nissan has learned from the year of sales of the Nissan LEAF and their future plans.  Jones is the Director of the Nissan LEAF Marketing and Sales Strategy

NE Offshore Conference to Look at Wind, Wave Energy – The New England Marine Renewable Energy Center will hold its Third Annual Technical Conference on November 7-8 in Cambridge, MA.  With 40 presentations in two days, the conference is devoted to offshore wind, environment studies for ocean energy devices, tidal systems, modeling, commercialization issues and wave energy devices. A detailed agenda with topics, presenters and their affiliations is available here.  Keynote addresses will be given by experts who will discuss the status of the ocean energy industry. Peter Fraenkel, Chief Technology Officer of Marine Current Turbines will provide his insights about where the ocean energy industry is today, why it is that way and what can be done to accelerate the industry. Hans-Joachim Stietzel, Director of Cuxhaven Harbor Development Company, will share his perspective on how coastal regions in Germany have benefited from offshore wind energy. Mark Sinclair, of Clean Energy Group will talk about his effort to link ocean energy states and organizations to leverage their resources to bring energy from oceans and rivers. Patrick Cloney, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center will talk about his work to foster clean tech and clean energy companies and research organizations in Massachusetts to compete in the renewable energy race.

Senate Energy Focused on Liquified NatGas – The full Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing Tuesday, November 8th at 10:00 a.m. to consider market developments for US natural gas, including the approval process and potential for liquefied natural gas exports.

MD Wind Farm Project Commissioned – The western Maryland wind farm project at Roth Rock will be commissioned on Tuesday November 8th at a lunch and ceremony in Garrett County.  The project, which was purchased from Synergics by Gestamp was completed earlier this year and has been in operation since mid-summer.

Forum, report Highlight Climate Geoengineering – The Woodrow Wilson Center will hold a forum and release a report on Thursday, November 10th at Noon looking at climate geoengineering.  Proposals for using geoengineering to counteract global warming have been viewed with extreme skepticism, but as projections concerning the impact of climate change have become direr, a growing number of scientists have begun to argue that geoengineering deserves a second look.  There is an overwhelming consensus in the scientific community that human activities are significant contributors to global temperature changes, even if other dynamics are also at work. Though there are still uncertainties about how fast the climate will change, there is substantial agreement that the impacts could become dangerous over the decades ahead. The greatest danger is that we could pass “tipping points” of self-amplifying, irreversible change into a much hotter world.  Speaker will include  David Rejeski, Director of the Science and Technology Innovation Program and Robert Olson of the Institute for Alternative Futures

Forum Targets Making US Cities More SustainableThe Atlantic’s 4th Annual Green Intelligence Forum will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday, November 16-17 at The Madison, Washington, DC.  The Green Intelligence Forum has a three-year tradition of showcasing energy policy, sustainable business, and green initiatives through dynamic conversations with news-making speakers.  The 2011 Forum, recognizing a global trend toward urbanization, features a full day of programming curated by Richard Florida, Senior Editor, The Atlantic, and Author, The Rise of the Creative Class, Who’s Your City?, and The Great Reset, focused on how the U.S. government and industry can better support cities, states and local businesses seeking to decrease their carbon footprint through sustainable practices, as well as what is driving industry’s shift toward more sustainable business models.

MO Gov, CEQ Chair Headline NARUC 123rd Annual Meeting – U.S. Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, Ameren CEO Tom Voss, and many more will keynote the 123rd Annual National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners Meeting next month in St. Louis. The November 13-16 meeting, held at the Renaissance Grand in downtown St. Louis, will also feature Exxon Mobil Vice President Bill Colton and Sprint Nextel CEO Dan Hesse, along with many State public service commissioners, consumer advocates, and representatives from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Federal Communications Commission.  Aside from the several keynote presentations, the meeting will feature numerous panel discussions on the hottest electricity, gas, water, and telecommunications issues of the day, including panels on FERC Transmission issues, the future of nuclear power, wireless networks in the Smart Grid and EPA rules and their impacts on maintaining affordable, reliable power.

Webinar to Focus on FERC Rule – The Mid-Atlantic Wind Energy Institute (MAWEI) will host a one hour webinar November 18th at 1:00 p.m. focusing on transmission development and its importance to wind energy in the Mid-Atlantic. The webinar will contain valuable information on the costs and benefits of transmission; an overview of how PJM plans for transmission; and an overview of the new FERC Order 1000.  Speakers will include our friend and former AWEA staffer Hans Detweiler of Clean Line Energy Partners  and Melissa Seymour, the Director of Regional Markets and Regulation at Iberdrola Renewables.

Renewable Transmission Newsmaker to Feature AWC, Google Execs – The National Press Club’s Newsmakers’ Committee will host an Forum on November 30th at 3:00 p.m. to look at Offshore wind development and the infrastructure needed to allow the industry to develop.  Speakers are expected to include a representative from the Atlantic Wind Connection and one of its key funders, Google.   

Annual Rate Forum Features Federal, State Regulators, Comms Experts – SNL Financial will hold its 4th annual Utility Rate Case Symposium on December 6th and 7th at the Marriott at Metro Center to discuss the environment surrounding rate cases.  Speakers will include FERC Commissioner John Norris, Missouri PSC Commissioner Jeff Davis, Larry Brenner of the Maryland PSC and our communications colleagues Andy Hallmark of Potomac Communications and Chet Wade of Dominion, who will do a special forum on communications issues surrounding a rate case.