Energy Update: Week of February 4

Energy Update - February 04, 2019


Even if you are a Patriots Fan, you have to admit that was a terrible Super Bowl game.  Both teams were pretty terrible offensively, less Julian Edelman.  And it wasn’t because of the great defense…  I do think Coach Belichick schooled Rams Coach Sean McVay.  While Edelman won the MVP, Belichick and anthem singer Gladys Knight were the real MVPs.  Most annoyingly, I was just out of the money in all four quarters, which makes the whole thing even worse.  I know many of you are thinking the Saints would have been a better game, but oh well.  The season ends with a whimper except in Patriot Nation…but only 8 days til pitchers and catchers

As many of you know, I referee the Congressional Hockey Challenge each year and this year, the event will be held at Capital One Arena on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.  The event is an annual ice hockey game for charity that pits federal lawmakers, congressional staff and administration officials from across the political spectrum against lobbyists representing a broad array of interests.  This year, we need to get a big crowd so I hope you will consider attending.  Here is information about the event and how you can get tickets.

Tomorrow evening is the rescheduled State of the Union Address at 9:00 p.m.  We don’t expect much talk about energy, climate and environment, but we will be ready.  We also are likely to see mentions of climate in the Democratic response.

This is going to be a crazy energy week.  The Senate Environment Committee also votes tomorrow to move the EPA nomination of Andy Wheeler to the full Senate, while Senate Energy organizes with Joe Manchin as top Democrats and a hearing on minerals with EIA’s Linda Capuano and our friend Kevin Book among those testifying.  Then, Thursday, Senate Energy returns to innovation and clean energy with ClearPath’s Jay Faison, BPC’ s Jason Grumet and others. 

Over in the House, the House Energy and House Resources both hold climate hearings on Wednesday.  ClearPath’s Rich Powell is among those testifying at House Energy while Govs Roy Cooper (D-NC) and Charlie Baker (R-MA) are star witnesses at House Resources.  House Transpo opens the infrastructure discussion on Thursday.  Finally, we are also hearing that we may start to see some details regarding the Green New Deal.  Of course, we have seen that from a number of progressive environmental groups already in their recent letter.  Plus we also may see NOPEC legislation as well.  We can help with resources on both. 

Off the hill, speaking of infrastructure, the Chamber holds its Infrastructure Forum all day tomorrow while Wednesday, POLITICO continues the clean energy innovation discussion with forum featuring Energy Sect Ernie Moniz and Dan Yergin, followed by a panel with Xcel CEO Ben Fowke, BCSE’s Lisa Jacobson, EERE’s Dan Simmons and House Energy panel chair Bobby Rush.  Also this week, state energy officials are in DC for their policy forum and will hear from Simmons, Jacobson, SEIA’s Abby Hopper and AEE’s Malcolm Wolff. 

So much to do this week, we’ll see you around town at most of these events.  Finally, don’t forget to mark your calendar next week for both Valentine’s Day AND the roll out of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF)’s release the 2019 edition of the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook on Wednesday morning, February 13th .

Please feel free to call with questions.  


Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

C. (202) 997-5932



“Commissioner LaFleur epitomizes what public service is all about. For nearly nine years, she has dug into the details of matters before the commission, deciding each based solely on her view of what the law and the public interest require. It is no exaggeration to say that she is one of the leading experts in our field.”

Commissioner Rich Glick in a statement about Cheryl LaFleur not seeking another term at FERC.


RFF Podcast Focused on Enviro Comms – Resources For the Future’s (RFF) Energy and Climate Program Director Kristin Hayes talks with Matthew Nisbet, a professor of communication, public policy, and urban affairs at Northeastern University, and editor-in-chief of the journal Environmental Communication. Kristin and Matthew discuss some of his recent research on effective communications related to complex social problems such as climate change and political polarization, as well as the role of the philanthropic community in advancing climate solutions.


Holmstead NYT Letter: Wheeler Qualified – In a letter to the New York Times that responded to an op-ed attacking Andy Wheeler’s qualifications to be EPA Administrator, my Bracewell Colleague Jeff Holmstead, himself a former EPA Air Administrator, said unlike the first EPA administrator in the Trump administration, Wheeler has “decades of experience working on environmental issues as a career EPA employee and as the Senate Environment Committee’s staff director. Senators and congressional staffers, both Republicans and Democrats, know him well from his long tenure, and while they may disagree with him, all like and respect him because of his knowledge, experience and approach.  Holmstead also said Wheeler has been an effective leader at the agency, is committed to protecting the environment and has the respect of the career staff, but he is also committed to correcting the regulatory overreach that occurred under the previous administration. “Wheeler understands how the regulatory process works and the type of effort that is required to develop effective and legally defensible regulatory reforms.”  Opponents can certainly challenge the administration’s approach to environmental issues, but attacks on Mr. Wheeler’s character and qualifications are beyond the pale.


Energy Daily: Clements to FERC – Our friends George Lobsenz and Jeff Beattie at Energy Daily are reporting that the White House will name former NRDC attorney Allison Clements to succeed current FERC Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur, who announced intention to step down last week.  Clements is suggested to be Senate Leader Chuck Schumer’s choice to replace LaFleur.  ED sources noted that the Trump administration might not nominate Clements despite Schumer’s wishes and the longstanding tradition that Senate leaders get to choose nominees to fill Democratic or Republican slots on FERC and other regulatory agencies.  Clements currently is program director for clean energy markets at the Energy Foundation and previously spent nine years as an attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), where she directed the Sustainable FERC Project and provided strategy leadership on federal and regional policy related to renewables. After leaving NRDC, she founded Goodgrid LLC, a consulting firm focused on energy policy strategy, before moving to the Energy Foundation in January 2018.

Budweiser Touts Commitment to Wind Energy With Super Bowl Ad – If you watched the game last night and didn’t fall asleep, you may have seen Budweiser touting it clean energy commitments with a Super Bowl ad featuring a team of Clydesdales pulling a wagon with two drivers and a Dalmatian through fields and mountains, with wind turbines visible in the background.  “Wind never felt better,” a message reads. “Now brewed with wind power for a better tomorrow.”  Anheuser-Busch, which produces Budweiser, announced in 2017 that it seeks to obtain 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025 to power its brewing operations.  They also gave the corn growers/ethanol lobby a shot with another ad taunting competitors for making their beers with corn syrup. 


Sens Host Climate, Nuclear Event – Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) are cohosting an educational event for members of Congress, congressional staff, and interested members of the public in G11 Dirksen today at Noon to provide an update on the climate situation and then foster conversation about the potential for next-generation nuclear to contribute to scalable solutions.  Dr. Kerry Emanuel and Dr. Karl Hausker will give an update on the state of the climate issues and the IPCC's modeling of pathways to decarbonization. Documentary filmmaker David Schumacher will describe his motivations for filming The New Fire as well as audience reactions to the film, and will show the trailer. Finally, Caroline Cochran and Chris Levesque, leaders from two next-generation nuclear technology companies, will describe their companies' goals, the advancements in their technology, and current status.

Chamber to Look at Infrastructure – The U.S. Chamber is hosting a forum tomorrow to convene business leaders, policy makers, investors, innovators, developers, workforce leaders and other experts to discuss the modernization of America’s infrastructure.  The Summit will discuss various investment options and show the broad business community support for making enactment of a federal infrastructure modernization plan a reality in 2019.

Senate Environment to Vote on Wheeler – The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a business meeting tomorrow to consider the nomination of Andrew Wheeler to be EPA administrator.

Senate Energy Hosts Org Meetings, Hearing – The Senate Energy Committee holds organizational meeting tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. followed by a hearing on the outlook for U.S. energy and minerals markets. Witnesses will include EIA’s Linda Capuano, ClearView’s Kevin Book, former Montana PUC Commissioner Travis Kavulla and BNEF’s Ethan Zindler.

Sen. Judiciary to Hold OIRA Head Hearing for Judge – The Senate Judiciary Committee holds hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on nomination of Neomi Rao, head of the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, to be a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judge.

JHU to Look at Geoengineering – The Johns Hopkins University’s energy policy program hosts roundtable to launch a report by the Centre for International Governance Innovation, “Ocean Climate Geoengineering: An Assessment of Potential Risks, Benefits and Governance.” Roundtable participants will include the report’s authors, Wil Burns, Professor of Research and Co-Director of the Institute for Carbon Removal Law & Policy at American University, Jeffrey McGee, Senior Lecturer in Climate Change, Marine and Antarctic Law at the University of Tasmania’s Faculty of Law, and Kerryn Brent, a Lecturer in the Faculty of Law at the University of Tasmania.

UPenn Energy Group to Discuss Carbon Markets – The University of Pennsylvania’s energy policy center holds a discussion on carbon markets in Philadelphia with Dallas Burtraw, the Darius Gaskins Senior Fellow at Resources for the Future. This presentation evaluates a new approach that has been implemented in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative called the emissions containment reserve. This mechanism automatically increases stringency when prices are lower than expected, improves cost-effectiveness, and reinforces the contribution of companion policies to achieving emissions goals.

Experts to Speak at NASEO Outlook Forum – The National Assn of State Energy Officials (NASEO) holds its 2019 Energy Policy Outlook Conference tomorrow through Friday at The Fairmont.  The forum will examine the key policies and initiatives needed to drive modernization and resilience across our energy infrastructure – grid, pipelines, buildings, and transportation.  Top state and federal energy policymakers and private sector leaders from around will join in-depth discussions of the critical investments needed for strong, reliable, and affordable grid, transportation, and buildings systems, as well as the latest news from the 116th  Congress and the Administration.  Speakers include DOE EERE chief Dan Simmons and House Energy Committee Rep. Scott Peters, as well as our friends Abby Hopper, Lisa Jacobson, Peter Fox-Penner and Malcolm Wolff. 

Forum Looks at Cyber Energy Risks – The Institute of World Politics hosts lecture on cyber risks to the energy sector tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. The energy sector faces more cyberattacks than any other industry. Despite escalating risks, the energy sector faces serious challenges responding to security threats effectively. Patricia Schouker, an experienced energy analyst and an Associate Member of New College at Oxford University as well as a Non-Resident Fellow at the Payne Institute at the Colorado School of Mines, will speak.  She has extensive experience in global energy market studies, energy security and political risk.

Panel to Look at Flint Water Issues – The Brookings Institution holds a webinar tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. to look at the Flint Water Crisis: Lessons Learned."

USAEE Annual Dinner Set for Embassy of Canada – As a warm up for the State of the Union Speech, you should slide over to the Canadian Embassy where the National Capital Area Chapter of the U.S. Association for Energy Economics (NCAC) will holds its annual dinner.  Dr. Edward L. Morse, Managing Director and Global Head of Commodities Research at Citi will be the keynote speaker.  Morse will address the important events moving energy markets and affecting the world.

State of the Union Address – TOMORROW…9:00 p.m.

Moniz, Yergin Headline POLITICO Innovation Forum – On Wednesday at 8:30 a.m., POLITICO hosts a high-level conversation on the opportunities and challenges ahead on policy and investment in clean energy innovation at the Mayflower Hotel.  Former Energy Secretary Moniz and IHS Markit’s Daniel Yergin will offer views on the landscape facing clean energy Innovation.  That will be followed by panel discussion featuring Xcel CEO Ben Fowke, BCSE’s Lisa Jacobson, EERE’s Dan Simmons and House Energy panel chair Bobby Rush.

House Energy Panel to Open with Climate Hearing – The House Energy panel of Energy & Commerce will convene its first hearing Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., focusing exclusively on climate issues.  Panelists include ClearPath’s Rich Powell, USEA’s Barry Worthington, Union of Concerned Scientists’ Brenda Ekwurzel, Michael Williams of the BlueGreen Alliance and Rick Duke, a former senior environmental adviser to President Barack Obama.

House Resources Tackles Climate – The House Natural Resources Committee also looks at addressing climate change’s impact on communities, natural resources, and the economy tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.   Mass Gov. Charlie Baker and NC Gov. Roy Cooper will testify with a few others.  

ACORE Webinar Looks at Offshore Wind – ACORE hosts a State of the Industry Webinar on Wednesday at Noon to offer the latest intelligence and analysis on renewable energy markets, finance and policy.  The webinar is part of a quarterly series produced in partnership between ACORE and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) and will feature a quarterly market update and a discussion of key issues in financing U.S. offshore wind development. Offshore wind projects could be a major element in the growth of U.S. renewable energy over the next decade, yet significant questions remain about the financing of these large, capital-intensive projects. The U.S. has seen a recent wave of major offshore wind project announcements, with 28 projects, totaling more than 25 GW, now in the project pipeline. Even as European banks, investors and capital markets have become increasingly comfortable with offshore wind as an asset class overseas, U.S. markets present new challenges.  Speaker include ACORE’s Todd Foley and Greg Wetstone; BNEF’s Ethan Zindler and Tom Harris; and Stanford’s Dan Reicher and Citigroup’s Marshal Salant.

Columbia Forum to Look at Climate Solutions – The Center on Global Energy Policy will hold a forum in NYC on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. where experts will assess prospects for bipartisan solutions on climate in this uncertain environment.  The forum features a discussion led by CGEP Distinguished Visiting Fellow Carlos Curbelo, former U.S. representative for Florida's 26th congressional district. Following Congressman Curbelo’s remarks, he will join Kristina Costa, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, Alex Flint, Executive Director of Alliance for Market Solutions, and Rhiana Gunn-Wright, Policy Director for the Green New Deal project at New Consensus, for a panel discussion moderated by Jonathan Elkind, CGEP Fellow and Senior Research Scholar.

Wheeler Headlines Enviro Law Conference – The Environmental Law Institute holds its 2019 conference on Thursday and Friday at the Washington Plaza Hotel.  The forum explores latest developments in climate, natural resources, energy, water, and other aspects of the law. Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler will give keynote.

House Panel to Look at Infrastructure – The House Transportation and Infrastructure panel discusses investing in infrastructure on Thursday at 9:30 a.m. in HVC 210 in the Capitol Visitors Center.  

Senate Energy to Look at Innovation – The Senate Energy Committee holds a hearing on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. to discuss the status and outlook of energy innovation.  Witnesses include ClearPath’s Jay Faison, former DOE Secretary Moniz, DOE’s Paul Dabbar, BPC’s Jason Grumet and others. 

Forum to Look at Climate Responses – The National Academies’ Board on Environmental Change and Society holds a forum on Thursday at 1:00 p.m. looking at social vulnerability, drivers of and responses to climate change, and data and analyses to understand interactions between human and natural systems.

Forum to Look at Infrastructure – The 14th annual Columbia University Energy Symposium will be held in New York on Friday and will feature a keynote speech by Alan James, chairman of Macquarie Capital’s Infrastructure & Energy Group.  Other speakers include Facebook’s Peter Freed and EnergyKnol CEO Angelique Mercurio.

Forum to Look at Energy Efficiency – Energy Efficiency for All (EEFA) and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) hold a forum on Friday providing a "101" briefing about federal programs that reduce housing and energy cost burdens for people in need. National policy experts who interact closely with state and local organizations will provide an overview of key programs, including statutory authority and appropriations, and how they impact the lives of recipients. Panelists will discuss how energy efficiency services result in lower home energy bills, which is critical for low-income families that spend a greater percentage of their income on energy. NASEO head David Terry is among the speakers.


Ethanol Conference Set – The RFA’s National Ethanol Conference is set for the JW Marriott Grande Lakes in Orlando from February 11th to 13th.   Speakers include former Senate Leader Tom Daschle, analyst Philip Verleger, The Circus co-Hosts John Heilemann and Mark McKinnon, among others.

BCSE, Bloomberg to Release 2019 Sustainable Energy Factbook – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) will release the 2019 edition of the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook on Wednesday morning, February 13th at BNEF offices in DC.  The Factbook provides up-to-date, accurate market information about the broad range of industries — energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy— that are contributing to the country’s move towards cleaner energy production and more efficient energy usage.

Forum to Look at Central American Power Markets – The US Energy Assn holds a forum on Wednesday February 13th at 10:00 a.m. to discuss the key policies and lessons learned from Central American Power Markets. The authors, Juan A.B. Belt and Silvia Alvarado de Córdoba, will present their analysis of the power sector reforms that have taken place in Central America countries and will identify measures to increase the efficiency of the region’s power markets. The paper focuses on the use of competitive bidding (auctions) for power and discusses the issues around the functioning of the Regional Central American Interconnected Market (Mercado Eléctrico Regional or MER). The authors argue that given the size of the Central American markets, their level of development, and the socioeconomic environment they face, lessons from those countries can be applicable to a wide range of countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and the Middle East and North Africa.

CSIS Forum to Look at Global Oil Challenges – On Thursday, February 21st between 8:45 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., the Center for Strategic & International Studies will host a group of experts to discuss the outlook for global oil markets. Looming questions on the weakening of the global economy, the impacts of trade disputes, prospects for continued U.S. production growth given volatile prices, productivity challenges, cash flow constraints, evolving bottlenecks and export capacity, crude quality and regulatory challenges (RFS and IMO), and renewed call for a green energy transformation continue to plague investors and strategic planners alike.  Speakers will include ClearView’s Kevin Book, analyst Rusty Braziel, Wood-MacKenzie’s Ann-Louise Hittle and Michael Wittner of Société Générale, among others.

Forum on Storage Set for SF – The 12th annual Storage Week will be held on February 25-27 in San Francisco at the Hotel Kabuki.  The event is the development and finance business hub at the forefront of behind-the-meter and grid-connected storage system deployments. This year, the event takes a deep dive into structuring both standalone and co-located storage projects, and assesses the opportunities emerging in states, new rules in organized markets and the needs of new customer classes.

CSIS to Host BP Outlook – On Wednesday, February 27th at 10:30 a.m., CSIS will host the U.S. launch of 2019 BP Energy Outlook with Spencer Dale, group chief economist of BP.  The global energy system faces a challenge to provide significantly more energy while simultaneously reducing emissions.  What forces are shaping the energy transition through 2040?  The Outlook outlines BP’s view on future of global energy demand―and the global energy transition―by exploring four scenarios through three lenses: sector, region, and fuel.  Dale will present the scenarios of the Outlook, followed by a moderated conversation with Sarah Ladislaw.

AWEA Members to Go to Capitol Hill – On March 5-6, AWEA will hold Wind Power on Capitol Hill, which brings companies to Washington, D.C. to meet their representatives in the House and Senate.  The event is an opportunity for AWEA members and others who want to help advance wind energy to participate in advocacy training and then put that training to work to educate legislators and their staff on the wind industry’s top policy initiatives at the federal level.

Forum to Look at Mexican Energy Sector in First 100 Days of New President – Talanza Energy will host a forum in Houston, TX on March 20th to discuss the first 100 days of the new Mexican President and its impacts on energy.  The event will look at the challenges and opportunities for the Mexican Energy sector from a risk management perspective.  Speakers will include MIT’s Lourdes Melgar (a former Mexican Undersecretary of Hydrocarbons), UHouston Law Professor Sashe Dimitroff and Talanza CEO and former Director General of E&P in the Mexican Ministry of Energy Marco Cota.