Energy Update: Week of January 7

Energy Update - January 08, 2019


Welcome Back to the 2019 Update… This is the start of the 20th year of this update so I’m glad you are along for the ride.  Don’t know if you caught last night’s Golden Globes, but my favorite movie of 2018, the Queen bio pict Bohemian Rhapsody won “Best Picture” and “Best Actor” for Rami Malek. 

Hope you enjoyed your holidays.  It is always nice to spend time with family and friends to share special time and ring in a new year.  Here’s hoping 2019 is a great year.  Since 2019 is new, we once again return to our Top 10 Issues for 2019.    

While a new year rings in with a new Democrat-led House and stronger Republican Senate, we also are also in a partial government shutdown, now hitting almost its 3rd week.  We also know that with the new Congress, President Trump will have to either resubmit nominees or make new selections for a bunch of positions, but a late deal confirmed 77 positions including Alexandra Dapolito Dunn to lead EPA's chemicals office, CEQ Chair Mary Neumayr, White House OSTP director Kelvin Droegemeier, DOE inspector general Teri L. Donaldson and Dan Simmons to be assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy at DOE.

This week, API’s Mike Sommers delivers his first "State of American Energy 2019" report tomorrow, focusing on America's energy leadership as both the top producer of natural gas and oil in the world.  Then on Thursday morning, Chamber of Commerce head Tom Donohue delivers his annual State of American Business address to outline the top challenges facing our nation's business community.   Also, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation issues its biennial “State of the Bay” report today.  Finally, both the American Meteorological Society  (Phoenix) and the National Council for Science and the Environment  (Wash DC focused on Infrastructure, Resilience) hold conferences today through Thursday.

And mark your calendars for next week Tuesday, January 15th when the National Press Club hosts a Newsmaker on 2018 Hurricane Season.  With another challenging season in the books, NOAA hurricane forecasting expert Dr. Gerry Bell and MIT disaster resilience expert Jeremy Gregory will discuss the impacts of the 2018 season and the status of the 2017 season rebuilding in the Club’s Zenger Room effort at 10 a.m.   Also next week, BPC hosts an innovation forum with Air Liquide CEO Mike Graff, SoCo CEO Tom Fanning and ClearPath’s Jay Faison on Thursday January 17th

We close today with the sad news of the passing of FERC Commissioner Kevin McIntyre last Thursday.    FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee said McIntyre exhibited strong leadership and an unmatched knowledge of energy policy and the rule of law, exemplifying “what it means to be a true public servant each and every day, no matter the challenges that lie ahead of him.”  Well said Mr. Chairman. 

Please feel free to call with questions.  


Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

C. (202) 997-5932


TOP 10 for 2019

1) House Democrats, Climate Focus – As Democrats take control of the House of Representatives, it is clear that they will make climate change a priority issue where they can place a wedge between their views and President Trump.  Last week, Speaker Pelosi called climate change the "existential threat of our time" during her opening address to the House, and said Congress must "put an end to the inaction and denial of science that threaten the planet and the future." The Democrat majority also reinstated the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, which will be led by Kathy Castor.   Democrats will make climate change a front-burner issue to help shape the party's agenda.  While the panel doesn't have the ability to pass legislation, it will encourage standing committees to be accountable and press them to go further and faster.  The major question will be can they sustain the momentum on this issue which tends to remain a second tier issue. Democrats hope is to lay the policy and political groundwork if the window for legislation or administrative moves opens after 2020.

2) Discussions on the Green New Deal, Carbon Taxes – With Climate in the forefront, the new hot topic is what to do and the item du jour is the Green New Deal.  It has been a battle point not only between parties but also internally among Democrats.  In 2019, watch for details of the Plan to be defined by many different folks – and not just progressives.  I suspect, those focused on innovation issues will also capture it for their agenda.  And with ceremonial leader Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez floating an income tax rate as high as 70% on the highest-earning Americans to combat carbon emissions, I suspect most will find more opportunity by focusing on things that can get done in any legislative effort.  Regardless, this will be a major issue that will have many twists and turns in 2019.  This also include the regular banter on Carbon Taxes.  With former Rep. Carlos Curbelo headed to the Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP) at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, expect the issues and the burgeoning bipartisan lobby to keep promoting it aggressively despite its bipartisan political challenges.

3) 2020 Politics – With potential candidates like Elizabeth Warren, Jay Inslee and Michael Bloomberg already out there and others like O-C and 2016 challenger Bernie Sanders pumping up the issue, there is some early speculation that climate issues may rise above the usual din to make a splash in the 2020 race.  While it is a hot topic to go this way, my Spidey sense of over 25 years of covering this issue suggests don’t take the bait. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the first top-tier Democrat to launch a 2020 White House bid, barely grazed the topic in her rollout.  Most potential candidates have focused their careers on other topics and will likely fall away from climate when competition for political attention on the campaign trail targets things voters care more about like jobs, health care, foreign affairs and the economy.  Regardless, like Saturdays in PGA golf, 2019 is moving day for the 2020 Presidential election so look for lots of action.

4) HFC Reduction Go Into Force So What Will U.S. Do – The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol will reduce the projected production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by more than 80% over the next 30 years. If fully supported, the amendment can avoid up to 0.4°C increase by the end of this century.  65 countries have already ratified the amendment putting it into force on January 1 with more expected in the weeks to come.  Interestingly, with manufacturing jobs booming in Rust Belt states, there is a chance that not getting engaged on this HFC phase out will put the US at a competitive disadvantage, placing those manufacturing jobs at risk.  The Senate has already engaged on this issue with 13 Republican Senators calling for the policy to be addressed in the body who ratifies Treaties.  And a recent economic analysis for the White House showed significant jobs gains in key states.

5) Energy Infrastructure Hits a Key Moment – While oil prices (and gas prices) remain low, production is high and many shale companies are considering slowing production.  A larger problem remains with the infrastructure question.  While our emissions profile has benefited dramatically from more natural gas and renewables, the infrastructure problem threatens gains as companies struggle to build much-needed pipeline and transmission infrastructure that not only will move our energy, but create thousands of construction jobs.  Recently, the US Chamber’s Global Energy Institute and LIUNA rolled out a report highlighting anti-energy campaigns have prevented at least $91.9 billion in domestic economic activity and eliminated nearly 730,000 job opportunities. In addition, federal, state, and local governments have missed out on more than $20 billion in tax revenue.  But it also has specific impacts on individual projects like the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Court challenges vacated permits for ACP to cross two national forests and the Appalachian Trail in Virginia – despite the fact that 56 other oil and gas pipelines have operated across the trail for decades.  The cost of stopping construction on the project is about $20 million per week.  It also means $2.3 billion reduction in GDP impact; $500 million in lost tax revenue; and over 21,000 jobs.  With relation to ACP, all of the 3,000 full-time construction workers in West Virginia and North Carolina working on the project are at risk.  And this is playing out at projects across the country.  2019’s energy infrastructure debate will need to address this problem. 

6) Ethanol, Ethanol, Ethanol – As if this fight would ever go away or into the background, 2019 promises to be an interesting year over the issue of ethanol.  Fights over the volume levels and the arcane mechanics of the RFS were front and center in in 2018 and will remain so.  But, add the new fight over E15 policy to the debate with ethanol advocates complaining the government shutdown is harming EPA’s effort to get a rule out by the summer driving season.  Opponents’ push back saying that E15 changes are illegal and unnecessary.  Interestingly, some of the ethanol industry strongest past economic advocates have said E15 is not a great policy and overall demand is not being harmed by program waivers for small refiners.  This is a hardy perennial and don’t expect that to change.

7) Nuclear Power at Vogtle, Finally – The first nuclear power plant units in the US are getting closer to completion despite all the challenges it has faced.  After a recent challenge, Georgia regulators unanimously allowed construction to continue on two new nuclear reactors to move forward despite cost overruns for the multibillion-dollar project.  The project will shape the future of the nation’s nuclear industry, partly because the reactors at Plant Vogtle were the first new ones to be licensed and to begin construction in the U.S. since 1978.  The project, co-owned by Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power and Dalton Utilities, has been plagued by delays and spiraling costs, compounded when the main contractor filed for bankruptcy. Those who are passionate about carbon emission reductions can’t place all of their chips on the renewable and efficiency table.  As many experts argue, the Green New Deal is no deal if it doesn’t include nuclear.

8) Solar, Wind Making Significant Mark with Utilities – The solar and wind industries will continue to make a strong move in the marketplace in 2019.  Expect steady growth as renewable power prices continue to decline and solar developers take advantage of investment tax credits poised to ratchet down during the next several years.  Renewables will likely surpass 10% of total U.S. electricity generation, up from about 8% in 2017.  A big part of the success is technological advancement and lower costs, but another major factor is utility acceptance of renewables as a viable generation option.  Finally, states have and will continue to take the lead in driving the renewable growth where it makes most sense.  Finally, watch out for a big year in the offshore wind space.  Finally, projects are in the water and the recent Massachusetts lease sale’s huge success underscores the significant interest in OSW. Of concern: trade issues could hinder our ability to maximize renewables’ total impact.  We are already seeing it on the solar side. 

9) Electric, Autonomous Vehicle, CAFE Fight Heating Up – There is a burgeoning fight in policy world over EVs, AVs and our current oil-based transportation economy. While of interested parties on both sides are playing up the debate, it is less controversial than most will admit.  EVs are clearly a modest success for certain markets, but to the think they will displace combustion engines anytime as many in Europe are hoping is unlikely.  Interestingly, auto companies are playing both sides so keep your eye on that internal push and pull.  The debate takes on an interesting twist with the fight over EV tax extensions in 2019.  As for autonomous vehicles, there is a fight brewing over how they should and will be regulated.  It is played out in the WaPo metro outlook page over the weekend with supporters arguing the success/opportunities while advocates like former NHTSA head like Joan Claybook raise concerns.  It is going to be an important issue.  Finally, don’t sleep on EPA reforms over Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards and California’s waiver due this spring.  It will be very controversial and litigation-inducing.  

10) Rightsizing or Rollbacks – The enviro activists call them roll backs, but right-sizing the overreach of the Obama Administration regulatory agenda hits its stride as the Administration approaches two years in office.  The most recent example is the change to the economic analysis of the EPA mercury rule which was rejected by the Supreme Court.  While leaving the actual rule in place, opponents wrongly still called it a rollback.  The same rhetoric has impacted the debate over the Obama Clean Power Plan, stayed by the SCOTUS again.  With the new EPA Affordable Clean Energy rule replacing it, it is hard to argue that replacing the illegal Obama rule is a rollback.   There are a dozen examples of these issues across the regulatory spectrum and we will continue to have this debate in 2019.

BONUS ISSUE: The Wheeler/Bernhardt Show – After the first EPA Admin and Interior Secretary made big splashes (and many times not for the right reasons), both agencies are now headed by seasoned political/policy veterans who will actually probably make more significant progress than their higher profile and controversial predecessors.  EPA’s Andy Wheeler has been effectively running the EPA for 6 months, moving several key policy initiatives forward on power plants, methane, mercury and renewable fuels.  Now, Deputy Interior Secretary David Bernhardt is the acting head of the Interior Department showing up at the first White House Cabinet meeting after former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke resigned.  Bernhardt’s experience in government and qualifications to do the job make him a great choice to move policy issues forward.  2019 on energy and the environment seems to be the year of the effective manager and Wheeler and Bernhardt are already leading the way.


“Today is a deeply sad day for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and for all those who had the pleasure of knowing Kevin McIntyre both personally and professionally,” “During his tenure at the Commission, Kevin exhibited strong leadership and an unmatched knowledge of energy policy and the rule of law. He exemplified what it means to be a true public servant each and every day, no matter the challenges that lie ahead of him.

FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee statement following the death of colleague and former chair Kevin McIntyre last week. 

“If we’re going to effect change, we must pursue economic, public health, and environmental goals simultaneously. Denying developing countries access to clean fossil fuels, such as natural gas, is untenable and morally wrong. Our abundant energy supply can be a 'solution' to global energy poverty."

David Spigelmyer, President of the Marcellus Shale Coalition


SEIA’s Hopper Joins Columbia Energy Podcast to Discuss 2019 -- Solar energy has enjoyed extraordinary growth in recent years, thanks largely to declining costs and commercial investments, but public policy has played a big role, too. So, what lies in store for solar in 2019?  In this edition of the Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless talks to Abby Hopper, the president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the U.S. trade group for solar energy. Abby joined SEIA in 2017 after having run the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management at U.S. Department of the Interior during the Obama administration. Before that, she served as director of the Maryland Energy Administration, energy adviser to then Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and deputy general counsel with the Maryland Public Service Commission. As such she’s learned firsthand how policy is made at the state and federal levels, and now represents the US solar industry. Bill and Abby sat down at her office in Washington to discuss the condition of solar energy in the U-S today, the prospects for federal and state policies governing this sector, and the opportunities and challenges for leaders in this field like Abby.


MIT Expert: An Easy Way to Cut Carbon Emissions on I-81 – In a new opinion piece in the Roanoke Roanoke Times, Massachusetts Institute of Technology concrete expert Jeremy Gregory details new MIT analysis showing real-world impact of Pavement Vehicle Interactions (PVI), or how the quality of our roads impacts the amount of fuel we use.  A study of Virginia’s interstate highway system also illustrates the impact of PVI, where researchers identified 1 million tons of CO2 emissions associated with excess fuel consumption over a seven-year period. The analysis also revealed that only 1.3 percent of the entire interstate network was responsible for a full 10 percent of its total greenhouse gas emissions, meaning rehabilitation of those few lane miles would bring significant environmental improvements... 


Kigali Agreement Goes Into Force – On January 1, 2019, the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol went into force with ratification still awaited from over two-thirds of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol. Only 65 countries of the 197 Parties to the Montreal Protocol that voted for the groundbreaking global phase-down of the production and consumption of HFC refrigerants in October 2016 have ratified.  Although the largest producers and consumers, the USA and China, are still to ratify, the agreement received a significant boost in December with the ratification of Japan.  Developed countries start the phase-down today with a reduction to 90% of the baseline, with further stepped reduction until a 15% level is reached from 2036 onwards. Most developing countries follow in 2024 with a deferred phase-down schedule.  This agreement is expected to reduce global warming up to 0.4°C by 2100, which is significant to other climate reductions.

Climate Committee Reconstituted – The new House Democrat majority has reconstituted a special Committee to focus on climate change that will be headed by Florida’s Kathy Castor. Castor, who also serves on the Energy & Commerce Committee, has already promised to decline all campaign contributions from coal, oil, or gas companies, but that won’t be a criteria for members. The panel will not have the power to subpoena or depose, nor will it have the authority to vote on legislation and send it directly to the House floor for a vote but can hold hearings, write reports, and bring public attention to political issues.

EPA Rolls Out Mercury Rule – The EPA issued its proposed revised Supplemental Cost Finding for the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), as well as the Clean Air Act-required “risk and technology review.”  You will hear many things about “repeal” or “roll back” from our friends in the environmental community, but they will not be correct.  Here is some info on the rule and a detailed comment from my Bracewell colleague and former EPA Air Administrator Jeff Holmstead. (He is cc’d in case you have additional questions).

New Rule – According to EPA, the proposed rule provides regulatory certainty by transparently and accurately taking account of both costs and benefits in the proposed revised Supplemental Cost Finding for MATS. After properly evaluating the cost to coal- and oil-fired power plants of complying with the MATS rule (costs that the Obama Administration estimated range from $7.4 to $9.6 billion annually) and the benefits attributable to regulating hazardous air pollutant (HAP) emissions from these power plants (benefits that range from $4 to $6 million annually) — as EPA was directed to do by the U.S. Supreme Court — the Agency proposes to determine that it is not “appropriate and necessary” to regulate HAP emissions from power plants under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act.

2012 Rule Remains In PlaceThe emission standards and other requirements of the MATS rule, first promulgated in 2012, would remain in place as EPA is not proposing to remove coal- and oil-fired power plants from the list of sources that are regulated under Section 112 of the Act. The proposal also contains the required “risk and technology review,” concluding that no changes to the MATS rule are needed, and also takes comment on establishing a separate subcategory for certain units that rely on coal refuse.

Holmstead: EPA Walked Fine Line – My colleague Jeff Holmstead, former EPA Air Administrator that first proposed a mercury plan for EPA, released the following comments on the new proposal:

EPA has managed to walk a very fine line – reversing the Obama finding that it was “appropriate and necessary” to regulate power plants under section 112 while leaving the actual MATS requirements in place.

You have to remember that the finding was very controversial and was litigated all the way to the Supreme Court. Under section 112, EPA only has authority to regulate pollutants like mercury that are listed as “hazardous air pollutants.”  There are many other sections of the Clean Air Act that give EPA authority to regulate fine particles. Yet the Obama EPA justified its decision to regulate power plants under section 112 based almost entirely on reductions in fine particles. For a lot of folks, this was just another example of Obama regulatory overreach.  

The Obama EPA estimated that the cost of MATS would be almost $10 billion a year, and that the benefits from reducing emissions of hazardous air pollutants from power plants would be less than $10 million.  With this huge disparity between the costs and benefits that EPA was supposed to be looking at, it seemed pretty outrageous for EPA to claim that it was appropriate to regulate power plants under this particular section of the Clean Air Act.    

Power companies have spent billions of dollars to come into compliance with MATS, and they don’t want it to go away.  Many of them have actually lobbied the Administration to leave it in place, but the Trump folks couldn’t bring themselves to defend the Obama “appropriate and necessary” finding.  So they’ve proposed to reverse the finding but leave the standards in place because of a 2008 D.C. Circuit decision.  I think this decision was wrongly decided, but it’s the law of the Circuit, and EPA is using it to thread the needle here.

EPA is not saying that it can’t consider PM2.5 co-benefits when it makes regulatory decisions. They’re just saying that, in this case, where virtually all the benefits are “co-benefits” of reducing a pollutant that is supposed to be regulated under other Clean Air Act programs, we can’t use these co-benefits to justify a regulation that is only supposed to be about hazardous air pollutants.

Comments and Hearing – EPA will take comment on the proposal for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register and will hold a public hearing. Information regarding the time, date, and location of the public hearing will be published in a separate Federal Register notice. Additional information, including a pre-publication version of the Federal Register notice and a fact sheet, are available at [].

New UDel Report Shows Support for Offshore Wind – University of Delaware faculty members George Parsons and Jeremy Firestone surveyed beachgoers and found the distance wind turbines are from the beach has a significant impact on how tourists feel about them.   Using a survey that covered 1,725 beachgoers to be representative of a beachgoing population on the East Coast, the researchers showed participants panning, online visual simulations of a wind power project with 100 six-megawatt wind turbines, 150 meters tall to the tip of the blade at its apex, at different distances from shore and in different conditions — clear, hazy and nighttime.  Survey respondents were shown turbines ranging from 2.5 to 20 miles offshore. Most BOEM leases and planning areas for wind power projects are projected to be installed at 13 or more miles offshore. For example, the wind project proposed off of Bethany Beach, Delaware would be located about 17 miles offshore.  At the 12.5-mile mark, 20% of respondents reported their experience would be worsened by turbines, 13% reported it would be improved and 67% reported no effect. In contrast, at 20 miles offshore, only 10% of respondents reported their experience would be worsened, 17% said that it would be improved and 73% said it would have no effect.  See report HERE

Dominion Finalizes Merger with SCANA – Dominion Energy said it finalized its purchase of electric power company SCANA Corp. and subsequently announced the departure of SCANA Chief Executive Jimmy Addison, who will be replaced by a Dominion senior vice president, Rodney Blevins. With the acquisition, Dominion, already the fourth-largest U.S. electric and gas utility, will now serve 7.5 million customers in 18 states.


Forum to Focus on Infrastructure, Resilience – The National Council for Science and the Environment will convene their 19th Annual Conference today through Thursday in Washington, D.C. The NCSE Annual Conference brings together a diverse community of experts for an enriching opportunity to collaborate on exciting projects, share research and best practices, and build professional relationships. Attendees include national and international leaders in education, government, civil society, and business. The conference is recognized for its notable presenters and innovative programming.  NCSE 2019 will focus on Sustainable Infrastructure & Resilience. 

NASA Bridenstine to Address AMS Meeting – The American Meteorological Society holds its 99th annual meeting in Phoenix at the Convention Center today through Thursday.  Speakers will Include NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

EPA GHG Hearing Set – EPA has announced it will be delaying its lone public hearing on its proposed rule on greenhouse gas emissions from new and modified power plants tomorrow to January 30th at the agency's headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Forum to Look at Train Safety, De-Reg Issues – The Institute for Policy Studies holds a discussion today at 6:00 p.m. on train policy deregulation in the U.S. and Canada focusing on the safety of trains carrying crude oil.

Forum to Look at NatGas Vehicles – NGVAmerica holds webinar on issues identified as technology barriers for natural gas vehicles. During this webinar, they will discuss issues currently identified by DOE as the technology barriers for NGVs while soliciting participant feedback on these and other barriers to further deployment.  DOE presented information on these identified barriers at the NGVAmerica Annual Meeting & Industry Summit in Palm Springs, California in November of 2018.

State of the Energy Industry Event Set – Tomorrow at 10:30 a.m., API will holds its annual State of the Energy Industry event at the Reagan International Trade Center.  It will be Mike Sommers first one.

NRC to Discuss Pilgrim Decom – The Nuclear Regulatory Commission holds webinar tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. for public on decommissioning the Pilgrim nuclear power plant in Plymouth, Mass. The event will provide key facts about the decommissioning process and how the NRC regulates such activities through on-site inspections and other reviews.  NRC will also hold a public meeting in Plymouth on January 15th to discuss and accept public comments on Entergy’s Post-Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report for Pilgrim, which calls for placing the plant into long-term storage before dismantlement and decontamination work begins. A copy of the report is available on the NRC website.

USAID Forum to Look at Smart Grid for Emerging Markets – The U.S. Agency for International Development is hosting a forum Wednesday morning that will focus on market opportunities in developing countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America for U.S. companies that provide smart grid and mini-grid products and services.  

CSIS to Roll Out New Ocean Project – The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) will roll out the Stephenson Ocean Security Project (SOS) on Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. where Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) will provide keynote remarks. The event will also feature expert panels will explore the intersection of fisheries and security risk in the South China Sea and the challenge and opportunity presented by marine resources in the new Arctic Ocean.  The Project will highlight how marine resource disputes drive instability in key regions of the globe and the ways that climate change is exacerbating this challenge through degraded ecosystems and the opening of new areas to potential exploitation.

WRI Previews 2019 – Now in its 16th year, WRI hosts “Stories to Watch” on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. for policymakers, business leaders, and media in Washington, DC and around the world.  Dr. Andrew Steer, WRI’s President & CEO, will share insights on stories related to the environment, economy, and international dynamics in the coming year. As the world grapples with shifting political landscapes and mounting climate impacts, Andrew will explore global trends and emerging issues around climate change, energy, forests and commodities, mobility, infrastructure, sustainable consumption, and more.

ELI Forum to Look at Appalachia – On Wednesday at 12:00 p.m., the Environmental Law Institute and their expert panelists host a forum to explore the potential of green energy innovation for fostering environmental justice and resilient economies in Appalachian communities. With uncertain paths to development and resilience, Appalachia’s fate demonstrates the complexity of how to navigate the intricate nexus of economic insecurity, inequality, and resource extraction in 21st Century America.

Cal to Look at Long-Term Energy Forecast –The California Energy Commission meets on Wednesday at 1 Pacific Time to discuss an updated forecast for state energy demands for the years 2018 to 2030. The California Energy Commission business meetings can be viewed live on the Energy

Commission’s YouTube channel.

Webinar to Look at Forest Carbon Offsets – Michigan State University holds webinar Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. on whether forest carbon offsets are a viable opportunity for U.S. landowners. Since the start of California’s Cap-and-Trade program in 2013 much has happened with respect to the development of both compliance and voluntary programs for forest offsets. The webinar will look at the current status and trends for US and foreign jurisdictions using offsets to price and curb GHG emissions and the role of US forest landowners are playing in these markets.  Dylan Jenkins from Finite Carbon will speak.

Donohue to Discuss State of Biz – On Thursday at 9:30 a.m., U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue delivers his annual "State of American Business" address at the Chamber, highlighting pro-growth policies that enable workers, families, and businesses to pursue their American dreams. Donohue will also discuss key 2019 policy initiatives to support American aspiration, achievement, and innovation. Following his remarks, Donohue and Neil Bradley, U.S. Chamber executive vice president and chief policy officer, will hold a presser.

Green Happy Hour Set – Green Drinks DC has teamed up with The Aspen Institute Energy and Environment Program and their partners on Thursday at 6:00 p.m. for the first happy hour of 2019.  The Aspen Institute Energy and Environment Program addresses critical energy, environmental, and climate change issues through non-partisan, non-ideological convening, with the specific intent of bringing together diverse stakeholders to improve the process and progress of policy-level dialogue. This enables EEP to sit at a critical intersection in the conversation and bring together diverse groups of expert stakeholders.

Forum to Look at Potential EE Gains – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) holds a facilitated discussion on Friday at 3:00 p.m. to look at how to make our economy more energy-efficient, to generate wealth and combat climate change.  A variety of recent studies say the U.S. economy may only be 16% energy-efficient. In other words, an estimated 84% of the energy resources consumed within American communities are wasted.


Detroit Auto Show Ready – The 2019 North American International Auto Show will begin in Detroit on January 14th and runs through January 27th at Cobo Hall in the Motor City. With the largest concentration of the world’s top automotive and technology executives, designers, engineers and thought leaders, the North American International Auto Show serves as the global stage for companies to debut brand-defining vehicles and industry-shaping announcements.  Events start with the 13th annual ultra-luxury automotive event, The Gallery. The event has now become the official kick-off to the North American International Auto Show at the MGM Detroit.  Press days start on January 14th with public show launching January 19th

Infrastructure, Resilience Focus of Research Board Annual Meeting – The Transportation Research Board (TRB) holds its 98th Annual Meeting next Monday through Thursday January 13–17th at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, in Washington, D.C. The information-packed program is expected to attract more than 13,000 transportation professionals from around the world.  The meeting program will cover all transportation modes, with more than 5,000 presentations in nearly 800 sessions and workshops, addressing topics of interest to policy makers, administrators, practitioners, researchers, and representatives of government, industry, and academic institutions. A number of sessions and workshops will focus on the spotlight theme for the 2019 meeting: Transportation for a Smart, Sustainable, and Equitable Future.  The full 2019 program, including information on nearly 800 sessions and workshops, is available now via the online Interactive Program and the mobile app.  UC Davis Policy Institute for Energy, Environment, and the Economy and the 3 Revolutions Future Mobility Program host a related program on Wednesday January 16th to discuss automated, shared, and electric vehicles, while Tuesday evening, the Sustainable Transport Award Committee awards cities that are transforming their streets, fighting climate change, and improving quality of life with innovative transport solutions

BPC Book Event to Look at Addressing Climate – Next Monday at 5:00 p.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center hosts a discussion of the new book, A Bright Future: How Some Countries Have Solved Climate Change and the Rest Can Follow, with co-author Joshua S. Goldstein. The book explores real-world examples of how countries have cut greenhouse gas emissions using a broad set of technologies, including renewable energy sources and nuclear power.

NPC to Host NOAA, Hurricane Resilience Expert to Discuss 2018 Hurricane Season – The National Press Club will host a Newsmaker on Tuesday January 15th at 10:00 a.m. in the Club’s Zenger Room to recap the 2018 hurricane season featuring NOAA forecasting expert Dr. Gerry Bell and MIT resilience expert Jeremy Gregory.  Bell will focus on the 2018 season impacts, climate change and what it may mean for the 2019 season, while Gregory will focus on the 2017 rebuilding in Houston, Puerto Rico and Florida, as well as the impacts of the 2018 season on the Carolina coast and Florida Panhandle.  

Panel to Look at Smart Buildings – The Federal Real Property Association hosts a panel discussion next Tuesday with the GSA and the DOE on smart building technology.  With more than 350,000 energy- utilizing buildings, the Federal government is the nation’s largest energy consumer. Energy used in buildings and facilities represents about 38% of the total site-delivered energy use of the Federal government. The panel discussion will focus on how both GSA and the Department of Energy are working with Federal agencies to meet energy-related goals, identify and implement emerging building technologies across the Federal portfolio, facilitate public-private partnerships, and provide energy leadership to the country by identifying government best practices.

Wilson Forum Looks at Conservation – The Wilson Center holds a conversation on Wednesday, January 16th conservation projects in a war zone.  The event, which will focus on Afghanistan, will feature Alex Dehgan and Geoff Dabelko, Ohio U Professor that is Senior Advisor to Wilson’s Environmental Change & Security Program. Dehgan will reflect on innovative approaches to protecting the environment and advancing security in some of the most politically and ecologically fragile places in the world, and the connections between conservation and political stability. His talk will also consider the larger changes of the political landscape and evolving US positions towards Afghanistan.

AS part of the Wednesday, January 16

11:45 AM - 1:30 PM

Rayburn House Office Building

Room 2253

45 Independence Avenue, SW

Washington, DC 20515

Automated, shared, and electric vehicles, called the "3 Revolutions" bring massive opportunities to improve safety, manage congestion, advance equity, and reduce pollution in transportation. But these new technologies will also challenge existing governance models. The future of transportation will require smart governance, which includes performance-based and flexible regulatory mechanisms.

This briefing will explain why the advent of the "3 Revolutions" era requires reevaluation of roles for federal, state, and local authorities. It will also cover ways to enable innovation while respecting privacy, proprietary, and safety concerns. Experts will discuss research findings and perspectives on how to harness the 3 Revolutions for the benefit of all.

ClearPath, SoCo, Air Liquide to Headline BPC Innovation Forum – The Bipartisan Policy Center holds a panel discussion on Thursday January 17th at the Capitol Visitors Center with its American Energy Innovation Council on the crucial role of government in energy innovation. The conversation will build on the findings in the latest AEIC report and provide a business-sector perspective on the importance of federal energy research investments for the new Congress.  Speakers will include ClearPath’s Jay Faison, SoCo CEO Tom Fanning and Air Liquide USA head Mike Graff, as well as Ohio Rep. Marcy Kaptur who will make intro remarks.

FERC Meeting – Thursday, January 17.

WCEE Hold Litigation Roundtable – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will hold its 4th Annual Litigation Roundtable with the women Administrative Law Judges of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Judges will discuss their experience as Administrative Law Judges, interesting developments in their careers, who mentored them along the way and who they themselves mentored, and share the “Dos & Don’ts” regarding hearings and settlement conferences.

Forums to Look at Offshore Wind – The Business Network for Offshore Wind, Marine Log, and Winston & Strawn LLP will begin a special three-part series of interactive discussions with U.S. government officials and industry authorities on regulatory issues affecting the construction and financing of offshore wind projects in the U.S.  Starting Thursday, January 17th, they will discuss the U.S. Coast Guard’s Oversight Roles during the Implementation Phase of Offshore Wind Projects.  Speakers will include U.S. Coast Guard officials Edward LeBlanc and Carl Moberg.  Future events will be Thursday, February 14 on Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE)’s Safety Oversight of Offshore Wind Projects and Thursday, March 14th on Jones Act Compliance and U.S. Offshore Wind Projects.

Chamber to Discuss State of American Business – On Thursday morning, Chamber of Commerce head Tom Donohue delivers his annual State of American Business address to outline the top challenges facing our nation's business community and explore the policy solutions needed to fuel the next generation of American Dreams.

EIA to Release 2019 STEO at BPC – On January 24th, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) will release its 2019 Annual Energy Outlook (AEO) and discuss its January 2019 Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) at a public event hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center. The event will feature a presentation by EIA Administrator Dr. Linda Capuano as well as panel discussions about the latest AEO and STEO.  EIA releases its Annual Energy Outlook each year to provide updated projections of U.S. energy markets. In addition, EIA releases its Short-Term Energy Outlook each month. The January 2019 STEO release will include projections out to 2020 for the first time.

SEJ 2019 Journalists Guide to Energy, Environment – The Society of Enviro Journalists (SEJ) and Wilson Center will host the annual Journalists Guide to Energy and Environment on January 25th at the Wilson Center.  More on this as we get closer.

State of the Union Address – January 29th

ACORE Webinar Looks at Offshore Wind – ACORE hosts a State of the Industry Webinar on Wednesday February 6th 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.

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.