Energy Update: Week of May 30

Energy Update - May 30, 2017


Happy unofficial beginning of Summer…  Pardon my grogginess, but I stepped off a red eye from LAX this morning and then tried to get Hannah back on a plane to Boston so her Wellesley field hockey team can head to Europe.  I had further delays when Hannah’s luggage for Europe to got lost en route to Boston.  She is still waiting for resolution of that issue.

I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday weekend.  Not much happening this week here, but the biggest news is the focus on President Trump’s decision on the Paris Climate Agreement.  Our friend Amy Harder reported over the weekend that some sources are saying Trump will back out.  But after last week’s international pressure from the G7 Leaders, it seems clear that much of the activity from the Senate, AGs and internal sources may be trying to counter some of that momentum. Andrew Light, a U.S. negotiator at the Paris deliberations, said of Trump’s direction: “I really don’t think you can tell from media reports now where Trump is on this or whether he is in fact telling different people different things.” Industry leaders continue to suggest staying in will be an important factor to staying engaged international on the Paris process but also on how we are perceived in the world on other Issues as well.  We are hearing a lot of different things so we are happy to discuss and find you some great resources.

Congrats to our friend Dino Grandoni, who is launching the Washington Post’s Energy 202, a deeper dive on energy and environmental policy fashioned after the Post’s mega-popular politics newsletter, The Daily 202.  The Energy 202 will deliver scoops and smart analysis on energy and environmental policy while also highlighting Post and others quality reporting.  You can sign up HERE.

The 2017 hurricane season officially begins on Thursday and while no one ever really seems to know what will happen, some say we may have a more active season.  SEJ’s TipSheet has sources and tools to help address questions about hurricane season.

Congrats to Indy 500 winner, 40-year-old Takuma Sato, who becomes the first Japanese driver ever to win the Memorial Day race classic.  11 days remaining before the 149th Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.  Preview next week, but already Derby winner Always Dreaming and Preakness winner Cloud Computing are both out.

Finally, the National Law Journal has a great piece on my colleague Josh Zive and the new Bracewell podcast, the Lobby Shop.  Check it out and sign up to receive it each week.

Call with questions…




Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932



“With the University of Chicago’s long-time commitment to economics and public policy, EPIC plays an important role in developing creative, market-based solutions to today’s most important energy and environmental challenges. I’m eager to learn from the dedicated faculty and students at EPIC, and to share the lessons I have learned from more than 25 years of working on environmental and energy issues. I hope that this collaboration will lead to better informed regulations and policies that will allow us to reach our environmental goals and preserve access to affordable, reliable energy.”

Bracewell’s Jeff Holmstead regarding his new policy fellow appointment at the University of Chicago’s Energy Policy Institute.



ITC to Review Solar Petition – The U.S. International Trade Commission has initiated an investigation into the request by U.S.-based solar cell manufacturer Suniva for temporary trade tariffs to protect the manufacturing sector from lower-cost imports. The move, announced today, clears the first hurdle in the process.

SEIA Raises Questions about Petition – SEIA CEO Abby Hopper fired back on the ITC decision by the regarding Suniva’s Section 201 filing:  “The International Trade Commission’s decision to consider Suniva’s petition for a lifeline could be bad news for hundreds of thousands of American workers in the solar industry and may jeopardize billions of dollars in investment in communities across the country. Setting high price floors and exorbitant tariffs is a blunt instrument that would cripple one of the brightest spots in America’s economy.  While we respect the ITC’s decision to evaluate this claim on its merits, SEIA will remain at the forefront of the opposition to Suniva’s requested remedies. We encourage all members of the solar industry to assist the ITC if asked for information and to work with us to ensure your voice is heard. Our goal throughout this proceeding will remain focused on developing more equitable and sustainable ways to boost American solar manufacturing that benefit many companies instead of just a few and allows the entire solar industry to continue to grow in this country.”

EPIC Launches Visiting Fellows Program with Holmstead, Tierney – The Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) announced that my colleague Jeff Holmstead, former Assistant Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for Air and Radiation, and Susan Tierney, former Assistant Secretary for Policy at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), as EPIC’s inaugural Visiting Fellows in Policy Practice. In this role, the two will provide invaluable perspectives and expertise in a series of events, workshops and public discussions, as well as serve as resources for students and the Institute.  Earlier, Holmstead served on the White House Staff of President George H.W. Bush. As Associate Counsel to the President, he was involved in the passage and implementation of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 and the creation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Tierney is a highly-regarded expert on energy policy and economics, specializing in the electric and gas industries. As a former Assistant Secretary for Policy at DOE under President Bill Clinton among other roles, Tierney has deep and varied experience that allows her to provide invaluable knowledge on energy markets, as well as on economic and environmental regulation and strategy.

The National League of Cities Releases Autonomous Vehicle Guide –The National League of Cities, a nonprofit group of municipal leagues, recently released a guide on  — autonomous vehicles (AVs) – “Autonomous Vehicles: A Policy Preparation Guide” – for state and local planners. It provides a rundown of different types of autonomous vehicles, public policy considerations, recommendations and other topics of interests to cities and companies dealing with the new technology. Topics covered include:

  • Privacy concerns – the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers published ‘ Privacy Principles for Vehicle Technologies and Services’ in 2014, but the guide recommends that cities should consider their own safety and privacy concerns that are not reflected in these principles;
  • Anonymous data sharing – if properly developed and managed, the vast amounts of data received could be used for traffic control, public utilities monitoring, road safety evaluation, and identifying infrastructure needs;
  • Public policy considerations – safety, insurance requirements and local approval of any proposed AV testing in a city;
  • Municipal coordination and public outreach – assessment of existing laws and municipal codes that will impact any deployment of AV technology, coordination between city departments, and working with regional agencies;
  • Infrastructure investment – policies should be considered that ensure diversified approaches to funding future infrastructure needs;
  • Broadband needs – cities should be proactive in reaching out to the dominant provider in their region to plan the growth of infrastructure, so that future needs can be met.

The report recommends that cities begin planning now, as AV’s are already a reality. Policies need to be developed, federal and state policy and legislative developments should be tracked so that cities can ensure they have input, and, plans for future infrastructure needs and building data and computing capacity need to be in place.

OMB Gets Coal Ash Rule – EPA has sent draft guidance for how states should craft permit programs for coal ash disposal to the White House for pre-publication review.  OMB received the coal ash guide for review last Thursday. Interagency review of agency rules ahead of their publication in the Federal Register typically takes 90 days, but can take much more or much less time depending on the action under review.



WRI to Host Forests Discussion – Today at 12:30 p.m., the World Resources Institute held a forum on political and policy issues surrounding forests.  Efforts to achieve the Paris Agreement will not succeed if tropical deforestation continues business as usual. Protecting forests is among one of the most affordable, efficient strategies to curb greenhouse gas emissions and advance sustainable development. Frances Seymour, author of Why Forests? Why Now? and land rights expert Peter Veit will discuss the benefits and limitations of REDD+, the international community’s role in financing forest protection, and the challenges that Indigenous Peoples still face when registering their land.

WCEE May Happy Hour Set – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment is hosting its May Happy Hour on tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. at Penn Commons.  WCEE is a non-partisan, policy-neutral organization that focuses on women, energy and the environment.

Author to Discuss Cybersecurity Grid IssuesLeaders in Energy will host a forum Thursday in Arlington to discuss cybersecurity and power grid issues with Berlin-based author, Marc Elsberg, who is visiting the DC area to showcase his techno-thriller, “Blackout” and hear from other cyber and other energy specialists in these exciting and fast-moving fields. Reviewed as “fast, tense, thrilling – and timely”, “Blackout” has been “highly recommended” by Lee Child, author of the bestselling Jack Reacher series.  Other speakers include Arlington County Energy Manager John Morrill and former MISO chairman Paul J. Feldman.

SEIA Tax Forum Set for NYC – SEIA will hold a forum on June 1st and 2nd in New York City to navigate this very complicated and multi-faceted process in an effort to foster a strong solar industry. As the 115th Congress kicks into high gear, the event will feature an in-depth examination of where tax reform is going, and issues including tax rates, the Investment Tax Credit, and depreciation, and a discussion of how any potential revisions to federal tax policies such as these will affect tax equity markets.



Forum to Look at Security Implications of Climate – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and the Center for Climate and Security (CCS) will hold a forum next Monday at 2:00 p.m. discussing the role of climate change as a “threat multiplier” in the geopolitical landscape and the implications that has for U.S. national security. The briefing will explore the risk management and planning considerations facing the Department of Defense (DOD) as it seeks to maintain force readiness and bolster infrastructure resilience. The panel will also discuss the need for investments in preventive measures today to prepare for future needs concerning disaster assistance, the Arctic, and the displacement of vulnerable populations due to climate change.  The speakers for this forum are US Army Brigadier General Gerald Galloway (former Dean of the Academic Board at West Point), former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Environmental Security Sherri Goodman, USAF General Ron Keys, US Navy Rear Admiral Ann Phillips, United States Navy and former Principal Deputy Undersecretary of Defense John Conger.

Forum to Host Fireside Chat With Ford – Next Monday at 2:00 p.m., the Atlantic Council hosts a fireside chat on the future of mobility and its global implications, featuring Executive Chairman of Ford Motor Company Bill Ford.

Forum to Look at Infrastructure – The Hudson Institute will host a timely conversation on June 8 at Noon about the importance of modernizing America’s infrastructure to spur sustained economic growth and job creation and improve the quality of life for all Americans. U.S. Senator John Boozman will offer his perspective in opening remarks drawing on his experiences serving on the Committee on the Environment and Public Works and the Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development.  A panel discussion will follow the senator’s remarks featuring the Aubrey Layne, Virginia’s Secretary of Transportation;, former Federal Transit Administration chief counsel David Horner; former senior deputy mayor and COO of Indianapolis under Mayor Steve Goldsmith Skip Stitt, author of Hudson’s recent report Infrastructure Spending and Public-Private Partnerships and Jennifer Aument, a commissioner for the Virginia Port Authority and Group General Manager, North America at Transubran.

Caucus to Host Building Efficiency WeekHigh Performance Building Week is next week on Capitol Hill from June 6th-9th.  The week is an annual event sponsored by the High-Performance Buildings Caucus of the U.S. Congress. The Caucus was formed to heighten awareness and inform policymakers about the major impact buildings have on our health, safety and welfare and the opportunities to design, construct and operate high-performance buildings that reflect our concern for these impacts.  Fundamental to these concerns include protecting life and property, developing novel building technologies, facilitating and enhancing U.S. economic competitiveness, increasing energy efficiency in the built environment, assuring buildings have minimal climate change impacts and are able to respond to changes in the environment.

Forum to Look at Europe Energy Issues – The Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center will hold a half-day conference on Wednesday June 7th at 8:45 a.m. looking at the implications of the changing global LNG market, progression of the European Energy Union concept, and priorities of the new administration in Washington, DC for Central and Eastern European energy security. Among the speakers will be Cheniere’s Robert Fee, former State Department official Melanie Kenderdine, current State official Mary Warlick, Lithuanian Energy minister Simonas Šatūnas and Foreign Policy editor Keith Johnson, among others.

Security Experts to Address Methanol Policy Forum – The Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS), the U.S. Energy Security Council (USESC) and the Methanol Institute will hold a Methanol Policy Forum on June 13th at the National Press Club.  The Forum will include a special luncheon discussion:  Energy Security through Fuel Choice, which features a conversation with the U.S. Energy Security Council experts like former National Security Advisor Robert C. McFarlane, former CIA Director James Woolsey, former President of Shell Oil Company John Hofmeister, former White House Counsel and Ambassador to the EU C. Boyden Gray and former Louisiana Senator and Senate Energy Bennett Johnston.  Our friend Joe Cannon and other will speak on panels as well.

Senate to Look at RFS – The Senate Environment Committee Is expected to hold a hearing on the Renewable Fuels Standard in June 15th.  More of this as it gets closer.

CA Energy Forum Set – Advanced Energy Economy’s (AEE) annual California energy policy event, Pathway to 2050, will be held on June 21st in Sacramento.  The event brings together an influential group of advanced energy business leaders and state policy-makers to discuss opportunities to accelerate California’s economy through the growth of advanced energy.  Speakers will include our friends Caroline Choi of SoCalEd, Dan Morain of the Sacramento Bee and Greentech’s Katie Fehrenbacher. Other speakers include SoCal Ed CEO Kevin Payne, GE’s Deb Frodl, Cal Assembly Speaker Kevin de Leon, CPUC President Michael Picker, Cal Energy Commissioner Janea Scott and Tom Steyer.

EIA Energy Conference Set – The 2017 EIA Energy Conference is scheduled for June 26-27 in Washington, DC.

Smart Cities Conference Headed for Austin – The 2017 Smart Cities Connect Conference will be in Austin, TX at the Convention Center.  The event convenes more than 200 global city leaders to prospect and partner with innovative technology and service providers.

Global Security Forum Set – The Center for a New American Security hosts its 2017 Annual Conference in partnership with The Washington Post on Wednesday, June 28th at The Mayflower Hotel. This year’s conference will bring together U.S. national security policymakers and experts to highlight major divides and identify potential bipartisan solutions. CNAS is an independent and nonpartisan research institution that develops strong, pragmatic and principled national security and defense policies.

Congressional Renewable Expo Set – The 20th annual Congressional Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency EXPO and Policy Forum will be held on Tuesday, July 11th from at 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. In Rayburn.

Community Solar Forum Set for Denver – The Coalition for Community Solar Access will host the first annual National Community Solar Summit in Denver on July 26 – 28.  A few highlights for Denver include energy company CEOs including Tom Matzzie of CleanChoice Energy, Jesse Grossman of Soltage, Zaid Ashai of Nexamp, Rick Hunter of Microgrid Energy and Steph Spiers of Solstice.  Other speakers include energy company leaders Hannah Masterjohn of Clean Energy Collective, Dan Hendrick of NRG Energy, Adam Altenhofen of US Bank, Adam Capage of 3 Degrees and Lori Singleton of Salt River Project.