Energy Update: Week of November 12

Energy Update - November 12, 2018


That was an interesting election…and it is still going in some places.  And despite massive handwringing, it seems as if most expectations and pundits were pretty close to right.  We are still following the action in Florida, Georgia and Arizona, but it is clear Democratic will open a number of new oversight doors come January.  Our experts are following the action closely and will be a good resource for you for background, perspective and comment. 

We hope you were able to join us for Bracewell PRG’s post-election webinar.  If you missed, you can get the full audio here.  Also, the webinar slide deck, additional detailed issue briefs and an enhanced, archived version of the audio are available on the PRG website, so feel free to check out the details.

The House and Senate are in session Wednesday through Friday. Congress returns after a long break before the midterms for a lame duck session to debate/address government funding before a partial shutdown on December 7.

There are a number of events tomorrow, headlined by the ClearPath and others 2:00 p.m. discussion on the Nuclear Energy Leadership Act.  Also in the morning, the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center talks LNG with DOE’s Mark Menezes and Cheniere’s Christopher Smith.

On Wednesday, the American Enterprise Institute will hold a discussion at 3:30 p.m. looking at the conservative case for a carbon tax while Heritage looks at Federal land management with a number of federal officials - same “Bat” time.

Then on Thursday, among the Congressional hearings is the Senate Energy nomination hearing for FERC nominee Bernard McNamee, Rita Baranwal to head the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy and Ray Vela to be National Park Service Director. Also, the US Energy Assn is hosting its inaugural Energy Efficiency and Supply Forum at the Embassy of Canada.

Finally on Friday, ACORE, SEIA and think tank Energy Innovation will host a lunchtime panel discussion that will focus on the outlook for clean energy in the White House, Congress, and state capitals following the 2018 midterm elections.  Abby and Greg Wetstone are among the presenters.

With a slower schedule next week because of Thanksgiving (although the Redskins and Cowboys do play on Thanksgiving Day this year), we will give you a preview of who may be headed where in the new House, including the expected resurrection the Select Global Warming Committee in some form.  Stay tuned.

Finally, while of topic, I wanted to mention that on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., as a member of the National Press Club’s events committee, I will be moderating an NPC Newsmaker on youth sports and the risk from head injuries and concussions in the Bloomberg Room.  US Soccer CEO Chris Moore, Mayo Clinic Neuropsychologist Jennifer Wethe and several others will join me the topic.  The Mayo Clinic is also expected to a set of principles to help guide students and parents.  Please join us.



Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

C. (202) 997-5932



“Previously, New Source Review regularly discouraged companies from employing the latest energy-efficient equipment.  Our updates will remove undue regulatory barriers, provide greater certainty to America’s job creators and energy providers, and incentivize upgrades that will improve air quality.”

EPA head Andrew Wheeler releasing a new NSR reform last week.

“Reports of the death of the Climate Solutions Caucus are greatly exaggerated."

The Citizens' Climate Lobby statement Wednesday morning after several members including Carlos Curbelo lost tight reelection races.


Bracewell Wraps Up Mid-Term Elections – In addition to the publication of our 2018 Post Election Webinar audio, we have a new regular-format episode, which is now live on Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and Google Play Music. Josh, Liam, and Paul debrief on the political side of the Midterm election and what the results mean for the future of Washington.


Column: Climate Getting Too Divisive to Resolve – Our friend Amy Harder of Axios is talking about climate change and addressing its challenges again in her most recent column, which she says in getting too big and divisive to solve easily. She adds the math and politics are the key BIG problems. She also says to tune in Sunday at 6:30 p.m. for the next episode of Axios on HBO, which will include some focus on energy and climate. MY NOTE: I would also remind that despite not being in Paris, we have reduced our emissions by 28% against a 2005 baseline while other major emitting nations are well short of that. 


EPA Looks to Improve NSR Aggregation – EPA has released an improved New Source Review policy that will consider "substantially related" actions by emitting facilities as constituting one project for permitting purposes, which could exempt facilities' actions that increase emissions from NSR permitting if other actions reduce them. The policy published last Wednesday changes how EPA determines whether changes to power plants and other facilities -- like installing new equipment -- need to go through the NSR process. That process is an extensive analysis meant to limit emissions of air pollutants like nitrogen oxides and particulate matter.

Musical Committee Chairs in Senate – Our friends at POLITICO are reporting that if Sen. Nelson Loses his recount effort, Sen. Energy Ranking Member Maria Cantwell may move over to the Commerce Committee.  While changes like this are not usual at the end of the Congress, it may set up a scenario where just re-elected Joe Manchin become the top Dem on the Committee. While enviro would go ballistic over that, POLITICO says they may try to encourage current Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow to move over.  We’ll see as the palace intrigue will continue as members come back to town this week.

Cheniere Lands Polish Oil/Gas Deal – Cheniere Energy and Polish Oil and Gas Company signed a 24-year deal Thursday to receive U.S. liquefied natural gas as Poland seeks to reduce dependence of Russia. More than half of Poland's gas comes from Russia’s Gazprom under a long-term deal that expires in 2022. Energy Secretary Rick Perry attended the signing ceremony as part of his broader four-country trek to Central and Eastern Europe this week, which also includes bilateral dialogue on potential nuclear power and other partnerships.

Canada Signs Deal with NuScale – NuScale Power signed a memorandum of understanding with Ontario’s public electricity generator, bringing NuScale closer to introducing its ground-breaking small modular reactor technology to Canadian customers.  NuScale is currently working on a service agreement to submit a vendor application with Canadian regulators. NuScale’s technology is already the world’s first and only SMR to undergo design certification application review by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. NRC is scheduled to complete NuScale’s Design Certification application in September 2020. NuScale’s first customer, Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems, is on track to deploy the first U.S. SMR plant in the mid-2020s.

Rig Report: Drilling Up – Oil Services leader Baker Hughes said U.S. drillers added 12 oil rigs to keep the rig count at its highest in over three years.  Despite investors' concerns about trade disputes and lower economic growth's impact on fuel demand, the rig count ended the week at 886, well above the 738 active at this point last year.

New Head for NETL – DOE said Brian Anderson will be the new director of its National Energy Technology Laboratory starting tomorrow. Anderson is currently head of West Virginia University's Energy Institute. With Anderson's arrival, NETL's acting Director, Sean Plasynski, will become the lab's deputy director and chief operating officer. Anderson began his career at WVU in 2006 as an assistant professor in the department of chemical and biomedical engineering. Throughout his tenure at WVU, he became a recognized scientist and subject matter expert in natural gas hydrates, unconventional oil and gas development, and clean coal technologies. In 2014, Anderson founded and built the WVU Energy Institute which is the largest energy collaborative research organization at the university focused on advancing technology through research, development, and demonstration within the energy industry.


Wood Stove Showcase Set – The 2018 Wood Stove Design Challenge is being held today and tomorrow on the National Mall.  The event is a showcase and competition for advanced wood stoves with automated features and/or stoves that make electricity.  Awards will be announcement tomorrow at 2:30 p.m.  You can see info on the awards here and more info on details here

US-Mexico Forum to Look at Trade Pact – The US-Mexico Chamber of Commerce is hosting the 4th North American Sustainable Economic Development Summit is being held today and tomorrow at the Four Seasons Hotel, Las Colinas in Irving, Texas.  The event includes details of the newly-announced United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement.  Other topics in the agenda will be Mexico's presidential elections, and the country's future economy under the administration of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Coal Ash Group to Release Annual Survey – The American Coal Ash Association will release its annual Coal Ash Production & Use Survey results tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. in the National Press Club’s Lisagor Room.  Conducted since the early 1960s, the survey provides the most complete data available on the volume of coal ash materials that are produced and beneficially used in a variety of applications. ACAA officials will also discuss impacts of environmental regulation and changing electric utility markets on coal ash production and use.  ACCA execs Thomas Adams and John Ward will present.

Newsmaker: NASA's 25-year Plan for Humans to Inhabit Mars – The National Press Club will host a Headliners press conference at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow featuring four presenters directly responsible for creating and implementing elements of a mission to Mars and serving a new vision of mankind as a visitor – then resident – of the red planet.  Once limited to the imaginations of sci-fi enthusiasts, NASA now has mission-specific technology in development, and a hard deadline for humans landing on Mars following a series of robot landers that have mapped out the terrain and other features of what could soon be our new world – the latest is InSight, scheduled to land on Mars on November 26, and drill deeply into the Martian soil to deliver clues about the planet’s core and interior structure.  Speakers will include Astronaut Tom Jones, NASA Goddard chief scientist James Garvin, NASA Mars Exploration head Richard Davis and children’s science author Janet Ivey.

Forum to Look at Nuclear Legislation – ClearPath, U.S. Nuclear Industry Council, Nuclear Innovation Alliance, Third Way and Atlantic Council host a discussion tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. on the Nuclear Energy Leadership Act. Speakers include Idaho National Lab Director Mark Peters, NuScale Power Chief Strategy Officer Christopher Colbert, Pillsbury Law Senior Associate Anne Leidich and Sarah Ladislaw, director of the energy and national security program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Panelists will discuss a comprehensive blueprint for the U.S. to once again lead the world in next-generation nuclear power.  The Nuclear Energy Leadership Act (NELA)​addresses the lack of aggressive yet achievable milestones for U.S.-led advanced reactor technologies and of an overall long-term strategy for the direction of U.S. nuclear science and engineering research and development.

Forum Looks at Radioactive Waste – The Stimson Center will hold a forum tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. looking at a public discussion on social license to operate for radioactive waste.  Disposal of radioactive waste remains a contentious issue around the world. Many would argue that it is almost impossible to gain a social license to operate (SLO) for the disposal of such a waste product. The discussion will share practical socio-psychological approaches to science and technology acceptance and their application to radioactive waste, investigate issues of procedural and distributive fairness, trust and perceptions of risk and benefits and implications of the socio-technical implications for policy and industry.  Peta Ashworth at the University of Queensland will speak. 

Webinar on Power Industry Set – POWER Magazine will hold a webinar tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. on "Eddy Current Testing and its role in reliable power generation. In North America alone, more than 7,000 outages per year are attributed to tube failures costing the industry hundreds of millions of dollars in lost production and repair. To help mitigate this problem, power plants have created protocols and procedures designed to locate and plug tubes on the verge of failure before they become an issue. Non-Destructive Testing is one tool helps to prevent forced outages by detecting various defects such as pitting, cracking, corrosion, erosion, grooving, steam impingement and tube-support fretting that cause tube failures.

AWEA Clean Energy Exec Summit Set – Tomorrow to Thursday at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs (NICE!), the wind Industry hosts the first annual Clean Energy Executive Summit the event features leaders from the wind industry and across renewable energy sectors to plan for the future. With a focus on demand-driving policy, modernized market rules, cost saving innovations, and how we must work together, this one-of-a-kind event is step one in further advancing the clean energy boom.

GTM to Host Power, Renewables Summit – Greentech Media host a two-day summit tomorrow and Wednesday around financing strategies, business model shifts, demand and regulatory updates will reshape power markets over the next 10-to-20 years. The Power & Renewables Summit 2018 will gather industry views on how renewable integration, decarbonization, sector electrification and the growing need for increased capacity and flexibility are impacting electricity systems.

Schneider Electric to Host Innovation Summit – Schneider Electric hosts its Innovation Summit tomorrow and Wednesday in Atlanta to look at new digital technologies that are shaping the future of energy and automation.  CNBC’s Contessa Brewer, Schneider CEO Jean-Pascal Tricoire, and Georgia Power’s Johnny Howze will be among the speakers.

Menezes, Smith Headline Atlantic Council LNG Forum – Tomorrow at 9:00 a.m., the Atlantic Council Global Energy Center will host a discussion about the evolving US LNG landscape.  DOE Under Secretary Mark Menezes and former DOE official Christopher Smith, now at Cheniere Energy, will lead this discussion on the role of US LNG in bolstering European energy security, recent developments in US LNG, and the role of LNG in sustainability issues.

FERC’s Glick to Headline Look at PJM States, Enviro Policy – The Great Plains Institute and Duke’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions host a forum tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. at the Monaco to look at challenges for environmental Policy in the PJM states.  FERC Commissioner Rich Glick and former FERC Chair Norm Bay will be among the speakers.

NOAA Officials to Discuss Climate, Extreme Weather at C2ES Webinar – The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) hosts a webinar tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. that will explain the role of climate change in exacerbating extreme weather. The webinar will focus on observations of current climate change indicators, the economic impacts of recent extreme weather events, and new scientific methods for understanding the role that climate change has in exacerbating extreme weather.  NOAA’s Derek Arndt and Adam Smith will lead the discussion.

WRI Looks at Climate Pledges – On Wednesday at 9:00 a.m., the World Resources Institute will host experts and thought leaders to discuss implications for policymakers and actors on the ground, both within the United States and globally, as the world looks to all actors to help reach our climate goals.  Tailored to a U.S. and international policy audience, this event will feature key voices from coalitions representing regional governments, municipalities, and business leaders. Participants will highlight the critical role of subnational actors, while also providing a clear sense of challenges and opportunities moving forward. Former Climate negotiator Todd Stern, Canada’s Rachel McCormick and several others will speak.

AEI to Look at Conservative Case for Carbon Tax – American Enterprise Institute will hold a discussion Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. looking at the conservative case for a carbon tax. In the debate over anthropogenic climate change, one important difference has emerged among self-described economic and political conservatives: Would a tax on greenhouse gas emissions, whether imposed by the US alone or by international agreement, further the goals of environmental improvement and enhanced economic growth? This debate has become more prominent recently, with formal proposals for such a tax presented in both detailed policy papers and proposed legislation.  AEI hosts a panel that will offer sharply contrasting views, with the larger goal of moving the climate policy debate forward in a rigorous fashion.

Fed Land Officials Join PERC, Heritage for Management Panel – The Heritage Foundation and the Property and Environment Research Center will host a robust conversation on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. looking at where federal land management policy is going and creative policy ideas for the future. Among the speakers will be Heritage’s Nick Loris and group of officials, including– National Park Service Deputy Director, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land & Mineral Management Casey Hammond, acting Deputy Chief of the U.S. Forest Service Chris French and Fish and Wildlife Service’s Marshall Critchfield.

Congress Returns for Post-Election Congressional Session – Wednesday November 14th

Senate Energy to Hear from FERC, DOE, NPS Nominees – On Thursday, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hear from FERC nominee Bernard McNamee, Rita Baranwal to head the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy and Ray Vela to be National Park Service Director. Baranwal has extensive and senior nuclear policy experience includes as director of the Gateway for Acceleration Innovation in Nuclear effort housed at Idaho National Laboratory since August 2016. She was previously director of technology development and core engineering/nuclear fuel at Westinghouse Electric and a manager at Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory.

FERC Meeting Set – The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will hold its monthly open meeting on Thursday at 10:00 a.m.

House Resources to Mark Up Bills – Thursday at 9:30 a.m.

USEA, Canada to Host Energy Efficiency Forum – The US Energy Assn is hosting the inaugural Energy Efficiency and Supply Forum on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. at the Embassy of Canada.  The event will explore the dimensions of how technology to improve energy efficiency in production, development and delivery, including electricity delivery, go hand in hand with energy supply and a fully integrated energy system. Battery storage, distributed generation, smart microgrids, customers as ‘prosumers,’ the role of electric vehicles, algae R&D are all topics resonating across the energy sector.  Distinguished guests will meet to explore the future implications and practical applications of these topics and more. Special Keynote Address will be from Senate Energy Chair Lisa Murkowski. 

House Oversight to Look at Forest Service Misconduct – The House Oversight and Government Reform will hold a hearing examining misconduct and retaliation at the U.S. Forest Service at 10:00 a.m., Thursday.

Senate Environment Looks at Wildlife Conservation – The Senate Environment Committee holds a hearing at 10:00 a.m. Thursday on funding needs for wildlife conservation, recovery and management. 

Forum to Look at Coal Protests – On Thursday at 12:30 p.m., Georgetown’s Mortara Center for International Studies holds an Energy and Climate Policy Research Seminar discussion with Professor Jennifer Hadden from the University of Maryland exploring variations in global protests against proposed coal-fired power plants.

Forum to Look at Clean Energy in Next Congress – The American Council on Renewable Energy, Solar Energy Industries Association, and think tank Energy Innovation will host a lunchtime panel discussion on Friday at 11:45 a.m. that will focus on the outlook for clean energy in the White House, Congress, and state capitals following the 2018 midterm elections. With control of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, as well as 36 governors' offices and dozens of state legislatures up for grabs, clean energy policy could dramatically shift leading into the 2020 presidential election.  Experts with decades of experience in clean energy technology and policy development at the federal and state levels will address prospects for a range of relevant policies in the next Congress. They will also discuss which states could emerge as clean energy leaders with a shift in governorships, and which promising, pro-renewables policies might be in play in rural states.  The event will be moderated by WSJ’s Tim Puko and the panel features SEIA’s Abby Hopper, ACORE’s Greg Wetstone and EI’s Hal Harvey.

CRS Expert to Address Energy Economists – The US Energy Economists in the National Capital Area will their November luncheon on Friday at Noon to look at on cybersecurity issues surrounding the electricity grid.  The speaker will be Richard Campbell, a Specialist in Energy Policy for the Congressional Research Service, where he focuses on issues related to the electric power sector and energy technologies. Mr. Campbell has written on cybersecurity and the grid for CRS and has testified on the topic before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.


Brookings to Host Sustainable Energy Exec – Next Monday, the Cross-Brookings Initiative on Energy and Climate will host Rachel Kyte, CEO of Sustainable Energy for All, in a discussion facilitated by initiative Co-Chair David G. Victor.  The pair will discuss how to provide energy services to the world’s poorest and how to encourage the development of greener and more efficient energy systems.

THANKSGIVING DAY – November 22nd

Wilson to Look at Global Water Issues – On November 28th, the Wilson Center along with US AID and the World Wildlife Federation will host a forum taking stock on the 1st year of the 1st U.S. Global Water Strategy.  The forum will explore new research and practice on water, peace, and conflict; and highlight the centrality of water to global prosperity.  Speakers will include Sen. Chris Coons and many more.

Forum to Talk Private-Public Nuclear Partnerships – DOE and X-Energy are hosting am “Atomic Wings Lunch & Learn” on November 28th at 11:45 a.m. looking at Public-Private Partnerships in Nuclear Energy. Speakers include Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.), Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.), Office of Nuclear Energy Deputy Assistant Sec. Shane Johnson, Georgia Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols and ClearPath Executive Director Rich Powell.

EPA RFS Standard on Track for Nov 30 – The EPA is expected to release its 2019 biofuel blending mandate for the Renewable Fuel Standard by November 30th.  EPA recently sent the RVOs to the White House for review.

COP 24 Headed to Poland – The 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will be held in Katowice, Poland in December 3rd to the 14th

Southern Holiday Party Set – The Southern Company will host its annual holiday party on December 5th at Union Station. 

Cato to Look at Jones Act –The Cato Institute is holding a conference on the Jones Act on Thursday, December 6th.  The event will try to charting a new course after a century of failure.  For nearly 100 years the Jones Act has restricted the transportation of cargo between two points in the United States to ships that are U.S.-built, crewed, owned, and flagged. While failing to provide its promised benefits, the law has imposed a huge economic burden that manifests itself in various ways, ranging from higher transportation costs to increased traffic and pollution. This full-day conference examines these costs in greater detail, discusses the validity of the Jones Act’s national security argument, and evaluates options for reform.

Low Carbon Fuels Workshop Set for SF – The Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) holds its Low Carbon Fuels and Carbon Markets Workshop next month on December 12-14 in San Francisco.

State of the Energy Industry Event Set – Mark your calendars for January 3rd when API will conduct its annual State of the Energy Industry event at the Reagan International Trade Center.