Energy Update: Week of November 28

Energy Update - November 28, 2016


Hope you all enjoyed a little free time over the Thanksgiving holiday.  We were in West Palm Beach – not to meet with Trump – but to attend (umpire) USA Field Hockey’s National Festival Tournament over Thanksgiving.  We did see the “Trump Force One” plane (as my son Adam called it) every day though on the trip from and back to the umpire hotel each day.  I guarantee you that I would have loved to have the Trump Plane (or any other) get me back rather than engaging in the 18-hour drive on Thanksgiving Sunday…Ouch, we need improved infrastructure (3-lanes), especially in North Carolina on I-95.

Also, I hope you to watched that Michigan-Ohio State game.  Wow, that was an instant classic.  And even as a Michigan guy, I am certain the Head Linesman was right on that 4th down spot that gave J.T. Barrett the first down in OT.  I am hopeful it is the start of a good playoff/bowl season.

OPEC meetings begin Wednesday in Vienna.  SAFE’s Leslie Hayward is on the ground in Austria and SAFE President Robbie Diamond is available to comment on the latest developments and sentiment on the ground before, during and after the meeting.  SAFE also released a new brief that provides an analysis of Saudi market power and its impacts.  The paper addresses how OPEC’s strategy is influenced chiefly by Saudi Arabia, and how the country’s domestic changes affect the group’s policy.  Also, this week’s Capitol Crude from Platts discusses the best and worst possible outcomes of this week’s OPEC meeting and what they will all mean for future production, geopolitics and prices.

This week, Congress returns to the post–election legislative session, which is expected to wrap up a budget so lawmakers can end early. The current CR expires on December 9th, and the text of the legislation is unlikely to be filed until next week according to reports. That leaves time for discussion about a couple things: 1) expiring energy tax credits and 2) the House/Senate energy bill negotiations.

Speaking of expiring tax credits, tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. at the National Press Club, current Congressional tax staff and former Hatch Sen Finance counsel Curt Beaulieu will discuss the issue and its possible inclusion in the Budget package.  They will be joined by industry leaders whose tax provisions were mistakenly left out of the 2015 wind and solar tax extension.  Panelists will include Doug Dougherty of the Geothermal Heat Pump (GHP) industry, Billie Kaumaya of the National Association of Home Builders, Lloyd Ritter of the Distributed Wind Energy Association and Dale Louda of the Combined Heat & Power Association.

Finally, there is still a lot of movement with Transition issues, especially with today’s rumored focus on EPA/Energy.  Over the weekend, the New York Times had a nice piece on President-elect Trump’s options on the Obama climate agenda.  We are happy to discuss what we know.


Call with questions.



Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932



“Through its vast ethanol plant footprint in the United States, Valero provides countless benefits to consumers by helping to clean the air, increase energy independence and boost local economies.”

RFA Board Chairman and Commonwealth Agri-Energy General Manager Mick Henderson.


“Saudi Arabia’s strategy of maintaining production to hurt U.S. and other non-OPEC producers has not only caused rifts within OPEC members, but has also caused complications within the Kingdom.”

SAFE Issue Brief, Saudi Arabia: The Power Behind OPEC



EPA Announces 2017 RVOs – The EPA released its final rule to set 2017 renewable volume obligations (RVOs) under the renewable fuel standard (RFS), along with 2018 RVOs for biomass-based diesel. The RVO for conventional fuel has been increased to meet the 15 billion gallon congressional target for conventional fuels. Overall renewable fuel volumes grow by 1.2 billion gallons from 2016 to 2017, a 6% increase. The rule finalizes RVOs proposed in May.  The final nested volume for total renewable fuel has been set at 19.28 billion gallons, up from a proposed volume of 18.8 billion gallons. On a percentage basis, the final standard for total renewable fuel has been set at 10.7% of the total transportation fuel pool, up from a proposed 10.44%. In 2016, the renewable fuel RVO was set at 18.11 billion gallons, or 10.10%.

Valero Joins RFA – RFA announced that Valero Renewable Fuels Company LLC, a subsidiary of Valero Energy Corporation, has joined the group.  Valero is one of the largest biofuels producers in the United States. Valero owns and operates 11 corn ethanol plants throughout   Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota, Indiana, Ohio, and Wisconsin.  Valero is the third largest ethanol producer in the United States with a total annual production capacity of 1.4 billion gallons per year, in addition, it is the largest renewable biodiesel producer in the U.S, and the world’s largest independent refiner.

SAFE Brief Focuses on Saudi Arabia: The Power Behind OPEC – In light of this week’s OPEC meeting in Vienna on Wednesday, Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) is releasing the latest in a series of Issue Briefs focusing on the future of the cartel. The paper addresses how OPEC’s strategy is influenced chiefly by Saudi Arabia, and how the country’s domestic changes affect the group’s policy.  The Issue Brief finds that Saudi Arabia’s strategy of maintaining production to hurt U.S. and other non-OPEC producers has not only caused rifts within OPEC members, but has also caused complications within the Kingdom. These problems, the paper adds, could be exacerbated by a range of domestic issues ranging from subsidy reform to Saudi royal disputes. The Issue Brief concludes that oil price volatility created by Saudi Arabian policies has created a highly uncertain investment environment, and has significantly affected American jobs. The best way for the United States to protect itself from this uncertainty is to reduce our near-total dependence on oil in the transportation sector, increase fuel efficiency and accelerate the development and deployment of advanced transportation fuels including electricity and natural gas.

DOE Program to Improve Electric Motors – DOE today announced nearly $25 million for 13 projects aimed at advancing technologies for energy-efficient electric motors through applied research and development. The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE) Next Generation Electric Machines projects will address the limitations of traditional materials and designs used in electric motor components by cost-effectively enhancing their efficiency, improving their performance, and reducing weight. This effort will support innovative approaches that will significantly improve the technology in industrial electric motors, which use approximately 70 percent of the electricity consumed by U.S. manufacturers and nearly a quarter of all electricity consumed nationally.



RFF to Look at Natural Disaster Issues – Resources for the Future (RFF) will hold a forum today looking at disaster losses and climate change.  At this event, Robert Muir-Wood, chief research officer of Risk Management Solutions and author of The Cure for Catastrophe: How We Can Stop Manufacturing Natural Disasters, will explore the human causes of disaster and the new technologies and policy tools available to minimize their impact. In the book, he examines how decisions made today—about how homes are built, where people choose to live, how society prepares, and how leadership communicates warnings—determine whether a disaster can be withstood tomorrow.

McCarthy to Address Issues at Post Live Session – Tomorrow at 9:00 a.m., Washington Post national political correspondent and creator of The Daily 202 James Hohmann will go live with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. The California Republican will discuss top policy priorities for the Republican-led 115th Congress and how GOP leadership hopes to work with President-elect Trump.  This is the third program in a live interview series tied to Hohmann’s Daily 202 newsletter, which has become a go-to for Beltway insights and analysis. Each month, Hohmann interviews D.C. power players and political operatives about the issues and news shaping Washington.

NatGas Roundtable to Host Resources Staff DirectorThe Natural Gas Roundtable is hosting Bill Cooper, staff director for the House Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources and the Senior Policy Advisor on the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), will be the featured guest speaker at the Natural Gas Roundtable luncheon tomorrow.

WCEE to Host Discussion on Energy Storage – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will host a lunch panel tomorrow at the Solar Foundation on energy storage and its role for the solar and energy industries. As solar costs continue to decline, increased emphasis is placed on energy storage. Get a primer on different types of energy storage applications and which ones are economically viable now, why energy storage is critical in the long-term and lessons learned from real projects that are currently operational. Kerinia Cusick from Distributed Energy Innovation will give an overview of the storage activities around the globe and Chris Cook from Solar Grid Storage will talk about solar and storage integration.

NPC Newmakers to Host Forum Energy Tax Credits – The National Press Club’s Newsmakers Committee will host a forum tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. in the Zenger Room to discuss extending energy tax credits provisions.  The panel will feature current Congressional tax staff and former Hatch Sen Finance counsel Curt Beaulieu will discuss the issue and its possible inclusion in the Budget package.  They will be joined by industry leaders whose tax provisions were mistakenly left out of the 2015 wind and solar tax extension.  Panelists will include Doug Dougherty of the Geothermal Heat Pump (GHP) industry, Billie Kaumaya of the National Association of Home Builders, Lloyd Ritter of the Distributed Wind Energy Association and Dale Louda of the Combined Heat & Power Association.

JHU Forum to Look at Energy, Climate Plans for New President – JHU’s SAIS will hold a forum tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. looking at energy and climate policy proposals for the next Administration.  Speakers will include former State Department Special Envoy for International Energy Affairs David Goldwyn, RFF expert Roberton Williams and NRDC’s Ben Longstreth.

Senators Headline Rachel Carson 75th Celebration – EESI will host a celebration of the 75th anniversary of Rachel Carson’s historic arrival on the American environmental and literary scene on Wednesday.   Leading authors, environmental leaders, and members of Congress will all speak at the Rachel Carson Council’s all-day, one-of-a-kind event. Participants include Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, Tom Udall, Martin Heinrich and Reps. Chris Van Hollen, John Tierney and several newly-elected environmental champions. They will be joined by environmental leaders including Gene Karpinski, President of the League of Conservation Voters (LCV); Carol Werner, Executive Director of the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI); Linda Pentz Gunter, Beyond Nuclear; Mae Wu, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC); Amanda Hitt, Food Integrity Campaign; Zoe Ackerman, Rachel Carson Council; and others.  Confirmed award-winning authors include Sandra Steingraber, Living Downstream; Jennifer Ackerman, The Genius of Birds; Deborah Cramer, The Narrow Edge: A Tiny Bird, An Ancient Crab, and an Epic Journey; Kristen Iversen, Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Shadow of Rocky Flats; Melanie Choukas-Bradley, A Year in Rock Creek Park; Susan Cohen, Shorewords, and Bob Musil, Rachel Carson and Her Sisters and Washington in Spring. Their books will be available for purchase and personal signing.

Forum Looks at State RPS Implementation – The 2016 National Summit on Renewable Portfolio Standards will be held on Wednesday and Thursday at the Dupont Circle Hotel. The forum focuses on developments and trends related to state RPSs and to network with many of the people from across the country who are most engaged in implementing and analyzing state RPSs.  The annual Summit is hosted by the Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA), with funding support from the Energy Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy.

PPI to Host Climate Forum – The Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) will hold a forum Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. at the Willard InterContinental in Washington featuring Harvard economist Joseph Aldy, author of a new report, Long-Term Carbon Pricing: The Great Swap. The report proposes an economy-wide carbon tax as the most effective and efficient way to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, while also encouraging investment in clean fuels and technologies. It also explores the intriguing possibility of a “great swap”- a carbon tax and regulatory streamlining as part of the tax reform- that could create the basis for bipartisan negotiating and compromise to break the current impasse in climate and energy policy.  The conversation will also feature a cross-partisan roundtable moderated by Hannah Hess of E&E News and panelists including John Larsen, Director of the Rhodium Group, Jerry Taylor, President of the Niskanen Center, Catrina Rorke, Director of energy policy at R Street and Todd Wooten, Senior Counsel on the U.S. Senate Finance Committee.

ITIF to Host Energy Manufacturing Forum – On Wednesday at noon, ITIF will host a forum to discuss how smart manufacturing will shape the future of U.S. manufacturing competitiveness and what policies are needed to keep the United States at the global forefront of this emerging manufacturing revolution. ITIF will also release a new report on the importance of smart manufacturing in the future of U.S. manufacturing competitiveness.  Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) will deliver opening remarks.

Forum to Look at Climate Legal Issues – The American Constitution Society for Law and Policy (ACS) the Center for American Progress Action Fund holds a discussion on Wednesday at Noon looking at the battle for climate change accountability.  Panelists will discuss the legal foundations for seeking accountability from fossil fuel companies, as well as the importance of state attorney general investigations in the face of federal opposition or inaction.  Climate Wire’s Ben Hulac will moderate a panel of experts and Keynote speaker will be former Maryland AG Doug Gansler.

CSIS to Look at Renewable Energy – On Wednesday at 2:00 p.m., the CSIS Energy & National Security Program is hosting a discussion on the outlook for the electric power sector and the future role of renewables. The U.S. electric power sector is in the midst of a transition. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) both produce annual outlooks that asses long-term trends in renewable energy, which help understand the changes to this sector. Doug Arent and Wesley Cole will outline the scenarios developed by NREL Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyst Ethan Zindler will summarize the key findings of the BNEF study published earlier this year.

USEA to hot Coal Council Head on Carbon Capture – The United States Energy Association will host a forum on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. featuring National Coal Council CEO Janet Gellucci.  At the event, Gellucci will present the findings and recommendations from the Council’s recently released report in response to the Secretary’s request – “CO2 Building Blocks:  Assessing CO2 Utilization Options.”

WRI Hosts Book Launch of Bangladesh Confronts Climate Change – On Thursday at 12:30 p.m., the World Resources Institute will host a book event looking at climate change and its impacts on Bangladesh.  Like most developing nations, Bangladesh emits a fraction of the world’s greenhouse gases. Yet it is one of the most climate vulnerable countries in the world, facing increasingly severe flooding, droughts and cyclones. Climate scientists estimate that rising sea levels alone will displace 18 million people by 2050.  David Hulme will launch his co-authored book, Bangladesh Confronts Climate Change: Keeping Our Heads above Water, and discuss the findings of the book with a participants and a panel of experts.

Energy, Water Infrastructure Conference Set – Today Water 2.0 will host a discussion of public policy changes as it relates to energy, water and manufacturing industries as they prepare for the most significant changes since 2008 with the election of President-elect Trump.  President-elect Trump has made a call for an ambitious $1 Trillion infrastructure program – “highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, hospitals” – a key part of his acceptance remarks on Wednesday, November 9th.

Brookings to Host Forum on Sustainability, Internet – On Thursday at 9:00 a.m., the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings will host a panel to discuss the future of intelligent and data-driven cities. A panel of experts will examine the potential for technology to create sustainable urban environments through data from billions of sensors, the intelligent management of advanced networks, and sophisticated learning using real-time data analytics.

Wilson to Launch Report Launch on Climate, Migration, Conflict – On Friday at 10:00 a.m., the Wilson Center the launch of a new report with USAID called “Navigating Complexity: Climate, Migration, and Conflict in a Changing World,” which goes beyond the headlines to explore these connections. A panel of experts from across the lanes of climate, migration, and conflict will discuss practical advice for policymakers and how to think about these interlinked dynamics. Climate change and migration present major challenges to societies that policymakers have a responsibility to grapple with, but their relationship is rarely direct, conflict is not a common outcome, and migration is not always evidence of failure.

AGA to Host NatGas Roundtable with New Board Chair – On Friday at 9:00 a.m., the American Gas Association (AGA) will host a media roundtable for Pierce H. Norton II, President and Chief Executive Officer of ONE Gas, Inc. and AGA’s Chair of its Board of Directors for 2017.  Norton will Be joined by AGA head Dave McCurdy.  Norton became the first president and CEO of ONE Gas, Inc. after it separated from ONEOK Inc., in January 2014. Prior to ONE Gas becoming a stand-alone publically traded company, he served as executive vice president, commercial, of ONEOK and ONEOK Partners.

Forum to Look at Drones in Energy Sector – The Atlantic Council will host a forum on Friday at 9:00 a.m. to look at drones in the energy sector. The Council’s Global Energy Center will hold a conversation with key stakeholders to explore the intersection of national security, safety, and privacy issues with energy-related drone use, and the role of regulatory frameworks to help realize the economic and environmental potential of drones.  Speakers will include FAA Special Rules Coordinator for Unmanned Aircraft integration Robert Pappas, Chevron’s John O’Brien and Southern Company’s Dexter Lewis.

Saudi Oil Minister to Address CSIS Forum – On Friday, CSIS is hosting His Excellency Ali Ibrahim Al-Naimi, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to reflect on a career that spanned more than six decades in the Kingdom’s energy work, including 21 years (1995-2016) as Minister of Petroleum.



Forum to Launch USAID Climate Review – Next Monday at 9:30 a.m., the Wilson Center will launch USAID’s Climate Action Review.  For many years, USAID has been a leader in assisting partner countries to pursue low-carbon economic growth and build their resilience to the impacts of a changing climate. Through investments in clean energy and adaptation and support for sustainable forestry and agriculture, and by integrating best practices across its development portfolio, USAID’s approach to building the capacity and confidence of partners has yielded major achievements as well as lessons learned. Please save the date for an exploration of the successes and lessons learned in a time of rapid technological innovation, policy evolution, and environmental change.

Rep Blumenauer to Address AVs at Brookings Forum –Next Monday at 10:00 a.m., the new Brookings Institute Center on Regulation and Markets will host an event releasing new research on the congestion reducing benefits of autonomous vehicles and the consumer surplus stemming from the sharing economy. Following the presentations, the authors will participate in a panel discussion with other experts on the benefits, costs, and prospects for autonomous vehicles. After the panel, Rep. Earl Blumenauer will deliver a keynote address focusing on what role Congress plays in transportation and how autonomous vehicles can fix the nation’s infrastructure.

Holmstead to Discuss CPP Status at Chicago Forum – My Bracewell colleague Jeff Holmstead will lead a panel of experts in Chicago next Monday at the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago.

Briefing to Focus District Energy, Micro Grids – On Tuesday, December 6th, the International District Energy Association (IDEA), the Microgrid Resources Coalition (MRC), and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) are hosting a briefing in Dirksen G-50 providing policy guidance and showcasing proven technologies and exemplary cases that illuminate the potential for more robust U.S. investment in district energy microgrids.

SEIA Holds Tax, Empowerment Events – continues its Empowerment Series on December 7th with an panel focused on educating, connecting, and providing thought leadership in the solar industry. Speakers Include Hunton & Williams Laura Jones, Partner, Angelin Baskaran of  Morgan Stanley, Vickie Dalsanto of Morgan Capital Corporation and SolSystems Jessica Robbins.  This event is taking place the evening before SEIA’s Fall Finance & Tax Seminar which is on Wednesday and Thursday, December 7th and 8th.

Mexico Energy Forum Set – The US-Mexico Chamber of Commerce is hosting the first U.S.-Mexico Energy Forum on December 8th and 9th at The Woodlands Resort and Conference Center in Texas.  Given the importance of the energy sector for economic growth and recent developments that have positioned the North American region in a path towards energy independence, we are presenting a unique opportunity to discuss the different factors that have contributed to this major shift in the energy industry.  Main speakers will be Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush and former PEMEX CEO and Mexican Ambassador to the US Jesús Reyes Heroles.

Conservative Groups to Host Climate Forum – The Texas Public Policy Foundation and the Heritage Foundation will host a forum on Thursday December 8th to discuss energy and climate policy issues.   “At the Crossroads III: Energy and Climate Policy Summit,” will feature national policymakers, leading energy experts, and the field’s most innovative minds to explore what’s next in energy policy, what’s coming in climate science, and how you may affect both. Keynote Speaker will be Jim Inhofe.  Among the other speakers will be Sen. Mike Lee, House Science Chair Lamar Smith, potential EPA administrator Kathleen Hartnett White and Rep. Pete Olson.

BPC Forum to Look at Energy Transition – The Bipartisan Policy Center will host a forum on Thursday, December 8th at 9:30 a.m. at the Marriott Marquis to bring together a broad range of stakeholders for a discussion on shared objectives and the best way to achieve our goals to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The viability of pathways for “deep decarbonization” — generally defined as reaching at least an 80 percent reduction in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from current levels by 2050 — are increasingly coming into focus as the key to managing this transition. But from the “keep it in the ground” movement to the “embrace energy abundance” viewpoint, energy and climate policy stakeholders across the spectrum have very different ideas on the policies, strategies, and tactics that will best chart the country on a course to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next several decades while also ensuring continued supplies of reliable and affordable energy.

AGU Meeting to Focus on Climate – The Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union will be held on December 12-15 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.  It is the largest worldwide conference in the geophysical sciences, attracting more than 24,000 Earth and space scientists, educators, students, and other leaders. Fall Meeting brings together the entire Earth and space science community from across the globe for discussions of emerging trends and the latest research. The technical program includes presentations on new and cutting-edge science, much of which has not yet been published.