Energy Update: Week of October 22

Energy Update - October 22, 2018


So are you ready for the fall baseball classic?  I know a number of my friends and colleagues with ties to Red Sox Nation are pumped up. And with Saturday’s Game 7 dispatching the Milwaukee Brewers, it now becomes a New England/SoCal battle for the World Series.  Our friend, former AP reporter and baseball author/guru Fred Frommer is all over this…He had an op-ed on baseball on CNN’s site. 

15 days to go… Mid-term elections are a big question mark.  We will see where things shake out but President Trump’s numbers are up (47%), the economy is booming, The House Looks like it will probably go to Democrats because of all the retirements and the Senate – which was always a challenge for the Democrats because of the map – looks to be firming up to keep Republicans in charge.  Two key Senate races that may be a sleeper to watch include Montana and Tennessee.  Tester has always benefited from some interesting politics and election mechanics, while former popular governor Phil Bredesen is pumping $2 million of his own money late into the race against a Rep. Marsha Blackburn who has not been able to close despite the favorable politics in Tennessee.  Finally, Trumps heads to Texas today to stump for former rival Ted Cruz so probably expect some energy talk. 

Speaking of politics and the mid-terms, Bracewell experts are readying the 2018 version of our award-winning PRG Post-Election Webinar which will be held Wednesday morning, November 7th at 10:00 a.m.   We will have the usual detailed issue and political analysis with commentary from our own experts – as well as several invited non-Bracewell political insiders.  Stay tuned for more specific details next week.  In the meantime, check out our 2016 post-election webinar/materials here.  And this week, AGA’s NatGas Roundtable is looking at this topic in its October lunch on Wednesday

The big event this week is Thursday’s media conference call with the Chamber’s Global Energy Institute President Karen Harbert and Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA) General President Terry O’Sullivan will host a conference call to discuss a new report which explores the impact of the “Keep it in the Ground” movement on energy infrastructure.  Call is at 2:00 p.m.  I can send info if you are interested.

We are also hosting a table at tomorrow night’s enviro Prom – the Environmental Law Institute’s annual dinner at the Omni Shoreham.  If you are there, stop by and visit with our mystery guests…  And Shale Insight 2018 launches in Pittsburgh tomorrow and runs through Thursday.  EPA head Andy Wheeler will speak.

It is a big week in our house this week as Adam runs for the County Championships on Wednesday, then we are heading out for his first official college recruiting overnight the next day at Christopher Newport University in Newport News.  Starting to get him to narrow his list.  URI, Quinnipiac, UNC-Wilmington, Indian Tech, UNH, Vermont, Hillsdale and a few others remain in the mix.

Finally, you may have noticed a new tag line on my email.  Yes, Bracewell PRG today unveiled a new website -   The new site is a much-needed refresh from our first website launched nearly 8 years ago.  I hope you’ll visit the site to see our new logo and branding which were designed to complement the recently updated Bracewell brand.  Some of the other features we are excited about are the more robust descriptions of our work (Services and Case in Point) and the dynamic Media Hub  where visitors can find the Lobby Shop Podcast episodes, archived copies of this weekly update, and other content. 

If you need insight/perspective on the upcoming midterms, please call with questions.  Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

C. (202) 997-5932



“We have long suggested that the courts are an inappropriate mechanism to address a policy issue as complex as climate change.  While the Supreme Court stay in Juliana is preliminary, it is definitely a step in the right direction.  The prospect of a 50-day climate show trial seems inconsistent with core constitutional principles like separation of powers and justiciability.”

Bracewell expert Scott Segal regarding the Friday order from Chief Justice John Roberts to stay the Juliana v. U.S. case pending additional responses from parties to the case on its merits.


Politics Expert Roarty Join Bracewell Podcast to Discuss Mid-Terms – With two weeks to go until crucial mid-term elections, this week’s episode of Bracewell PRG’s The Lobby Shop sits down with Alex Roarty, Political Reporter at McClatchy DC and co-host of the podcast Beyond the Bubble (@dcbubblepod) to talk about where things stand. The episode is now live on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, SoundCloud, and Google Play Music.


Roff: Trump Needs to Remember Blue-Collar Workers – A nationally-syndicated op-ed by conservative Peter Roff that ran in USA Today among many other papers says Congress needs to secure a long-term, win-win solution to the Renewable Fuel Standard that both promotes American energy independence and supports blue-collar, oil refinery workers who will be hurt by the change.  Roff argues that “Blue-collar workers are the backbone of President Trump’s strong base, and they need him now more than ever to ensure the forgotten man is no longer forgotten. Together, the president and Congress must push for a solution that significantly reduces the impact of high RIN prices while continuing to support ethanol production for sale at home and abroad.”


Kids Climate Case Slowed by SCOTUS – The Supreme Court today slowed a federal climate change lawsuit brought by a group of young people.  A trial was slated to begin 10 days from now in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon, where the case was filed three years ago. In a brief order, Chief Justice John Roberts froze the discovery and trial processes. The order stayed proceedings pending responses from the parties, due Wednesday.  The Supreme Court decision acknowledges what we have really known all along: this is a policy issue that belongs in the Halls of Congress, not the courts.  Instead of chasing down a favorable court venue, devising a contorted legal theory and pursuing a public relations case disguised as a legal challenge, these young activists' considerable time and effort would be better spent working to influence the Federal and state legislative debates surrounding policy solutions that address the challenges of climate change in an effective and meaningful way. If you have more in-depth legal or policy questions, my colleague Jeff Holmstead, has often discussed the case in detail.  You can reach him at

AHRI Details Flood-Damaged HVACR Tips – Homeowners who have experienced flood damage from the recent hurricanes and tropical storms are advised to take important safety precautions with regard to their home's heating and cooling systems, according to the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), the trade association representing manufacturers of HVACR and water heating equipment.  The association has compiled a list of heating and cooling equipment for homeowners to consider replacing, if flood-damaged:

  • Heat Pumps and Air Conditioning Systems: Split air conditioning and heat pump systems have power and control wiring between the indoor and outdoor parts of the system, and piping through which refrigerant flows through the system. If flood water has repositioned either the indoor or outdoor units of a split system even by a small amount, there is a potential for refrigerant leaks. The system will then require major repair or full replacement.
  • If the refrigerant system remains intact after the flood, the entire system should be cleaned, dried, and disinfected. Homeowners should have a contractor check the indoor and outdoor units' electrical and refrigeration connections, including all control circuits. The decision to repair or replace should be made after consultation with a qualified professional on a case-by-case basis.
  • Water Heating Systems: Regardless of whether a water heater uses gas, oil, or electricity, if it was exposed to flood water the unit should be replaced. In gas and oil units, valves and controls can corrode. In an electric unit, the thermostat and controls can corrode. In all types, the insulation surrounding the unit will likely be contaminated and will be nearly impossible to disinfect. In addition, the insulation takes a great deal of time to dry and can lead to corrosion of the tank from the outside. Even if water heater components have been cleaned and the unit seems to operate properly, parts may corrode in the future. Both gas and electric water heaters have a pressure relief valve that can corrode and stick after being exposed to flood water. Homeowners should be sure, therefore, to replace this valve as well. A new water heater is a relatively small investment, and replacing it is fairly easy to do. If the water heater was more than five years old, the chances are good that a new unit will be more efficient, which will save the homeowner money in the long run.
  • Ductwork: If a house under storm repair contains a central forced-air system, attention should also be paid to the ductwork. A contractor will not try to salvage duct insulation that has been in contact with flood water, but will replace it because it is impossible to decontaminate. The contractor also will clean, dry, and disinfect the ductwork itself. A thorough job will require disassembling the ductwork, but the silver lining is that such repairs will allow the contractor to seal joints in the ductwork and improve insulation to reduce heating and cooling loss. 

What to Do – AHRI recommends that all inspection and replacement work on flooded equipment be performed by qualified heating and cooling technicians, not by homeowners. Qualified contractors are listed by zip code in the North American Technician Excellence (NATE) Contractor Locator at 

New NAS Report says More R&D Investment Is Needed – More federal government and private sector R&D investment is needed to convert carbon emissions into concrete and other products, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine argued in a new report funded by the Department of Energy and Shell. The group of national lab, academia and corporate experts said roughly 10 percent of current global emissions could potentially be used - and in some cases generate positive economic returns - as long as there are sufficient technological advances and economic and policy drivers in place in the coming decades. There was an online public briefing on the report this morning.


Argus Biofuels, Carbon Markets Summit – Today and tomorrow, the Argus Biofuels & Carbon Markets Summit is set for Napa Valley (must be nice) looking at the needs of the expanding west coast fuels, LCFS and carbon markets   The event will focus on the changing dynamics of the west coast fuels, carbon and emissions markets.

Exelon’s Crane to Address Forum – Today at 2:00 p.m., the Cross-Brookings Initiative on Energy and Climate will host Exelon Corporation president and chief executive officer Chris Crane in a discussion facilitated by initiative Co-Chair David G. Victor. The pair will discuss the future of electric power utilities and the role of nuclear, renewables, and energy storage in a lower carbon electricity future.

Forum to Look at Wood – In recognition of National Forest Products Week, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) hosts a forum tomorrow on Capitol Hill that discusses an innovative class of structural wood building materials. This briefing will bring together experts to tell the emerging story of the U.S. mass timber industry and how to capitalize on its potential.  Speakers will include Sen Angus King. 

Shale Insight Set For PittsburghShale Insight 2018 is set for Pittsburgh tomorrow through Thursday.  The Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) hosts the event along with the Ohio and West Virginia Oil & Natgas Assns.  SHALE INSIGHT™ offers insightful pre-conference workshops, technical and public affairs sessions, national keynote addresses, and high-powered networking sessions will provide attendees, sponsors, and exhibitor’s unprecedented access to the industry’s most influential leaders and innovators.  EPA head Andy Wheeler will be among the speakers on Wednesday. You can see the agenda HERE

Conference to Focus on Financing US Power Projects – S&P Global Platts holds its 20th annual Financing US Power Conference tomorrow and Wednesday at the Crowne Plaza Times Square in New York City.  Keynoter is GenOn’s Darren Olagues and others include EPSA’s John Shelk, Southern’s Mike Morrow.  The conference spotlights a variety of sessions and panels comprised of utilities, financiers, developers, and analysts as they examine the state of the power markets from an assortment of perspectives.

Forum to Look at Global Nuclear Role – The Global America Business Institute and Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP will hold an event tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. on the perspectives on the role of nuclear in global clean energy.  The event features Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Nuclear Energy Policy and Cooperation Sarah G.J. Lennon, senior Canadian and Japanese nuclear officials and ClearPath Managing Director-Policy Jeremy Harrell.

Forest Issues Featured – The Washington Forest Legality Week, sponsored by US Forest Service and WRI, is set to enable dialogue and inspire action and partnerships to more effectively implement and monitor timber trade legality and due diligence measures. The event starting tomorrow and running through Thursday, is a multi-stakeholder, international event, drawing stakeholders from governments, the private sector, civil society, the scientific community, and service providers such as timber certification bodies. The main meeting will take place over three days, and is designed to accommodate a range of side meetings and interactions convened during the entire week by partner organizations.  This year’s tentative agenda includes panels on the Congo Basin, focusing on the private sector and on independent monitoring; the use of blockchain technologies for supply chain management; forest landscape restoration and legality concerns in Latin America; early warning remote sensing systems for illegal logging; shifting source countries for wood products, the related risks, and the implications for due diligence; and illegalities in Eastern European timber supplies.

ELI Forum, Dinner Set – The 2018 Environmental Law Institute’s Award Dinner will take place tomorrow at The Omni Shoreham Hotel.  Bracewell has a table and will host some good guests.  ELI starts the evening around 4:00 p.m. with 2018 ELI-Miriam Hamilton Keare Policy Forum where expert panelists explore this fascinating moment in time when divergent forces—private environmental governance, law, technologies, and communities—are coming together, and allowing us to harness their combined power in a new environmental paradigm.

NatGas Roundtable Panel to Look at Mid-terms – On Wednesday, the Natural Gas Roundtable will host a panel discussion on the Mid-tern elections at the American Gas Association at Noon. With just weeks before the 2018 elections, October’s Natural Gas Roundtable luncheon event will bring together experts in the DC political arena to discuss the current political environment and what the energy industry can expect to see as people line up for the polls and cast their votes.  Speakers include Greg Means of the Alpine Group, NAM’s Aric Newhouse and Matthew Nugen of the WEC Energy Group.

ACORE Forum Looks at Cities – ACORE holds a webinar on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. on US cities driving demand for renewables.  Buoyed by aggressive climate action plans and overwhelming public support for clean energy, cities have increasingly committed to high penetrations of renewables to power their municipal operations and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Today, 86 cities have pledged to transition to 100 percent renewable energy. As demand grows, America’s local leaders look to lessons learned from the C&I sector and other large off-takers as they seek to procure renewables at-scale both within and outside of city limits.  This quarterly State of the Industry webinar will showcase recent successes, as well as highlight a new multi-city effort announced in June designed to aggregate cities’ demand and jointly contract for utility-scale projects. It will also feature a quarterly Market Update from BNEF, as well as our regular policy update.

Forum to Look at Electric Trucks – The Electric Drive Transportation Association hosts a forum on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. at the National Press Club for the next installment in our Leader Series.  The race for clean, efficient commercial vehicles is accelerating electrification in the medium- and heavy-duty vehicle markets and changing how fleets are investing in an electrified future.  Business and policy leaders will discuss market trends, identify existing and emerging technologies, and lay out what it will take to scale-up production for widespread adoption. Participants include representatives from Eaton, Workhorse, Duke Energy, Toyota, ChargePoint, ABB, Proterra, XL, Motiv, City of New York, DOE and the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

Former NRDC President to Address MIT Energy Group MITEI's Fall Colloquium will be held on Wednesday at 5:15 p.m. in Cambridge.  For over a decade, this annual event has brought the MIT community together to hear about an important area of energy research from a prominent thought leader addressing energy technology and related policy issues. This year, Frances Beinecke will address the current clean energy trajectory for 2025 and delve into what will be required for the U.S. to meet its 2030 Paris Agreement commitments, from advocacy, policy, and technology perspectives.

WCEE Forum Supports Women Leaders – On Wednesday evening, the Embassy of Canada and the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment host a discussion on supporting women’s leadership.  The event will showcase the importance of supporting women’s leadership in the energy and environmental sectors and present highlights from the WCEE’s 2018 Annual Report.  There will brief presentations by Alice Grabowski (President, WCEE) of the Pew Charitable Trusts, DOE’s Jordan Hibbs (Chair, Membership Section, WCEE), Canadian Embassy Deputy Head of Mission Kirsten Hillman and Gabriela Elizondo Azuela of the World Bank.

Latin American Energy Conference Set – The Second Annual Latin America Energy Conference will be held on Thursday.  The forum convenes Latin American and US government officials, corporate executives, and international and non-governmental organizations to discuss the most critical energy policy issues facing the region. Keynoter is Fluvio Ruiz Alarcón, Advisor to Mexican President-elect López Obrador and former Pemex Board Member.

Forum to Feature IEA Renewable Report – On Thursday at 9:30 a.m., Johns Hopkins SAIS will host a forum to release the International Energy Agency’s Renewables 2018, IEA’s annual market analysis and forecast on renewable energy.  This year takes an in-depth look at bioenergy, the largest source of renewable energy globally. Bioenergy makes a significant contribution across the energy system and particularly in the heat and transport sectors. For the first time Renewables 2018 also includes a chapter dedicated to answering some of the key questions raised by the latest development sin renewable energy markets. Speakers include IEA’s Heymi Bahar and JHU’s John Byrne.

French Automaker to Discuss DC Area Car-sharing Service Rollout – The Washington Auto Press Assn’s October lunch on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. at the Churchill Hotel (1914 Connecticut Avenue) will feature PSA North America, a division of French automaker Groupe PSA. The event will discuss which city in the Washington D.C./Maryland/Virginia will be selected as its first city to experience full implementation of the company’s multi-platform car-sharing program and phone app which allows for the ordering, pick up, drop off a payment of not just autos, but also bicycles, scooters and, in the future, other forms of personal transportation.  PSA North America also has a second important announcement on the location of an affiliated company’s North American headquarters.  Both Larry Dominique, President and CEO of PSA North America and Brigitte Courtehoux, Executive Vice President of Mobility and Connected Services, Groupe PSA will be present to make the announcement.  A fleet of vehicles and app-enabled mobile phones will be available for the media to test drive immediately following the announcement. 

Wilson/Canada Forum Looks at North American Energy – On Thursday at 1:00 p.m. the Wilson Center’s Canada Institute hosts a high-level strategic dialogue to discuss the changing nature of relationships between energy companies, financial institutions and Indigenous Peoples in North American energy projects.  The forum will examine the motivating forces behind rapidly evolving Indigenous-industry relationships, including how constitutional rights, modern regulatory processes, legal precedents, stakeholder expectations, and a greater emphasis on environmental, social and governance factors that are disrupting and transforming North America’s energy future.

Chamber, LIUNA Head to Release ‘Keep It In The Ground’ Report – Global Energy Institute President Karen Harbert and Laborers' International Union of North America General President Terry O’Sullivan will host a conference call on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. to discuss a new report which explores the impact of the “Keep it in the Ground” movement on energy infrastructure.  Can forward info if you are interested.

Forum to Look at Energy Efficiency Jobs – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and E4TheFuture hold a briefing on Thursday at 3:00 p.m. in 2168 Rayburn on the growing number of Americans employed in the energy efficiency sector. The latest report from the nonprofit group Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) reveals a vibrant and growing part of the economy focused on helping homeowners and businesses make the most of their power supply. The briefing will showcase the perspectives of industry analysts and insiders on why energy efficiency is one of the most dynamic parts of the U.S. economy today. Speakers include Grant Carlisle of Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), Pat Stanton of E4TheFuture and National Association of State Energy Officials executive director David Terry. 

Wharton Energy Conference Set – On Friday, the Wharton Energy Conference (WEC) will be held in Philadelphia. The event is now one of the largest energy conferences in the Northeast, and the premiere event organized by an MBA student body. The WEC promotes dialogue and creates connections between current and future leaders of the energy industry.  Full speaker line up here

Columbia Also to Look at IEA – The Columbia Center on Global Energy Policy holds a presentation and discussion on Friday at 9:30 a.m. in NYC looking at the IEA's Renewable Energy Market Report 2018 with Heymi Bahar, Renewable Energy Markets Analyst at the International Energy Agency and Project Manager of the Report.  Renewables 2018 looks at renewable energy across the entire energy system and it provides a detailed market analysis and overview of renewables in the electricity, heat and transport sectors as well as forecasts for the period between 2018 and 2023. The report also highlights policy and market improvements that can unlock further renewable energy growth in electricity and transport biofuels, as well as underlining the untapped potential of sustainable bioenergy and other renewable sources in greening the industry and transport sectors.


CO2 Group to Release Paper – Next Tuesday October 30th at 4:00 p.m. in 485 Russell, the CO2 Coalition will present a panel discussion of its latest White Paper: Climate Change and Health. This study, by Australian physician D. Weston Allen, examines past, present and possible future impacts of climate change on a range of human health areas from nutrition to social and mental health, with insights into energy supplies and sufficiency. The panel discussion will be followed by a question and answer period.

Forum to Look at Energy Storage – EnerKnol and New York University's Institute for Policy Integrity hold a webinar on November 1st looking at energy storage regulation.  Topics will include State energy targets, regulatory roadblocks, and other key takeaways.  Speakers include our friend at former Bloomberg energy Reporter Jon Crawford, now at EnergyKnol and NYU’s Institute for Policy Integrity Energy Policy Director Dr. Burcin Unel.

ELECTION DAY – November 6th

BPU Head to Keynote NJ Solar ConferenceSolarWakeup Live! Jersey City will be held on November 6th at White Eagle Hall in Jersey City.  New Jersey BPU President Joe Fiordaliso and SEIA President Abby Hopper will headline.

Senate Energy to Hear from FERC, DOE Nominees – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hear from FERC nominee Bernard McNamee and Rita Baranwal to head the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy.  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.

Brookings to Host Sustainable Energy Exec – On November 19th, 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.