Energy Update: Week of October 31

Energy Update - October 31, 2016


Happy Halloween everyone.  A recent study sponsored the National Dietary Council showed that a full 68% of all candy is actually eaten by adults before Halloween even arrives, and then 20% after more is eaten by adults after.  That means we eat 88% of our kids Halloween candy.  You know you take your kids out for that very reason.  Save your Heath Bars and Milk Duds for me.  I will be home mixing up a batch of my traditional pumpkins seeds.

The Cubs held on last night giving us at least one more World Series game leaking into November.  The series picks up tomorrow in Cleveland.  Good luck to all the football, field hockey and soccer teams/kids going into playoff runs for conference, state or NCAA titles.  We’ll hear about those event over the next few weeks.  Please let me know your news.

With this crazy election just 8 days away, I think we may be at a loss for the everyday banter when it’s over…or maybe not.  But to get the full story on the impacts, our Policy Resolution Group team will be offering its award-winning political and policy analysis of the 2016 elections through a mix of webinars, written, and video materials.  On Wednesday, November 9th at 10:30 a.m., we are hosting a webinar that will feature analysis by my colleagues.  Our team of insiders, attorneys, and industry-leading experts will give you the “morning after” take on how the election results will affect the business community—with a focus on energy and the environment, what’s in store for the lame duck session, leadership changes and more.

Remember, next week the next round of COP meetings launches in Morocco.  There will be a lot of pomp, but the war over details of the non-binding, voluntary agreement will not get much attention. In fact, much of that celebrating is warranted not because of Paris, but because of the recent airline emissions and HFC agreements that were negotiated. Finally, congrats to our friend Bloomberg reporter Brian Wingfield who has relocated to London, where he’s editing oil coverage for Bloomberg’s First Word (breaking news) desk.


We are on it…Call with questions.



Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932



“The fuel cell carbon capture solution we are advancing with ExxonMobil could be a game-changer in affordably reducing carbon dioxide emissions from coal and gas-fired power plants globally. The carbonate fuel cell solution uses a proven global platform to generate power while capturing carbon dioxide.”

Chip Bottone, president and chief executive officer of FuelCell Energy, Inc.



Southern, Exxon, FuelCell Partner On CCS Project at AL Power Plant – Exxon Mobil and FuelCell Energy said last week they are building a carbon capture pilot project at Southern’s Barry power plant with the potential to finally make affordable “clean” coal and gas a reality.  Exxon and Connecticut-based FuelCell have picked the 2.7GW Plant Barry near Mobile, Alabama for its first pilot project.  The idea is to capture up to 90% of the carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel power plants, so coal and natural gas could remain viable in both the developing and developed world while still meeting climate change goals. The tests will demonstrate carbon capture from natural gas-fired power generation under an agreement between FuelCell Energy and ExxonMobil announced in May, and from coal-fired power generation under a previously announced agreement between FuelCell Energy and the U.S. Dept. of Energy.

Southern, Bloom to Move Fuel Cell Projects – Speaking of Southern, they also announced a strategic alliance with Bloom Energy and its subsidiary PowerSecure, which will include project investment and joint-technology development to provide behind-the-meter energy solutions. PowerSecure will acquire an estimated 50 megawatts of Bloom Energy Servers under long-term power purchase agreements with high-quality commercial and industrial customers.   By bringing together the scale and utility sector leadership of Southern Company, its industry-leading suite of PowerSecure distributed infrastructure assets, and the Silicon Valley-style innovation and distributed generation leadership of Bloom Energy, the alliance will provide an integrated, comprehensive energy solution.  The solution is designed to fully integrate Bloom’s firm 24x7x365 Energy Server platform with PowerSecure’s smart storage solutions. The result will deliver a reliable on-site generation solution tuned to the customer’s precise power requirements that will also flexibly adapt to changing conditions, bringing customers intelligent optimization of their energy usage while driving meaningful cost savings and long-term cost certainty.

Small Biz Group Rolls Out Congressional Scorecard – The Small Business & Entrepreneur Council recently released its “Congressional Scorecard for the 114th Congress: How Members of Congress Voted on Key Small Business Issues.”  Karen Kerrigan, President and CEO of SBE Council, said small businesses serve as the engines of innovation, economic growth and job creation. She added, the US entrepreneurial sector is significantly affected by a wide array of issues voted on by Congress. SBEC’s ‘Congressional Scorecard for the 114th Congress’ lets people know which Members of Congress support small businesses on the issues that enable their growth and success.”  For the 114th Congress, SBE Council has scored Members of the U.S. Senate on 12 votes, and Members of the U.S. House of Representatives on 22 votes. The report shows how Members of Congress voted on KEY VOTES, which Members voted 100 percent for small business, and how each state’s congressional delegation matches up among the 50 states. Members scoring 80 percent or higher distinguish themselves as a Friend of Small Business & Entrepreneurs, and 90 percent or higher as a Champion of Small Business & Entrepreneurs.

API Report Says Gas Can Help States Comply – The American Petroleum Institute (API) commissioned a report concluding that if states implement market-based policies like emissions trading, natural gas would see a large increase in the electricity market share, and the costs to the economy would be the lowest.  The report, written by consulting firm ICF International and rolled out Thursday, pushes back against environmentalists and others who want states to focus on increasing the use of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency measures to comply with EPA’s Clean Power Plan.

Companies Join EPA Gas Program – Speaking of gas, National Grid, Kinder Morgan, Southwestern Energy, and Southern Company Gas are joining EPA’s ONE Future program.  The program aims to reduce methane emissions from natural gas production and transportation to less than 1 percent by 2025. The oil and gas industry’s trade groups are fighting the Obama administration over mandatory methane rules, making the question of which companies would join the voluntary reduction program into a potentially contentious one.

AWEA 3Q Report Shows Strong Growth – American wind power gained tremendous momentum in the third quarter of 2016 as states, utilities and ratepayers from coast to coast increased their investment in the energy source America agrees on. Over 20 gigawatts (GW) of wind power capacity are now under construction or in advanced development, according to the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) U.S. Wind Industry Third Quarter 2016 Market Report, released today at the Iowa State Capitol with Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and industry leaders.  That success story is clear in Iowa. Wind power supplied over 35 percent of the state’s electricity generation on a 12-month rolling average from the end of August 2015 through the end of August 2016, according to new data from the Energy Information Administration.

NAM Podcast with CSM’s Colman on Sustainability – I mentioned the new Christian Science Monitor web site Inhabit last week.  This week, our friend Zack Colman sat down with Greg Bertelsen of the National Association of Manufacturers to discuss sustainability and whether more businesses including electric utilities and manufacturers focusing around issues like climate change and resource conservation. Listen to the short podcast here.

Study Looks at Catholics Response to Pope Climate Initiative – A new report from communications experts from Texas Tech, Penn and UW-Madison, says the Pope’s June 2015 encyclical calling for action on climate change drew a flat response among Catholics. The study retains that among conservative Catholics, the credibility of the Pope decreased due to cross-pressures felt between their religious and political affiliations. One noteworthy factor is that conservative Catholics aware of the encyclical were more against climate policy than those who had not heard of it. The study’s researchers theorized that when confronted by an assertion that goes against their established religious views, people tend to retreat towards an ideological comfort zone; in this case, conservative Catholics hewed closer to their conservative political views.   Our friend Kathleen Hall Jamison is one of the authors.



Brookings to Look at Post Paris Clean Energy Issues – Today, the Cross-Brookings Initiative on Energy and Climate will host the U.S. launch of the International Energy Agency’s “Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2016.” This annual study examines how renewable energy in the power, heat, and transportation sectors will evolve over the next five years and explores recent renewable deployment and policy trends across different regions and countries.  IEA’s Heymi Bahar will present the findings of the report, after which Energy Security and Climate Initiative Senior Fellow Charles Ebinger will moderate a panel discussion and audience Q&A.

Former SEC Chief to Look at Climate Disclosure Issues – The Atlantic Council will host a forum today at Noon to discuss two complimentary efforts to encourage the disclosure of climate-related risk information to stakeholders and increase transparency across sectors. These disclosures will allow the public and private sectors to be better equipped to measure and respond to climate-related risk and play an important role in a smoother transition to a lower-carbon economy.   The event will feature a conversation with former SEC Chair Mary Schapiro and White House OMB advisor for natural resources, energy and science Ali Zaidi.

Forum to Look at Party Energy Platforms – The Environmental Law Institute will host a forum tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. that features a panel discussion on the environmental and energy priorities of the major political parties, their potential implications post-election, as well as areas for potential coalition-building. As the 2016 Presidential and Congressional elections near, the two major parties have outlined positions on key energy and environmental issues in their respective platforms. Unsurprisingly, there is stark contrast between the Republican and Democratic positions. Despite substantial differences, there are some aspects of the platforms that suggest opportunities for consensus-building. The Republicans cite conservation as being inherent to conservatism. Both parties mention the need to modernize the electrical grid, support increasing access to public lands, and recognize the important role of farmers to the country’s conservation efforts.  Speakers will include Cato’s Pat Michaels and LCV’s Tiernan Sittenfeld.

CFR to Look at Energy Security – The Council on Foreign Relations holds a discussion on the changing definition of energy security tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. Deputy Energy Secretary Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall provides her perspective on the changing definition of energy security and the role of innovation in ensuring America’s energy future.

NAS to Look at Nuclear Radiation Studies – The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is planning for the 2016 Gilbert W. Beebe Symposium. Its focus will be on commemorating the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear reactor accident and discussing the achievements of 30 years of studies on the radiation health effects following the accident and future research directions.

Wilson Forum to Look at China Supply Chain – The Woodrow Wilson Center’s China Forum will hold an event Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. to look at China’s Green Supply Chain.  Speakers at this meeting will discuss the challenges of greening the supply chain between Chinese companies and western consumers. Two frontline journalists and the Deputy Director of the NRDC’s Health and Environment Program will talk about industrial pollution trends in China and new opportunities for greening three different supply chains—rare earths, Teflon, and textiles.  Liu Hongqiao visited mines and factories around China to investigate pollution and environmental degradation caused by rare earth metals extraction. She will discuss how the poor regulation of these highly toxic metals—which are central for building wind and solar energy technologies—have led to serious soil and water contamination. Sharon Lerner will talk about how the rise of China’s production of perfluorooctanoic acid (used in Teflon and other products) reflects the global migration of toxic chemicals. Susan Egan Kean will highlight NRDC’s Clean by Design program, a supply chain initiative that leverages the purchasing power of multinational corporations to reduce their environmental impacts abroad.

Conference to Focus on Consumers, Cities – Tomorrow and Wednesday, The Energy Times 2nd annual Empowering Customers and Cities conference will be held in Chicago.  The conference we will feature Jeremy Rifkin, bestselling author of 20 books on science, technology and the economy, society and the environment. Rifkin will kick off our conference and lay out his entire vision for the coming global transformation and how it will transform electric power production and consumption.  Anne Pramaggiore, President and CEO of ComEd, will discuss ComEd’s vision of what its customers will want and need in coming years, and the steps they are taking to provide those services. Thomas Birr, Chief Strategy Officer of RWE, Germany’s second largest utility, will discuss what RWE is doing to become the utility of the future and the steps they are taking to secure the most innovative and potent technologies to help build a 21st century energy enterprise.

UN State of Food, Ag Report Released – The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization will release its 2016 edition of “The State of Food and Agriculture” at the National Press Club at 8:30 a.m.  The report provides answers to these and other questions. The report includes an analysis of current and future impacts of climate change, indicating viable paths that a range of stakeholders should pursue in order to respond to them. It also shows how to overcome barriers that could prevent the adoption of appropriate response measures.

CSIS to Look at GHG Issues – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program is hosting an expert discussion on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. looking at some of the regulatory, legislative, international and subnational efforts that may be pursued to reduce future emissions. Kyle Danish from Van Ness Feldman will discuss the regulatory options; Adele Morris from the Brookings Institution will discuss the notion of a carbon tax or other market based mechanisms; and Bob Perciasepe from C2ES will focus on the feasibility of these approaches as well as how important local, state, and international actions are to achieving these emissions reduction goals. Each speaker will address the feasibility and merits of these approaches as well as the challenges they are likely to face.

Pritzker to Address Semiconductor Issues – CSIS will host a major policy speech by Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. followed by a panel on the critical importance of the semiconductor sector in U.S. competitiveness and innovation.  Semiconductors are the backbone of the world’s digital economy and will become even more instrumental as cutting-edge technologies like driverless cars, artificial intelligence, and precision nanosurgery emerge.  However, challenges are on the horizon.  Pritzker will be joined on the panel by ITA Deputy Asst Secretary Ted Dean and Semiconductor Industry Association CEO John Neuffer.

Browner Headlines AU Sustainability Forum – American University is hosting a forum on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. featuring Maryland Rep. John Delaney and Carol Browner, former director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy for President Obama and previously the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, to discuss how smart, green investments can help fix our country’s infrastructure and boost the D.C. regional economy. The Scher Sustainability Forum will feature a dialogue on mechanisms for financing investments and opportunities for linking environmental and economic goals through smart investments in infrastructure.

Forum to Look at Climate Resilience – The International Transformational Resilience Coalition will host a forum at 8:30 a.m. at the Capitol View Conference Center looking at building human resilience for climate change.  Research and experience shows, however, that preventative personal and psychosocial resilience building initiatives can minimize adverse human reactions to shocks and toxic stresses such as those generated by climate change, and help resolve them when they do occur. Equally important is that people can learn how use climate adversities as transformational catalysts to engage in activities that enhance the wellbeing of others, the natural environment, and themselves.

Forum to Look at Water Issues in Asia – The East-West Center in Washington holds a discussion on Thursday at noon looking at water wars at the top of the world.  The event will look at hydro and geopolitics among China, India and Bangladesh.  A CNA study team will share insights from their 18-month study of the Brahmaputra River basin entitled Water Resource Competition in the Brahmaputra River Basin: China, India and Bangladesh. By drawing on field research in China, India, and Bangladesh, Nilanthi Samaranayake, Joel Wuthnow and Satu Limaye will consider the context of recent developments and suggest possibilities for greater cooperation across the basin.

USEA Forum to Look at CCS Future – The US Energy Assn will hold a forum on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. to address the high fidelity modeling of carbon capture systems on fossil fueled power plants, and what can be gained via an accurate simulation of an existing or proposed plant.  TRAX has provided high fidelity, dynamic simulation models of both pre-combustion and post-combustion CO2 capture systems for plants in Korea and Canada.  These models provide unique tools for process design, control system design and optimization, examination of fault scenarios, and development of operating procedures.  Speakers will include TRAX, LLC expert John Coleman, John Kenney and Greg Kosowski.


COP 22 Marrakesh – The 22nd Session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP22) will be held in Marrakesh, Morocco November 7-21. It will focus on action items in order to achieve the priorities of The Paris Agreement, especially related to adaptation, transparency, technology transfer, mitigation, capacity building and loss and damages.  It will also start to look at many of the difficult details/conflicts that were disregarded during last year’s negotiations.

WCEE to Host LNG Event – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will host a Lunch and Learn Forum next Monday at Noon on small LNG markets.  The small scale LNG (liquefied natural gas) market promotes LNG as a fuel displacing diesel and heavy fuel oil in transportation and high horse power applications. Joanna Martin Ziegenfuss of the Berkeley Research Group will discuss the current drivers, status and opportunities of this nascent fuel market.

ELECTION DAY – November 8th

PRG Offers Election Round Up – Bracewell’s Policy Resolution Group will be offering its award-winning political and policy analysis of the 2016 elections through a mix of webinars, written, and video materials.  Bracewell’s Policy Resolution Group will hold a complimentary webinar on Wednesday, November 9th at 10:30 a.m. featuring analysis by my colleagues.  Our team of insiders, attorneys, and industry-leading experts will give you the “morning after” take on how the election results will affect the business community—with a focus on energy and the environment, what’s in store for the lame duck session, leadership changes and more.

FERC to Look at Energy Storage – The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has scheduled a November 9 meeting to examine technical issues related to energy storage in RTOs/ISOs. The subject of the conference will be the utilization of electric storage resources as transmission assets compensated through transmission rates, for grid support services that are compensated in other ways, and for multiple services.

Covanta Facility Tour Set – The Young Professionals in Energy (DC) will host an afternoon tour of Covanta’s Energy-from-Waste facility in Alexandria, Virginia on Friday November 11th staring at 12:30 pm at the facility.  Covanta is one of the world’s largest providers of Energy-from-Waste solutions. The tour will start with a discussion and time for Q&A before we put on our hard hats and walk through the facility to see how their technology works.

API Holds Cybersecurity Conference – The 11th annual API Cybersecurity Conference & Expo will be held in Houston at the Westin Houston Memorial City on November 15-16.  The forum will focus on methods for thwarting the bad guys, what the scene looks like over the horizon and how the latest technologies can help you counter cyber espionage, address cyber warfare, and make your cyber efforts secure.  Cybersecurity is critical to the infrastructure of the oil and natural gas industry. The energy industry, including oil and natural gas, is ranked 2nd highest of all industries most likely to suffer a cyberattack. This conference is organized by API to provide an opportunity to network with cybersecurity professionals, and to candidly discuss challenges and share solutions. These sessions, essential to cybersecurity, are chosen and presented by recognized experts in the field.

TransForum East Set for Nov – GenerationHub’s TransForum East is scheduled for November 15-16 at the Capital Hilton in DC. TransForum East brings together electric transmission executives who operate, plan, build, regulate and invest in electric power transmission systems in Eastern North America.

This regional forum provides two days of interaction and collaboration on the business of power transmission. You’ll gain insight from case studies of successful business models, regional planning strategies, financing trends and practical lessons learned from new construction and upgraded transmission projects occurring in the United States and Canada.

AWEA Fall Symposium Set – AWEA will host its Fall Symposium November 15th to 17th at the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa in San Antonio, TX.  The wind energy industry has a powerful vision to take us to 10% U.S. wind energy by 2020 and 20% by 2030.  Reaching these ambitious goals brings different challenges for different segments of the industry.  But how does that take shape in each step from development to distribution?  Participants in this year’s Fall Symposium will work together to identify those concrete steps that can be taken to keep our industry on target. Sessions will focus on the collaborative approach needed to reach industry goals bringing together strategic thinkers of developers, OEMs, suppliers, corporate purchasers of wind energy, and utilities.

Webinar to Look at Solar Issues, Regulation – Our friends at Power Markets Today will be hosting a webinar on Thursday, November 17th at 2:00 p.m. on what solar means for retail power regulation.  The webinar will offer a high-level, comprehensive view of how the growth of solar is changing the industry’s regulatory landscape.  The event will feature Inger Goodman of Just Energy Group, SolarCity’s Sanjay Ranchod, CC Song of Marin Clean Energy and SoCal Ed’s director of energy policy Gary Stern.  Our fiend James Downing will moderate.  Call 301-769-6812 (1-888-637-7776 toll-free in the US and Canada) to register.

Columbia Law School to Look at Post-Election Policy – The Columbia Law School Executive Education will hold a seminar on November 18th in New York that will look at what to expect after the election.  The forum will gathers professors who are experts in environmental law, immigration issues, regulatory matters, national security concerns, health care, and tax rules to discuss how they predict the next presidency and a new Congress will affect the business and legal landscape.  After a long and brutal battle, no matter who wins in November, there will certainly be fallout. Benefit from the wisdom of this Columbia Law School brain trust to anticipate what will change, and how, so that you can be well-prepared to advise your clients and implement effective strategy.

RFF to Look at Natural Disaster Issues – Resources for the Future (RFF) will hold a forum on Monday November 28th 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.

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 November 30th.   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.

AGU Meeting to Focus on Climate – The Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union will be held on December 12-25 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.