Energy Update: Week of March 26

Energy Update - March 26, 2018


Easter Week has arrived and that means Spring Break for many schools (Hannah’s Wellesley and Olivia’s Indian Creek)…and Congress is gone for two weeks. It also means MLB Opening Day on Thursday.  That of course reminds me of one of my favorite movie scenes from Bull Durham.

After last week’s budget deal was completed, Congress headed for the spring exits so I expect this week will be much slower, finally!  Lots going on in the sports world though, as the NCAA hoops Final Four, the Frozen Four and half of the women’s final four is set. Final two participants in the women’s final four will be decided tonight with favorite UConn and #1 seed Notre Dame still both in action.

Some surprises and some expected. Two #1 seeds Villanova; then Kansas, who made it after last night’s thrilling overtime victory over Duke. There’s the Cinderella story Loyola; and how about Michigan grabbing a spot in both the Final Four and the Frozen Four.  And the Big Ten looks especially good in hockey with both Ohio State and Notre Dame joining Michigan in the Frozen Four.  Minnesota-Duluth also joins the party in St. Paul, MN.  And Congrats to Clarkson, who repeated as the NCAA Women’s Frozen Four champs this past week with a 2-1 OT victory over Colgate.

While Congress is gone, there are still a couple of events early in the week. Tomorrow is the final EPA CPP listening session in Gillette, Wyoming. We are following.  For those that are out West to cover the session, you may want to check out the Wyoming Integrated Test Center at Dry Fork Station near Gillette. The ITC will study the capture, sequestration and management of carbon emissions, with an emphasis on carbon reuse and recycling. Our friends Sarah Young at the Wyoming infrastructure Authority, Lee Boughey at Tri-State G&T or Curt Pearson at Basin Electric Power Cooperative can help with answers to questions or arrange a visit. The ITC is the location of the final competition stage for the coal portion of the $20 million NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, which will introduce competition finalists in NYC on April 9th. The ITC will open with an event on May 16th.

Today is the deadline for public comments to the Energy Department on how it should change its 30-year-old appliance and equipment energy conservation standards program.  USEA hosts a forum on Wednesday looking at reliability challenges and solutions with experts like PJM.  Also Wednesday, EESI and the National Association of State Energy Officials hold their rescheduled briefing at Noon looking at the public/private drive toward resilient buildings.  Our friends at MIT have great research already underway on this topic which you can see here.

Well, the late March snowy weather has ruined Spring/Easter Break for most of us, but also the Cherry Blossom Festival. The National Park Service has pushed back the cherry blossoms’ predicted peak bloom dates to April 8-12.

Call with questions.  Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932


“After passing bipartisan legislation to encourage investing in carbon capture and utilization, we have a chance to advance these technologies even further. This bipartisan bill will help innovators around the country, including a growing number of businesses in Rhode Island, to come up with new ways to take carbon pollution out of the air and either stow it permanently underground or turn it into usable products. That’s a win for our climate, a win for innovative bioalgae and other utilization companies in Rhode Island, and a win for the economy overall.”

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse on new CCS legislation.

“The bipartisan USE IT Act will promote the long term use of these critical natural resources and keep America on the path to energy dominance. My legislation will make Washington a helpful partner to efforts taking place in Wyoming to develop carbon capture technologies, convert carbon into a useful product and reduce emissions.”

Sen. John Barrasso on the new CCS Legislation


Bracewell Podcast Focuses on Trade – The latest Bracewell podcast is live on Stitcher, iTunes, SoundCloud, and Google Play Music.  My Colleagues Josh, Liam, and Paul discuss the Pennsylvania special election and Democrat Conor Lamb’s apparent victory, staff shake-ups in the Administration and the likelihood of more, and the latest information on the impending steel and aluminum tariffs.

BPC Talks Energy With Chamber’s Guith – Brad Townsend staff of BPC’s American Energy Innovation Council talks U.S. competitiveness and technology innovation with Christopher Guith from the U.S Chamber’s Global Energy Institute.  Guith discusses the challenges to energy innovation, “At the end of the day [energy companies] have to compete against other governments, so we’re already starting a little bit behind the eight ball.”  Listen to the podcast here.


EPA Says CAFE Standards Should Be Revised – According to our friends at Bloomberg, EPA said Friday the agency’s current effort to cut vehicle greenhouse-gas emissions is too aggressive and agrees with automakers that the standards should be revised.  Reports said the agency has completed a draft decision outlining the rationale for easing fuel efficiency regulations for model-year 2022-2025 cars and light trucks, two people said. Bill Wehrum, chief of the agency’s Office of Air and Radiation, plans to meet with environmental regulators in California next week to discuss the draft decision ahead of an April 1 deadline to make it public.

SAFE Responds to Fuel Economy Announcement – After reports that the EPA sent a draft decision on the mid-term review to OMB, Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) CEO Robbie Diamond said “creating diverging standards between California and the federal government is a lose-lose for the auto industry, consumers, and our national security. Longer-term rules that incorporate new technologies is a win-win that benefits every stakeholder, and our country at large, so it is important that the federal government and California continue to work together. This will be a long journey, but the destination is worth the trouble.”

New Trump Energy Advisor Named – The President may name Wells Griffith, the principal deputy assistant secretary at the Energy Department’s office of international affairs, to replace David Banks at the National Economic Council.  Griffith will oversee the Trump administration’s work on international energy and climate issues, on a three-month assignment. Griffith also helped secure an agreement to export coal from Pennsylvania to Ukraine.  Several Bracewell folks know Wells and have worked with him on issues so we are happy to help if needed.

Bipartisan Sens Introduce CCS Legislation – Sens. John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), joined with Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) to introduce the Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies (USE IT) Act. The legislation is cosponsored by Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND).  The USE IT Act would support carbon utilization and direct air capture research. The bill would also support federal, state, and non-governmental collaboration in the construction and development of carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration (CCUS) facilities and carbon dioxide (CO2) pipelines.  The USE IT Act would:

  • Narrowly amend the Clean Air Act to direct the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to use its existing authority to support carbon utilization and direct air capture research;
  • Clarify that CCUS projects and CO2 pipelines are eligible for the permitting review process established by the FAST Act;
  • Direct the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) to establish guidance to assist project developers and operators of CCUS facilities and CO2 pipelines;
  • Establish task forces to hear input from affected stakeholders for updating and improving guidance over time; and
  • Build on the FUTURE Act, bipartisan legislation – now signed into law – introduced by Heitkamp, Capito, Whitehouse, and Barrasso to extend and expand the 45Q tax credit to provide certainty to utilities and other industrial sources and incentivize the build-out of CCUS projects.

Duke to Retire Coal Units – Duke Energy outlined for shareholders in a new report how it will achieve a goal updated last year to reduce its 2030 carbon dioxide emissions 40% compared to 2005.  The company’s 2017 Climate Report to Shareholders unveils a strategy to transition to a lower-carbon future, while also setting a goal to reduce its carbon intensity—the amount of carbon dioxide emitted per kWh produced—by 45% compared to 2005 levels.  In 2017 compared to 2005, more than 38% of Duke Energy’s delivered power came from carbon-free sources, the company said. Core elements of the new strategy include a 10-year $25 billion plan to modernize the grid and make it more reliable, resilient, and efficient. The strategy also calls for investment of $11 billion in renewables and natural gas generation, increasing the share of gas power from 28% in 2016 to 36% in 2030.  Meanwhile, the company will retire nine coal units with a total capacity of about 2 GW as part of plans to reduce its share of coal generation from 34% in 2016 to 27% in 2030. The reductions follow an already substantial transformation of Duke Energy’s fleet between 2011 and 2017, when it retired 47 coal units with a combined capacity of 5.4 GW and added 3 GW of renewables.

GTM Release Solar Report for 2017 – In 2017, the U.S. solar market expanded, adding double-digit gigawatt solar photovoltaic (PV) additions for the second year in a row. According to the newly released U.S. Solar Market Insight Report 2017 Year-in-Review from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the solar industry installed 10.6 gigawatts of new PV capacity in 2017, led by strong growth in the corporate and community solar segments.  While overall growth was down from the 15 gigawatts installed in the record-shattering 2016, last year’s capacity addition still represents 40 percent growth over 2015’s installation total.  Download the free executive summary for more insight. U.S. Solar Market Insight is a collaboration between the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and GTM Research that brings high-quality, solar-specific analysis and forecasts to industry professionals in the form of quarterly and annual reports. The executive summary is free, and the full report complete with state-level data and analysis is available for purchase.


International PetroChem Conference Ready – AFPM holds its 2018 International Petrochemical Conference in San Antonio today and tomorrow.  The International Petrochemical Conference is the world’s largest and most prestigious conference representing the petrochemical industry. The meeting consists of a variety of sessions covering key political, economic, and environmental issues affecting the petrochemical industry. The sessions emphasize global competitiveness in the petrochemical business and are presented by recognized experts in the areas of petrochemical markets, economics, and politics.

Fanning, Others, Headline Energy, Thought Summit – The Energy Thought Summit starts today and runs through Thursday in Austin, Texas.  The event features discussion of electricity grid digitalization and other future technology and energy developments.  Top speakers include Our friends Tom Fanning of Southern Company and PSEG CEO Ralph Izzo, EEI’s Tom Kuhn, AEI’s Nick Adkins, FT’s Ed Crooks and Utility Dive’s Gavin Bade among many others.

AWWA Water Forum Set – The American Water Works Assn hold a Sustainable Water Management Conference in Seattle today through Wednesday.  The event focuses on solutions for balancing the benefits of conservation with the costs, managing water resources, sustainable utilities and infrastructure, urban planning and design, energy efficiency, water conservation, stormwater and reuse.

Forum to Look at Blockchain Energy Tech – The Clean Energy Leadership Institute holds discussion today at 6:30 p.m. on blockchain technology and implications for clean energy.  Blockchain when applied to the energy sector enables people to trade energy among themselves in a peer to peer platform. Blockchain can also lead to better investment and funding for clean energy companies and projects. Expert panelists will take you through the history of Blockchain, applications in other sectors, how it can be used to better fund clean energy startups, and the challenges to implementing this emerging technology.

EPA Clean Power Plan Repeal Hearing Heads for WY – EPA’s final listening sessions for its proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan start in Gillette, Wyoming tomorrow.  The EPA had already held one two-day meeting in West Virginia in late 2017.

NatGas Expert to Discuss Drilling Book – Tomorrow at 5:30 p.m., RFF’s Daniel Raimi will discuss his booking at natgas drilling at a Johns Hopkins SAIS forum.   Coupling a deep understanding of the scholarly research with lessons from his travels to every major US oil- and gas-producing region, Raimi highlights stories of the people and communities affected by the shale revolution.

Cal Solar Event In San Diego – The California Solar Power Expo launches tomorrow and Wednesday in San Diego. The event will feature exhibitor-led interactive training for installers, contractors, developers and the entire solar and storage supply chain, as well as networking opportunities.

Forum to Look at Oil/Gas in Argentina – The Inter-American Dialogue is hosting a panel discussion tomorrow to analyze Argentina’s oil production. Remarks from the panelists will be followed by an open discussion with participants. Opening Remarks will be made by Fernando Oris de Roa, Argentine Ambassador to the US.  Additional speakers will include Omar Gutierrez, Governor of Neuquén Province in Argentina.

Menezes Headline Mediterranean Oil Conference – The 9th Mediterranean Oil and Gas Forum 2018 will be held tomorrow and Wednesday at the Hilton Park in Nicosia, Cyprus. Mark Menezes, Under Secretary of Energy, will be the Keynote Speaker along with Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and US ambassador to Cyprus Katheen Doherty. The Forum brings together government and energy leaders to promote American and European energy investments in Cyprus and Eastern Mediterranean.  This year’s topic is focused on commercial agreements from American and European oil majors and independents in the Cypriot, Israeli, Egyptian, and Greek gas markets.

Geologists Forum Hits Houston – The American Association of Petroleum Geologists holds its Global Super Basins Leadership Conference in Houston on Wednesday through Friday at the Hilton Americas.   Co-hosted by IHS Markit, the event will feature regional experts who will share their unique first-hand knowledge of each of the globe’s super basins.

USEA Look at Reliability –The U.S. Energy Association will host a brown bag discussion on Wednesday looking at reliability challenges and solutions.  The event will address what the U.S. can learn from Europe about integrating intermittent renewables.  Leading experts on grid reliability speak about the challenges encountered in Europe and how the U.S. plans to deal with those challenges in its quest to integrate increasing amounts of clean–but intermittent–renewable generation into the grid. Speakers include PJM’s Tim Burdis, the Atlantic Council’s Robert Ichord, NERC’s John Moura and Will Polen of the US Energy Association.

Forum to Look at Resilient Buildings – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) hold a briefing on Wednesday at Noon looking at the public/private drive toward resilient buildings.  These are structures that are located, designed and built (or renovated) to withstand extreme weather, cyberterrorism, and other hazards now and for years to come. This briefing will explore what makes buildings resilient; why resilience is important for multiple policy challenges, including infrastructure modernization, emergency preparedness, disaster response, and research funding; and how public-private sector collaboration in research, worker training and investment partnerships benefit society now and well into the future.  Speakers will include National Roofing Contractors Association head and former Rep. Reid Ribble, Debra Ballen of the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) and Paul Totten of WSP USA.

WCEE Happy Hour – On Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at the Fainting Goat (1330 U St, NW), the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment is hosting its monthly Happy Hour.

Program to Look at Improving Energy Security in Ukraine, Estonia – The Institute of World Politics’ Women Executives in National Security (WENS) program hosts a forum on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. to discuss energy-related preferences and climate change beliefs in Southern Ukraine and Western Estonia. Special attention will be given to the issues of social acceptance of large wind energy projects, since the surveyed regions have a high potential for wind power development.

Forum to Look at Africa Oil Issues – The George Washington University Elliott School’s Institute for African Studies hosts a forum with Dr. Rani Parker, President of Business-Community Synergies (BCS), an award-winning organization that brings development expertise to the private sector, to enhance local benefits from business operations.  Throughout this lecture, Dr. Parker will discuss how many international organizations urge companies in the extractives sector to engage with local stakeholders, and issue “best practices” guidelines for doing so.


Offshore Wind Partnership Forum Set – The Business Network for Offshore Wind hold its 2018 International Offshore Wind Partnering Forum on April 3rd to 6th in Princeton New Jersey.  The IPF is the leading technical conference for offshore wind in the United States and is dedicated to moving the industry forward.  Among the speakers will be BOEM’s Walter Cruickshank and James Bennett, Statoil’s Sebastian Bringsværd, U of Delaware’s Jeremy Firestone, NYSERDA’s Greg Lampman, Recharge’s Darius Snieckus Deepwater’s Jeff Grybowski and NWF’s Collin O’Mara.

JHU Forum to Look at State Actions – On Tuesday April 3rd the Johns Hopkins University hosts the Power of Process forum to look at state capacity and climate policy actions featuring JHU’s Jonas Nahm.  State capacity is central to the provision of public goods, including environmental protection. In an article titled the same, drawing on climate policymaking, Nahm (and Meckling) argue that the division of labor between the bureaucracy and legislature in policy formulation is a critical source of state capacity. In cases of bureaucratic policy design, the legislature sets policy goals and delegates policy design to bureaucracies. This division of labor shifts distributional conflict to autonomous bureaucracies, allowing for effective policy design.

Former NRC Commissioner Heads Discussion of Commercial Nukes – The Global America Business Institute hosts a forum with Bill Ostendorff, former Commissioner of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Wednesday, April 4th at 12:00 p.m. Ostendorff will look at the national security implications of the U.S. commercial nuclear industry.

Forum to Look at Farm Bill Energy Titles – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and the Agriculture Energy Coalition hold a briefing on Wednesday April 4th examining the outsized positive impact on rural America of the investments made through the Energy Title and how to make its suite of innovative programs even stronger. Speakers for this forum are our friend John Shaw of Itaconix, DuPont’s John Sagrati, ReEnergy’s Sarah Boggess Jim Duffy for the Distributed Wind Energy Association and several others.

WCEE to Focus on Women Energy Boards – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) hosts a forum on women on boards in the energy and environment sectors on Thursday, April 5th at noon.  The panel will discuss pathways for women to secure positions on both corporate and non-profit boards in the energy and environment sectors, and the importance of board diversity. Come meet mentors and experts who will be open and frank about their own journeys to these positions. Use these panelists’ personal and professional life experiences to guide you as you make your own way.

Forum to Look at Nuclear Waste – On Friday April 6th, the Stimson Center and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Global Nuclear Future Initiative are hosting a public seminar on “Solving the Unsolvable: Nuclear Waste Solutions for the New Millennium.” Led by experts from academia, government, NGOs, and the nuclear industry, the panels and discussions will examine the existing interim storage facility proposals as well as opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

Waste-to-Energy Tour Set – Young Professionals in Energy DC host an afternoon tour of Covanta’s Energy-from-Waste facility in Alexandria, Virginia on Friday April 6th at 9:30 a.m.  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.

Perry, FERC to Head to House Energy Panel – The House Energy and Commerce Committee today announced Energy Secretary Rick Perry will testify before the Energy subcommittee on April 12th on Budget and oversight hearings.  They will also host all FERC commissioners to testify before the same subpanel on April 17th.

Refiners Security Conference Set – The annual AFPM Security Conference will be held on April 23-25 in New Orleans and presents current topics of vital importance to critical infrastructure, keeping security professionals up to date on security issues, policies, and future regulations. The event will relay the latest information on security regulations from DHS and the Coast Guard. This year’s conference will also go beyond just the regulations with sessions on hurricane response efforts, environmental NGO activism, cybersecurity and other emerging security and terror threats.

Pruitt Heads to House Energy – The House Energy and Commerce Committee will host EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on the agency’s budget request April 25th.

Water Symposium to Feature Perdue, Vilsack – Colorado State University hosts a “Water in the West” Symposium on April 26 & 27th featuring experts, policymakers, researchers, and investors.  The event features the latest around water challenges, collaborate with experts, and create a roadmap for water research, innovation, education, and policy.  The Symposium will take place at the Water Resources Center, the first building to be constructed at the future National Western Center, a 250-acre redevelopment in north Denver. More than 20 confirmed expert speakers to-date including Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, and Tom Vilsack, Former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

NHA holds Washington Waterpower Week – The National Hydropower Assn holds Waterpower Week in Washington on April 30 to May 2nd.  Waterpower Week is comprised of three co-located conferences rolled into one: NHA’s Annual Conference, International Marine Renewable Energy Conference (IMREC), and Marine Energy Technology Symposium (METS). This 3-day jam packed event provides you the opportunity to network, learn about legislative and regulatory initiatives, and discuss the issues impacting hydropower and marine energy industry.

WINDPOWER Set for Chicago – The American Wind Energy Assn (AWEA) will hold WINDPOWER 2018 in Chicago from May 7th to 10th.  The industry closed 2017 strong, delivering 7,017 megawatts (MW) of new wind power capacity. That new capacity represents $11 billion in new private investment. There are now 89,077 MW of wind power installed across 41 states, enough to power 26 million American homes.  The wind industry is expected to continue its growth into 2018. WINDPOWER is where the industry comes together to plan for the future and keep this success story growing.

Hydrogen, Fuel Cell Forum Set for DC – The Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association will be hosting a full-day forum and exposition on Tuesday, June 12 in Washington, D.C. at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center with leading executives, experts, and policymakers on fuel cell and hydrogen technology. The forum will bring together key federal and state policymakers, including the Department of Energy and White House, as well as the broader environmental, transportation, and energy communities to raise awareness of the benefits of fuel cell and hydrogen technology. This event will precede the Department of Energy’s 2018 Annual Merit Review.

Clean Energy Forum on Schedule – The 2018 Congressional Clean Energy Expo and Policy Forum will be held on July 10th and brings together up to 45-55 businesses, trade associations, and government agencies to showcase renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.