Energy Update: Week of November 5

Energy Update - November 06, 2018

Friends,

I know it is hard to believe, but the NCAA Field Hockey Playoffs are at hand…oh yes, and the midterm elections are tomorrow, too. There is a lot of election activity and we will see how things play out.  While Stacey and Hannah voted early, I am going to the polls tomorrow with Adam for his first official vote, which I suspect he is going to use to offset his sister, Wellesley Hannah.  I will say, I know we are all voting for Larry Hogan!!!  

Here are a few things to note for tomorrow’s big day:

  1. The Bracewell team will all be in action tomorrow late into the evening.  You can always email me (frank.maisano@bracewell.com) to get to any of our team or call (202) 997-5932.  My friend Darren Goode can also help with analysis (202-550-6619) from his ClearPath experts.
  2. Definitely follow our team on key twitter handles throughout the evening: Bracewell PRG - @PolicyRez ; Josh Zive - @jczive ; Liam Donovan - @LPDonovan ; Scott Segal - @ScottSegal3 ; and Frank Maisano - @fvmaisano.  You should also follow and like The Lobby Shop Podcast @TheLobbyShopPod   Other good places to follow for action: @JayFaison1@ClearPathAction ; @globalenergy ; @RealClearEnergy
  3. Mark your calendars for Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. when Bracewell's Policy Resolution Group (PRG) will offer political and policy analysis of the 2018 midterm elections – an award-winning and insightful mix of webinars, written materials and podcasts. On Tap: The "morning after" take on how this year’s mid-term election results will affect the business community—addressing energy, environment, infrastructure, tax, Congressional investigations, key Committee leadership changes, and more.  Special guest commentators from both sides of the aisle, coupled with PRG's lobbyists, attorneys, and strategic communications professionals, will provide analysis and answer your questions.  

To get the Final Countdown (they should make that a hair metal song… oh wait), check out Friday’s PRG Lobby Shop podcast with special guest Sean Trende of Real Clear Politics to talk ALL MID-TERMS and maybe a little Halloween and College Basketball.

In case you missed it, on Friday Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam ordered his state to develop a coastal resilience plan, update its flood standards for buildings and take other concrete steps to prepare for sea-level rise and natural disasters.  MIT research expert Jeremy Gregory said the Governor’s action puts Virginia among the nation’s leaders on this topic. “Governor Northam is smart to promote efforts to increase resilience against natural disasters for communities, residents and buildings.”  Speaking of resilience and rebuilding, we hear Texas Gov. Greg Abbott may be out with a report on Hurricane Harvey recovery and rebuilding as soon as this week. Stay tuned…

Finally, a couple of congratulatory notes: 1) Helen Walter-Terrinoni joined AHRI as the association’s new Vice President of Regulatory Affairs (She also is co-chair of the UN Montreal Protocol Foams Technical Options Committee); 2) our former colleague and EPA enforcement official Rich Alonso has joined Husky Energy to become the senior manager for regulatory affairs; 3) special kudos to our friend Kevin Borgia of Cypress Creek Renewables who married Anne Groom over the weekend and 4) Congrats to Huffpost’s Kate Sheppard and her husband (new daughter Zora) and NRECA’s Stephen Bell and his wife (new son Theo) who both had recent additions to their families. 

Game Time…Here we go.  If you need insight/perspective on anything, don’t be afraid to call (even late) with your questions.  Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

C. (202) 997-5932

 

FRANKLY SPOKEN

“My colleagues at the National Institute of Building Sciences are hitting important points in this report.  Our significant research on the topic shows exactly what the authors report: natural hazards present significant risks to many communities across the United States.  We know that the return-on-investment associated with resilient measures reduces the impacts of such events, resulting in significant savings in terms of safety, property loss and disruption of day-to-day life.”

Jeremy Gregory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who has been leading research that addresses key issues and impacts/challenges of recovering from hurricanes, commenting on the new NIBS report looking at the costs of hazard mitigation from storms like Hurricane Michael.  MIT’s research is pushing the frontier of academic research into building materials, with implications for policymakers, building designers, communities, and the vulnerable residents of hazard-prone areas.

ON THE POD

RealClear Expert Talks Mid-Terms on PRG Podcast– This week, the Bracewell Lobby Shop Podcast team talks to Sean Trende, Senior Elections Analyst at Real Clear Politics, and it's all Midterms all the time.  The episode is now live on Stitcher, SoundCloud, and Google Play Music.

FUN OPINIONS

Mercatus: Free Market Principles Missing in Ethanol Rule Changes – In a column syndicated by Creators, George Mason University Mercatus Center research fellow Veronique de Rugy says the EPA’s effort to end its prohibition on the sale of E15 is cronyism at its worst.  President Trump’s “bad trade policy, in other words, is leading to bad politics and thus the perpetuation of other bad policies.  Were it not for the president's need to placate a constituency feeling the pain of his trade war, the administration might have approached energy policy reform in a more comprehensive way, and with a real focus on market-based solutions that avoid picking winners and losers as the RFS mandate does.”

IN THE NEWS

VA Gov Issues Resilience Order – Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) ordered his state to develop a coastal resilience plan, update its flood standards for buildings and take other concrete steps to prepare for sea-level rise and natural disasters.  See his Executive Order 24 here: https://www.governor.virginia.gov/newsroom/all-releases/2018/november/headline-833462-en.html  Governor Northam took the action at the 6th Annual Conference of the Virginia Coastal Policy Center at the College of William & Mary Law School and is among the most comprehensive actions undertaken by any state to improve resilience and protect people and property from natural catastrophes.  MIT research expert Jeremy Gregory said the Governor’s action to prepare for sea-level rise and natural disasters since his action puts Virginia among the nation’s leaders on this topic. “Governor Northam is smart to promote efforts to increase resilience against natural disasters for communities, residents and buildings.  Our research at MIT shows the value of investing in such measures. Factoring resilience into building design and long-term planning can help reduce lifetime repair and maintenance costs in hazard-prone areas and allow communities to recover more quickly from a disaster.”  You can reach him here: jgregory@mit.edu or 617-324-5639.

EIA Says Emissions Down – The EIA says U.S. electric power sector carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) have declined 28% since 2005 because of slower electricity demand growth and changes in the mix of fuels used to generate electricity. EIA has calculated that CO2 emissions from the electric power sector totaled 1,744 million metric tons (MMmt) in 2017, the lowest level since 1987.  In the United States, most of the changes in energy-related CO2 emissions have been in the power sector. Since 2005, as power sector CO2 emissions fell by 28%, CO2 emissions from all other energy sectors fell by only 5%. Slower electricity demand growth and changes in the electricity generation mix have played nearly equal roles in reducing U.S. power sector CO2 emissions.  U.S. electricity demand has decreased in 6 of the past 10 years, as industrial demand has declined and residential and commercial demand has remained relatively flat. If electricity demand had continued to increase at the average rate from 1996 to 2005 (1.9% per year) instead of its actual average rate of -0.1% per year, U.S. power sector CO2 emissions in 2017 would have been about 654 MMmt more than actual 2017 levels. If the mix of fuels used to generate electricity had also stayed the same since 2005, U.S. power sector CO2 emissions would have been another 645 MMt higher in 2017.  The power sector has become less carbon intensive as natural gas-fired generation displaced coal-fired and petroleum-fired generation and as the noncarbon sources of electricity generation—especially renewables such as wind and solar—have grown. The substitution of natural gas for other fossil fuels has largely been market driven, as ample supplies of lower-priced natural gas and the relative ease of adding natural gas-fired capacity have allowed it to pick up share in electric power generation in many markets. In 2016, natural gas generation surpassed coal as the largest source of electricity generation.

AWEA: States Increasing Wind Output – Seven states, from Nebraska to Massachusetts, will soon build enough wind turbines to more than double their capacity to generate clean and reliable wind energy, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) U.S. Wind Industry Third Quarter 2018 Market Report released today. The report also reveals the first firm orders for 4-megawatt (MW) land-based wind turbines, nearly twice as powerful as the average wind turbine installed in 2017.  Nationally, the low cost and reliability of wind power continued to drive strong industry growth in the third quarter. Significantly, seven states now have enough wind projects under construction or in advanced stages of development to more than double their capacity to generate electricity from the wind when they are completed. Those include heartland states with land-based wind under development—Arkansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, South Dakota, and Wyoming—as well as coastal states Maryland and Massachusetts, where offshore wind is poised to scale up.

Report: Mitigation Measure Reduce Long-Term Costs – The National Institute of Building Sciences issued its latest report in a multi-year study on natural hazard mitigation. The second in a series of interim results, Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves: Utilities and Transportation Infrastructure examines the potential benefits associated with investing in mitigation for select utility and transportation infrastructure. Natural hazards present significant risks to many communities across the United States. Fortunately, there are measures governments, building owners, developers, tenants and others can take to reduce the impacts of such events. These measures—commonly called mitigation—can result in significant savings in terms of safety, and prevent property loss and disruption of day-to-day life. The project team sought to use Economic Development Administration (EDA) grants to look at how the agency’s mitigation efforts to address four potential perils and four categories of utilities and infrastructure might benefit communities. Of the 859 EDA grants the project team reviewed, only 16 related to natural-hazard mitigation of utilities and transportation lifelines. Of these, the team acquired sufficient data to estimate benefit cost ratios (BCRs) for 12 mitigation investments.

PJM Study – A new study from grid operator PJM say fuel delivery systems in its vast footprint can generally withstand an extended period of stress and remain reliable, though extreme scenarios could impact the grid. PJM, whose system covers 13 states and 65 million people, launched the study this May as the federal government, several states, and other grid operators considered interventions aimed to boost resilience in markets increasingly assailed by disruptions. According to PJM, “Grid operators around the world find themselves contending with new challenges, including a rapidly changing fuel mix, stressed fuel delivery systems, extreme weather, cyberattacks and physical security threats. As a result, the security of the fuel supply—one component of the resilience of the power grid—has become an increased area of focus.”  The study’s conclusions are for the most part unsurprising. In a 14-day period of cold weather with a typical winter peak load (of 134,976 MW, which occurs 50% of the time), and even considering generation retirements and additions that had been announced as of October 1, 2018, the system would remain reliable, it says.  Even in a scenario that combines an extreme winter load (of 147, 72 MW, which occurs 5% of the time) and a pipeline disruption at a critical location that serves a significant number of generators, PJM’s system would still be reliable, the report said.  However, it also identifies a “tipping point”—where the system risks emergency procedures and load loss. That event would occur if the system had escalated retirements in combination with an extreme winter load.

PJM Study Scenario DetailsPower Magazine said the study analyzed two “escalated retirement” scenarios: one modeled retirements of 32,216 MW by 2023 but assumes 16,788 MW of capacity will be added to meet the installed reserve margin requirement of 15.8%. The other modeled retirements of 15,618 MW by 2023 with no capacity replacement. Both retirement scenarios showed similar results that indicate the system may be at risk of emergency procedures and load loss, the study says. However, PJM noted its reserves have “historically exceeded the installed reserve margin reliability requirement,” and that the range of retirements analyzed represented “possible bounds” of retirement levels, “recognizing that market signals would limit retirements between those bounds.”  As the system comes under more stress, the study also suggests that “key elements such as on-site fuel inventory, oil deliverability, location of a fuel supply disruption, availability of non-firm natural gas service, pipeline configuration and demand response become increasingly important.”

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

UN Montreal Protocol, HFC Meeting Set – With HFC issues in the news, today through Friday will see the 30th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol in Quito, Ecuador. We will have folks there reporting on the action. 

Transmission Summit Feature SoCo Exec – The 17th annual Transmission & Distribution Summit is today and tomorrow in Houston. The Summit will focus on key topics that have occupied the discussion by industry stakeholders and a comprehensive strategy to guarantee that the US can produce clean, climate friendly power and deliver it reliably at reasonable costs to all users.  It will feature executives from Southern Co., American Municipal Power, and other entities.

NEI Expert to Discuss Nuclear Power Future – Today at 5:00 p.m., Johns Hopkins University’s SAIS program will host a forum on nuclear power. In the United States 20 percent of electricity comes from 99 operating nuclear reactors.   Looking ahead some 60 new nuclear reactors are under construction, mostly in Asia.  In North America and Western Europe the industry is challenged by retirement of older reactors and reduced competitiveness and policy support.  In global markets US companies, until recently industry leaders, now face strong competition from other countries.  These and other issues will be addressed by speaker NEI’s Daniel Lipman, who is also a Johns Hopkins SAIS alumnus.

ELECTION DAY – TOMORROW, Tuesday, November 6th

DOE to Hold Cybersecurity Peer Review – Tomorrow through Thursday, DOE’s Cybersecurity for Energy Delivery Systems (CEDS) program is holding a Peer Review in Arlington, Virginia, where energy industry representatives can learn about cutting-edge cyber R&D in active projects and provide input on future CEDS research priorities.  CEDS R&D projects deliver advanced tools and technologies for the energy sector’s operational technology (OT)—the digital systems and networks that control energy delivery. To reduce cyber risk to these specialized systems, CEDS and its R&D partners are developing innovative capabilities for energy delivery systems and devices to prevent attacks, detect malicious activity, and automatically adapt to survive cyber-attacks while sustaining critical functions. The 2018 Peer Review provides an opportunity to directly engage with researchers designing the next generation of cybersecurity solutions for the energy sector. Researchers from each of the projects will present their project(s) and progress and respond to expert review panel questions and discussion.  The CEDS Peer Review is open to the public and is a great opportunity for representatives of the energy industry to learn more about the program’s extensive research portfolio.

Forum to Look at Future of StorageEnergy Storage North America holds a conference in Pasadena, Calif tomorrow through Thursday to look at the future of energy storage and role it may play. Featured speakers include our friend Caroline Choi from SoCalEd, as well as others like former FERC commissioner Robert Powelson, Cal PUC Commissioner Carla Peterman, John Rhodes of NYPSC, Cal State Sen. Nancy Skinner and others from Tesla, Cummins and other entities.

Forum to Look at Climate Challenges – The Atlantic Council’s Future Europe Initiative holds an event tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. looking at technological revolution and globalization.  These items have opened up the "Age of Perplexity." At this critical juncture, the Atlantic Council, in partnership with BBVA and the Elcano Royal Institute, will host a public discussion featuring some of the authors from The Age of Perplexity: Rethinking the World We Knew, the book published by BBVA, through its OpenMind initiative, to share their perspectives on the major transformations currently taking place in our society and the impact they may have on the future of the liberal international order. These are the challenges and opportunities that will define the 21st century.

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

SE Renewable Forum Set – The Southeast Renewable Energy Summit will be held in Atlanta on Wednesday through Friday to look at the region’s policies on renewables, opportunities for solar and wind companies.  See the speakers and agenda here

Forum to Look at Batteries – On Wednesday at Noon, the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) will hold an expert panel discussion providing an up-to-the-minute perspective on the state of the global battery race.  As the auto industry shifts toward electric vehicles and the electricity grid draws more energy from variable renewables, high-capacity, high-performance and affordable batteries are becoming one of the most important areas of technological innovation needed to reduce carbon emissions. This is why batteries are emerging as a strategic focus for global manufacturing and innovation.  Speakers will include Georgetown’s Joanna Lewis and Quartz Reporter Akshat Rathi. 

WRI to Host Climate Resilience Forum – Leading resilience experts from the World Resources Institute (WRI), the World Bank and Tetra Tech will join a discussion on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. at WRI.  The group will dive into a new approach to climate resilience, how to identify situations that warrant significant changes and strategies for effective, widespread implementation.  Speakers include the World Bank’s Arame Tall, Tetra Tech’s Richard Choularton and WRI experts Stefanie Tye and Rebecca Carter.

ACORE SF Forum Set – The American Council on Renewable Energy holds the Renewable Energy Grid Forum in San Francisco on Thursday featuring Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Rich Glick and California ISO head Stephen Berberich.  Greg Wetstone also speaks.

Webinar Looks at Enviro Justice Questions – EPA sponsors a webinar on Thursday at 1:00 p.m. looking at environmental justice factors that contribute to vulnerability from natural disasters and provide examples of how EPA and its partner programs have worked to help build resilience within vulnerable communities.

USEA to Look at Solid Oxide Fuel – The US Energy Assn will hold a forum on Thursday at 1:00 p.m. to look at DOE’s solid oxide fuel program.  DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy has supported the development and application of solid oxide fuel cells for nearly two decades.  The first half of this presentation briefly traces the history of fuel cells, discusses some of the technical aspects of solid oxide fuel cells, and describes their advantages and disadvantages.  The second half describes the solid oxide fuel cell program as implemented by the Office of Fossil Energy which includes a brief description of some of the projects supported by the Department and some insights on the routes that exist for interested investigators to become involved in this research.  DOE program director Steven Ross speaks.

Wilson Forum Looks at China Timber – The Wilson Center holds a discussion on Thursday of on-the-ground investigations by NGOs and lawyers into the environmental and social damage from Chinese and other foreign extractive industries. Drawing on a new report by Global Witness, Lela Stanley will talk about the illegal logging in the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea, two countries that supply about 50% of China’s tropical log imports.  Jim Wormington will relate findings from extensive research and interviews in Guinea, the biggest supplier of bauxite to China’s aluminum industry. Jingjing Zhang, a longtime Chinese environmental lawyer, will share a collection of stories on her work investigating the environmental and human rights violations in Africa and Latin America, from helping a community in Equator win a court case to suspend a Chinese-owned gold mine in a mountain nature reserve to interviews of bauxite mining-affected communities in Guinea. She and other speakers will highlight necessary legal changes in China and in host countries and increased community involvement will be critical to create more sustainable and humane supply chains.

GW’s Planet Forward to Look at Electric Vehicles – On Friday, Planet Forward is hosting a forum with Genevieve Cullen, president of the Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA) to talk about the future - the future of electric vehicles.  Are Tesla, Volvo, and Ford leading the way in a new era of transportation? What does it mean for the future? How will the current administration impact a more sustainable future?

JHU to Host Forum on Electricity Market Optimization – On Friday at 12:30 p.m., Johns Hopkins University hosts a forum on modeling electricity markets with optimization.  Electric power: done wrong, it drags the economy and environment down; done right, it could help to create a more efficient, brighter, and cleaner future. Better policy, planning, and operations models--both simple analytical, and complex computational ones--are essential if we're going to do it right.  Better modeling is also fun, as the math of electricity models is inherently interesting and revealing--models often show flaws in our intuition. Used intelligently, models can point us towards better regulations, investments, and operating policies.  Simple models provide insights, while complex models provide the numbers needed to choose specific investments and policies.  Speaker Dr. Ben Hobbs will highlight one application using the power market model COMPETES: the design of renewable portfolio standards, and an analysis of their price and economic efficiency impacts in the Year 2030.  He will also examine the cost of country-specific targets versus EU-wide targets. 

IN THE FUTURE

Grid Conference Set for SF – ACORE's Renewable Energy Grid Forum will be held on Thursday November 8th at the Grand Hyatt San Francisco to debate challenges and opportunities presented by new energy market reforms and the evolving grid. 

VETERAN’S DAY – Sunday, November 11th

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

Wood Stove Showcase Set – The 2018 Wood Stove Design Challenge is being held next Monday and Tuesday on the National Mall.  The event is a showcase and competition for advanced wood stoves with automated features and/or stoves that make electricity.  Awards will be announcement on November 13th at 2:30 p.m.  You can see info on the awards here and more info on details here

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

Senate Energy to Hear from FERC, DOE Nominees – On Thursday November 15th, 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.

THANKSGIVING DAY – November 22nd

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

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

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

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

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

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