Energy Update: Week of October 17

Energy Update - October 17, 2016


Hockey is finally underway with the NHL launching this past week and baseball is holding its collective breath to see if the Cubs can break a 108-year World Series jinx.

You know I have talked about Hannah’s success on the field hockey pitch at Wellesley (and she scored another OT game winner this weekend), but my son Adam scored a big victory last week, winning his first major X-C race by blasting away from the competition to take first in the STAB Invitational in Charlottesville.  And that’s not all for the Bracewell kids’ sports page.  In DC, Jeff Holmstead is not the only Holmstead burning up the pages of the Washington Post.  All fall, Jeff’s son Eli, a soccer star at Quince Orchard High School, is actually getting more press than his dad, including a great picture in the Post last Wednesday.  He also had a couple of good quotes in the accompanying article and clearly has a better sense of messaging than dad.

Back to the action. It was also a historic week in Kigali which culminated Saturday with the global agreement where negotiators from nearly 200 countries reached a legally-binding accord to cut the worldwide use of a powerful planet-warming chemical used in air-conditioners and refrigerators.  The success will likely have a far greater impact on efforts to slow climate change than anything to date (including Paris).  We Have a full summary below and our friend Coral Davenport has a great synopsis in the NYT from Kigali.  Chris Mooney in The Washington Post also has a good political story and The Wall Street Journal looks at impacts and opportunities facing industry.

With the election rounding out, it is still a slow week in Washington.  The action starts today when the Center for a New American Security releases a report that offers suggestions on Energy to the next President, with speakers like Kevin Book, Elgie Holstein, and Bob McNally.  Other events include a couple of very good RFF Seminars (one with Stanford on NatGas and one on Carbon pricing with IMF) and AGA releases its Winter Outlook on Wednesday.  Also, EIA’s Adam Sieminski addresses the NatGas Roundtable tomorrow.  Finally, the Senate Energy Committee Heads to Hawaii for a field hearing on Wednesday…tough assignment there. I think all of you covering Senate Energy should go for the hearing!

BTW, our friend Zach Colman, who many of you know has returned from the ivy halls of a Harvard/MIT reporting fellowship has written his first major byline/cover story in this week’s Christian Science Monitor weekly magazine. It’s on an innovative water deal that the feds think could prove a model for contentious struggles over shrinking supplies in the drought-stricken West.  The story is housed in the new energy/enviro/climate vertical that he and others are starting at CSM, called Inhabit.  You can sign up for weekly updates here.  I already have signed up and encourage you to do it as well.

Finally, our Bracewell PRG colleague Dee Martin was named a finalist for the Professional Women in Advocacy Conference’s “Excellence in Advocacy” Awards, one of the top awards in Washington.  Dee is in the “Women Serving Women” category.  Other finalists include Dana Singiser of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Lyric Thompson of the International Center for Research on Women.  Winner will be announced November 10th.

On duty…Call with questions.



Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932



“The agreement is just the first step in a multistep process. Our industry is hard at work doing the research on the HFC alternatives that will be used in the world’s air conditioners, heat pumps, and refrigeration equipment, and getting that right is certainly as important as reaching agreement.”

Steve Yurek, head of the Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Institute from the UN HFC negotiations in Kigali after 200 Nations agreed to limit Question from Missouri voter Ken Bone, the second to last question in the debate


“Alongside nearly every country on Earth, have taken another historic step in carrying out that mission by cutting down on the use of damaging hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs.”

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy on the Kigali agreement


“The plan provides financing to countries in need, so that new air conditioning and refrigeration technology can be available for their citizens. It shows that we can take action to protect our planet in a way that helps all countries improve the lives and livelihoods of their citizens.”

President Obama in a White House Statement on the HFC agreement.



Countries Finalize Limits for HFCs – Leaders from nearly 200 nations approved an agreement in Kigali, Rwanda by the Parties to the Montreal Protocol (MP) to include hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants in the treaty’s purview. Acknowledging the success of the MP in phasing out hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs).

HVAC Industry Praises Deal – The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) applauded the agreement and has long supported including HFCs in a global phasedown plan under the treaty.

“While the freeze dates and step down levels are ambitious, the HVACR industry is confident we can meet them and continue to provide quality, innovative, energy efficient products and equipment for the benefit of the world’s citizens,” said AHRI President and CEO Stephen Yurek, who attended the Kigali meeting.

“The agreement is just the first step in a multi-step process,” Yurek said.  “Our industry is hard at work doing the research on the HFC alternatives that will be used in the world’s air conditioners, heat pumps, and refrigeration equipment, and getting that right is certainly as important as reaching agreement.  Also very important are the education and training initiatives that will have to occur to ensure safe, efficient installation of the equipment that will contain these new refrigerants.  Some of this is already being undertaken by AHRI in cooperation with the United Nations Environment Program and other global organizations,” he added.

Groups All Worked Together – AHRI, U.S. government agencies, and energy efficiency advocacy groups have all worked diligently for many years to ensure a phasedown of these chemicals. In 2011, AHRI initiated a global refrigerant research program, known as the Low-Global Warming Potential Alternative Refrigerants Evaluation Program (Low-GWP AREP), to identify the most promising HFC alternatives. After two phases of research, the most promising alternatives are currently classified as mildly flammable or flammable, so additional field research is being undertaken to determine their suitability in different applications. That research is being sponsored by AHRI, ASHRAE, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the state of California.

Deadline, Timetables – Here is aa chart of the deadline and percentages in the agreement:

  A5 Group 1 A5 Group 2 A2
Baseline 2020-2022 2024-2026 2011-2013
Formula Average HFC consumption Average HFC consumption Average HFC consumption
HCFC 65% baseline 65% baseline 15% baseline*
Freeze 2024 2028
1st step 2029 – 10% 2032 – 10% 2019 – 10%
2nd step 2035 – 30% 2037 – 20% 2024 – 40%
3rd step 2040 – 50% 2042 – 30% 2029 – 70%
4th step     2034 – 80%
Plateau 2045 – 80% 2047 – 85% 2036 – 85%

* For Belarus, Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan 25% HCFC component of baseline and different initial two steps (1) 5% reduction in 2020 and (2) 35% reduction in 2025.



  1. Group 1: Article 5 parties not part of Group 2
  2. Group 2: GCC, India, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan
  3. Technology review in 2022 and every 5 years
  4. Technology review 4-5 years before 2028 to consider the compliance deferral of 2 years from the freeze of 2028 of Article 5 Group 2 to address growth in relevant sectors above certain threshold.

President Obama Praises Nations for Coming Together – President Obama hailed the deal in a statement on Saturday.  “Through the Montreal Protocol, a proven forum for solving environmental challenges like protecting the ozone layer, the world community has agreed to phase down the production and consumption of HFCs and avoid up to 0.5°C of warming by the end of the century – making a significant contribution towards achieving the goals we set in Paris. The plan provides financing to countries in need, so that new air conditioning and refrigeration technology can be available for their citizens. It shows that we can take action to protect our planet in a way that helps all countries improve the lives and livelihoods of their citizens.”

White House Fact Sheet:

EPA Hails Climate Victory – EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy headed the US delegation and said in a blog post protecting the air we breathe and slowing the effects of climate change are a core part of EPA’s mission. McCarthy: “Alongside nearly every country on Earth, have taken another historic step in carrying out that mission by cutting down on the use of damaging hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs.

Countries, including the United States, have long used HFCs to meet their refrigeration and air conditioning needs. These greenhouse gases can have warming impacts hundreds to thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide. World leaders took a giant leap forward by agreeing to a global phase-down of these harmful gases.

Moniz Praise Deal on Twitter – Energy Secretary Moniz took to Twitter to praise the success, tweeting out the statement from the White House and adding “Another win for climate! This Montreal Protocol agreement will cut heat-trapping HFCs equivalent to 80 billion metric tons of CO2 thru 2050.”

SoCo Kemper Plant Producing Electricity – Southern’s Kemper coal plant in Mississippi has produced electricity from synthetic gas, a significant step toward the plant becoming fully operational, set for November 30th.  Kemper has hit a series of milestones in the past several months. These include producing synthetic gas from lignite coal. Mississippi Power has been testing the plant’s ability to produce electricity on syngas, natural gas or a combination of both, which is what happened this week.

EIA Says Carbon Emissions Down in 2016 – The Energy Information Administration said carbon dioxide emissions from energy use in the U.S. for the first half of 2016 were the lowest for that period since 1991.  The agency said three major factors contributed to the drop in emissions: Mild weather for the first six months of the year that drove down demand for heating fuels; a large decrease in coal use and a small decrease in natural gas use; and increased use of wind, solar and hydropower.

Coal Ash Recycling Topped 50% Last Year – The American Coal Ash Association released a new report that says more than 50% of all coal ash produced last year was recycled into concrete, roofing shingles and other products.  It marks the first time industry has recycled more than half of its output. According to ACAA’s “Production and Use Survey,” 61.1 million tons of coal combustion products were beneficially used in 2015 out of 117.3 million tons that were produced. Although the rate of ash utilization increased from 48% to 52%, the total volume of material produced and utilized declined. Coal ash production volume declined 10% from 2014 levels as coal’s share of the electricity generation mix shrank in response to environmental regulations and competition from other energy sources.

ClearPath Endorses Upton – ClearPath Action Fund is endorsing Rep. Fred Upton, the veteran Michigan Republican who has chaired the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee for the past six years. The House last year approved the Upton-sponsored North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act, which would help clean energy sources such as hydropower by streamlining onerous permitting to enable critical investments in our environment and the nation’s energy security. It also requires the Department of Energy to lay the groundwork for the next generation of nuclear technologies by planning a critical testbed for advanced reactors here in the U.S. Upton has backed bills aimed at supporting carbon capture and storage technologies. Michigan is a leader in carbon-capture research, from Western Michigan University to the University of Michigan, and Upton has helped secure funding for their efforts.

NAM Reports Outlines Infrastructure Reforms – The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), released a new report “Building to Win,” an ambitious, new initiative to revitalize our nation’s failing infrastructure.  Both major party presidential candidates have indicated their desire to address our infrastructure needs in 2017. As plans move forward, the NAM will work collaboratively to encourage the next president and lawmakers to address our most pressing infrastructure priorities and to ensure that investments not only strengthen manufacturing in the United States but also deliver world-class infrastructure for the American people. “Building to Win” identifies many of the most serious infrastructure challenges in America, offers solutions to our problems and provides a menu of possible funding options to consider to pay for the more than $1 trillion investment that is needed.



Forum to Look at Next Admin Energy Policy – The Center for a New American Security holds a discussion this morning on Energy and the Next U.S. Presidential Administration. The event will coincide with the release of a CNAS report entitled, “Increasing Prosperity, Resource Stewardship, and National Security: An Energy Policy Strategy for the Next President,” part of the CNAS Papers for the Next President series. The report co-authors, David Goldwyn, Chairman of the Atlantic Council’s Energy Advisory Group, Robert McNally, a nonresident Senior Fellow at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy, and Elizabeth Rosenberg, Senior Fellow and Director of the Energy, Economics, and Security program at CNAS, will provide a short briefing on the report’s main findings.  Speakers on the following panel will also include ClearView Energy’s Kevin Book and former DOE chief of staff Elgie Holstein. Here is the Livestream.

Atlantic Council Looks at Arctic Chairmanship – The Atlantic Council holds a discussion at Noon looking at the US Arctic Council Chairmanship focusing on the US’s achievements and remaining priorities.  Ambassador Mark Brzezinski, the Executive Director of the US Government Arctic Executive Steering Committee, and State’s Melanie Nakagawa will speak.

Rogers Headlines New Energy Summit – The 2016 New Energy Summit will be held in Washington at the House of Sweden today and tomorrow in Washington, DC. The 4th annual event will cover such topics as tax equity, community solar, net metering, and more. This year’s event will also feature a roster of pioneers, innovators and industry champions including Jigar Shah – Co-Founder of Generate Capital, Jim Rogers – Former CEO of Duke Energy, and Reed Hundt – Co-Founder of Coalition for Green Capital.

CSIS to Host Fukushima Governor – The CSIS Proliferation Prevention Program will host Governor Masao Uchibori today to discuss the present situation of Fukushima Prefecture 2047 days after the Great East Japan Earthquake, as well as his efforts aimed at revitalization.  Governor Uchibori was elected as Governor of Fukushima in October 2014 and assumed office as Governor in November 2014. Uchibori’s mission is to ‘take back the Fukushima known for beauty and calm’. In accomplishing this mission, Governor Uchibori has visited all over the Prefecture and listened to the voices of the people of Fukushima to develop his bottom-up approach.

AMS to Hold Resilience Workshop – The American Meteorological Society holds a workshop tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m. on “Opportunities and Needs in Integrated Water Prediction, Risk Assessment, and Management for Coastal Resilience,” focusing on the West Coast and Gulf Coast.

CAP to Look at Dams – The Center for American Progress holds a discussion tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on assessing the condition of America’s dams and rivers.  He event features a panel discussion to highlight the progress that has already been made and explore the future of policymaking that aims to modernize the management of dam infrastructure, remove unneeded dams, and restore the health of American rivers.  Interior’s Mike Connor heads the panel moderated by our friend Annie Snider of POLITICO.

Roundtable Hosts EIA Director – The Natural Gas Roundtable will host Adam Sieminski, administrator at the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), will be the featured guest speaker at the Natural Gas Roundtable luncheon tomorrow at Noon.  Sieminski has served as administrator of EIA since June 4, 2012.

RFF-Stanford Hold Second NatGas Seminar – Resources for the Future Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and the Stanford Natural Gas Initiative will host a Webinar tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. on the shale gas and oil wastewater disposal cycle.  This is the Second seminar in the series and will look at managing earthquake and other environmental risks.  At this webinar, experts at RFF and Stanford University will address some of these questions. RFF’s Yusuke Kuwayama will review the risks associated with shale gas and oil wastewater storage, the unknowns regarding these risks, and policy and technology options for addressing the risks. RFF’s Alan Krupnick will describe a new framework that could be used for making decisions about water and wastewater management options and infrastructure investments, while considering environmental impacts. Finally, Stanford’s Mark Zoback will focus on wastewater disposal via underground injection, discussing the aspects of shale gas and oil development that cause earthquakes and explaining the science behind recent earthquakes in Oklahoma.

House Energy to Look at Hawaii Water Issues – The full House Energy and Commerce Committee holds a field hearing tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. on opportunities for federal and non-federal partnerships in integrated water management and efforts to improve water security in Hawaii.

Wilson Book Forum Looks at 70s Gas Panic – The Woodrow Wilson Center’s (WWC) History and Public Policy Program holds a book discussion tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. looking at “Panic at the Pump: The Energy Crisis and the Transformation of American Politics in the 1970s.”   MIT & Princeton expert and author Meg Jacobs shows how a succession of crises beginning with the 1973 Arab oil embargo prompted American politicians to seek energy independence, and how their failure to do so shaped the world we live in.

CIBO Meeting Set – The Council of Industrial Boiler Owners (CIBO) will hold its annual meeting on tomorrow and Wednesday in Woodstock, Vermont.  The meeting will consider the energy and environmental questions corporate and institutional CEO’s and Government legislative and regulatory leaders will be asking in the upcoming year as well as discuss the broader energy and environmental issues that could be impacting overall corporate operations and planning in the near term.

AGA Look at Winter Outlook – The American Gas Association (AGA) will host a media briefing on Wednesday to present expectations for peak month natural gas supply and demand as we move into the 2016-17 winter heating season. Experts from AGA will discuss the winter outlook for the natural gas market including market stability, natural gas bills for consumers, U.S. natural gas imports and exports, the global LNG market as well as energy efficiency and the benefits of the direct use of natural gas. An open question and answer session will follow the presentation.

World Energy Forum Set for NYC – More than 2,000 world leaders, corporate executives and trade delegates are expected to attend the World Energy Forum 2016 in New York City on Wednesday at  multiple venues including the U.N. and the Harvard Club of New York. Heads of state, government ministers and ambassadors from more than 150 countries will join corporate leaders, associations, academics, and financiers to discuss the roles of business and government in providing universal energy access – part of the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The event will bring the areas of policy, technology, and finance together to enhance the global economy, create a sustainable future, and deliver the hopes and aspirations of all nations and peoples.

RFF to Look at Carbon Pricing – Resources of the future and International Monetary Fund will hold a seminar on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. that will provide perspectives on how to move carbon pricing forward at both domestic and international levels.  Many experts believe that carbon pricing can play a critical role in meeting these commitments, for advanced and developing countries alike. To move forward, however, governments need country-specific information on appropriate emissions price trajectories as well as the environmental, fiscal, distributional, and other impacts of emissions pricing. They also need a strategy to overcome practical obstacles, such as burdens on vulnerable groups.

This panel will include experts and representatives from international organizations, including the IMF’s Vitor Gaspar, former EIA head and current RFF CEO Richard Newell and Andrew Steer of the World Resources Institute.

Atlantic Council Looks at Power in Developing Countries – The Atlantic Council holds a discussion on Friday at 9:00 a.m. looking at a new report, “Transforming the Power Sector in Developing Countries.” To achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, a fundamental transformation of the energy sector toward more efficient, more urgency and ambition to shift to lower-carbon systems is needed. Electricity is the fastest growing energy subsector and developing countries are expected to account for the majority of global electricity demand growth over the next twenty-five years.  AC’s Ichord will lead an effort to address the challenges to creating a conducive environment for augmenting investment in sustainable energy.  The event is the launch Ichord’s strategy and a discussion with leading experts and policy makers, including State’s Melanie Nakagawa and WCEE veteran Branko Terzic.



Engineers Conference Set for OK –The 34th USAEE/IAEE Conference will be held in Tulsa, OK on October 23-26. So the U.S. Presidential election will be only two weeks away and the election will be followed by many months of transition, with uncertainty as who will be in charge of what; how policies, spending, and contracting might change; and what expectations for those already working in government agencies will be.  Seasoned policy experts from both sides of the political aisle will offer their perspective on what lies ahead after election day.  The full program can be found online here.

IEA to Release Investment Report at CSIS – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host the release of the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) inaugural World Energy Investment 2016 report on Tuesday October 25th.  The report looks at the level of investment in the global energy system in 2015 and will feature Laszlo Varro, Chief Economist at the IEA.  Varro leads the newly-created Economics and Investments Office, which aims to provide sound and consistent energy economics and methodological support for the Agency’s work. Varro also served as IEA Head of Gas, Coal and Power Markets.

ELI Annual Dinner Honors Paulson – The Environmental Law Institute will hold its annual dinner on Tuesday October 25th  where they will honor former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson at the Omni Shoreham.  As usual, the event will launch in the afternoon at 1:30 p.m. with the Business of Water forum.  ELI and an expert panel of business leaders, legal minds, academics, and nongovernmental advocates for an in-depth discussion about the law, policies, and private initiatives that will play important roles in the future of water resource governance.

Solar Insight Conference Set – GTM will host the U.S. Solar Market Insight Conference on October 25th and 26th at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort in San Diego, CA.  The event will provide industry thought leaders and insights into the U.S. solar industry.  NARUC’s Travis Kavulla will speak along with a number of others.

GW to Host Electricity System Forum – On October 27th, George Washington University Law School will convene top policy-makers and industry leaders for a one-day conference on the interface of state and federal initiatives addressing the way in which electricity in the U.S. will be produced, delivered and used in the future. The learning sessions will examine the work occurring in Minnesota, California and the Southeast and at FERC, NERC and U.S. DOE. Additional learning sessions will include remarks from a leading consumer advocate and a newer market entrant, plus a lunchtime presentation on grid architecture for the future grid. The facilitated discussion session, in which all are encouraged to participate, will address how federal, state, and local efforts complement or conflict, and seek ideas from the discussion panel and the audience for additional means for coordination across jurisdictions and regions.

Conference to Focus on Consumers, Cities – On November 1st and 2nd, 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.

COP 22 Marrakesh – November 7-21

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.