Energy Update: Week of October 2

Energy Update - October 02, 2016


La’shana tova…Happy new year to everyone celebrating Rosh Hashanah…  Welcome the year 5777.

It was a riveting Sunday at the Ryder Cup in Minnesota which ended with the US taking the 17-11 victory.   It was incredible to watch Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia battle birdie-for-birdie in what was really outstanding golf.  And if we’re talking sports, you can’t look at the last few days of the 2016 baseball season without thinking of both Vin Scully and Dick Enberg, who are both ending long careers behind the microphone.  Speaking of baseball, the playoffs are set with Orioles/Blue Jays playing the AL Wild Card tomorrow and Giants/Mets in the NL Wild Card Wednesday.  On Thursday, the Red Sox-Indians will play in the ALDS and the Rangers will get the Wildcard winner.  Friday, the Dodgers take on the Nationals and Cubs get the NL Wild Card winner.  We always tease/hope but maybe this is the Cubs year…  We’ll see.

Despite Congress being gone for elections, action still continues behind the scenes on tax extenders which got an interesting push from Majority Leader McConnell last week who said he was interested in potential extending tax extenders that expire for energy technologies that were out of the 2015 deal that extending wind/solar tax credits.  My colleague Curt Beaulieu, a former Senate Finance Counsel, is all over the issue and monitoring closely. He is happy to address your questions.  As far as the energy bill, talks continue with the hope that something maybe available in the post-election session but there is still a long way to go. Our experts are monitoring.

Last week, we had the Clean Power Plan oral arguments and tomorrow at 10:00 a.m., my colleague Jeff Holmstead joins a great panel at the Bipartisan Policy Center to look at arguments and what to expect going forward.  Also, the NatGas Supply Assn will release its Winter Outlook on Wednesday morning at the National Press Club.

With India signing the Paris agreement yesterday, it looks like the EU will push the agreement over the top toward overall ratification. Interestingly, while a number of EU countries are still concerned over the details of how it will impact them, the French enviro minister downplayed that concern saying “We wanted to show that the climate emergency does not allow us to wait for complicated procedures.”  Oh, right…  Wouldn’t want to let those complicated implementation procedures get in the way of the ratification celebration at the next COP in Marrakesh, which begins on November 7th.

Instead of the symbolic Paris celebrations, next week, the international negotiators will make the most significant gain against GHGs this year when they finalize an amendment to the Montreal Protocol that will eliminate HFCs in Kigali.  An HFC pact is the biggest step we can take this year to significantly reduce human impact on the environment.  Pound for pound, these chemicals trap thousands of times more heat than carbon dioxide and are especially important because the world-wide demand for air conditioning and refrigeration is skyrocketing.  AHRI President Steve Yurek will be in Rwanda as part of the industry effort to support the HFC reductions.  We’ll provide a preview later this week and offer reports from the UN meetings next week.

The Supreme Court starts its fall term today (but won’t hearing anything until Wednesday because of Rosh Hashanah) but the docket remains light because Justice Scalia’s seat remains unfilled.  Just over a month to go and we’ll finally be free of the elections. Call for questions…



Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932



“America’s electric co-ops have a lot riding on how the Clean Power Plan litigation plays out, because the rule hits not-for-profit, consumer-owned electricity providers and their members especially hard. Instead of crafting sensible regulations to address power plant carbon emissions, EPA issued a rule that would significantly restructure the power sector, far exceeding its legal authority and burdening electric co-ops with a disproportionate share of the costs.

“The rule would force many co-ops to prematurely shutter coal-fired power plants on which they’re still repaying loans. Members of those co-ops would be charged twice for their electricity—once to continue paying down the loans on assets that are no longer generating revenue, and again for the cost of purchasing replacement power from somewhere else.”

NRECA CEO and former House Energy & Commerce Rep. Jim Matheson on impact of tomorrow’s Clean Power Plan arguments.



BrightSource Technology Deployed in China’s Solar Pilot Program – BrightSource Energy announced its technology will be deployed as part of China’s 1.35 gigawatt (GW) CSP Commercial Demonstration Pilot Program. The Huanghe Qinghai Delingha Solar Thermal Power Generation Project (Delingha) was one of 20 projects chosen by China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) from 109 applications. The Delingha project will be the first of the BrightSource-Shanghai Electric Group Co., Ltd (SEC) Joint Venture. The announcement follows the National Development and Reform Committee’s (NDRC) publication of the CSP pilot program feed-in-tariff (FIT) of 1.15 Yuan/kWh ($0.17/kWh) on September 1. The Delingha project will be the first of the BrightSource-Shanghai Electric Group Co., Ltd (SEC) Joint Venture, and will feature BrightSource’s proven solar field technology with thermal energy storage to produce clean, reliable solar electricity on demand. The joint venture leverages both partners’ contributions to provide engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services and technology for the project.

India to Signs Paris Treaty – Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed and ratified the Paris climate change agreement on Sunday, Ghandi’s 147th birthday.  India joining brings the agreement closer still to formally taking effect this year. India moves the country global emissions total to nearly 52%.

EU Should Put Paris Over Top – With India’s approval, the EU will likely push the Paris deal over the top towards final ratification despite internal EU disagreements over how to impose restrictions On individual EU members.  POLITICO quoted France’s environment and energy minister Ségolène Royal saying “We wanted to show that the climate emergency does not allow us to wait for complicated procedures.” Oh right…let’s not worry about those complicated procedures like trying to figure out how much it will cost, how it impacts the poor and what will its impacts be on energy reliability and security.  Yeah, let’s not worry about that…nothing to see here.  Clearly, it underscores the symbolic nature of the Paris agreement and suggests that the real details aren’t really that important.

NYT: Autonomous Vehicles Steps are Important The New York Times editorial board weighed in on autonomous vehicles today in an editorial saying that if regulators and carmakers get it right, driverless cars have the potential to save tens of thousands of lives every year.  The theme echoes one from an op-ed earlier this summer from NIH Director of Emergency Medicine Dr. Jeremy Brown.

OPEC Announces Production Cuts – OPEC said last week it will cut oil output levels to 32.5-33.0 million barrels per day, with details to be finalized at the next official meeting at the end of November. That production number is as much as one mbd below the group’s current total output levels of 33.5 mbd, and represents the closest thing to an official production cut that the group has announced in almost 8 years. SAFE President and CEO Robbie Diamond said, “Western business leaders would be put in the penitentiary if they behaved the way that OPEC has today and over the past 40 years—by both colluding on production levels, and maintaining secrecy in their agreement. Of course, the burden of this market manipulation falls on the world’s oil consumers including American families and businesses. It proves, yet again, that there’s no free market for oil, and relatively low oil prices are no reason to lose perspective on the critical need to end our dependence on this highly volatile commodity.”

State Pollution Control Agencies Assn Elects New Leaders – The Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies (AAPCA) held its 2016 Fall Business Meeting in Raleigh, North Carolina last week.  The meeting included 130 participants from more than 20 state and local environmental agencies as well as senior staff from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). During the meeting, AAPCA’s Board of Directors, which includes senior air officials from twenty state environmental agencies, elected its 2017 Officers including President: Sean Alteri, Kentucky Division for Air Quality; Vice President: Stuart Spencer, Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality; Secretary/Treasurer: Vivian Aucoin, Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and Past President: Sheila Holman, North Carolina Division of Air Quality.

Moniz Joining the SAG? – And thanks to POLITICO for noticing that DOE’s Ernest Moniz is in LA today to film an episode of Chelsea Handler’s Netflix show looking at climate change and sustainability.  It starts streaming Wednesday.  Perhaps he’ll need to join the Screen Actors Guild.  Certainly, a Number of Ben Franklin Rolls would be a perfect fit…



Offshore Wind Forum Set for RI – The Business Network for Offshore Wind is hosting an International Offshore Wind Conference at the Hotel Viking in Newport, Rhode Island.  The event today and tomorrow will feature an array of governmental, international and national development and energy leaders.  The event will wrap up with a tour of the Block Island Wind Farm, the first offshore windfarm in the U.S. on Wednesday.

NatGas Forum Set – The North American Gas Forum will be held today and tomorrow in Washington at the Park Hyatt.  There will be a session tomorrow on this year’s election, challenges at FERC and the Clean Power Plan.  There is a great line up of speakers including DOE’s Paula Gant, NGSA’s Dena Wiggins, Senate Leader McConnell’s Energy aide Neil Chatterjee and API’s Marty Durbin.

Stanford to Host Energy Forums Looking at Key Issues for Next President – Today at Noon at the National Press Club, Stanford University’s environmental and energy research institutes, the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy, are convening a series of panel sessions to highlight pressing environmental and energy challenges and risks that the next Administration will need to confront.  The first event will focus on food, energy and water and the implications for national security.

Wilson to Look at Mexico, Energy – The Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute will host a forum today at 2:00 p.m. featuring a conversation with Carlos de Regules, Executive Director  of ASEA, to discuss the regulatory environment in Mexico, the capacity of the ASEA to provide for efficient and effective regulation and the agency’s cooperation with other bodies in Mexico and here in the United States.

Holmstead to Lead BPC Panel on EPA Rule – The Bipartisan Policy Center will hold a forum tomorrow  with a panel discussion featuring leading legal experts to unpack the arguments presented to the circuit court last week in a case challenging EPA’s Clean Power Plan.  They will also be asked to read the tea leaves on the judges’ questions and reactions.  Speakers will include my Colleague Jeff Holmstead, Hunton’s Allison Wood, NRDC’s David Doniger and Chris Courchesne of the Massachusetts AG’s Office.

NGSA to Release Winter Outlook – On Wednesday morning the Natural Gas Supply Assn will release its winter natural gas outlook at the National Press Club’s Bloomberg Room.  The NGSA’s 16th annual Winter Outlook summarizes the association’s view of existing natural gas market conditions and fundamentals. The analysis covers the key points that can affect supply and demand dynamics, which ultimately impact all consumers of natural gas. Bill Green, Chairman of NGSA and Vice President, Downstream Marketing for Devon Energy, will discuss the upcoming winter natural gas market, looking at current and emerging trends in production, demand, storage, the economy, weather and what those may mean for consumers this winter.

RFF Seminar to Look at Past Energy Crisis – On Wednesday at 12:45 p.m. Resources for the Future will host a seminar looking at the history and politics of energy policy in the 1970s., Meg Jacobs, Princeton historian and author of Panic at the Pump: The Energy Crisis and the Transformation of American Politics in the 1970s, will examine how the twin oil shocks of that decade—the 1973–1974 Arab oil embargo followed by the Iranian revolution five years later—caught American policymakers by surprise and discusses why they encountered so many challenges in devising effective solutions. Even as the crisis gave momentum to the creation of the US Department of Energy, the lines for gasoline undermined public confidence in Washington’s ability to resolve the crisis. President Carter made some progress with the passage of his National Energy Act of 1978, but the political divisions made enduring reforms of energy production and use challenging. The result was a stalemate rather than a new framework for national energy policy. By the time of the 1991 Gulf War, Americans had continued to be substantially reliant on oil from abroad, including from the Middle East. Meg Jacobs analyzes these issues in her history of the energy crisis, providing a cautionary tale for today. The seminar will also feature remarks from former RFF President Phil Sharp.

Senate Enviro Committee Hold MD Field Hearing – The Senate Environment Committee will hold a field hearing on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. in Logan, MD to examining the local impacts of EPA’s climate regulations.

Forum to Look at Climate Resilience – On Wednesday at 1:30 p.m., the Wilson Center will hold a session to explore crucial aspects of island resilience in two panels: how islands can serve as resilience “incubators,” and what other states can learn from islands as they adapt to their own climate risks. It will bring together policymakers, scientists, donors, practitioners, and members of the diplomatic community with the goal of exploring island resilience initiatives and how they may be applied elsewhere.

USEA to Host Energy Supply Forum – The US Energy Assn will host its 9th Annual Energy Supply Forum on Thursday at the National Press Club.  The event is one of USEA’s premier events, bringing together over 150 key policymakers, government officials, senior corporate officers, and industry professionals to discuss the latest in innovation, technology, policy and trends facing the energy supply sector.  Topics for discussion will include:  Challenges to the next Secretary of Energy; Global Gas Markets; The Global Nuclear Picture; Integrated Energy Network; Outlook for Carbon Capture & Storage Utilization; and more.

Forum to Look at Food Waste, Recycling – On Thursday at 12:00 p.m., the Environmental Law Institute will look at food waste and recycling issues.  In 2015, the U.S. announced its first ever domestic goal to cut food loss and waste in half by 2030. In the hierarchy of food waste recovery options, a key objective is to divert waste to composting facilities or anaerobic digesters, rather than landfills and incinerators. In the second panel in ELI’s food waste series, we will discuss innovations in the food waste processing sector, potential municipal and state best practices in waste reduction, and opportunities to convert waste into renewable energy.

VLS Energy Forum Set For Bracewell – The 2016 Vermont Law School Alumni in Energy Symposium will held at Bracewell on the Thursday at Noon.  The event will explore the current critical technological and regulatory policy designs that are helping—and hindering—a decentralized grid structure, both in the U.S. and internationally. The speakers will examine models of where and how decentralization has been (and can be) optimized, proactive responses to specific barriers, the roles of the public and private sectors, and timeframes for implementation.  Bracewell Associate Steve Hug will moderate and my colleague Jason Hutt is a VLS alum and board member.

Forum to Look at Korea, Nukes – In collaboration with the Global America Business Institute, the Korea Economic Institute is hosting a forum on Thursday on Capitol Hill looking at improving the economics of nuclear power.  It will Look at the lessons learned from the Korean experience.  A growing number of nuclear power plants throughout the United States face the prospect of premature shutdown and decommissioning, leading many to dismiss nuclear power as expensive and economically uncompetitive. However, many of the recent reactor shutdowns in the U.S. have been the result of market failures in deregulated electricity markets, and the rising costs of nuclear in the U.S. have largely been attributable to an uncertain regulatory environment, a failure to maximize on fixed costs, and other factors.

Forum to Look at Climate, Public Opinions – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will host a briefing on Thursday discussing American perceptions of climate change as awareness and concern for its impacts continues to rise among the electorate. The speaker for this forum is Edward Maibach, Director, Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University.  Maibach will conduct a national survey this fall to assess public support for existing and proposed federal climate policies.  Briefing attendees will be invited to suggest policies they would like to see included in the survey.  The presentation will delve into recent work from the polling sector, including what Americans really think about climate change policy, how mainstream reporting has adapted its coverage of climate issues over the years, and how voter attitudes towards climate change and clean energy may influence the 2016 election cycle. Polling trends at both the national and state level will be discussed, as Maibach explores the gap between the data and real-world experiences in measuring public opinion.

WRI to Launch Report – On Friday at 10:00 a.m., World Resources Institute will host a high-level panel discussion, chaired by Andrew Steer, in conjunction with the launch of the report – Climate Benefits, Tenure Costs: The Economic Case for Securing Indigenous Land Rights in the Amazon. This major new research report finds that securing land rights for local forest dwellers in Brazil, Colombia and Bolivia is a low cost investment that would generate substantial returns at the global and local levels.  The report will be launched in Washington, DC, at a side event of the World Bank Group Annual Meetings. WRI’s event will feature a panel of leading economists and finance ministers. The WRI report focuses on Bolivia, Brazil, and Colombia, provides original matching analysis on deforestation rates, emphasizes climate mitigation but incorporates an array of ecosystem services into the Benefit-Cost Analysis, and includes a set of policy options and recommendations.  Lord Nicholas Stern is among the speakers.

USEA Forum to Look at Tanzania, NatGas, Energy – The U.S. Energy Assn will host a forum on Friday at 1:00 p.m. to Look at the role of natural gas in Tanzania.  Juma Mkobya, Assistant Commissioner for Energy Development in Tanzania’s Ministry of Energy and Minerals will speak.

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Day Set – The 2nd Annual National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day will be held on Saturday to highlight the advances on hydrogen fuel cell advances.  The event focuses in recognition of the atomic mass of hydrogen, 1.008 (October 8th).



Kigali Montreal Protocol Talks Start – The UN MOP 28 on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer convenes in October 10-14 in Kigali, Rwanda. The meeting agenda encompasses the negotiations on a hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) amendment, nominations for critical-use and essential-use exemptions, and other decisions from the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG).

NOAA Official to Be Featured at RFF Event – Next Tuesday, October 11th at 11:30 a.m., Resources for the Future will host a conversation between RFF President Richard G. Newell and Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, as they discuss how environmental intelligence can preserve and improve human and environmental health as well as promote growth.  Dr. Kathryn Sullivan was confirmed by the Senate as the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on March 6, 2014, having served as acting NOAA administrator since February 28, 2013. She is a distinguished scientist, renowned astronaut, and intrepid explorer.

Forum to look at AVs – The R Street Institute is hosting at Capitol Hill forum next Tuesday on Autonomous Vehicles and the new government requirements posted last week.  Former NHTSA head David Strickland of the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets, Consumer Technology Association President Gary Shapiro, GMU’s Adam Thierer and CEI’s Marc Scribner will all speak.

BPC Forum to Look at Food Supply – The Bipartisan Policy Center and Kansas State University will hold a forum on Thursday, October 13th for panel discussions on the threat of bio/agroterrorism, highlighting the importance of agriculture in biosecurity, as well as potential strategies, tactics, and policy solutions for the next administration.  The 2015 bipartisan report of the Blue Ribbon Panel on Biodefense reported that, despite progress on many fronts, the nation remains highly vulnerable to biological threats. A critical consideration in the national dialogue on biodefense includes the need to protect American’s food supply and agriculture economy. A biological attack on the $1 trillion agriculture sector would have devastating economic, social, and political fallout, and it is critical to promote engagement and awareness in the biosecurity debate.

CEQ’s Goldfuss Featured in Women’s Event – The Women’s Energy Network will host a lunch on Thursday October 8th with Christy Goldfuss, Managing Director at the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

Borenstein, Holt, Mann Headline Penn State Science Forum – Penn State University will hold a forum on October 13th at 7:00 p.m. to discuss Science, climate and energy policy.  The panel will feature former Rep. and Princeton Physicist Rush Holt, controversial climate scientist Michael Mann, AP Science report Seth Borenstein and Penn State energy center director Peter Hudson.

Rogers Headlines New Energy Summit – The 2016 New Energy Summit will be held in Washington at the House of Sweden on October 17-18, 2016 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 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.

CIBO Meeting Set – The Council of Industrial Boiler Owners (CIBO) will hold its annual meeting on October 18-19th 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.

Engineers Conference Set for OK – The 34th USAEE/IAEE Conference will be held in Tulsa, OK on October 23-26.  The conference will provide an extensive debate and discussion, based on solid research and evidence, to facilitate deeper and broader understanding of the energy transformation for North America and the rest of the world.  The Tulsa conference will bring together business, government, academic and other professionals to explore these themes through a series of plenary, concurrent, and poster sessions. Speakers will address current issues and offer ideas for improved policies taking full account of the evolution of the North American energy sector and its implications for the rest of the world. There also will be offsite tours to provide a direct and close-up perspective on Oklahoma’s dynamic energy landscape.

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.