May 16 Energy Update: Drilling For A New Tune
Boy, do I feel better now that The Donald is not running for President. He never had the hair anyway when you compare him to Mitt and Newt. Knowing the field must have four-letter names that end in "t", he converted his and it said "Dont". That may have been the deciding factor.
The weekend's great sports activities (Hockey/Basketball playoffs, The Players Championship, NCAA lacrosse) were disturbed by the President weighing in on expanding offshore drilling during his weekly radio address. Perhaps, it is a sign that the oil company execs did better than expected on Capitol Hill. If you were there, you know what I mean. The hearing didn't go that well for those on the attack over gas prices. Of course, that probably doesn't matter to most in the Senate who are pursuing a vote on stripping the companies' incentives/subsidies.
The action is expected this week, but just like with any action in the Senate, we can't be too sure about the timing. Democrats want to eliminate $20 billion in tax benefits for the five largest private oil companies over the next decade and use the money to reduce the deficit. One would expect some procedural maneuvering to expand the range of incentive/subsidy eliminations. Also interesting: how quickly many Democrats have become interested in deficit reduction rather than investments in clean energy.
Doesn't sound like any measure has enough votes to cross the high hurdle of 60 votes, but the runaround should make for some useless political tail-chasing, news stories, lobbying and all-around fun. We'll be around to comment or offer our political insights should you need it.
While the action in the Senate goes round and round, the House is in recess. Not to be outdone though, House Energy full Committee Chair Fred Upton and Energy subpanel Chair Ed Whitfield will visit Louisiana Wednesday through Friday on a tour led by Committee colleague, Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise. Our friends at The Hill report the trip will include meetings with energy industry officials Wednesday, a day-long visit Thursday to a Chevron deepwater drilling platform, and a Friday boat tour of the Louisiana coast. Bet we could have got them a ride on the Helix Producer if they wanted one to check out a containment system.
Today, the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council (ERCC) has filed the most complete request to date for additional time to comment on the Utility MACT rulemaking. The letter compares the short comment period offered by the Agency for this very expensive rule with the more generous periods offered for other more reasonable rules. It points to errors in the rule and to flexibility in the settlement agreement. It is a good, solid run-through of problems with the Utility MACT proposal in an easy-to-read form. Let me know if you would like a copy and I will send it.
Finally, No winners on last week's trivia questions… A few had a few correct answers, but no one could get them all. Now I have all these Energy update T-shirts that, like my 2011 Detroit Red Wing Stanley Cup Champions shirt, will be going to some developed country. Anyway, here are the answers:
1: Who was the last Triple Crown winner and when? Affirmed, 1978
2: Politician that took credit for reducing oil prices after House passed energy legislation? Rep. Michael Burgess
3: Composer of Dueling Banjos and what movie was it famously used in? Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith, used in Deliverance
4: Can you name the 19-turbine wind project that has been underdevelopment since 2001? Highland New Wind
5: Can you name the coach of the #6 seeded Loyola U. Lady Greyhounds? Former Maryland All-American Jen Adams
Extra Credit: Internet invited by? Al Gore
Call with questions.
C. (202) 997-5932
OVER THE WEEKEND
President Drilling For New Message – President Obama said in his weekly address that he plans to expand drilling in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico and speed up evaluation of potential oil and gas resources along the Eastern Seaboard. The President also committed to extend Gulf of Mexico leases that got caught in the Administration's moratorium quagmire last year. GOP critics have been pressuring the President on drilling and high gas prices have had on impact as the blame on the oil companies message hasn't resonated as well as hoped.
Industry Looking for Actions, Not Words – Jim Noe, shallow water drilling proponent said if Administration policy proceeds along these lines, this is great news for the men and women who work in the Gulf, and for all Americans that need safe, affordable, reliable and clean energy supplies. Noe also added the devil is in the details. Noe: "We have heard promises to address permitting activities in the past. Unfortunately, expectations have been raised before by the Administration - for example, when the drilling moratorium was 'lifted' but then new drilling permits were not issued." Noe also said as the President committed to extending those expiring permits impacted by the moratorium that he assumes that it will also apply to shallow-water permits not subject to the official moratorium but every bit as delayed by the permit slow-walking that constituted a de facto moratorium for months. Noe: "This is the first time that the President has explicitly recognized that responsible permitting in the Gulf is part of a strategy designed to address consumer concerns at the pump. We wholeheartedly agree."
Hastings Says Prez Finally Admits Drilling Means Jobs – House Resources Chair Doc Hastings said the President is finally taking "baby steps" in the direction of those favoring drilling. Hastings said in the last week, House Republicans passed three bipartisan bills that will create 1.2 million jobs, triple American offshore oil production and generate $840 million in revenue - real action to produce real American energy. He added it’s ironic that while the White House and Congressional Democrats strongly criticized these efforts, "President Obama is now taking tiny baby steps in our direction. The President is finally admitting what Republicans have known all along - that increasing the supply of American energy will help lower prices and create jobs. One weekend address announcing minor policy tinkering, while positive, does not erase the Administration’s long job-destroying record of locking-up America’s energy resources.”
Murkowski Hopeful – Senate Energy ranking member Lisa Murkowski was positive about the President's Statement. She and fellow Alaskan Mark Begich (D) have been urged the President to speed up the process for drilling, especially in Alaska. Murkowski said she has been strongly critical of this Administration’s policies on domestic production, but wanted to give credit to the President. "I’ve had the opportunity to talk directly with him regarding the importance of Alaska’s oil reserves and the need to increase safe and responsible oil production here at home. Permitting is the single greatest obstacle to domestic production and the President’s establishment of a new team to coordinate work on Alaska drilling permits is a positive development, as is the extension of leases in the Gulf of Mexico and Chukchi Sea."
Enviros Steamed – Reaction from the environmental community was harsh. The Sierra Club blasted the president as having the very amnesia they said they didn't have last week. SC said the announcement on oil drilling from the President leads them to fear that Big Oil Amnesia might be contagious. "Drilling will do nothing to ease Americans’ pain at the gas pump, and the President missed an opportunity in his address to shed light on the root of the problem - Big Oil’s stranglehold on our economy."
IN THE NEWS
Utilities Ask for Mercury MACT Delay – The Electric Reliability Coordinating Council (ERCC) has filed the most complete request to date for additional time to comment on the Utility MACT rulemaking. The letter, addressed to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and cc'd to Air Administrator Gina McCarthy and General Counsel Scott Fulton, compares the short comment period offered by the Agency for this very expensive rule with the more generous periods offered for other more reasonable rules. It points to errors in the rule and to flexibility in the settlement agreement. It is a good, solid run-through of problems with the Utility MACT proposal in an easy-to-read form. As the document concludes: "Whether EPA proceeds with this rulemaking or re-proposes, the comment period should be 150 days, which reasonably reflects the breadth of impact, cost impact and complexity of this rule. Given the tens of billions of dollars of compliance costs that these rules will impose, EPA should ensure that it has respected all statutory and constitutional procedural requirements in its administrative process." Let me know if you would like a copy and I will send it.
Union asks for Delays in Rule – Speaking of Utility MACT, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers said today it is urging EPA to delay new mercury rules from Coal-fired power plants. IBEW urged Congress to give utilities an extra five or six years to clean up or shut down their oldest coal plants. IBEW President Edwin Hill said tens of thousands of union jobs are at stake. If the new rules force older coal plants to be retired, about 50,000 workers in the utility, mining and railroad industries could lose their jobs. The 720,000-member union represents 220,000 employees of electric, natural gas and water utilities, including about 20,000 workers at coal-fired power plants and others at the railroads that deliver their coal.
EPA to Reconsider Parts of Cement Rule – The EPA has decided to reconsider some aspects of its new standards on hazardous air pollution from cement plants. In a notice signed by Administrator Lisa Jackson, the agency said it will look into some of the concerns that were raised after the package of two rules was finalized last September. The NESHAP rule will require portland cement facilities to limit emissions of mercury, total hydrocarbons, hydrochloric acid and particulate matter. As written, the proposed rule would be devastating to the U.S. cement industry. The U.S. cement industry already faces extreme pressure from foreign competitors that do not have to comply with rigorous environmental or labor standards. Requiring U.S. cement manufacturers to comply with the MACT approach will result in much higher manufacturing costs and will further undermine the ability for U.S. cement to compete with unregulated foreign products. Further, because adopting all of the emissions control technologies in the rule is neither practical nor economically feasible, it is likely that many U.S. cement jobs will have be relocated to foreign locations. In addition to the NESHAP, there are numerous additional regulatory requirements anticipated to affect the industry during the coming years. For example, on June 4, 2010, EPA proposed definition rules for commercial and industrial solid waste incinerator (CISWI). This rule could undermine the statistical foundation of the NESHAP rule by switching classification of cement facilities from NESHAP facilities to CISWI-regulated facilities and obviating every one of the calculations that EPA relied upon to establish the NESHAP standards. Compliance with current and proposed EPA regulations for the cement industry could add a minimum of $26 per ton to domestic cement production costs by 2020.
EPA to Extend Boiler MACT Comments to July 15 – As previously announced, EPA is seeking additional public feedback and gathering more information on the final standards for boilers and certain solid waste incinerators that were issued in February 2011 and will accept additional data and information on these standards until July 15th. These additional opportunities for public input will ensure that any final standard will be informed by input and feedback from key stakeholders, including the public, industry, and public health communities. Following the April 2010 proposals, the agency received more than 4,800 comments from businesses and communities, including a significant amount of information that industry had not provided prior to the proposals. Based on this input, EPA made extensive revisions to the standards, and in December 2010 requested additional time for review to ensure the public’s input was fully addressed. The court only granted EPA 30 days, resulting in the February 2011 final rules. The agency is reconsidering the standards because the public did not have sufficient opportunity to comment on these changes, and, as a result, further public review and feedback is needed. Lisa Jaeger (202-828-5844 or CIBO's Bob Bessette (703-250-9042) can offer insights.
Stossel Looks at Marcellus Gas Issue – John Stossel, 30-year news veteran and star of the Fox Business Channel's weekly, hour-long program, will featured a show on “Who Will Keep the Lights On?” over the weekend. The show features two high profile voices on the Marcellus Shale gas development with former Pa DEP Secretary John Hanger and the Commonwealth Foundation’s president and CEO Matt Brouillette. More than a dozen leading voices who have blasted hydraulic fracturing and natural gas development were also invited to participate but declined, including Gasland director Josh Fox, which is mentioned during the broadcast. Since completing his term as DEP boss, Secretary Hanger has been an outspoken voice in some of the largest media outlets in the country on responsibly developing the Marcellus Shale, specifically on his blog here. The Commonwealth Foundation has produced a series of research papers and testimony on the vast benefits of natural gas development, tackled the subjects with a science and fact-based approach and produced a series of informative and sometimes entertaining videos on Marcellus Shale that can be viewed here or by following the link below. To see a sampling of their written materials and presentations on natural gas and the Marcellus Shale click here or follow the link below.
Interior Finalizes Accelerated Lease Process for Offshore Wind – The Interior Department finalized a rule to speed up non-competitive leases for offshore wind projects, a move that could reduce approvals by perhaps as Much as one year for leases in federal waters for wind power. The rule change is part of a broader Interior push to accelerate wind development in the Atlantic Ocean and will eliminate a redundant step in the noncompetitive leasing process.
Cape Wind Misses Loan Guarantee – The long-suffering Cape Wind project has be notified by the Department of Energy that its application for a loan guarantee cannot be completely processed by the program's Sept. 30 deadline. As result, the application will be on hold until further resources can be made available to the loan guarantee program. DOE’s Loan Program’s Office (LBO) director Jonathan Silver said it wasn't a statement about the quality of the project, but simply about its readiness to proceed at this time.” Project spokesman Mark Rodgers said Cape Wind will continue to pursue the matter as it will substantially reduce costs to Massachusetts electricity consumers.
THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK:
BPC To Host Summit on Clean Energy – The Bipartisan Policy Commission lead by former Senators Howard Baker, Tom Daschle and Bob Dole are hosting a National Summit on Advancing Clean Energy Technologies today and tomorrow at the Ronald Reagan Trade Center. Federal elected officials, senior administration officials, banking, venture capital and industry leaders, and clean energy experts will look at how American innovation and competitiveness can be enhanced by leveraging our national assets—particularly our world renowned high performance computing and simulation systems. Speakers will include for National Security czar James Jones, Seimens CEO Eric Spiegel, ND Senator John Hoeven, Sen. Lamar Alexander and many others. Our friend Steve Mufson of the Washington Post moderates a panel as well.
Reilly to Discuss Deepwater Drilling at RFF – Resources for the Future will hosted a Policy Leadership Forum today at Noon with Bill Reilly. Reilly recently served as co-Chair of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling and will discuss the path to safe offshore drilling one year after the Deepwater Horizon Disaster. Reilly also was EPA administrator from 1989 to 1993, president of the World Wildlife Fund (1985-1989) and head of the U.S. Delegation to the United Nations Earth Summit at Rio in 1992.
CFA to Release New Consumer Survey, Analysis On Spiking Gas Prices – The Consumer Federation of America will release its latest consumer survey and report today at 1:00 p.m. that examines oil and gasoline price volatility. CFA will release the latest data on consumer attitudes towards fuel economy, oil consumption, Mideast oil dependency, support for federal government requiring car companies to increase fuel economy, willingness to pay for more fuel-efficient vehicles, as well as a new report comparing the cost of gasoline and other household energy expenses with an in-depth look at how gas prices are impacting spending and auto purchase intentions Speakers will include Mark Cooper, CFA Research Director, Jack Gillis, CFA Public Affairs Director, author The Car Book Ken McEldowney, Executive Director, Consumer Action. Call In #: 888-604-4211. A copy of the release and report will be available at 12:30 p.m. at Consumer Federation.
NJ to Host Nuclear Discussion – Two months following the Japanese nuclear crisis, National Journal will convene a panel of experts tomorrow at 8:30 at the Liaison Capitol Hill Hotel to discuss the latest on the tragedy. The discussion will focus on public health and economic implications of the disaster and what it means for U.S. consumers and businesses. Speakers will include Robert Alvarez of the Institute for Public Studies, Caroline Smith DeWaal of the Center for Science and the Public Interest, Brian Markwalter of the Consumer Electronics Assn and Marianne Rowden of the American Assn of Exporters and Importers.
Senate Energy to Discuss Oil, Gas Legislation – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources meets at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow to receive testimony on four bills related to oil and gas development. The bill include S. 516, the Lease Extension and Secure Energy Act of 2011; S. 843, the Outer Continental Shelf Permit Processing Coordination Act; S. 916, the Oil and Gas Facilitation Act of 2011 and S. 917, the Outer Continental Shelf Reform Act of 2011.
Interior to Look at Oil Spill Research – The Interior Department's BOEMRE kicks off a three-day public summit in Hyannis, Massachusetts on its internal restructuring, alternative energy promotion and Deepwater Horizon oil spill research. The OCS Scientific Committee is a public federal advisory committee of distinguished scientists. Chaired by Dr. Michael D. Fry, the Director of Conservation Advocacy for the American Bird Conservancy, the Committee consists of 15 members with expertise in biological oceanography, marine biology, social science, marine archeology and physical oceanography. Director Bromwich will update the Committee on the bureau's regulatory reform and reorganization efforts, highlighting the Department of the Interior's recently completed Scientific Integrity Policy. The meeting will include a presentation on alternative energy programs, updates of activities pertaining to the priorities of the National Ocean Policy, Atlantic Governance Councils, as well as an update of ongoing and future research pertaining to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. The Committee will also review the specific studies plans of the BOEMRE regional offices for Fiscal Years 2012-2014. My colleague Mike Olsen (202-828-5868), among others, is available to discuss.
Lubchenco to Lead Oceans Discussion at Wilson – Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will hold a forum at its Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center office on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. to look at managing the Oceans. Speakers will include Jane Lubchenco, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration. Enric Sala, Marine Ecologist, Ocean Fellow, National Geographic Society will also speak. The panel will be moderated by Thomas Lovejoy, University Professor, Environmental Science and Policy, George Mason University; and Biodiversity Chair, Heinz Center for Science, Economics, and the Environment.
NRC to Discuss Earthquake Hazards – The Nuclear Regulatory Commission meets Wednesday morning at 9:00 a.m. in Rockville to review earthquake hazards at U.S. reactors. The meeting will specifically focus on NRC's information collection needs to complete the regulatory assessment of seismic hazard estimates.
Forum to Look at Climate Adaptation – George Washington University will host a two-day conference on Wednesday and Thursday to look at adapting to climate change. Climate models indicate that the impacts of climate change will be greatest in low-income and lower-middle income regions where most of the world's poor live. Most of the limited research and planning conducted to date has focused on adaptation in advanced countries. But as is generally acknowledged, conditions in low-income countries differ markedly, calling for research and policy tailored to these countries. Focusing on adaptation in low-income countries can yield a larger benefit in terms of social welfare: the poorest of the world have limited individual, and social, flexibility and capability to cope with climate change. The conference focuses primarily on understanding what households, firms, and local communities can be expected to do "autonomously" to adapt to climate change. In addition, the conference focuses on identifying and developing frameworks to improve policymaking toward adaptation given "deep uncertainty" about the types and magnitudes of climate-induced changes. Limited systematic and focused attention has been given to either issue until now. The event is sponsored by the Institute for International Economic Policy, Department of Economics, the Center for International Science and Technology Policy, the World Bank Development Research Group, and the UNDP Environment and Energy Group.
Senate Approps to Host Chu on Energy Budget – The Senate Energy and Water appropriations panel will host DOE Secretary Steven Chu on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. in 192 Dirksen to discuss the administration's 2012 budget request. Look for lots of loan guarantee, tax incentive fireworks.
Cantwell, Others Headline Brookings Energy Forum – The Brookings Institution's Hamilton Project will Hold a day-long forum on Wednesday at the Washington Court Hotel Ballroom looking at our energy future and new solutions to fuel economic growth and prosperity. The forum will look at strategies to give all energy sources equal footing in the marketplace and expand America’s opportunities to utilize cleaner, low-cost sources of energy. A panel of economic experts, moderated by Hamilton Project Director and Brookings Senior Fellow Michael Greenstone, will present three new proposals to improve the regulations governing energy consumption and environmental quality, create a new clean energy standard and improve the federal government’s efforts to deploy new energy technologies. The Hamilton Project will also release a new paper outlining principles to help level the playing field for all energy sources—moving away from a system that favors energy sources with low prices at the pump but higher costs to society through health impacts and our ongoing reliance on foreign oil. A second panel, moderated by former Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin, will discuss the future of energy and climate change policy in the United States. Participants include Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers; Farallon Capital Management Founder Tom Steyer, co-chair of Californians for Clean Energy and Jobs; The Nature Conservancy President and CEO Mark Tercek; and former U.S. Senator John Warner, currently an adviser to the Pew Project on National Security, Energy and Climate. Following each panel, the participants will take questions from the audience. The forum will conclude with keynote remarks by U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell on "Bipartisan Solutions to America’s Energy Challenges."
NEI's Peterson to Headline Breakfast Forum – ICF International will hold another breakfast on Thursday at 8:00 a.m. as part of its Energy and Environment Series that will address Nuclear power issues featuring NEI's Scott Peterson. Nuclear power was going strong worldwide, but in the wake of Fukushima, the situation is somewhat precarious. Global responses to the situation have varied; Germany has shut down a number of reactors, China has slowed its nuclear program, while Russia has redoubled its commitment. Peterson will address what are the prospects here in the U.S., the long term prognosis for new reactors for companies are building four reactors in Georgia and South Carolina, new small modular designs, how existing plants be affected with regard to safety and reactor fuel storage and questions regarding the President’s commission on nuclear fuel disposal (due to report this fall).
Senate Energy to Discuss Alt Vehicles – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources meets at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday to receive testimony on policies to reduce oil consumption through the promotion of advanced vehicle technologies and accelerated deployment of electric-drive vehicles, as proposed in S. 734 and S. 948. Witnesses will be posted to our website.
ELI to Host NatGas Fracturing Forum – The Environmental Law Institute will hold a forum on Thursday to discuss natural gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing issues. Natural gas is at the forefront of the debate about the energy future of the U.S. It is a topic of repeated calls for America’s energy independence, and it is touted as a cleaner fuel that reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Despite these benefits, the public has become increasingly concerned about the detrimental effects of natural gas drilling on local communities and the environment. This panel discussion will address current legislative and policy developments occurring at federal and state levels, potential changes to the regulatory framework, and the overall implications for balancing energy needs with environmental protection in the future. Speaker will include NRDC's Amy Mall, Barbara Klieforth of Senator Robert P. Casey's office, and ANGA's Peter Robertson.
EPA Science Group to Discuss NatGas Fracturing Study – Speaking of hydraulic fracturing, EPA's Scientific Advisory Board will hold a public teleconference on Thursday at 1:00 p.m. on a draft plan of its much discussed study on the process. Last week, the House Science Committee weighed-in on the topic where All of the witnesses, including Dr. Paul Anastas of the EPA, conceded that not a single case of drinking water contamination has ever been substantiated in the U.S. EPA's Board has been somewhat critical of EPA's draft plan and expected to Hear continued discussion about whether EPA's process and scope are realistic given its timeline. Our HF expert Matt Armstrong (202-828-1711) will be attending and can comment on the study and the issue overall.
Wilson Forum to Look at Biofuels, Brazil – Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will hold a forum at its Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center office on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. to look at sustainability for global biofuels through tools, models, policies, and frameworks. Woodrow Wilson Center Brazil Institute Director Paulo Sotero will moderate a Panel of experts including DOE's Alison Goss Eng and experts from Conservation International, including Christine Dragisic, Lisa Famolare and Manuel Oliva.
ASE Forum to Look at Fed Gov Energy Efficiency – The Alliance to Save Energy continues its EE Noon Seminars on Thursday at Noon in its offices featuring an interactive panel moderated by Alliance President Kateri Callahan that will discuss the administration's evolving policies on energy efficiency and what agencies may anticipate in the future. Federal agencies are making great strides towards in response to the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative, OMB Sustainability Scorecard and Executive Orders. Jeff Eagan, Electronics Stewardship Coordinator for the Department of Energy, and Jerry Rutkowski, IT Efficiency expert from 1E will share how agencies are utilizing strategies like power management to tackle their energy problems and free budget to boot. EE Noon is a regular series of seminars designed to share best practices and information from industry leaders in key areas of energy efficiency, hosted by the Alliance to Save Energy.
RFF to Host UMich Prof on Climate Lifestyle – Resources for the Future (RFF) continues its Academic Series on Thursday at Noon with a discussion of a paper from University of Michigan expert Ryan Kellogg on climate change and American quality of life. This paper uses hedonic methods and variation in wages and housing costs to estimate households’ valuation of climate amenities. We find that, on the margin, households are willing to pay more to reduce heat than to reduce cold. Combining these estimates with “business as usual” climate forecasts for the United States, we find welfare losses in most areas by 2100 as the cost of hotter summers exceeds the gain from warmer winters. These results account for taste heterogeneity and sorting; moreover, they are not substantially attenuated by allowing for migration. All seminars are in the 7th Floor Conference Room at RFF.
Deloitte to Hold Energy Conference – Deloitte will host its 2011 Energy Conference in Washington, D.C. on Thursday and Friday to focus on entering a new era for energy, the environment and prosperity. The forum together energy executives, investors and regulators from around the globe for an in-depth analysis of key developments and challenges facing today's global and domestic energy markets at its annual Energy Conference. Speakers come from a cross-section of the world's energy industry, and the conference topics are of keen interest to executives, boards of directors, investors and regulators from energy and other industries significantly affected by energy developments and policy. Speakers will include former FERC commissioners Joe Kelliher and Suedeen G. Kelly, as well as Duke Power CEO Jim Rogers. Our friends Christine Tezak of RW Baird and Robbie Diamond of Securing America’s Future Energy and the Electrification Coalition will also be speaking.
Howarth, EPA, El Paso Headline Carnegie NatGas Forum – The Carnegie Endowment will host a forum on Thursday at 3:00 p.m. to discuss natural gas in a low-carbon future: challenges and opportunities. Speakers will include Robert Howarth of Cornell University, Roger Fernandez of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Fiji George of El Paso Corporation to discuss natural gas' role in fighting climate change, among other subjects. Recently Howarth released a controversial study that said natural gas had higher emissions than coal. Our friends at Energy in Depth, a pro natural gas group, blasted the Howarth study.
Achenbach at Politics, Prose on BP Spill Book – Our friend Joel Achenbach will be signing his book on Thursday night at Politics and Prose (5105 Connecticut Ave). A Hole At The Bottom Of The Sea: The Race to Kill the BP Oil Gusher features a discussion of the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon last April set in motion an environmental disaster that posed engineering challenges of unprecedented proportions. Achenbach, Washington Post columnist and National Geographic science writer, focuses on the event’s political dimension as well as on the daunting technical aspects of plugging the burst Macondo well that lay a mile below the ocean’s surface.
Forum to Look at 30 Years of OIRA – The George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center, the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration, The George Washington University School of Law, Administrative Law Review and American University Washington College of Law will hold a forum on the 30th Anniversary of the Office of Management and Budget's Office of Information and Regulatory Analysis (OIRA). Speakers will include former OIRA Administrators Christopher C. DeMuth (1981 – 1984), Wendy Lee Gramm (1985 – 1988) and S. Jay Plager (1988 – 1989), Jim Miller (1981 – 1981), Sally Katzen (1993 – 1998), John T. Spotila (1999 – 2000) and Susan Dudley (2007 – 2009). Other speakers will include deputies Jim Tozzi, Thomas Hopkins, Robert Bedell, James MacRae, Jefferson Hill, John F. Morrall, Art Fraas. Finally, current OIRA head Cass Sunstein and C. Boyden Gray will also make remarks at the end of the day-long event.
THE WEEKS AHEAD:
Wilson Forum to Look at Biogas as Renewable – Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will hold a forum at its Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center office on Tuesday, May 24th 9:00 a.m. to discuss biogas and its role as a renewable energy. China’s status as number one emitter of CO2 is fairly common knowledge, but less heralded is that China’s anthropogenic methane emissions are also first in the world. China has long used organic wastes for biogas production in the agricultural and small community sector, but the National Development and Reform Commission’s 2007 renewable energy plan set forth targets to supply at least 3-gigawatts of grid-connected electricity from middle- and large-scale biogas plants. Unlike intermittent wind and solar power, biogas is a renewable gas that is provides a base load energy supply. However, biogas faces challenges similar to other renewable projects in China in that utility power companies are not required to purchase their energy, which is more expensive then coal. Speakers will talk about the current scale and potential of biogas and the obstacles to rapid expansion. Lu Hongyan will discuss her work on developing industrialized biogas projects in China and promoting sustainable agriculture projects. Rachel Goldstein—Team Leader of the EPA Landfill Methane Outreach Program—will discuss EPA’s work as part of the Global Methane Initiative (GMI), which is an international partnership comprising 38 countries and the European Commission to promote cost-effective, near-term methane recovery and use as a clean energy source. EPA, through GMI, has assessed more than 10 landfills in China and if projects are established at these sites, their estimated potential emission reductions are at least 500,000 mtCO2e. The talk will conclude with some comments from EPA’s Brenda Doroski who will talk about EPA’s work on clean indoor air and the crucial role household biogas could play in solving serious rural health problems.
Newsmaker on Natural Gas Drilling – The National Press Club's Newsmaker's Committee will hold a Newsmaker at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday May 24th with WINDPOWER 2011 Set for Anaheim – WINDPOWER 2011 Conference & Exhibition is set for Anaheim, CA on May 22-25 in the Convention Center. Speakers will include Ted Turner, Jay Leno and many more. Stay tuned for more information as this gets closer.
CFTC's Berkovitz to Discuss Energy Markets – The Natural Gas Roundtable will host a forum at the University Club featuring Dan M. Berkovitz, General Counsel of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, to discuss oversight of energy commodity markets. Berkovitz played a key role in the CFTC’s work with Congress during its consideration of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. His activities now include providing legal assistance to the Commission as it implements the Dodd-Frank legislation. Prior to joining the CFTC, Mr. Berkovitz was Counsel to the United States Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Serving under Senator Carl Levin, he led several Subcommittee investigations into energy markets and prices, and was one of the lead staffers during Congress’s consideration and passage of legislation included in the 2008 Farm Bill to regulate the electronic trading of energy commodities.
House Resources to Look at Nav Gen Plant Impacts – The House Natural Resources Committee's Subcommittee on Water & Power and Subcommittee on Indian & Alaska Native Affairs will hold a joint subcommittee oversight hearing on Tuesday, May 24th at 2:00 p.m. on protecting long-term Tribal energy jobs. It will look at the current and future role of the Navajo Generating Station in keeping Arizona water and power costs affordable.
EPA to Hold Mercury MACT Hearings – EPA will hold three public hearings to be held for its proposed rule to address National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants from Coal and Oil-fired Electric Utility Steam Generating Units for Mercury. The public hearings will be held on May 24th in Philadelphia and Chicago and May 26th in Atlanta. The Chicago, IL, hearing will be held at the Crowne Plaza Chicago Metro in Ballroom D. The Philadelphia, PA, hearing will be held at the Westin Philadelphia in the Georgian Room. The May 26, hearing will be held in the EPA Region IV offices at the Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center (AFC) in Atlanta, GA. The three public hearings will convene at 9:00 a.m. and continue until 8:00 p.m. (local time).
Wind, Solar to Weigh In on Project Roadblocks at House Resources – Following last week's hearing on roadblocks to siting projects on public lands featuring BOEMRE Director Bromwich and BLM Director Abbey, the House Resources Committee will hold a second act on Wednesday, May 25th at 10:00 a.m. to get the wind and solar industry perspective.
Forum to Look at Climate Adaptation Strategies – The Association of Climate Change Officers will hold its Adaptation Working Group first public meeting on Wednesday, May 25th at 2:00 p.m. As organizations move forward with strategies to deal with climate change, adaptation will be an integral part of ongoing strategic and operational decision-making. The ACCO Adaptation Working Group will conduct focused intelligence gathering on the state of adaptation science and decision support methods promote adaptation educational opportunities and advise decision-makers on the implications of adaptation policy making, climate risk analysis, and related activities. The Working Group will initially focus on three areas: 1) Effectively communicating climate science and climate change impacts; 2) Integrating adaptation into business and operating risk management; and 3) Assisting members in the development of regional adaptation strategies.
AWC's Melnyk Featured at NY Energy Conference – The 6th Annual NY Institute of Technology Energy Conference will be held on Thursday, June 2nd at the NYIT de Seversky Mansion, Old Westbury, New York focused on offshore energy and technologies. Around the world, nations are turning to the vast amount of energy available along the coast line, above and beneath the water. Please join us as we examine ways to tap clean, renewable offshore energy sources. The following speakers are confirmed for the 2011 event include our friend Markian Melnyk of the Atlantic Wind Connection. Other speakers include Monique Leclerc of the University of Georgia, Habib Dagher of the University of Maine's DeepCwind Consortium, Jonathan Colby, Verdant Power, Anita Thompkins of EPA and LIPA's Michael Deering. The event will include a demonstration of the NYIT PHEV driveshare vehicle.
ELI to Host Utility MACT Debate Featuring Segal, Holmstead, Walke – The Environmental Law Institute will hold a forum on June 7th to present a debate among expert practitioners at the forefront of EPA Utility MACT Standards discussion, following their presentations in the May/June issue of The Environmental Forum. On March 16, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed new Mercury and Air Toxics Standards for coal- and oil-burning power plants under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act. EPA indicates that these standards are based on levels currently achieved by the best-performing existing power plants, and that bringing all power plants into compliance will level the playing field. Supporters point to EPA’s obligation under the Act to enact such standards, anticipated massive improvements to air quality and human health, and increased demand for jobs, materials and equipment that will benefit the economy. Others, however, question the legal basis for these standards. They predict that the rules will negatively impact almost half of U.S. electricity generation, since many coal-fired utilities will need to install new equipment or cease operations, leading to an energy crisis affecting millions of Americans in a down economy. The debate will feature Bracewell expert Scott Segal and Jeff Holmstead who will square off with NRDC's John Walke and Michael Bradley of the Clean Energy Group.
SNL to Host Power Policy Forum – The SNL Power Policy Forum will be held on June 7th at New York's Union League Club. It will bring together panels of Washington insiders to New York to clarify and opine on Federal action in the energy sector and its impact on power companies and their investors. Key topics include the impact of primacy decisions and cost allocation on the expansion of America's transmission infrastructure; Dodd-Frank, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and energy trading; the effect on utilities and the energy chain of proposed EPA revisions to the Clean Air Act; and the congressional legislative agenda under the current political regime. Speakers will include me and our friends Kevin Book of ClearView Energy Partners, Jim Lucier of Capital Alpha Partners and Christine Tezak of R.W. Baird, as well as Senate Energy Republican Staff Director McKie Campbell, PJM's Craig Glazer and FERC Commissioner Phil Moeller and others.
Esty Headlines Climate Finance Event – Former Yale Climate expert Dan Esty will headline the 2011 Climate Finance North America Forum in New York On June 14th and 15th. California’s plans to introduce a state-wide carbon trading program next year will have economic as well as environmental implications. This conference will examine the likely cost of carbon in this new cap-and-trade regime, attempt to identify the likely winners and losers, and consider the impact on other states and nations. The panel of expert speakers will also review developments in the voluntary carbon markets, international funding of climate action and new sources of finance such as climate bonds. Panelists and speakers from industry and government will include former State Deputy Secretary for Climate Change and Energy for Governor Schwarzenegger Anthony Brunello and Keynote speaker Daniel Esty, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection.
Renewable Expo Set – The 14th Annual Congressional Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency EXPO + Forum is set for Thursday, June 16th, 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. in the Cannon Caucus Room in the House of Representatives. This year’s EXPO will bring together over 50 businesses, sustainable energy industry trade associations, government agencies, and energy policy research organizations to showcase the status and near-term potential of the cross-section of renewable energy (biofuels/biomass, geothermal, solar, water, wind) and energy efficiency technologies. The morning program will feature Members of the U.S. Congress while afternoon speakers will discuss the role sustainable energy technologies can play in meeting America’s energy needs.
Finance Conference Set for NY – The 8th annual Renewable Energy Finance Forum (REFF–Wall Street) will return June 21-22 on the Waldorf Astoria in New York. At the 7th REFF-Wall Street in June 2010, over 700 attendees from 23 countries and over 480 companies assembled, defying continued economic difficulties and an uncertain legislative outlook, to debate the key challenges facing the renewable energy sector, and identify lucrative future business prospects going forward. REFF-Wall Street brings together the crème de la crème of the USA’s renewable energy industry, drawing attendees from the entire value chain, including financiers, manufacturers and developers. Speakers will include our friends Dan Reicher at Stanford and Katie McGinty, among many others.
Last Wednesday was a big milestone for people who care about public health and a livable climate. Two utilities announced the planned closure of nine coal plants.Read more ...
Today, in the UK, the world's oldest nuclear power plant shut down.Read more ...
The U.S. led the world in clean energy investment in 2011, but China retained the top spot in the latest Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index from Ernst & Young.Read more ...
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