May 23 Energy Update: MACT ATTACT, NatGas Frack Flack, Lax On/Lax Off
Can't believe it is already the week of Memorial Day. And that means, official Washington begins its annual power shift to the Summer Capitol: the Delaware/Maryland Beaches… While I am very exciting to finally break out the pastel-colored linen pants this weekend, I am most looking forward to the exciting NCAA lacrosse Final Four which featured the four lower seeds knocking out all the top seeds over the weekend. It will be an awesome weekend of lacrosse in Baltimore with Maryland taking on Duke and Virginia meeting Denver. BTW, my BYU friends Jeff Holmstead, Mike Olsen, et. al will also get on me if I don’t mention that the Cougars won the 2011 Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association National Championship Saturday night defeating the Arizona State Sun Devils 10-8 in Commerce City, CO. The win gives BYU its fourth National Championship, tying them for most in league history. The victory was sealed by a goal in the last minute from Jeff's UVa Law School-bound assistant John Harding's little bro, Andrew. Just lettin' you know because I don't want to get on the bad side of the Book of Mormon, even when its just laxin'.
AWEA's WINDPOWER 2011 Conference & Exhibition began in Anaheim, CA with opening events last night. Unfortunately, I will not be there this year for the first time since 2005. Still, there are lots of news items related to the conference so if you need assistance, please let me know. Speakers will include Ted Turner, Jay Leno and our friend Rick Needham, Director of Green Business Operations and Strategy at Google. Of course, Needham is one of the key players in the Atlantic Wind Connection offshore backbone transmission project that was just approved by FERC on Thursday.
Tomorrow, I will host and moderate a natural gas Newsmaker for the Press Club's Newsmaker's Committee at 10:00 a.m. in the Lisagor Room. Anti-drilling activist Adrian Kuzminski and Resources for the Future (RFF) official Alan Krupnick will discuss the challenges, impacts and need for natural gas drilling. Although they are not on the panel, I do expect a number of good industry resources to be available for interested reporters. The next day at AEI at 1:00 p.m., our friend Ken Green will also host an event on natgas drilling featuring Ronald Bailey of Reason Magazine, EDF's Mark Brownstein, Tim Considine of the University of Wyoming and NRDC's Amy Mall.
Also tomorrow, the EPA holds two of its Mercury MACT hearings in Philadelphia and Chicago. It will hold a third on Thursday in Atlanta. My colleague Scott Segal will be testifying on behalf of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council (ERCC) at 10:50 a.m. in Philly. Last week, EPA admitted mathematical errors in newly proposed limits on mercury from coal-fired power plants than increased the threshold limits by 1,000 fold, all-the-while denying requests for additional comment time. (More details below) As mentioned last week, some experts suspect, EPA is in a big hurry to move this forward before it gets caught in the political net of 2012. Please let us know if you are attending one of the meetings and need anything.
Since this is Commissioning Week at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, the Blue Angels will shut down the town on Wednesday afternoon to perform their annual air show like no other. It truly is one of the coolest things you'll ever see if you can make it out.
Thursday, we return to work for the Senate Energy mark up that will focus on pending legislation, including items to would address onshore and offshore drilling policies and focus on environmental and safety regulation and oversight of offshore drilling, among several other topics.
Finally, with another Presidential candidate announcing today, I just wanted to remind those of you who may be thinking about environmental issues, candidate positions and their impact on the election, we are here to help. Remember, environmental issues only truly have minor impacts on the election generally and the electorate's impression of candidates. That said, I am encouraging you to thik twice before engaging in the handwringing on whether a candidate supports/supported this or that policy. We have already seen this with media and advocates lamenting the impacts of a Gingrich meeting with Nancy Pelosi on climate or others' support for cap & trade proposals that died last year. It is a long road until November 2012, and for the most part, these issues won't matter all that much. As usual, happy to help on any of these and other items…Call with questions.
C. (202) 997-5932
IN THE NEWS
Bracewell Lobbyist in 'Top 40 Under 40' – Bracewell lobbyist Dee Martin was named Washingtonian Magazine's "Top 40 Lobbyists Under 40" this week. Martin, 38, but who doesn't look at day older than 29, was praised for her lobbyist/businesswoman hybrid approach. In addition to advocating for energy, national-security, and financial-services clients, she also set up two nonprofit organizations and spearheaded the restructuring Bracewell's GR shop this year. One of the organizations she cofounded with former White House press secretary Dana Perino and others – Minute Mentoring – matches young women seeking career advice with accomplished female professionals.
AWC Project Gets FERC Greenlight – In its regular meeting late last week, FERC moved to greatly enhance and improve transmission development to support America in reaching renewable energy development needs. FERC's orders provide a boost to new transmission projects like the Atlantic Wind Connection that require large sums of capital that are totally at risk. The Atlantic Wind Connection investment in the Mid-Atlantic States will create thousands of offshore wind development jobs and expand the reliability and security of the electric grid. Commissioners unanimously granted an overall return on equity (ROE) of 12.59 percent, which includes 250 basis points in incentive ROE adders. FERC also granted Atlantic Wind’s requests for other incentives, such as inclusion of 100 percent of construction work in progress (CWIP) in rate base, the opportunity to recover 100 percent of prudently incurred costs if the project is abandoned for reasons outside the company’s control and a hypothetical capital structure based on 60 percent equity and 40 percent debt. The incentives do not take effect until the project is approved under the transmission planning process managed by PJM, the region's independent grid operator. FERC provides these incentives to encourage much-needed investment in transmission and acknowledges the high risk of developing new transmission.
AWC Execs Pleased With FERC Approach – Here were the comments of AWC execs: Bob Mitchell, AWC CEO (202-258-0960): "This is an important and significant step forward to build the interstate electric super highway necessary for offshore wind to reach scale. The Atlantic Wind Connection project will allow thousands of megawatts of clean power to efficiently connect to the PJM transmission grid, while spurring the creation of thousands of clean energy jobs and improving the reliability and security of the power grid in the Mid-Atlantic. We are gratified and appreciate that the Commissioners recognize the important benefits this project will provide in furthering the efficient and timely development of offshore wind in New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. AWC project attorney Eli Farrah, of Dewey LeBoeuf, LLC, who is guiding the project through the FERC approval process: FERC's order clears the way for the AWC project to maintain the strong financial foundation necessary to move the project along its development path. The certainty this order will provide for consumers, states, grid managers, wind developers and investors will help reduce the significant risks for this necessary, but first-of-kind project."
Right-of-way Filed With Interior Last Month – Last month, the AWC project filed a right-of-way application with the DOI’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement. In a recent Congressional hearing, BOEMRE Director Michael Bromwich indicated support for the AWC project and said “it’s on a fast track.”
More on the Transmission Backbone Project – AWC originally filed its petition with FERC regarding its backbone transmission project in December. Announced in October, the AWC project is the super highway for potential offshore wind energy along the Mid-Atlantic coast. AWC will help industry create tens of thousands of jobs, improve consumer access to clean energy sources, strengthen national security and increase the reliability of the Mid-Atlantic region's existing power grid. Moreover, it will enable thousands megawatts of offshore wind to be developed distant from land. The project is led by Trans-Elect and is financed by Good Energies, Google and Marubeni Corporation. AWC’s FERC filing details the project’s vital economic, reliability and national security benefits to citizens living in the Mid-Atlantic region – and beyond. In the original filing, a Brattle Study of the AWC project said it will generate $9-15 billion of benefits – which far exceeds the backbone's cost – while making the regional grid stronger and more efficient by offering enormous economic, reliability and congestion-relief benefits, as well as significant cost savings. The original filing also details important national security benefits that will strengthen America’s national security through improvements to the electric grid. As noted in the Brattle Study, the development of 7,000 MW of offshore wind will provide enough power to serve over 2 million households, as well as remove removing 16 tons of CO2 each year or taking 3 million cars off the highways.
EPA Admits Error in Utility MACT, Rejects Requests for Delay – Late last week, EPA said it made mathematical errors in newly proposed limits on mercury from coal-fired power plants. Analysts determined that EPA had overestimated the removal efficiency for mercury by a factor of 1000 given a statistical transcription error, likely the product of the Agency's hurry-up offense to get the proposal out and the lack of real quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) that it entailed. Curiously, the Agency rejected requested to extend the comment period and responded with a simple note saying that 1000 times errors are "okay by them" – heck, that they're part of the statistical variability the Agency expects. It's margin of error. I certainly wish that I had them as an instructor in my college and MBA math/statistics courses. All we know is that industry is not really permitted such errors and would at least have to explain itself and go back to the drawing board if such errors were present. As mentioned last week, some experts suspect, EPA is in a big hurry to move this forward before it gets caught in the political net of 2012. Last week in this update, we reported that the ERCC filed the most complete request to date for additional time to comment on the Utility MACT rulemaking. This week, we will have available Scott's testimony which will feature similar arguments. Meantime, you can see Scott Segal on Utility MACT before House Energy and Commerce from April 7th. Also, Southern Company's Tom Fanning and DTE's Tony Early testified before the House Energy and Commerce, April 15th. Finally Jeff Holmstead testified before House Judiciary on May 4th.
NETL Study Says NatGas is Cleaner Than Coal – Late last week, the National Energy Technology Lab (NETL) presented new findings at Cornell University during a lecture series on unconventional natural gas development. The presentation summarizes the life cycle analysis (LCA) greenhouse gas (GHG) research on natural gas extraction and delivery in the United States and a comparison of the life cycle GHG profiles of average natural gas and coal-fired power production and delivery to an end-user. Last month, Cornell professor Robert Howarth created a stir when he released a study that showed that emissions from natural gas power are worse than coal power when you consider the life-cycle of the operation. NETL’s Timothy Skone presented findings that show natural gas power generation has a far lower global warming impact than coal-based electricity. The NETL study shows that gas is cleaner even under the most pessimistic assumptions about the global warming impacts of methane emissions from natural gas production. Skone said natural gas power has half the lifecycle global warming potential when compared to the average coal power, methane considered.
LA Times Editorial Underscores Enviros Worries About Rollbacks – The backtracking and pressure on major environmental regulations has the environment community worried. Not only have they seen significant pullback on climate, ozone, coal ash and boiler MACT, they are now worrying publicly that the Obama Administration won't go to the mat to defend major environmental rules that are getting hammered by industry and GOP lawmakers. Earthjustice attorney and frequent EPA rule litigator Jim Pew told Robin Bravender at POLITICO it clearly is a situation where the agency is making its decision based on "political expedience, not principle. And once you get onto that slippery slope, where do you stop?" Then, Friday, The Los Angeles Times in an editorial poured gasoline on to kindling worries: "Shortly after his party's 'shellacking' in the midterm election, President Obama ordered government agencies to ensure that new regulations took economic growth into consideration and that old ones be revoked if they 'stifle job creation or make our economy less competitive.' Five months later, it's becoming pretty clear what he meant: The environment and public health will be thrown under a bus for the sake of his reelection in 2012."
AWEA Makes Recommendations to Improve USFWS Wildlife Proposals – The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) called both the Draft Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines and the Draft Eagle Conservation Plan Guidance unworkable and made dozens of detailed recommendations to improve the documents in extensive comments sent to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). The wind energy industry has a long and proud history of environmental responsibility, voluntarily agreeing to hold itself to a higher standard for wildlife study, mitigation and protection. The Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition also submitted saying they support the responsible development of the nation’s energy resources, but we are concerned that the FWS’s proposed guidelines on land-based wind energy development and eagle conservation guidance, if adopted, would put at risk many wind energy projects without achieving benefits beyond those available from previously developed guidelines. Interestingly, joint comments were also submitted by AWEA along with key conservation organizations, including Defenders of Wildlife, Audubon, Sierra Club, Union of Concerned Scientists, and Mass Audubon. The thrust of the comments and is a recommendation to return to the substance of the consensus recommendations of the USFWS Wind Turbine Guidelines Federal Advisory Committee (FAC). The FAC was created by the Department of the Interior and composed of wildlife conservation organizations, state wildlife agencies, and wind industry representatives, among others. The FAC worked for over two-and-a-half years and submitted the resulting consensus recommendations to Secretary Salazar in March 2010. Unfortunately, the USFWS draft guidelines deviate significantly from the consensus FAC recommendations in key areas including the role of USFWS in the review process, the scope and duration of pre-and post-construction studies, and the scope of covered species and covered impacts, among others. In the draft guidelines, the USFWS does not offer any explanation for the changes nor does the agency explain what additional conservation benefit would be provided. The USFWS draft policies jeopardize more than 34,000 megawatts of wind power projects, over 27,500 jobs, $103 million in potential landowner revenue, and $68 billion in investment. I wrote a recent column on this topic which is posted on the B&G Energy Blog.
VA, TX, Alaska, Industry Challenge GHG Endangerment Issue – Legal briefs were due Friday to challenge EPA's decision to label greenhouse gases a danger to public health and several state opponents submitted their challenges. Our friends at POLITICO report the details and I have the briefs from Virginia, Texas and Alaska (teamed up with the Chamber of Commerce, American Petroleum Institute and National Association of Manufacturers). B&G expert Jeff Holmstead says the petitioners have a steep hill to climb, but are making necessary policy arguments to underscore that the Clean Air Act is not the appropriate tool for regulating GHGs.
Economic Experts Move to NERA – Well known, respected economists Dr. Anne E. Smith and Dr. W. David Montgomery have joined NERA Consulting's Energy, Environment, and Network Industries Practice. Smith and Montgomery are internationally recognized experts on environmental and energy economics, with extensive experience in industries electricity, natural gas, coal, and oil. Before joining NERA, they were with Charles River Associates; Smith was formerly Practice Leader of Climate & Sustainability and Montgomery was formerly co-head of the Energy and Environment Practice. Smith is an expert in environmental policy assessment and corporate compliance strategy planning, specializing in market impact analysis, risk management, integrated policy assessment, and especially the design and performance of emissions trading programs. Smith has analyzed most major air quality policy issues, including global climate change, multi-pollutant policy, particulate matter ambient standards, regional haze, mercury, and acid deposition. Montgomery is an expert on the economic issues associated with climate change policy, and testifies as an expert witness in state and federal courts on antitrust and damages cases dealing with petroleum and natural gas markets. His scholarly work is frequently published in peer-reviewed journals, and Congressional committees have requested his testimony on climate change, issues affecting oil and gas markets, and other energy market and environmental issues on numerous occasions. He advises clients on the strategic implications of changes in energy and environmental policies and energy markets.
THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK:
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. A special keynote speaker was also announced recently. Our friend Rick Needham, Director of Green Business Operations and Strategy, Google, will speak during the General Session on Tuesday. Needham of course is one of the key players in the Atlantic Wind Connection offshore backbone transmission project mention at the top of the report.
House Energy to Look at Keystone, National Security – The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing at 3:00 p.m. today to discuss draft legislation aimed at forcing the Obama Administration to rule on the Keystone XL project before November 1st. The planned pipeline has been delayed by a fight from NIMBYs and anti-oil sands enviro groups. The project has the potential to generate thousands of jobs and new product for U.S. refineries, making it a valuable supplement to the expanded domestic production. The Committee says the hearing will address 1) the role Canadian crude oil plays in U.S. markets, 2) the national security significance of Canadian crude imports, 3) the economic impact of Keystone XL construction, 4) the environmental concerns raised by the proposed pipeline and 5) the process experienced by TransCanada in seeking a Presidential Permit. The Committee Legislation discussion draft’s goal is aimed at providing certainty in the agency's decision-making. Witnesses will include Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board Chairman Dan McFadyen. Alex Pourbaix of TransCanada, IHS Cambridge Energy Research's James Burkhard, consultant Murray Smith, Stephen Kelly of the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters and NWF's Jeremy Symons.
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. tomorrow in the club's Lisagor Room to discuss the challenges, impacts and need for natural gas drilling. Experts to discuss this issue will be anti-drilling activist Adrian Kuzminski and Resources for the Future (RFF) official Alan Krupnick. Kuzminski argues that the cumulative evidence on the impacts of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas shows it is bad public policy because the risks, harm and costs of the practice so far outweigh its benefits that it should not be allowed. Krupnick, who runs RFF's energy center, has done research on the economic and environmental implications of newly accessible shale reserves. One of his findings is that, absent other policy such as carbon price, more shale raises total U.S. carbon emissions because it will displace high-cost renewable sources and nuclear power rather than coal. As a member of the Newsmaker Committee, I will host and moderate the event.
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.
Jackson, Hayes Grilled at House Oversight on Gas Prices – The House Oversight Committee will hold a hearing at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow in 2154 Rayburn to discuss Administration policies that suppress domestic production of oil and gas. Witnesses will feature EPA's Lisa Jackson and Interior's David Hayes who will be on the hot seat to defend the Administration. On Wednesday at 9:30 a.m., OIRA head Cass Sunstein appears before the full committee for a hearing on unfunded mandates, regulatory burdens and OIRA's role. Then at 1:30 p.m., the Reg Affairs panel will look at the role of monetary policy and the Fed in gas prices. Witnesses include AEI's Vincent Reinhart, Institute for Energy Research economist Robert Murphy and Wannemacher Total Logistics President Greg Wannemacher.
House Resources Panel to Look at Nav Gen Plant Impacts, Minerals – The House Natural Resources Committee's Subcommittee on Water & Power and Subcommittee on Indian & Alaska Native Affairs will hold a joint subcommittee oversight hearing tomorrow 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. Earlier in the day, the Energy panel will hold a hearing on domestic mineral supplies and demands. Retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Robert Latiff of the National Materials Advisory Board will lead the witnesses so look for a discussion of Rare Earths, as well as others critical for advanced technologies and clean energy systems.
House Energy Panel to Mark Up Legislation – Following a recent hearing on the subject, the House Energy and Power panel of Energy and Commerce will mark up legislation tomorrow morning that would alter the Clean Air Act to ease the permitting process for offshore drilling. Those air permits would be spared from review by the Environmental Appeals Board, which has endlessly delayed Shell operation in Alaska over minor air issues for a drilling project at sea. Our own Jeff Holmstead (202-828-5852) and Rich Alonso (202-828-5861) are expert in the matter. The panel will also move forward on another bill that forms a commission of Cabinet-level officials to study the cumulative economic impact of EPA rules on the power sector. The bipartisan measure from Reps. John Sullivan (OK) and Jim Matheson (UT) focuses on "trainwreck" of proposed rules that impact coal power plants.
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 tomorrow in Philadelphia and Chicago and Thursday 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 Thursday hearing will be held in the EPA Region IV offices at the Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center. The three public hearings will convene at 9:00 a.m. and continue until 8:00 p.m. On the Utility MACT issue, remember that last week analysts from industry determined that EPA had overestimated the removal efficiency for mercury by a factor of 1000 given a statistical transcription error, likely the product of the Agency's hurry-up offense to get the proposal out and the lack of real quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) that that entailed. Curiously, the Agency responded with a simple note saying that 1000 times errors are ok by them – heck, that they are part of the statistical variability the Agency expects; it's margin of error, as it were. All we know is that industry is not really permitted such errors and would at least have to explain itself and go back to the drawing board if such errors were present. You can expect this issue and other process concerns – like the very short comment and hearing process – to be at issue in the hearings on May 24 and 26. Just to refresh your memory, you can everybody's memory, you can see Scott Segal on Utility MACT before House Energy and Commerce. Also, Southern Company's Tom Fanning and DTE's Tony Early testified before the House Energy and Commerce, April 15th. Finally Jeff Holmstead testified before House Judiciary on May 4th.
Forum to Look at Water, Energy Nexus – The New American Foundation will present a forum tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. on the Water-Energy Nexus, a critical business, security, and environmental issue, but has not yet received the attention that it merits. Energy production consumes significant amounts of water and vice versa. The evolution of both traditional and renewable energy production toward potentially more water-intensive technologies risks intensifying the demands on water resources. Newer technologies are being developed to reduce water consumption; however, they are generally expensive, can reduce efficiency, and will need time before they can be commercially available at scale. Now --as energy policies are being considered around the world-- is the window of opportunity to include water on the agenda alongside cost, carbon, and security considerations. What do businesses, the military, policy makers, and the media need to know about managing trade-offs between water and energy? Featured speakers include Michele Wucker of the World Policy Institute and Diana Glassman, a consultant to EBG Capital. Both are co-Authors of "The Water Energy Nexus."
RFF to Look at China, Indonesia Emissions – Resources for the Future will hold another forum in its Academic Series tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. in its 7th Floor Conference Center featuring Michael T. Rock looking at saving energy and the environment while growing China’s energy intensive industries. An expert on Indonesia, Rock is looking for lesson for that country as it grows. Rock argues there are other reasons for thinking that Indonesia might learn something from China—both the CO2 intensity of GDP and industry have been rising in Indonesia while they are falling in China. While some of the declines in China are, no doubt, a legacy of its energy intensive socialist development strategy, China’s better intensity performance also appears to be a result of a better technological catch-up industrial development strategy, its willingness to raise energy prices, its willingness to liberalize domestic markets and open the economy to trade and investment, and its ability to mount and successfully implement a massive energy saving program.
Forum to Look at Green Power – The German Marshall Fund of the United States and the Heinrich Böll Foundation will hold an afternoon discussion at 4:00 p.m. on the role the donor community can play in promoting green growth in developing countries through the transformation of energy systems. This roundtable discussion will focus on the successful examples of smart energy policies in developing countries and consider ways that these insights can inform the strategic funding decisions the donor community will need to make over the coming years. The discussion will be informed by the new Working Paper by WRI, entitled “Grounding Green Power,” that surveys existing renewable energy policies in developing countries and outlines the successes, challenges, and barriers they have experienced. The paper was supported by the German government’s Transatlantic Climate Bridge initiative. Speakers will include WRI's Manish Bapna and Lutz Weischer, as well as Adviser to the Sri Lankan Minister of Power and Energy Asoka Abeygunawardana, USAID's William Breed, Jens Haarlov of the World Bank Group and WWF's Keya Chatterjee.
Forum to Look at ESA Case Studies – The Endangered Species Coalition and American Academy for the Advancement of Science will host a forum at 6:00 p.m. tomorrow in the AAAS Auditorium as two former AAAS Science and Technology Fellows discuss their experience with both the science and politics of the Endangered Species Act. Joe Roman explores the history of the Act, from its creation in the early 1970s to its current day use outlining compelling case studies from his new book Listed: Dispatches from America*s Endangered Species Act. Sylvia Fallon explains the politics behind the recent Congressional policy rider that removed protections from gray wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains and what it means for the future of endangered wildlife in our country.
NJ Forum to Look at Fuel Efficiency, Vehicles – National Journal energy, with environment reporter Amy Harder, are hosting a Policy Summit at the Columbus Club in Union Station on Wednesday morning to look at next steps toward fuel efficiency. In recent years, the transportation sector has forged ahead to become more fuel efficient. But without federal policies incentivizing alternative fuels such as electric vehicles and natural gas, will the private sector continue moving ahead? The forum will focus on whether the President’s goal of one million electric vehicles on the road by 2015 is realistic and what steps need to be taken in order to get us there. It will also look at what role Congress will play in the alternative fuels debate and choosing winners/losers or let the market decide. Speakers will include Senators Lamar Alexander and Ron Wyden, as well as a panel including Obama Advisor Heather Zichal, ANGA's Kathryn Clay, EEI's Tom Kuhn, Judi Greenwald of the Pew Center for Global Climate Change and Assn of Global Automakers Mike Stanton.
House Resources Swaps Wind, Solar hearing for Gas Price Focus – 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 intended to hold a second act on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. to get the wind and solar industry perspective. But that has been replaced by another topic in a series of Resources Committee hearings focused addressing gas prices and creating jobs. The committee will focus on the nation's energy development rules are affecting seniors, working families and Memorial Day vacations. No word on when the solar and wind folks will return to the table, but one suspects the switch was made because the summer driving season kicks off this weekend and most of the wind folks will still be in Cali at WINDPOWER.
AEI Forum to Look at HF, NatGas – The American Enterprise Institute will hold a panel discussion o Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. to weigh the pros and cons of hydraulic fracturing, a technology that is either our saving energy grace or a troubling new threat to environmental quality. HF is an old technique to tap a veritable sea of natural gas has ignited new controversy in the news, at regulatory agencies, and in the courts. HF, applied in a novel way to shale and other dense mineral formations, has unlocked natural-gas potential in the United States and other parts of the world that have historically been considered poor prospects for producing their own fossil fuels. But concerns have arisen that hydraulic fracturing could contaminate groundwater and pollute the air, and environmental groups worry that the chemicals used in "fracking" could lead to greater exposure to toxic substances. Our friend Ken Green will moderate a panel that includes Ronald Bailey of Reason Magazine, EDF's Mark Brownstein, Tim Considine of the University Of Wyoming and NRDC's Amy Mall.
Stern to Focus on UN Climate Talks at House Foreign Affairs – The Foreign Affairs Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee will hear testimony from U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern on the status of the U.N. climate talks on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. Other witnesses will include former Clinton climate official Elliot Diringer of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, Daniel Twining of the German Marshall Fund of the United States and AEI's Steven Hayward.
Forum to Look at Climate Adaptation Strategies – The Association of Climate Change Officers will hold its Adaptation Working Group first public meeting on Wednesday 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.
Senate Energy to Mark Up Oil, Gas Legislation – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources meets at 10:00 a.m. Thursday to mark up legislation related to oil and gas development, including items to would address onshore and offshore drilling policies and focus on environmental and safety regulation and oversight of offshore drilling. Other measures on the docket include a 2009 bill that creates a new federal agency to finance clean energy projects, one from Alaskans Murkowski and Mark Begich promoting development of marine and hydrokinetic energy resources -- like ocean currents and waves – through research, testing and certification of the new technologies and a couple of bills aimed at advancing carbon capture technologies.
THE WEEKS AHEAD:
Pace to Hold NY Conference on Financing Efficiency – The Pace Energy and Climate Center will hold a conference on June 1 in Manhattan to look at financing and promoting energy efficiency in the commercial building sector. The conference will be held at Pace Plaza and feature industry, environmental and financial experts.
RFF Panel to Look at Adapting to Climate – Resources for the Future will hold a panel on Wednesday, June 1st at 12:45 p.m. in its First Floor Conference Center on U.S. policy options for adapting to climate change. The nation’s landscapes and cities will experience both negative and positive impacts from a changing climate. The challenge for effective climate adaptation is to form federal policies that are flexible enough to address diverse impacts in distinct regions of the country. A single, overarching government policy cannot contend with every need or problem; at the same time, the federal government still has a significant and critical role to play. RFF researchers recently completed a major study investigating potential policy options for the federal government’s response to climate adaptation, the results of which will be presented at the June First Wednesday Seminar. Speakers will lay out the key findings important for domestic adaptation policy development, then showcase three salient areas of concern that highlight the complexity and magnitude of the challenges the nation faces in adjusting to shifting climatic conditions. RFF's Daniel Morris moderates a panel that includes CEQ's Cathleen Kelly, University of Georgia professor Alan Covich, risk management expert Erwann Michel-Kerjan of the Wharton School and James Neumann of Industrial Economics.
CSIS Forum to Focus on Clean Energy Trends – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program and the Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis will hold a discussion of the geopolitical implications of current clean energy trends on Wednesday, June 1st at 2:00 pm. The session will begin with a presentation on the trends and state of the clean energy economy, looking at clean energy penetration, finance, and policy support across the globe. This will be followed by a discussion on the traditional geopolitical and market challenges facing clean energy technologies, emerging characteristics of the clean energy economy, and challenges of moving forward. Speakers include Bloomberg New Energy Finance CEO Michael Liebreich, former IEA executive director Claude Mandil and Doug Arent of the Joint Institute for Strategic Analysis
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.
Boyden Gray to Speak at Georgetown on Energy – Georgetown University will host an Alumni reunion lecture by C. Boyden Gray on Saturday, June 4th at 2:00 p.m. in the ICC Auditorium Description to discuss energy and America's future. Gray, former Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy at the Mission of the United States to the European Union, say the US is almost drowning in homemade alternatives to oil--cars that can be powered by natural gas, biofuels and electricity---but questions the will to change existing regulations to permit the conversion.
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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