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TRUMP’S ENERGY PLANS UNDER ATTACK FROM FRIENDS, FOES: President Trump’s energy agenda is under attack in his push to help coal, nuclear power, and renewable fuels. It's not surprising that opposition comes from the Left, but it's also coming from the president's most ardent supporters in the industry.
FERC grid plan: One of the more controversial policies Trump has proposed is a regulation that many on the Left and Right believe would up-end interstate electricity markets, managed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Energy Secretary Rick Perry fast-tracked the proposal in September by sending FERC a rule and a letter explaining how he would like to see it implemented within 60 days. The proposed rule would reward coal and nuclear plants with rate payments if they maintain 90 days of fuel onsite to ensure they can keep generating electricity during major disruptions such as hurricanes.
Oil industry backlash: There was an immediate backlash from a united oil industry, which typically supports Trump's pro-business policies, and the wind and solar industry, which hates his rejection of climate regulations.
The groups formed a coalition to try to block FERC from adopting Perry’s plan to create incentives for coal and nuclear plants.
Resistance to Trump’s support for RFS: The oil and refinery industries are also resisting the support of the Environmental Protection Agency's administrator, Scott Pruitt, for ethanol and biofuels by keeping Renewable Fuel Standard mandate intact. Supporting the standard was a Trump campaign promise.
Pruitt had floated a proposal to curtail the mandate through 2019, prompting a sharp response from Iowa's Republican senators, Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst. They mounted a big pressure campaign to get Trump and Pruitt to back down and keep the regulation that is so irksome to oil refiners.
Tax debate: Conservative groups also want the president to keep his pledge to stop Washington from using the tax code to pick winners and losers, particularly tax credits for wind power and other green technologies.
Energy exports: And then there is the issue of energy exports. If oil and natural gas exports are to keep rising, as Trump wants, so must production infrastructure. That is a priority for some of the president's most important supporters, such as oil mogul Harold Hamm, chief executive of Continental Resources.
Pipelines to move more oil from North Dakota to refiners in the East face unflagging opposition from environmental groups and climate activists, who want to stop all new fossil fuel production in pursuit, ultimately, of relying on renewables for all of America's energy.
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TRUMP TEAM SET TO PROMOTE ‘CLEAN COAL’ AT BONN CONFERENCE: The Trump administration will come off the sidelines Monday at the United Nations’ international climate change talks in Bonn, Germany, where it will host a forum urging developing countries to promote cleaner use of fossil fuels and nuclear energy.
What’s on tap: Speakers will include executives from coal giant Peabody Energy; NuScale Power, a nuclear engineering company; and Tellurian, a liquefied natural gas exporter.
George David Banks, Trump’s special assistant on energy and environment, will make introductory remarks, according to Politico. Francis Brooke, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence, will moderate the talk, which begins at 12:30 p.m. ET.
‘Highly efficient fossil fuels’: The U.S. during the conference’s first week had a small State Department delegation at the talks, but a few White House officials will join the event this week.
A White House official told reporters Friday that a key focus of administration will be promoting “universal access to affordable, reliable energy, including highly efficient fossil fuels.”
Paris not on a priority: The White House official said the the U.S. will not initiate discussion at the talks about rejoining the 2015 Paris climate change agreement, which the Trump administration has rejected.
“We are not going to address the issue,” the official said. Trump had said he was open to rejoining the deal on more economically favorable terms for the U.S.
STUDY: U.S. BECOMING A LEADER IN CLEAN COAL TECH NEEDED TO MEET PARIS GOALS: The Trump administration isn’t promoting clean coal for nothing. The U.S. is a global leader in commercializing the technology, according to a study issued Monday in Bonn.
The Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute released its latest assessment on the progress being made in developing carbon capture and storage, or CCS, technology.
Renewables won’t be enough: “Policy parity and the rapid acceleration of carbon capture and storage (CCS) facilities are imperative to meeting Paris climate change targets,” according to the study.
Brad Page, Global CCS CEO, said renewables alone are not enough to meet international climate change targets, concluding that CCS must be part of a suite of clean technologies needed to achieve the Paris Agreement’s targets.
“In the past year, we have seen significant advances in the number of facilities being deployed and awareness of CCS as a pivotal climate change solution is the highest it has ever been,” said Page.
CCS extracts the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from the flue gases before they are emitted out of the smokestack. The technology then chills the CO2 into a liquid, and it can be injected underground or sold as a commodity to the oil industry to help accelerate energy extraction and development of clean fuels such as hydrogen and biofuels. Those are called re-use applications that sequester the carbon.
Big gains: The U.S. opened two large-scale facilities and eight are being developed in China, the study said. “Iin Europe, we have seen realization that CCS is the only technology capable of decarbonizing industry and creating a new energy economy -- including hydrogen, bioenergy and 2°C re-use applications.”
CHINA DRIVES RISING CARBON DIOXIDE EMISSIONS, STUDY SAYS: Global emissions of carbon dioxide are rising after three years of little-to-no growth, according to a new study released Monday, casting doubt from climate scientists that the world can head off the most damaging effects of climate change.
Researchers at the University of East Anglia and the Global Carbon Project have determined that global emissions will grow 2 percent in 2017 compared to 2016, reaching 41 billion tons.
Coal climbing in China: The researchers say China, the world’s largest emitter, is the biggest contributor to the increase in emissions this year, with a projected growth of 3.5 percent, primarily driven by more coal use.
Spotlight on Bonn: The projections present a challenge for policymakers participating in the Bonn climate change talks.
Almost 200 countries are gathered to build off the 2015 Paris Agreement, where nearly every nation vowed to help limit the rise in global temperatures to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature at which many scientists say the world would see irreversible effects of climate change.
The good news: Emissions are declining in major countries this year, including in the U.S. and European Union. U.S. carbon dioxide emissions are expected to drop by 0.4 percent in 2017, with coal use projected to rise slightly. Emissions will decline 0.2 percent in the EU this year. But those are smaller declines than in recent years.
Overall, 22 countries representing 20 percent of global emissions saw a decrease in emissions this year, while their economies improved. Renewable energy has increased 14 percent per year over the last five years.
What to watch for: Le Quere said a key question will be whether China’s increased emissions in 2017 represent a one-year blip or a new trend.
PERRY OPENS ENERGY MEETING WITH MEXICO AND CANADA: Energy Secretary Rick Perry will open the North American Energy Ministerial with Mexico and Canada in Houston Tuesday to chart future energy development on the continent.
The Energy Department said Perry will use the meeting to discuss energy cooperation with Mexican Secretary of Energy P. Joaquin Coldwell and Canadian Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr.
Vital energy partner: Mexico is becoming a vital partner with the U.S. as an importer of shale oil and natural gas as its state-run oil company Pemex and utility companies are working on their market development. Part of the new development for Mexico is increased collaboration with regional markets. And since natural gas prices are at global lows in the U.S., that means buying more of the clean fossil fuel from its neighbor to the north.
Climate goals: Mexico is also transitioning to more natural gas-fired power in meeting environmental and climate standards, including its obligations under the Paris Agreement.
FEDS, INDUSTRY START NATURAL GAS INITIATIVE: The U.S. Trade and Development Bank will start a new energy initiative to promote U.S. natural gas exports.
Many oil executives are calling the U.S. the Saudi Arabia of natural gas because of the shale energy boom. Trump wants to take advantage of that in promoting U.S. natural gas exports to Europe and Asia.
The federal trade promotion agency, with the Chamber of Commerce, the 27th World Gas Conference 2018, and LNG Allies, will start the initiative, called the U.S. Gas Infrastructure Exports Initiative, on Friday. The announcement will be made at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s headquarters in Washington.
The trade agency will deploy a range of tools, including reverse trade missions, feasibility studies, training, technical assistance, and the Global Procurement Initiative to accelerate and promote the export of liquefied natural gas.
The agency is working with the energy industry and the government “to facilitate new gas infrastructure exports, including LNG exports through the development of gas-related infrastructure in key LNG receiving countries.”
CEO OF NERC ARRESTED ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CHARGE: Gerald Cauley, the CEO of the of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), was arrested this weekend on a domestic violence charge at his home outside Atlanta, according to local news reports.
The NERC board of trustees released a statement saying it “is aware of the personal incident involving” Cauley. It named General Counsel Charles Berardesco as interim CEO.
On leave: Cauley is on a leave of absence “until further notice,” the board said, adding that it is “taking steps to ensure the work of NERC continues seamlessly.”
Cauley has been NERC’s chief executive for nearly eight years.
NERC functions as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s reliability organization, which develops enforceable standards to ensure the grid against blackouts and physical and cyber attacks. It was chartered by Congress in 2006 to be the nation’s official Electric Reliability Organization.
Bad timing: NERC is hosting a major utility industry war game this week called GridEx IV, Nov. 15-16. The simulation is meant to prepare the grid against a major cyber and physical attack against the nation’s energy infrastructure. North Korea has been reported to be looking for ways to hack into the U.S. grid and bring it down. Iran also has been looking for ways to attack the electric grid on the East Coast, targeting power stations in New York.
ELON MUSK VOWS TESLA ELECTRIC SEMI TRUCK WILL ‘BLOW YOUR MIND’: Tesla CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter Sunday to announce he will unveil the prototype of an electric semi-truck.
“Tesla Semi Truck unveil to be webcast live on Thursday at 8pm! This will blow your mind clear out of your skull and into an alternate dimension. Just need to find my portal gun …” Musk tweeted.
Tesla needs rebound: The unveiling comes as Tesla is facing manufacturing bottlenecks with its Model 3 car and won’t hit production targets.
Trucking’s footprint: Long-haul trucks make up 13 percent of U.S. petroleum consumption, according to Securing America's Future Energy, and medium-to heavy trucks constituted 23 percent of carbon emissions from transportation in 2015.
New York Times The lineman got $63 an hour. Puerto Rico’s power utility was billed $319 an hour by Whitefish Energy.
Reuters A year after Trump's election, coal's future remains bleak
Washington Post In shadow of Germany’s climate conference, a village disappears to make way for coal
Wall Street Journal A U.S. natural gas bonanza in China isn’t a done deal
Forbes Author of DOE grid reliability study describes being pressured to fault regulations
NPR Pittsburgh's microgrid technology could lead the way for green energy
Bloomberg How an oil Giant (Russia) came to dominate wheat
MONDAY, NOV. 13
11 a.m., Colorado. The Department of Energy’s Office of Indian Energy holds its annual Program Review, Nov. 13-17, as an opportunity for Indian tribes to meet, learn from other Indian tribes that are pursuing energy self-sufficiency, and share in each other's successes.
2 p.m., 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. The U.S. Energy Association and the Carbon Utilization Research Council hold a discussion on "Approaches for International Collaboration and Financing for CCUS (carbon capture, utilization and storage) Pilot Projects."
2 p.m., 106 Dirksen. The Environmental and Energy Study Institute holds a briefing on "Can Fuel Efficiency Standards Be Met Cost-Effectively? The Potential for High-Octane, Low-Carbon Fuels."
All day, Boston. The Peak Load Management Alliance holds its 36th annual conference, Nov. 13-15, focused on the latest cutting-edge methods for the the utility industry to manage electricity demand amid a changing grid system. More than 200 energy industry professionals are expected to attend.
TUESDAY, NOV. 14
9 a.m., 1530 P St. NW. The International League of Conservation Photographers holds its annual environmental communications symposium "WildSpeak," Nov. 14-15.
9 a.m., 4300 Nebraska Ave. NW. The American University Washington College of Law holds a symposium on "Infrastructure Projects: Permitting, Implementation, and Impacts,” including a panel called "The Environmental Implications of Infrastructure Projects on Water, People, Wildlife, and Public Lands."
9 a.m., 1030 15th St. NW. The Atlantic Council holds a discussion on "Venezuela's Oil Industry: How Can It Survive?"
9:30 a.m., 366 Dirksen. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee holds a hearing to provide oversight of hurricane recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
10 a.m., 2123 Rayburn. The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Environment Subcommittee holds as hearing on "Response and Recovery to Environmental Concerns from the 2017 Hurricane Season."
10 a.m., 406 Dirksen. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee holds a hearing on bill to establish a compliance deadline of May 15, 2023, for Step 2 emissions standards for new residential wood heaters, new residential hydronic heaters, and forced-air furnaces; the "Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act of 2017"; the "Blocking Regulatory Interference from Closing Kilns Act of 2017"; and the "Alaska Remote Generator Reliability and Protection Act." epw.senate.gov
WEDNESDAY, NOV. 15
8 a.m., 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Roll Call Live holds a briefing on "Energy Decoded," focusing on the Trump administration's energy plan with Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., and Neil Chatterjee of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
9 a.m., 366 Dirksen. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee holds a business meeting to consider budget reconciliation legislation to authorize the Interior secretary to establish and administer a competitive oil and gas program in the non-wilderness portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, known as the “1002 Area” or Coastal Plain.
All day, Electric grid. The utility industry begins a multi-sector wargame to simulate an attack on the U.S. power system called GridEx IV, Nov. 15-16. More than 5,000 stakeholders from across North America are expected to take part in the exercise.
THURSDAY, NOV. 16
9 a.m., 1301 K St. NW. The Washington Post Live holds a discussion on "A World in Balance: Solutions for Sustainability," focusing on "new approaches for a sustainable future and the relationship between humans and the environment." Former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, now vice president for environment, policy and social initiatives at Apple, will speak.