On August 23, 2017, the Department of Energy (DOE) released its “Staff Report to the Secretary on Electricity Markets and Reliability,” which was commissioned by U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry in April to provide an assessment of the reliability and resilience of the United States’ electrical grid. The comprehensive report includes an overview of electric grid resources, identification of issues bearing on electricity markets, and several recommendations primarily focused on implementing pricing policies designed to support baseload resources.
On July 20, 2017, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) released a report directing the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to develop solutions to improve the cyber and physical security and overall resilience of the US electrical grid. The report, which was first initiated by Congress following the massive outages caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2014 and is further driven by recent malware infections found on the servers at a nuclear plant, addresses threats to the grid posed by natural disasters and malicious cyberattacks.
This month’s Washington Update offers an extensive overview of the major legislation that has recently been introduced on Capitol Hill, as well as the big takeaways from this month’s congressional hearings related to energy policy. We also examine the ramifications of President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement, and highlight the Department of Energy’s latest funding announcements for three research and development projects.
On June 20, Mintz Levin and ML Strategies were thrilled to host Gina McCarthy, former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator under President Obama. McCarthy was the featured speaker at the Alliance for Business Leadership “Progressive Power Hour” held in our Boston office. During the course of the hour, McCarthy shared her optimism for the environmental progress state and local governments can make and emphasized the role businesses can play in serving the public good. To learn more about the event, read on!
Upcoming Event: Former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy Speaks at Mintz Levin
Mintz Levin and ML Strategies are thrilled to be hosting Gina McCarthy, former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator under President Obama, in our Boston office on June 20. McCarthy will be the featured speaker at the Alliance for Business Leadership “Progressive Power Hour” from 6:00 – 7:00 pm.
With the U.S. pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement, questions are swirling about what this means for the environment, the economy, and our standing in the world. Alongside her four years as EPA Administrator, McCarthy has held lead environmental roles as a public official in Massachusetts and Connecticut. The Boston native has served as an environmental advisor to five Massachusetts governors. Her unique perspective will bring valuable insight into what can and should be done at the state level over the next few years.
We look forward to hosting McCarthy and our guests for what is sure to be an engaging conversation!
This month’s Washington Update provides insight into a number of energy-related developments at the federal level, including President Trump’s recently proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2018, the Senate’s failed efforts to turn back the Obama administration’s methane rule, and several pieces of legislation related to energy efficiency.
Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) recently introduced the “Clean Energy for America Act,” which aims to create a new technology neutral system for federal tax credits for clean energy, clean fuel, and energy efficiency projects. The bill would offer performance-based tax incentives for efficient homes and office buildings, and would significantly reduce carbon pollution over the next decade. Senator Wyden, also a member of the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, received support from 21 Democrat co-sponsors, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Energy and Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA). To learn more about the Clean Energy for America Act, read on!
One of President Trump’s early campaign promises was to dismantle the 2015 Clean Water Rule, the Obama administration’s regulation asserting federal power over navigable bodies of water and aiming to replace polluting coal-fired power plants with clean energy facilities. Now, thanks to a district court ruling in D.C., Trump may be one step closer to actualizing that promise. To learn more about this ruling and its impact, read on!
Tom Burton, Member of the firm’s Corporate & Securities Section and Founder and Chair of the firm’s Energy Technology Practice, will publish bi-weekly installments providing key takeaways from the four sections of AEE’s webinar including: Industry Growth; Advanced Energy Jobs; Growth Trends; and Policy. This is the fifth and final installment of the series. Click to read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.
The final AEE webinar topic highlighted the important role policy plays in driving the advanced energy market. Panelist Malcolm Woolf noted that President Trump’s recent Executive Order overturning the Clean Power Plan conveys how policy can affect the market. While market forces are on the side of advanced energy, there are several policy levers that AEE believes will be significant drivers to future growth. These include:
- opening wholesale markets to the energy industry;
- meeting corporate demand for advanced energy;
- continued evolution of the utility business model;
- bipartisan opportunities at the state level.
To listen to the full webinar, click here.
Last week, the White House unveiled its $1.65 trillion blueprint for the FY2018 federal budget, which prioritizes discretionary defense spending, with an increase of $54 billion to $603 billion, by reducing total non-defense discretionary funds to $462 billion. Among the agencies targeted for budget cuts, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would see its annual funding drop by 24 percent from $8.2 billion a year to $6.1 billion, and since much of that funding already goes to states and localities via grants, the reduction could have a significant impact on the agency’s primary functions. Along with direct funding cuts, the White House may reduce EPA staff by 20 percent, from about 15,000 to roughly 12,000. To learn more about which EPA programs could be cut and other effects the proposed budget could have on environmental and energy policy, read on!