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.

Continue Reading U.S. Department of Energy Releases “Staff Report to the Secretary on Electricity Markets and Reliability”

By David Leiter, Sarah Litke, Jean Cornell, Bryan Stockton, Jordan Collins and  Neal Martin

Climate change was the Obama Administration’s message of the week.  Leading the news was the Environmental Protection Agency’s New Source Performance Standards announcement.  In his Climate Action Plan, President Obama called upon the agency to release carbon emissions standards for new power plants by September 20.  On Friday, Administrator Gina McCarthy unveiled the new rules.  The standard sets a cap of 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per megawatt hour for natural gas power plants; 1,100 pounds per megawatt hour for smaller natural gas power plants; and 1,100 pounds per megawatt hour for coal-fired power plants.  Additional flexibility is provided for coal plants if they wish to average emissions over multiple years by meeting smaller limits.  In her announcement, Administrator McCarthy said technologies exist for plants to meet this standard.  She continued that the agency is not making a statement with this rule about fuel choice; it is not an effective ban on coal.   Continue Reading ML Strategies Weekly Energy and Environment Update – Week of September 23, 2013

By David Leiter, Sarah Litke, Jean Cornell, Bryan Stockton, Jordan Collins and  Neal Martin

Administration officials used the week before the Labor Day holiday to undertake domestic public outreach events. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy hit the road to discuss the administration’s energy and environment priorities, often with other federal officials.  Secretary Moniz addressed the Columbia University Center on Global Energy Policy and stressed the importance of energy infrastructure. On Tuesday, Administrator McCarthy held a community open house and met with tribal leaders in Alaska.  On Friday, Secretary Jewell visited Izembek National Wildlife Refuge with Senate Energy and Natural Resources Ranking Member Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and the site of a proposed project that connects the King Cove community to Cold Bay airport by single-lane gravel road.  She spent the weekend at the North Slope and the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska with Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) and saw the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.  She is expected to host a press conference in Anchorage and hold additional meetings with officials today. Continue Reading ML Strategies Weekly Energy and Environment Update – Week of September 2, 2013

By David Leiter, Sarah Litke, Jean Cornell, Bryan Stockton, Jordan Collins and  Neal Martin

Although Congress is in recess for the month, absence from Washington has not precluded them from working throughout August.  In addition to several letters being sent to administration and international officials, members have hosted events and have been making tours of energy and environment hotspots.  Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) visited Canada to promote the Keystone XL pipeline.  Congress has also been preparing for when it returns: this past week, the House Energy and Commerce Committee announced two hearings—one on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s review of Yucca Mountain and one on implementation of the President’s climate action strategy—for the second and third weeks of September, respectively.  Additional announcements detailing fall activities for Congress and for various agencies are expected this coming week. Continue Reading ML Strategies Weekly Energy and Environment Update – Week of August 26, 2013

By David Leiter, Sarah Litke, Jean Cornell, Bryan Stockton, Jordan Collins and  Neal Martin

Just days before entering the five-week August recess, Capitol Hill was abuzz last week with nomination considerations and legislation, including the now-resolved student loan issue.  On the energy front, the Senate approved two hydropower bills by unanimous consent, and they are now awaiting President Obama’s signature: H.R. 267, the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act, and H.R. 678, the Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act. The House approved H.R. 1582, the Energy Consumers Relief Act. An amendment from Representative Tim Murphy (R-PA) to ensure that the EPA cannot use the social cost of carbon in the cost-benefit analysis of any energy-related rule that would cost more than $1 billion was adopted.

The House also approved H.R. 367, the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act of 2013, but neither of these House-passed bills is expected to move through the Senate.    Continue Reading ML Strategies Weekly Energy and Environment Update – Week of August 5, 2013

By David Leiter, Sarah Litke, Jean Cornell, Bryan Stockton, Jordan Collins and  Neal Martin

In his June 25 climate change strategy announcement, President Obama stressed the importance of a strong economy and of U.S. leadership in global greenhouse gas reduction efforts.  The administration continued pushing these two aspects of the strategy this past week.  First, in his two speeches on Wednesday, President Obama explained that a strong economy is needed for climate action.  The same day, Vice President Biden traveled to India where environmental issues were on the agenda.  Following on Secretaries Kerry and Moniz’s recent trip, the Vice President said China, India, and the U.S.—the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases–should act to prevent climate change, such as limiting hydrofluorocarbons.  The climate change strategy has been highlighted on a regular basis by the administration and Democratic members of Congress.  They may be responding to recent polls which have shown that as climate change becomes a major political issue, voters favor proactive policies rather than denying the science behind climate change.  Continue Reading ML Strategies Weekly Energy and Environment Update – Week of July 29, 2013

Last week was busy on Capitol Hill:  Dr. Ernest Moniz’s nomination hearing for Secretary of Energy was on April 9th, and Gina McCarthy’s nomination hearing for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator took place on April 11th; President Obama released his budget proposal for fiscal year 2014 (FY14), which begins on October 1, 2013; and Assistant Energy Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) David Danielson reported on EERE’s FY14 budget.

For more on the latest energy and clean technology regulatory and legislative developments, including a more detailed discussion of how the budget impacts energy and environment efforts, please see ML Strategies’ most recent Energy and Environmental Update.

Interior Secretary nominee Sally Jewell appeared before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on March 7 for a confirmation hearing. On Thursday, the committee voted in favor of Jewell in a 19-3 vote, which moves her nomination to the Senate floor for an expected vote next month. Continue Reading Interior, Energy, & Environmental Protection Agency Nominee Status Update

What are the most important trends that the Department of Energy is watching closely in the energy sector in 2013?  According to David Sandalow, the acting Under Secretary of Energy, the seven most important trends are: Continue Reading Cyber-attacks on the Electric Power Grid and other Major Energy Trends to Keep an Eye on in 2013