From: Morning Consult
To: Scott Jenkins,
Subject: Morning Consult Energy: Oil Exports Meet Chill from GOP Hill Leaders; API Issues Crude-by-Rail Testing Recommendations
Date: Fri Sep 26 13:13:16 MDT 2014


By Emily Holden (@emilyhholden)



Today’s Washington Brief:

  • Among the GOP, White House contenders like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Sens. Rand Paul and Marco Rubio are on board to lift the ban on oil exports, but leaders on the Hill are steering clear of the issue. Politico Pro's Elana Schor has the story.

  • Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, will battle Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., for the chairmanship of the House Ways and Means Committee, where he could oversee tax policy. Washington Post's Robert Costa reports the move could force Ryan's hand on a 2016 presidential run.

  • House Republicans are expanding their investigation of whether the EPA's proposed carbon emissions limits for power plants are on solid legal ground, SNL's Corbin Hiar reports. See more stories like this in our carbon rule database


Today’s Business Brief:

  • The American Petroleum Institute issued its first-ever recommendations for testing oil for rail transport, Wall Street Journal's Russell Gold reports

  • Australia's natural-gas bills are soaring amid an export boom, a cautionary tale as the U.S. plans to sell some of its gas overseas, Wall Street Journal's Ross Kelly explains

  • A proposal to move Wyoming wind power to Los Angeles relies on giant caverns that would store compressed air to serve as a massive battery. AP's Mead Gruver and Matthew Brown have the story.


Today's Chart Review: 


From Trash to Renewable Energy

from Morning Consult by Emily Holden via Ventyx 




Mark Your Calendars (All Times Eastern): 


No events


1-8: General
9-14: Oil
15-16: Natural Gas
17: Utilities and Infrastructure
18-19: Coal
20: Nuclear 
21-25: Renewables




26: Morning Consult
27: Wall Street Journal 



28: International Energy Agency 






1) Brady to battle Ryan for Ways and Means chairmanship

from Washington Post by Robert Costa


Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Tex.) said Thursday that he will seek the chairmanship of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, scrambling what was expected to be a smooth ascension to the post by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the 2012 GOP vice-presidential nominee and the party’s architect of fiscal policy in the House.


2) House GOP expands investigation into legality of new power plant carbon rule

from SNL by Corbin Hiar 


The Republican leadership of the House Energy and Commerce Committee is raising fresh questions about the legitimacy of the U.S. EPA's proposed carbon emissions limits for new power plants, but certain experts believe the air pollution regulation was crafted on solid legal ground.


See more on the carbon rule in our database


3) Fla. utilities cite geography, fuel diversity in criticizing EPA rule

from E&E by Kristi E. Swartz


Florida's electric utilities have rather profound thoughts about U.S. EPA's proposed rule to cut carbon emissions from existing power plants, a survey of documents submitted to state utility regulators shows. Mostly, the utilities think EPA's rule as it pertains to Florida is unfair, unachievable and costly.


4) EPA chief says to expect 'changes' in final climate rule

from The Hill by Laura Barron-Lopez


There will be "changes" made in the Obama administration's proposal to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants, according to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Gina McCarthy.


5) States, utilities try to decipher EPA’s carbon plans

from Politico Pro by Erica Martinson


EPA’s proposed greenhouse gas rule for existing power plants is creating more than a little confusion for states and utilities. At a Bipartisan Policy Center panel on Thursday, power companies, green groups and state regulators poured out their concerns about the Obama administration’s ambitious climate change rule, which the EPA plans to finalize next year. States are trying “to look at where we think we would be absent this regulation and where this regulation takes us and what the gap is,” said David Thornton, assistant commissioner at Minnesota’s Pollution Control Agency. “And we’re still sorting through a lot of these details, because quite frankly, EPA’s proposal isn’t clear on how it treats a lot of things.”


6) Putting a price on carbon emissions emerges as a key strategy for nations and businesses to pursue

from E&E by Lisa Friedman


Part of what needs to be done over the next 15 months, officials said, is to piece together the hundreds of pledges private industry made this week on things like cutting carbon, eliminating deforestation and boosting renewables to see how they can be folded into the Paris deal.


7) Yahoo Joins Exodus of Tech Giants Quitting on ALEC

from National Journal by Dustin Volz 


Yahoo on Wednesday announced it was cutting the cord with the American Legislative Exchange Council, making it the third company this week to publicly declare a separation from the conservative coalition of state legislators and corporations. "We've decided to discontinue our membership in ALEC," the company said in a statement to Common Cause, a progressive organizing entity. "We periodically review our membership in organizations and, at this time, we will no longer participate in the ALEC Task Force on Communications and Technology." Yahoo joins Google, Yelp, and Microsoft in choosing to end its membership with ALEC. Earlier this week, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt told NPR the company would leave ALEC in part due to its stance on climate change, condemning the organization for just literally lying" on the issue.


8) U.S. Index Futures Little Changed as Nike Gains on Profit


U.S. stock-index futures were little changed, paring earlier gains, as investors await clues on how the world’s largest economy will cope with higher interest rates from next year...Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPX) expiring in December rose 1.8 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,963.4 at 6:41 a.m. in New York, after earlier rising as much as 0.2 percent. The equity benchmark slumped the most since July yesterday and is heading for its worst week in eight. Contracts on the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 24 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,924 today.




9) Oil exports push meets chill on the Hill

from Politico Pro by Elana Schor 


Republicans may be the party of free markets and “drill baby drill,” but the party’s presidential hopefuls and congressional leaders are seriously divided on whether the U.S. should start exporting its gusher of domestic oil. The petroleum industry’s crusade to lift the four-decade-old ban on crude oil exports is shaping up as next year’s hottest energy debate, and potential White House contenders like Gov. Chris Christie and Sens. Rand Paul and Marco Rubio are already on board. But some of the Hill’s most powerful Republicans are conspicuously steering clear of the issue, including House Speaker John Boehner, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and would-be Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.


10) Top Industry Group Backs Testing of Crude Oil Carried by Train

from Wall Street Journal by Russell Gold 


The energy industry's top trade group called on U.S. oil producers to do more frequent and better testing of crude oil before loading it on to trains in the wake of several high-profile accidents. The American Petroleum Institute, a Washington, D.C., organization that lobbies on behalf of the nation's big oil companies and sets industrywide standards, on Thursday issued its first-ever set of recommended practices for testing oil for rail transport.


11) U.S. oil baron rewrites his company’s history; move could stave off record divorce payout

from Reuters by Joshua Schneyer and BRian Grow


The divorce trial of one of America’s wealthiest men, oil baron Harold Hamm, plays out mostly in secret here at the Oklahoma County Courthouse. For weeks, signs have been taped to the door of Courtroom 121. “CLOSED HEARING,” one reads. The other: “DO NOT ENTER.” But an examination of the website of the company Hamm founded, Continental Resources Inc, reveals part of the billionaire’s legal strategy as he seeks to avoid what could be the largest divorce award in U.S. history. Publicly traded Continental has been revising its corporate annals – in each case diminishing the company’s accomplishments under Hamm’s leadership or changing the dates of key achievements.


12) Oil Executives Cautiously Await Details of Mexico's Energy Overhaul

from Wall Street Journal by Dudly Althaus 


Executives from international oil companies say they are looking forward to the possibilities opened up by Mexico's energy overhaul, but are proceeding with caution until details of the government's terms for private drilling become clear...But Mr. Davidson and other executives, who are in Cancún for two days of conferences and meetings among themselves and with Mexican officials, said the opportunities spawned by the end of the government's 76-year monopoly on the petroleum and electricity industries are too good to ignore.


13) Statoil calls off 40,000-bpd Canadian oil sand development

from Reuters by Scott Haggett, Nia Williams and Balazs Koranyi


Norwegian energy firm Statoil said on Thursday it will postpone development of its 40,000 barrel per day Corner oil sands project in Alberta, Canada, for at least three years and cut about 70 jobs at its Canadian unit because of rising costs and limited pipeline space...Statoil said it decided to delay construction of the project because inflation was pushing up the cost of labor and materials, while tightness in pipeline space to the U.S. market was pushing down the price of its oil.


14) Gas prices likely to drop below $3 across US

from The Hill by Laura Barron-Lopez


The cost of a gallon of gasoline could fall below $3 in a majority of states across the U.S. soon. Right now, the average price for regular gasoline is at a seven-month low across the country, and in many states costs are at a yearly low, according to AAA.


Natural Gas


15) Australians' Gas Bills Soar Amid Export Boom

from Wall Street Journal by Ross Kelly 


Australia's natural-gas bills are rising as the country prepares to ramp up exports of the fuel, in a cautionary example for the U.S., which is also planning to sell some of its gas overseas. Australian wholesale domestic-gas prices have almost tripled over the past couple of years, inflating household energy bills and hitting bottom lines at some businesses. The culprit is gas exports, which are set to more than triple by 2018, while the country's production levels have stayed relatively flat until recently—though they are to rise dramatically as early as next year.


16) Canada among wild cards dictating LNG growth

from Financial Times by Jeremy Grant


When Philip Olivier was asked at a gas conference in Singapore this week what the biggest factor driving developments in liquefied natural gas (LNG) would be this year, the president of French group GDF Suez’s LNG business said the US was “the wild card” in everyone’s calculations. He was of course right. The big question in LNG circles at the moment is just how much LNG will end up being produced and exported from the US as its shale gas boom progresses. But the US is not the only wild card as Petronas, the state-owned Malaysian oil and gas group, highlighted in dramatic fashion this week.



Utilities and Infrastructure


17) Wink Could Be the Next Big Platform for the Smart Home

from Wired by Margaret Rhodes 


In their ongoing quest to “humanize the smart home,” as Matt McGovren, Wink’s head of marketing, puts it, the software company is disguising their newest product as a very familiar piece of hardware: the light switch.

At a glance Relay is a white light switch, with a screen. It would barely register a second glance from most houseguests. Only instead of just turning lights on and off, Relay syncs with connected home gadgets to simultaneously do things like lock the front door, bring the blinds down, turn on an alarm, and cool the thermostat—all on top of dimming the lights. It’s a physical nerve center for connected gadgets that previously talked only to a smartphone app.





18) India’s Top Court Revokes Coal Leases

from New York Times by Neha Thirani Bagri 


India’s top court on Wednesday canceled years’ worth of coal field leases, a judgment that drew wide attention in a nation with persistent fuel shortages. The leases, an earlier investigation had found, had been sold below market price and cost the government about $30 billion, a scandal that has added to concerns of corruption and crony capitalism at high levels.


19) CBO: GOP coal bill would cost $97M

from The Hill by Timothy Cama 


A Republican-backed bill aimed at protecting the coal industry by restricting the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) permitting ability for water pollution would cost the government $97 million, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said. The cost over the next five years would come because the bill would also require the EPA to write new analyses and hold additional public hearings, the budget agency predicted.





20) Exelon says nuclear ‘at risk’ designation is little help

from Midwest Energy News by Jeffrey Tomich (E&E News)


An executive for the nation’s largest nuclear generator said U.S. EPA’s proposed carbon plan, which designates 6 percent of the nation’s nuclear capacity “at risk” for retirement, provides little help to prop up financially struggling reactors. “There’s not really much of an incentive,” Kathleen Barrón, senior vice president of federal regulatory affairs and wholesale market policy for Exelon Corp., told Illinois regulators.





21) Renewable Energy Plan Hinges on Huge Utah Caverns

from ABC News by Mead Gruver and Matthew Brown (AP)


A proposal to export twice as much Wyoming wind power to Los Angeles as the amount of electricity generated by the Hoover Dam includes an engineering feat even more massive than that famous structure: Four chambers, each approaching the size of the Empire State Building, would be carved from an underground salt deposit to hold huge volumes of compressed air. The caverns in central Utah would serve as a kind of massive battery on a scale never before seen, helping to overcome the fact that — even in Wyoming — wind doesn't blow all the time.


22) Study: Small towns can save big with efficiency, renewables

from Midwest Energy News by Karen Uhlenhuth 


A pair of Iowa studies found that both utilities and their customers in small towns can substantially cut costs if they invest in deep efficiencies and, to a lesser extent, in renewable sources of generation. The analyses, done by energy consultant Tom Wind and the Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities with some funding from the Iowa Economic Development Authority, explored whether the communities of Bloomfield and Algona could become energy independent.


23) Homeowner Asks IRS to Weigh in on Solar Tariffs

from Roll Call by Randy Leonard 


An Austin, Texas, man is pressing the IRS to review a utility program for residents who own rooftop photovoltaic panels. Austin created a value of solar tariffs in 2012 whereby customers are credited for energy produced by their panels at a calculated rate – rather than the full retail rate of net metering programs, which are an option in 43 states other than Texas. Legally, participating customers buy all their power from the utility and are compensated for the electricity from their panels.


24) Swiss Pilots to Fly Solar Plane Around World

from New York Times by Diane Cardwell


Last year, two Swiss pilots became the first to fly across the United States in a featherweight plane using the power of the sun. Now they are back with a more ambitious plan, to be announced on Thursday, to fly an even more advanced solar airplane around the world early next year, beginning and ending in oil-rich Abu Dhabi.


25) Protests pour in over Hawaiian Electric's proposed solar fees plan

from SNL by Jeff Stanfield 


The Hawaiian Electric utility companies' proposal to impose monthly fixed charges on all of their residential customers, plus an additional monthly fixed charge for customers with solar panels and a lower feed-in tariff for net-metered sales, has prompted a number of angry responses and concerns.





26) The Comment Period May Be Extended… It Still Means Nothing.

from Morning Consult by Laura Sheehan, American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity 


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may have heard America’s plea for an extended comment period for its proposed carbon regulations, but the agency remains completely out of touch. An additional 45 days is still not nearly enough time for states and American consumers to fully comprehend the 700+ pages of these complex and lengthy regulations. And regardless of the comment period extension, the fact remains that not only are these regulations a threat to American jobs and the economy – they are legally flawed and will fundamentally change the way electricity is generated and distributed.


27) Google Kills Birds

from Wall Street Journal


Our headline has the virtue of being true—as we will explain—unlike Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt's assertion this week that people who oppose government subsidies for green energy are liars. The real charlatans are businesses like Google that use climate change as a pretext for corporate welfare. Google, whose motto is "Don't Be Evil," announced on Monday that it is quitting the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) because of the conservative outfit's putative denial of climate change. "Everyone understands climate change is occurring," said Mr. Schmidt. "And the people who oppose it are really hurting our children and our grandchildren and making the world a much worse place. And so we should not be aligned with such people—they're just, they're just literally lying." In fact, ALEC takes no position on the substance of climate change. 





28) Key World Energy Statistics 2014

from International Energy Agency