Energy News for June 10, 2015

  • by BPC Staff
  • on June 10, 2015


POLITICO Morning Energy for 6/10/2015

By ANDREW RESTUCCIA, with help from Alex Guillén and Elana Schor

REPUBLICAN SPENDING BIG ON CLIMATE: A Republican entrepreneur is putting a whopping $175 million behind a campaign whose message will have some party stalwarts seeing red: The GOP needs to deal with climate change. North Carolina businessman Jay Faison will launch a social media and online advertising blitz, backed by state and national digital advocacy efforts and a series of strategic grants as part of a $165 million campaign run through his ClearPath foundation. The aim is to get the Republican Party to shift its skeptical view of climate change and green energy, topics that usually fall to the bottom of its list of priorities when they don’t generate outright opposition among conservative voters.
In addition to his public education effort, Faison is putting another $10 million of his money into a separate political advocacy operation, using the same nonprofit tax status designation as groups like President Barack Obama’s Organizing for Action, Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS and several tea party groups. He will also try to attract additional outside funds for that operation. Darren Goode has the story:

HAPPY TUESDAY AND WELCOME TO MORNING ENERGY. I’m your fill-in host Andrew Restuccia. I’m happy to be alive after standing outside with an umbrella during last night’s storm in DC. A little lightning isn’t going to stop me from grilling sausages. Send your grilling tips, energy news and commentary to, and follow us on Twitter @AndrewRestuccia, @Morning_Energy and @POLITICOPro.

FOX VS. FOX: Josh Fox’s interview with Fox Business Network’s Stuart Varney went south when the “Gasland” director accused Varney of “lying” about lighting tap water from his property near the Marcellus Shale on fire more than a decade ago, before the modern-day fracking boom. Varney told the story in order to undercut the notion that fracking leads to flammable tap water, an allegation included in Fox’s anti-fracking documentary. The tet-a-tet grew heated as soon as Fox accused Varney of lying, with Varney quickly ending the interview. “The interview is over young man, the interview is over. I did it myself,” Varney told Fox, adding, “You’re out of here, son. Don’t call me a liar. Don’t do it.” Watch the video:

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TODAY’S HEARING MAY ANSWER THE ULTIMATE QUESTION OF LIFE, THE UNIVERSE AND EVERYTHING: The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee meets today to go over the fourth and final portion of Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski’s big energy bill, accountability and reform measures. Those attending had better buckle up: There are no fewer than 42 bills on the agenda. In keeping with Murkowski’s goals, most of those measures don’t set off partisan alarm bells, with the offerings including such fare as a Lamar Alexander bill boosting exascale computing, a Maria Cantwell proposal for DOE to study carbon fiber recycling and a handful of energy efficiency-related measures. But other bills, particularly proposals from Ed Markey regarding oil spills and coal leasing, are likely to draw a few across-the-aisle shots.

Some bills to keep an eye on: Murkowski has a bill reforming DOE’s loan programs that would require credit subsidies for new applications be paid by the borrower and would rescind the unobligated money left from the Section 1705 loan guarantee program. Bill Cassidy’s proposal to expand the auto loan program to include commercial trucks and boats will get an airing. Also on the agenda: Murkowski’s energy-water nexus bill; a grid cybersecurity bill; a measure directing Interior to coordinate with states of oil and gas regulation; two different energy storage proposals; a provision boosting renewable energy development on public lands; and a John Barrasso bill requiring DOE to issue a long-term management plan for its excess uranium stores. Full list:

One is the loneliest number: Of the litany of legislation up for discussion today, just one comes from the House: H.R. 35, the Low-Dose Radiation Research Act. The bill, which cleared the House on a Jan. 7 voice vote, would direct DOE to research the effects of low doses of ionizing radiation received from activities such as medical procedures or industrial processes. The bipartisan legislation was inspired in part by the Fukushima disaster. (Worth nothing: The lead sponsor in the House was Republican Randy Hultgren, whose Illinois district is home to the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.)

ME FIRST — GOP REPORT TALLIES GEOPOLITICAL GAINS OF CRUDE EXPORTS: A new report from Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski’s staff outlines the potential geopolitical gains to U.S. allies from requesting a waiver of existing constraints on domestic oil exports. Aides to Murkowski, the upper chamber’s most vocal advocate of ending export limits, look at nations from Japan to India to Belgium to raise the prospect of immediate overseas oil sales to allied nations that might seek to take advantage of existing openings in the law. “Allowing such shipments would send a powerful signal of support and reliability at a time of heightened geopolitical tensions in much of the world,” they write. Read the report:

SIERRA, UNITED STEELWORKERS WANT TO KILL CRUDE EXPORTS AMENDMENT: Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune and United Steelworkers International President Leo Gerard are calling on senators to oppose an amendment to defense authorization legislation sponsored by Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn that endorses crude oil exports. In a letter Monday, they said senators should oppose the amendment “for the benefit of the global climate and good paying, union refinery jobs.” Read the letter:

SOLID Q1 FIGURES FOR SOLAR INSTALLATION, GROWTH ANTICIPATED: The U.S. added just over 1.3 gigawatts of new solar in the first quarter, according to a market report out today from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association. That’s a slight drop from the same period of 2014, and the report notes heavy snowfall in much of the U.S. that impacted installation figures — and first quarters tend to be slower for a variety of reasons anyway. But there are other statistics that give solar backers cause for celebration: New residential solar hit a record-breaking 437 megawatts; more than half of new generating capacity in Q1 was solar; and GTM and SEIA project 7.9 gigawatts of new solar this year, up more than a quarter over 2014. More:

Major growth before ITC deadline — IHS: Analysis firm IHS said yesterday that over 32 gigawatts of utility-scale solar is under construction in the U.S. right now. That’s a pretty impressive figure given that the U.S. has about 19.6 gigawatts of total photovoltaic capacity right now, according to SEIA and GTM. Why the rush? Developers must have solar projects online by the end of 2016 to qualify for the 30 percent investment tax credit (it drops to 10 percent for big projects after that). The chances of Congress stepping in with an extension are slim to none. More from IHS:

LAWMAKERS PUSH DOE ON FURNACE RULE: Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) and 120 other House members, mostly Republican, have concerns about DOE’s proposed residential furnace rule. They write that they are concerned the standard “will significantly increase costs to natural gas consumers, force them to switch to less efficient alternatives, and ultimately undermine the efficiency goals that underlie the Energy Policy and Conservation Act.” The lawmakers push for DOE to create separate product classes and efficiency standards for condensing and non-condensing furnaces — something industry groups have also asked for because the proposed standard would essentially push out non-condensing furnaces, which make up about half the market, according to the Energy Information Administration ( The public comment period ends today. Read the letter:

NEW REPORT ALLEGES INDUSTRY INTIMIDATES FRACKING RESEARCHERS: The Public Accountability Initiative is out with a new report called “Freedom Fracked? The oil and gas industry’s campaign to silence academic fracking critics.” The report tracks several examples of “industry intimidation of fracking researchers” and makes the case that “the suppression of critical science paints a picture of an industry more concerned with public perception than with developing a complete or accurate scientific record.” Read the report here:


— Monday was the last day to file a claim stemming from the 2010 BP oil spill and the lines were long:

— Peabody Energy says it will cut 250 jobs. St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

— “OPEC oil price anchor could be easy to unmoor.” Reuters:

— “Two major Canadian oil sands operators said Monday they have resumed output at sites that had been shut down by a more than two-week old wildfire in northern Alberta, which exports much of its crude oil production to the U.S.” The Wall Street Journal:

— The Germans take climate change seriously, according to a Washington Post column:

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