by Denise A. Bode
With two new commissioners sworn in, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) held its first hearing this week since January. In case you don’t know, FERC is an independent agency that regulates the interstate transmission of electricity, natural gas, and oil. FERC also reviews proposals to build liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals and interstate natural gas pipelines as well as licensing hydropower projects.
In recent years, it has become increasingly high-profile in its review and approval of permits to build interstate pipelines and LNG export facilities. So much so, that environmental group have taken to greeting commissioners and staff outside their building, disrupting the open meeting in the hearing room, and even camping outside the commissioners’ homes.
In their first meetings back, the agenda was only of average length with 23 electric items, including tariff changes, rehearing orders and three reliability standard rulemakings. One of the key items of interest was the standard on emergency preparedness and operations which the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) asked FERC to approve a rule submitted in March that would clarify what kind of damage and threats to electric facilities are reported, and when. This is of particular interest after the devastating hits to our power grid by the recent massive hurricanes. But this pace is likely to increase, as the new Commissioners get up to speed and a significant backlog that has accumulated over the last six months gets pushed to their attention. The commission will likely be joined by the new FERC chairman nominee Kevin McIntyre and Democratic commissioner pick Rich Glick after approval by the full Senate soon. Those two nominees sailed through the Senate energy committee this week as well.
The Congress is moving to give FERC some additional responsibilities as well, if new legislation in the House and Senate is passed. The newly introduced Senate bill would streamline coordination between state and federal agencies working on natural gas pipeline permitting. S. 1844, authored by Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Angus King (I-Maine), would designate the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as the lead agency for assessing planned natural gas projects and set a 45-day deadline for agencies to let companies know whether their applications are ready to be processed. The bill includes similar language to House bill, H.R. 2910, which passed in the House in July despite opposition from environmentalists who are concerned it will allow FERC to fast-track approvals and sacrifices public input and thorough environmental reviews. The House bill set a deadline of 90 days after environmental review is complete for FERC to give final approval to a project, whereas the Senate bill does not contain such a provision. To learn more about FERC, click here.
ENERGY TRANSPORTATION NEWS
- Carbon-capture bill could spur vast infrastructure network
- Oryx building new 220-mile Permian pipeline
- Groups urge D.C. Circuit to scrap part of Obama boiler rule
- 3 spills at toxic site reported after Harvey
- New version of WOTUS to be proposed next year
- Much-anticipated federal study set for Nov. rollout
- EPW postpones hearing on EPA, NRC nominees
- Pruitt says EPA formed task force to revamp new source review permitting
- Calif. cities sue oil giants: ‘Now the bill has come due’
- Governors denounce Trump, announce progress to Paris targets
- Oil and gas groups sue over beetle protections
- Valero’s Port Arthur fire released an estimated 1 million pounds of emissions
STATE ENERGY NEWS
ENERGY POLICY NEWS
ENERGY MARKET NEWS
- Hurricanes Stir Up Profits for Refiners
- Gasoline prices slowly falling with bigger drops ahead
- All Power Out as Hurricane Maria’s Winds, Floods Crush Puerto Rico
- Refiners don’t know when they’ll be done with repairs
- Oil Prices Stall After Recent Rally
GLOBAL ENERGY NEWS
- World’s Eyes on President As U.N. Meets
- U.S. Support for Free Trade Endures in Trump Era, Poll Shows
- Top White House aide seeks to clarify U.S. stance on Paris deal
- Lighthizer ducks question on NAFTA ‘sunset’ provision
- The North Sea Is Suddenly, Surprising, an Oil Hot Spot
- FERC, DOE Interior picks up for vote
- EPA Leaders May Put New Water Czar on a Short Leash
- Trump’s air pollution pick goes before senate at critical moment
- Senate energy committee approves FERC, DOE, and DOI nominees
ENERGY TAX NEWS
- Dem senator: Trump ‘very serious’ about infrastructure
- To make their tax plan work, Republicans eye a favorite blue-state break
- The Implications of Revenue-Neutral Tax Reform
- How big of a tax cut?
- White House seriously considers abandoning some tax cuts for the wealthy
- Rate cut trumps most other tax reform ideas, execs say
- House GOP to Hold Tax Reform Retreat Sept. 27
- Democrat Donnelly to Join Pence for Friday Tax Speech in Indiana
- Trade Decisions Are Timing Question Since Tax a Priority
FROM THE CHART ROOM
Electric Vehicles Charge at About Half the Power Draw of an Electric Furnace
Sources: Water heater, space heater, refrigerator – U.S. Department of Energy, Estimating Appliance and Home Electronic Energy Use, accessed July 18, 2017.
Electric vehicles can be charged at power draws comparable to various household appliances. Most electric vehicles charging at home on a 240-volt level 2 charger will draw about 7,200 watts or less. For comparison, a typical electric furnace draws about 10,000 watts and a water heater uses 4,500 watts. The power draw for an electric vehicle is limited by either the electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) or the vehicle’s onboard charger which limits the rate of electricity the vehicle can accept. Many first-generation plug-in vehicles have onboard chargers limited to 3,600 watts, similar to the power draw for a typical home air conditioning system, while newer electric vehicles have increased onboard charging rates. Some owners use only a standard 120-volt household outlet (level 1 charging) which has a very slow charge rate and low power draw compared to the level 2 charging. There are some electric vehicles, such as those produced by Tesla, that allow for even greater home charging speeds and higher power draws similar to an electric furnace. While an electric vehicle can draw a considerable amount of electricity when charging, the overall fuel cost for an electric vehicle is lower than a comparable gasoline vehicle.
Level 1 charging assumes the 12-amp setting is selected. For comparison, a 2013 Nissan LEAF is rated at 115 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) and a conventional 2013 Nissan Versa is rated at 35 MPG. This results in a cost of 3.8 cents per mile for the LEAF and 6.7 cents per mile for the Versa at 13 cents per kW-hr and $2.35 per gallon of gasoline.
Michael Best Strategies’ Energy Team
- Denise Bode
- Greg Brophy
- Beth Cubriel
- Andrew Cook
- Chip Englander
- Sarah Helton
- Ross Romero
- Thomas Schreibel
- Kevin Swanson
- Jeffrey Sherman (Michael Best)
About Michael Best Strategies
Michael Best Strategies focuses on achieving clients’ objectives through unparalleled strategy development and deployment for implementation, pragmatic guidance on public policy development, and government relations. The Strategies team specializes in a full range of services, including government relations, public policy consulting, grassroots advocacy, public affairs, conference planning, and strategic political relationships. For more information, visit michaelbeststrategies.com.