Energy Brief: Trump Announcement on Paris Agreement Expected Today

Washington Brief

  • President Donald Trump tweeted that he would announce his anticipated decision on the Paris climate agreement this afternoon. Trump was reported to favor an exit. (Reuters)
  • President Donald Trump’s infrastructure plan disappointed local and state leaders who were expecting federal financial support. The $1 trillion plan proposed using federal money as an incentive for local governments and private investors to raise funds on their own. (Bloomberg News)
  • Energy Secretary Rick Perry selected a consultant to proceed with a study to determine the impact of renewable energy tax incentives on coal-based electricity. (E&E News)

Business Brief

  • Toshiba sold its computer microchip operations to stay afloat following the bankruptcy of its nuclear power subsidiary, Westinghouse Electric Company. (The Associated Press)
  • A new clean energy think tank report tracking grid modernization initiatives said 37 states have begun regulatory or legislative actions to enhance the energy grid. (Utility Dive)
  • New England’s last coal-burning power plant shut down on Wednesday. (WBUR)

Chart Review

Events Calendar (All Times Local)

Thursday
President Trump statement on Paris climate agreement 3 p.m.
“Blackout” author discusses cybersecurity 6 p.m.
Friday
California’s sustainable energy coalition meeting 9 a.m.

 

General

Trump ‘Self-Help’ Infrastructure Plan Irks State, Local Leaders
Mark Niquette, Bloomberg News

Mayors and state lawmakers from both parties are blasting President Donald Trump’s proposed transportation budget and $1 trillion infrastructure initiative, saying his plans would cut federal funding for critical projects and leave them holding the bill. The backlash comes after Trump last week revealed a plan for upgrading roads, bridges, airports, sea ports and other public works that relies heavily on what his administration called “self-help.”

Perry picks Texas consultant to lead grid study
Peter Behr, E&E News

Energy Secretary Rick Perry has brought on veteran Texas energy consultant Alison Silverstein to produce his first major energy policy statement, a controversial study of whether federal tax and subsidy policies favoring renewable energy have burdened “baseload” coal-fired generation, putting power grid reliability at risk.

Trump to announce decision on global climate deal on Thursday
Valerie Volcovici and Jeff Mason, Reuters

President Donald Trump said he would announce on Thursday his decision whether to keep the United States in a global pact to fight climate change, as a source close to the matter said he was preparing to pull out of the Paris accord.

Paris Supporters Raise Alarm Ahead of Trump’s Decision
Jack Fitzpatrick, Morning Consult

President Donald Trump will make a decision on whether to keep the U.S. in the Paris climate agreement sometime “over the next few days,” he tweeted Wednesday morning, spurring pre-emptive pushback from business and local and international leaders who fear the U.S. will drop out of the deal.

Western governors fret as Zinke ponders review of grouse plans
Scott Streater, E&E News

The bipartisan governors of Wyoming and Colorado are urging Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to consult with states before undertaking any major changes to federal greater sage grouse plans, arguing that “wholesale changes” to the Obama-era conservation blueprint “are likely not necessary at this time.”

Coal, solar fall on climate deal
Fred Katayama, Reuters

President Donald Trump’s reported decision for the U.S. to withdraw from the Paris climate accord hurt solar energy shares. First Solar and SunPower shares fell more than 2 percent in morning trading. The accord aims to curb global warming partly by slashing carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. But one sector expected to benefit -coal – also fell. Shares of the largest publicly-traded U.S. coal company, Peabody Energy declined, as did Arch Coal. And the VanEck Coal exchange traded fund also lost ground.

Oil Prices Climb Before U.S. Stockpile Data
Sarah McFarlane and Jenny Hsu, The Wall Street Journal

Oil prices regained some ground on Thursday in anticipation of further falls in U.S. crude stocks, which may signal that production cuts are affecting hefty global inventories. Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, rose 1.1% to $51.30 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures exchange. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate futures were trading up 1.3% at $48.93 a barrel.

Oil and Natural Gas

LNG sellers, Asian buyers spar as contract fight brews amid supply glut
Mark Tay, Reuters

A spat brewing between Qatar, the world’s No.1 producer of liquefied natural gas (LNG), and its biggest customers in Japan underscores rising tensions between buyers and sellers of the super-chilled fuel as a supply glut unbalances the market. Importers of LNG having been pushing for greater benefits amid the surplus, signing new, cheaper contracts that give them more flexible terms, while exporters try to preserve long-term supply deals written in their favor during tighter markets.

America’s shale gas bounty is heading overseas at a record clip
Naureen Malik and Kevin Varley, Bloomberg News

America’s natural gas is flowing out of the country at a record pace, helping to ease a supply glut at home while tumbling prices for the fuel entice overseas buyers. When the liquefied natural gas tanker Ribera Del Duero Knutsen left Cheniere Energy Inc.’s Sabine Pass export terminal in Louisiana late Tuesday, it became the 18th ship to depart the terminal in May. That’s the highest monthly total since the first vessel sailed from the facility last year.

ExxonMobil Investors Demand Extra Reporting on Climate Change Impact
Iulia Gheorghiu, Morning Consult

Exxon Mobil Corp. shareholders passed a landmark resolution on Wednesday that requires the company to more rigorously assess the impact of global climate change policies on its business starting from next year.

Utilities and Infrastructure

More than 30 states embrace grid modernization, new policy tracker finds
Herman Trabish, Utility Dive

Grid modernization is a hot topic in the power sector as utilities across the country replace aging infrastructure and upgrade their systems for new energy technologies. But until now, there was no easily-accessible tool to track the myriad regulatory actions on advanced metering, non-wire alternatives, ratemaking reform and the like.

Private Equity And Energy Infrastructure: Part 1
Denis Fallon and C. Spencer Johnson III, Law360

Energy infrastructure funds have emerged as a class of funds that offer investors the potential for long-term stable returns, as well as downside protection through the asset class’s inflation-hedging characteristics. An energy infrastructure fund’s value drivers are different from the conventional buyout-focused fund, and this has led some energy infrastructure fund sponsors to seek flexibility around conventional fund covenants relating to concentration risk and the fund’s term that can impact investments in unexpected ways.

Renewables

Why Invenergy is betting on clean energy tech despite Trump
Amina Elahi, The Chicago Tribune

The Trump administration may be pushing investments in the struggling coal industry, but some proponents of clean energy say now is a great time to invest in technologies for renewables.

The Country Adopting Electric Vehicles Faster Than Anywhere Else
Matthew Campbell, Bloomberg News

Since the 14th century, Akershus Fortress has protected Oslo from raids by bloodthirsty Swedes. Now a Cold War bomb shelter in its basement is being repurposed to help save the Norwegian capital from more insidious foes: pollution and global warming. Starting this month, electric car owners will be able to drive down a narrow ramp between rough-hewn rock walls dripping with condensation and plug in at one of 86 charging stations—for free.

Coal

In Somerset, Last Coal-Burning Power Plant In Mass. Shuts Down
Bruce Gellerman, WBUR

The last coal-fired power plant in Massachusetts — and the largest in New England — shuts down for good on Wednesday. For more than 50 years, the massive Brayton Point Power Station in Somerset has generated electricity fueled by shiploads of coal from as far away as Colombia and South Africa.

Wall Street Isn’t Convinced Coal’s a Winner in Paris Withdrawal
Tim Loh, Bloomberg News

U.S. coal shares tumbled as President Donald Trump was said to be leaning toward exiting the Paris climate agreement. “You’d think everyone would be excited,” Michael Dudas, a coal analyst at Vertical Research Partners LLC, said by phone on Wednesday. “But there’s red on my screen.”

Nuclear

For Toshiba, a management meltdown
The Associated Press

Japanese technology giant Toshiba’s last-gasp strategy for staying afloat — selling its prized computer chip operations — may buy the company time but is no cure-all. In hindsight, the Tokyo-based company’s first big misstep was its 2006 purchase of the U.S. nuclear unit of Westinghouse, which filed for bankruptcy protection last month.

Plan To Bail Out Aging Nuclear Power Plants Fuels Frustrations For Long Islanders
CBS News

All New Yorkers are set to pay to keep three upstate nuclear power plants online. As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reports, the plan is fueling frustrations for folks on Long Island. One particular group of residents has a message for Albany; scrap the governor’s clean energy plan to bail out the three aging plants.

NRC holding public meeting on Seabrook nuclear plant
Max Sullivan, The Seacoast Online 

Residents can voice their feedback and concerns to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission next Wednesday at the NRC’s annual public information meeting in Hampton regarding Seabrook Station nuclear power plant.

Climate

As Trump Wavers on Climate Pact, China Vows to Stand by It
Melissa Eddy et al., The New York Times

As President Trump contemplates withdrawing from a landmark agreement on global warming, Premier Li Keqiang of China said on Thursday that his county remained committed to the fight against climate change and to participating in global efforts for a greener world.

The Global Reaction to Trump’s Climate Change Decision
Aria Bendix, The Atlantic

The Trump administration’s reported announcement that it is withdrawing from the Paris climate change agreement has prompted nations and world leaders to reiterate their commitment to the global pact. Signed in 2015 during the Obama administration, the Paris Agreement is an unprecedented global climate deal that aims to contain greenhouse gas emissions and protect the world against global warming. Only two countries—Nicaragua and Syria—declined to sign the agreement in 2015.

3 ways Trump could dump Paris climate agreement
Madison Park, CNN

If President Donald Trump pulls the United States out of the Paris climate agreement, it likely won’t be a quick, overnight process. The exit could take as long as one to almost four years. Trump is expected to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, according to two senior US officials familiar with his plans.

Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives

Leaving the Paris Agreement Would Be Indefensible
Todd Stern, The Atlantic

I was Obama’s chief climate negotiator. Whether to stay in the agreement is not a close call. Reports suggest that President Trump has finally decided to pull out of the 2015 Paris climate agreement after many weeks of a back and forth administration tug-of-war. Trump himself has tweeted that he will make an official announcement in the coming days.

Montanans must voice support for national monuments
The Editorial Board, The Missoulian

Montanans can be forgiven for being a little distracted in recent weeks as the special election consumed most of our attention. But now it’s time to turn our focus to another matter of high importance: defending the 27 national monuments currently under federal “review,” and particularly Montana’s own Upper Missouri Breaks National Monument.

An EMP attack is scary. But it’s not a top threat
Gregory Kiley, Washington Examiner

As much as any other congressional professional staffer, my decade in service on Capitol Hill bore witness to innumerable competing discussions of existential threats to our nation’s security and calls to action. In a recent hearing of the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski put the issue in context. “The United States has recognized a potential EMP attack as a national security threat for decades, and our efforts to understand a potential EMP burst are not new.”

It’s not too late to ‘go green’ in changing climate of Washington
Manik Roy, The Hill

Science tells us that every action produces an equal and opposite reaction. Is this as true in the political world as it is in the physical world? If so, what reactions might we see come from the tumult coming from reports that President Trump will withdraw from the Paris climate agreement?

Trump toys with the Earth in Paris climate accord exit threat
The New York Daily News

The world’s best hope for averting the worst calamities of climate charge is in the same hands that just teased an imminent decision with the tinny razzle-dazzle of a reality-TV cliffhanger promo.

Research Reports

Hydro-deoxygenation of CO on functionalized carbon nanotubes for liquid fuels production
Adam Sims et al., Elsevier

Syngas produced through gasification of carbonaceous materials provided a gateway to a host of processes for the production of various chemicals including transportation fuels. The basis of the production of gasoline and diesel-like fuels is the Fischer Tropsch Synthesis (FTS) process.