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Politics Daily on Energy: Climate measures in question as Biden seeks coalition for infrastructure

08:05  13 june  2021
08:05  13 june  2021 Source:   washingtonexaminer.com

Daily on Energy: US growth in natural gas exports could challenge Biden agenda

  Daily on Energy: US growth in natural gas exports could challenge Biden agenda Subscribe today to the Washington Examiner magazine and get Washington Briefing: politics and policy stories that will keep you up to date with what's going on in Washington. SUBSCRIBE NOW: Just $1.00 an issue! © Provided by Washington Examiner DOE Header 2020 LNG EXPORT TENSIONS: Whether the Biden administration likes it or not, the U.S. solidified its position last year — even amid a pandemic — as a top exporter of natural gas. The International Gas Union’s World LNG Report, released this morning, finds the U.S. exported 44.

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THE SCENARIO: The Biden administration and Democrats are shifting gears on infrastructure to start the reconciliation process, but success of a single-party approach is not guaranteed as the White House and Congress debate what climate components make it into a bill.

The White House has not abandoned bipartisan talks. After breaking off discussions with a Republican leadership-backed group over infrastructure, it is continuing to negotiate with a larger faction of centrist senators from each party.

Progressive groups are “fed up” with Biden’s infrastructure playbook

  Progressive groups are “fed up” with Biden’s infrastructure playbook Progressives want Biden to stop negotiating with Republicans and embrace budget reconciliation.Progressive groups, who cheered Biden passing his $1.9 trillion Covid-19 stimulus bill through Congress with only Democratic support early on, are growing increasingly frustrated over Biden’s prolonged infrastructure negotiations with Senate Republicans.

President Joe Biden can’t afford to totally give up on bipartisan talks until key swing Democrats Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona have had enough.

But with pressure from anxious climate hawks increasing, Democrats are promising a big reconciliation bill with green components of Biden’s American Jobs Plan is coming next month, no matter if a bipartisan bill precedes it.

“We’re not going to sacrifice the bigness and boldness in this bill,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said yesterday at his weekly news conference. “But we will just pursue two paths, and at some point, they will join.”

But...success on climate is not guaranteed: Even if a climate-centric reconciliation package was always part of the end game, Biden officials are preparing to rein in expectations given the limitations of strict Senate rules requiring provisions moved through this route be budget-related.

Daily on Energy: Biden tentatively backs domestic mining to help secure critical minerals supply

  Daily on Energy: Biden tentatively backs domestic mining to help secure critical minerals supply Subscribe today to the Washington Examiner magazine and get Washington Briefing: politics and policy stories that will keep you up to date with what's going on in Washington. SUBSCRIBE NOW: Just $1.00 an issue! © Provided by Washington Examiner DOE Header 2020 DOMESTIC MINING STILL ON THE TABLE: The Biden administration is tentatively backing domestic mining to help meet the growing demand for critical minerals that will be created by aggressive adoption of electric vehicles and renewable energy.

Biden’s top climate adviser Gina McCarthy told Politico that a clean electricity standard — the top priority for activists — may even fall out of a final package. McCarthy promised the administration would still “fight like crazy” for a CES, noting many utilities support a standard requiring 80% carbon-free power by 2030.

But her acknowledgment that some of Biden’s biggest climate provisions might not come to pass shows the trickiness of reconciliation and the necessity of appeasing centrist Democrats, including Manchin, who has not endorsed the administration’s CES proposal.

The problem for Biden is that Manchin and Sinema do not speak for all Democrats in the split 50-50 Senate. Climate hawks, in response to McCarthy's comment, warned that Biden cannot count on their votes if he whittles down climate provisions in a reconciliation package.

“An infrastructure package that goes light on climate and clean energy should not count on every Democratic vote,” Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico tweeted this morning.

Biden pitched a bold climate vision. He may be watching it die in Congress.

  Biden pitched a bold climate vision. He may be watching it die in Congress. Climate hawks are starting to worry that their issue is getting thrown under a fossil-fueled bus. For all of Biden’s green goals, green team and green executive orders, the centerpiece of his green agenda is his proposal to throw hundreds of billions of dollars at the climate crisis through his American Jobs Plan, and it’s hard to see a path where a Republican-supported infrastructure bill would spend that freely to slash greenhouse gas emissions. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) sounded the alarm in a Twitter thread Tuesday, declaring himself “officially very anxious” about the fate of climate legislation.

Administration playing clean-up? Jamal Raad, executive director of Evergreen Action, a liberal climate group with ties to the White House, told Josh it has been in touch with the Biden administration about McCarthy’s CES comments. The group has been pushing the argument that a CES can be done through reconciliation.

“They reiterated their commitment to a clean electricity standard, and they are well aware of our proposals on how to pass it via reconciliation,” Raad said of the White House.

Welcome to Daily on Energy, written by Washington Examiner Energy and Environment Writers Josh Siegel (@SiegelScribe) and Abby Smith (@AbbySmithDC). Email jsiegel@washingtonexaminer.com or asmith@washingtonexaminer.com for tips, suggestions, calendar items, and anything else. If a friend sent this to you and you’d like to sign up, click here. If signing up doesn’t work, shoot us an email, and we’ll add you to our list.

INTERVIEW...ILLINOIS GOP LEADER WARNS NUCLEAR AID NOT ENOUGH: The Illinois legislature is coming back in session next week to vote on a sprawling clean energy package that would provide hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies to keep alive unprofitable nuclear plants.

Overnight Energy: Biden seeks to reassert US climate leadership | President to 'repeal or replace' Trump decision removing protections for Tongass | Administration proposes its first offshore wind lease sale

  Overnight Energy: Biden seeks to reassert US climate leadership | President to 'repeal or replace' Trump decision removing protections for Tongass | Administration proposes its first offshore wind lease sale TGIF! Welcome to Overnight Energy, your source for the day's energy and environment news. Please send tips and comments to Rachel Frazin at rfrazin@thehill.com. Follow her on Twitter: @RachelFrazin. Reach Zack Budryk at zbudryk@thehill.com or follow him at @BudrykZack. Today we're looking at Biden's climate agenda in Europe, a new White House decision on protections for the Tongass National Forest and the administration's first proposedToday we're looking at Biden's climate agenda in Europe, a new White House decision on protections for the Tongass National Forest and the administration's first proposed offshore wind lease.

But a leader for state House Republicans, who are in the minority, says he’s worried the aid won’t be enough to stave off the shut down of the Exelon-owned plants for good.

“It’s unfortunate that this is a band-aid,” Rep. David Welter, the Illinois House GOP conference chair, told Josh in an interview yesterday. “It’s not a long-term fix.”

Welter’s district includes three of the four nuclear plants that Exelon says face premature retirement. Exelon says it will shut down its most vulnerable plants, Byron and Dresden, this fall without state assistance. It has also warned that two more plants, Braidwood and La Salle, face premature retirement in a few years due to low power prices as a result of competition from cheap natural gas.

Fears Democrats’ proposal falls short: The office of Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who has been negotiating with Exelon, has not released text of the energy package that the state House will vote on next Wednesday, but it’s expected to include five years of subsidies rather than 10 sought by Exelon.

Welter said he expects the Braidwood plant to be eligible for the subsidies, and that Pritzker will also agree to help keep La Salle open through the duration of the five-year deal.

But Welter, who pushed for 10 years of aid, does not expect the underlying problem of low power prices to be resolved in the next five years, and said the federal government might have to help later on.

Daily on Energy: The consensus forming on energy measures in infrastructure legislation

  Daily on Energy: The consensus forming on energy measures in infrastructure legislation Subscribe today to the Washington Examiner magazine and get Washington Briefing: politics and policy stories that will keep you up to date with what's going on in Washington. SUBSCRIBE NOW: Just $1.00 an issue! © Provided by Washington Examiner DOE Header 2020 AN EMERGING CONSENSUS: The latest infrastructure negotiations could yield a bipartisan bill with limited energy provisions, but the big climate pieces of President Joe Biden’s agenda must be passed with Democrats only. That’s the consensus that appears to be emerging among top Biden administration officials and centrist senators on both sides of the aisle.

“I feel like we are going to be back in four years talking about prices are still low and nuclear plants are still struggling unless the federal government steps in to do something as well,” Welter said.

‘Anxiety’ among workers: Pritzker’s energy package getting a vote next week will also promote the build-out of solar and wind and set pollution limits on fossil fuel power plants in order to advance his goal of 100% carbon-free power by 2050.

Welter says he supports Democrats’ clean energy goals, even if he prefers a more “efficient and cost effective” approach than mandates, and he’s confident he can wrangle enough Republican votes to help get the energy package across the finish line.

“There is anxiety,” among the 2,400 nuclear plant workers at the three plants in his district, Welter said. “No one is going to rest too easy until it’s done.”

GRANHOLM ALL-IN ON NUCLEAR: Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm reiterated yesterday that nuclear power “is an absolutely critical part of our decarbonization equation” and said the administration supports including a production tax credit to keep existing reactors alive as part of infrastructure legislation.

“The administration is ready to walk the walk,” Granholm said during remarks at the Nuclear Energy Institute’s Nuclear Energy Assembly.

Granholm touted that Biden’s fiscal 2022 budget request includes a record $1.85 billion for DOE’s office of nuclear energy, including $245 million to support the demonstration of two advanced reactor projects.

Daily on Energy, Presented by Citizens' Climate Lobby: Yes, the bipartisan infrastructure framework includes climate provisions

  Daily on Energy, Presented by Citizens' Climate Lobby: Yes, the bipartisan infrastructure framework includes climate provisions Subscribe today to the Washington Examiner magazine and get Washington Briefing: politics and policy stories that will keep you up to date with what's going on in Washington. SUBSCRIBE NOW: Just $1.00 an issue! © Provided by Washington Examiner DOE Header 2020 CLIMATE IN BIPARTISAN INFRASTRUCTURE FRAMEWORK: Liberal senators and activists are encouraging the Biden administration and Democrats to abandon bipartisan infrastructure talks picking up steam because they argue the framework in question does next to nothing to address climate change.

“Advanced nuclear holds so much potential,” she said, adding that she envisions small nuclear reactors working with renewables and carbon capture as part of a zero-carbon grid of the future.

ELECTRIC CARS SET FOR MASSIVE GROWTH: Electric vehicles will rise to dominate car sales in the next two decades, though their adoption will fall short of global climate goals without new government incentives and tighter emissions standards, BloombergNEF says in their latest outlook released this morning.

The rapid growth in electric vehicle sales, even amid the pandemic, solidified that gas-powered vehicles are on their way out. BloombergNEF says gas-powered vehicle sales likely peaked in 2017.

Even without new policies, passenger electric vehicles sales will rise to almost 70% by 2040, driven largely by rapidly falling costs for lithium-ion batteries, the outlook projects. To reach global climate targets, however, electric vehicles adoption must grow much quicker.

Under a net-zero scenario, 60% of new vehicle sales globally would have to be zero-emissions by 2030, and new gas-powered car sales must be phased out largely by 2035, the report says.

DOE NOMINEE PLEDGES TO PROMOTE LNG EXPORTS: Biden’s nominee to lead international energy issues at DOE yesterday gave the most definitive statement we’ve seen yesterday of the White House (and its nominees) supporting the export of U.S. natural gas.

Andrew Light, nominated to be DOE’s principal deputy assistant secretary for international affairs, noted in response to questioning from Republicans at his confirmation hearing that U.S. LNG exports reached a record 10.2 billion cubic meters in March and that forecasts expect a 50% increase this year compared to last.

“My job in this role is to make sure U.S. gas is competitive around the world,” Light said. “More and more countries are looking for cleaner sources of gas. Russia has the dirtiest source of gas right now. We’ve got to make sure ours is cleaner and that ours fill those markets around the world. That’s what I intend to do.”

Daily on Energy: Centrist support for electric vehicles fees complicates infrastructure push

  Daily on Energy: Centrist support for electric vehicles fees complicates infrastructure push Subscribe today to the Washington Examiner magazine and get Washington Briefing: politics and policy stories that will keep you up to date with what's going on in Washington. SUBSCRIBE NOW: Just $1.00 an issue! © Provided by Washington Examiner DOE Header 2020 ELECTRIC VEHICLE FEES IN QUESTION: Centrist Senate Democrats could put President Joe Biden in an awkward position if they agree with their Republican colleagues that fees on electric vehicles should be included as a pay-for in their bipartisan infrastructure package.

As we observed last week, the administration as a whole, while not cheering for LNG exports, seems to see its potential, despite criticism from liberal climate activists who want the U.S. to stop sending all fossil fuels overseas.

But Light seems to be taking a more proactive approach, vowing to make the U.S. leaders “in abated natural gas technology around the world,” meaning (we think) installing carbon capture equipment at LNG facilities.

HAPPENING TODAY...ANOTHER OIL INDUSTRY POWWOW WITH MCCARTHY: A group of CEOs of large oil companies that belong to the American Petroleum Institute are meeting today at the White House with Biden’s top climate adviser Gina McCarthy, Josh has learned, confirming a report by Bloomberg.

The in-person discussion — the second meeting involving McCarthy and API’s executive committee — will focus broadly on energy and climate issues. It comes as the Biden administration is nearing key decisions on policies that will affect the oil industry, such as how and whether to restart oil and gas leasing on public lands, proposed new auto efficiency rules, and methane regulations.

The Biden administration has been mum on the meeting, to avoid the ire of climate activists. But as word leaked out, Jamie Henn, director of Fossil Free Media, tweeted this morning that activists are planning to protest outside the White House with a digital billboard truck with images that say, “Big Oil = Big Corruption.”

SHELL RESPONDS TO DUTCH COURT RULING: Shell is agreeing to seek deeper emissions cuts following a landmark Dutch court ruling last month ordering the oil major to slash its emissions 45% below 2019 levels by the end of 2030.

“[W]e will seek ways to reduce emissions even further in a way that remains purposeful and profitable,” Shell CEO Ben van Beurden wrote in a statement this morning. “That is likely to mean taking some bold but measured steps over the coming years.”

Nonetheless, van Beurden didn’t offer any details about how Shell will reduce its emissions beyond its strategy to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. He also said that Shell still expects to appeal the Dutch court’s ruling, expressing disappointment that Shell “is being singled out by a ruling that I believe does not help reduce global CO2 emissions.”

In addition, van Beurden stressed that strategies to curb global greenhouse gas emissions must address demand for fossil fuels, not simply target the supply produced by big oil companies.

INTERIOR LOOKS TO GULF OF MEXICO FOR OFFSHORE WIND: The Interior Department announced yesterday it will gauge interest in potential offshore wind projects in the Gulf of Mexico, the agency’s first foray into possible development in those waters.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is publishing a request for interest Friday to seek interest in offshore wind projects off the shores of Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, and Alabama. The bureau will also hold a first task force meeting next week with representatives from state, local, and tribal governments in those states about offshore wind development.

The agency’s announcement is the latest in the Biden administration’s push to boost offshore wind, including initial moves last month to deploy offshore wind off the California coast and to approve Vineyard Wind, the first large-scale offshore wind project, off the coast of Massachusetts. Biden has set a goal to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030.

CLEAN ENERGY FINANCE IS LACKING IN DEVELOPING NATIONS: Annual investments in clean energy in developing countries must increase by more than seven times — to reach more than $1 trillion each year by 2030 — for the world to reach global climate targets, the International Energy Agency, the World Bank, and the World Economic Forum said in a new report this morning.

Last year, less than $150 billion was invested in clean energy in developing countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, the report notes. Without much greater investment to expand clean energy in those countries, the report estimates their emissions would increase by 5 billion tons over the next two decades.

The organizations emphasize the need for an increase in private financing of clean energy in developing nations, which largely rely on public funding sources today for energy development. In fact, the report said more than 70% of the clean energy investments, particularly renewable energy and energy efficiency, in developing countries are privately financed in scenarios where the world meets global climate targets.

“There is no shortage of money worldwide, but it is not finding its way to the countries, sectors and projects where it is most needed,” said IEA executive director Fatih Birol in a statement. “Governments need to give international public finance institutions a strong strategic mandate to finance clean energy transitions in the developing world.”

US OIL DEMAND FALLS AGAIN, BUT PRICES HIT A MILESTONE: U.S. oil demand fell for the second straight week after the Colonial Pipeline shutdown last month had caused a burst of gasoline consumption that has since come back down.

Overall oil demand fell to 17.7 million barrels per day from 19.1 million barrels p/d the previous week, the Energy Information Administration reported this morning, while gasoline consumption declined to 8.5 million barrels p/d compared to 9.1 million barrels p/d. Jet fuel and diesel demand are also down.

Still, U.S. road traffic in the first week of June has reached 95% of pre-pandemic levels, the research group Rystad Energy said in note this morning.

U.S. oil prices closed above $70 yesterday for the first time in three years.

The Rundown

Reuters Canada's oil sands producers form alliance to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050

Wall Street Journal One oil company’s rocky path to renewable energy

Wall Street Journal First Solar to build new solar-panel factory in Ohio

New York Times Electric truck start-up Lordstown doesn’t have cash to begin production

Calendar

THURSDAY | JUNE 10

11 a.m. The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a virtual markup to consider methane, energy cybersecurity, and consumer protection bills.

Tags: Energy and Environment, Daily on Energy

Original Author: Josh Siegel, Abby Smith

Original Location: Daily on Energy: Climate measures in question as Biden seeks coalition for infrastructure

Daily on Energy: Centrist support for electric vehicles fees complicates infrastructure push .
Subscribe today to the Washington Examiner magazine and get Washington Briefing: politics and policy stories that will keep you up to date with what's going on in Washington. SUBSCRIBE NOW: Just $1.00 an issue! © Provided by Washington Examiner DOE Header 2020 ELECTRIC VEHICLE FEES IN QUESTION: Centrist Senate Democrats could put President Joe Biden in an awkward position if they agree with their Republican colleagues that fees on electric vehicles should be included as a pay-for in their bipartisan infrastructure package.

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