This Week in Energy
Energy Headlines
Los Angeles Times
Washington Post
New York Times
Open for Comments
On August 15, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) , chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, released a discussion draft of the Strategic Energy for America Act of 2019 : "a bill to modernize certain federal agencies for an era of strategic energy competition and for other purposes."

"[This bill] outlines the means to continue growing our nation's energy dominance. American companies and workers participate in highly competitive global energy markets that are often dominated by cartels, state-owned enterprises, and trade finance agencies in other countries..." - Senator Murkowski

Senator Murkowski is welcoming comments to this legislation draft in the form of a plain text email or Microsoft Word document. Comments should be submitted with your full name, affiliation and contact information directly to her office at by September 15, 2019.
While is not hosting a discussion on this topic, we encourage those of you who feel qualified to provide feedback directly to Senator Murkowski's office.
The Strategic Energy for America Act of 2019 would
  • Enable the new Development Finance Corporation to support civilian nuclear energy projects in developing countries.
  • Direct the Secretary of the Treasury to oppose any energy-specific restrictions imposed by multilateral development banks.
  • Establish a strategic energy portfolio at the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM), and reauthorize EXIM through 2031. The Act would also raise the exposure cap to $200 billion, address outdated restrictions, and modify the “2 percent all-stop freeze” related to the default rate.

This draft legislation builds from Sen. Murkowski's Strategic Energy Initiative , which she introduced in July with the publication of a whitepaper, With Powers So Disposed (featured below).
New Publications
U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski
July 11, 2019
Rocky Mountain Institute
August 22, 2019
Find these new publications and others in the OurEnergyLibrary.
Ongoing Discussion
Last week, experts continued to discuss the role for competition in electricity market design. See some of the newest comments from the discussion below:
A few participants continued their discussion of whether competition in electricity markets would aid or undermine efforts to decarbonize the energy sector and fight climate change:
"While there is nothing wrong with consumer choice, it will certainly not address climate change in the time allotted. Utilities currently use fossil fuels even though it is the most expensive form of energy when all costs (including societal costs) are included. Why would you let consumers choose a form of energy that is priced artificially low and causes damage to all future generations? The way to fix this is to put a price on carbon...." - Dan Miller , The Roda Group
Reply to Dan: "Personally, I don’t see a carbon tax as politically feasible. The fact that it’s been kicking around for a decade in Congress with no action is evidence enough of that. You’re better off opening the market to competition and reaping the immediate benefits of consumers’ preference for cleaner sources of energy than you are with renewable energy mandates and punitive taxes...." - Robert Dillon , Energy Choice Coalition
Reply to Robert: "...Consumer choice is fine and it might lower emissions a bit, but as I said, consumers will be choosing between clean energy and artificially low priced fossil fuels...." - Dan Miller , The Roda Group
Reply to Robert: "...From presentations I saw for the Arizona Corporation Commission recently, there is no clear evidence that retail electricity competition is reducing prices for all residential and business customers in other states where it is being implemented. More importantly, in a state like Texas, the retail electricity competition approach results in only a small percentage of customers deciding to use only renewable-generated electricity. Leaving it up to consumers to decide will not solve the urgent crisis of global warming...." - Henry Goldberg , Consultant
Reply to Henry: "...I appreciate your concern for the future but I question whether the government and the monopoly utilities are going to deliver the energy system you seek.... Because of the way incumbent utilities are set up, they do not have an incentive to push innovation or to adopt renewable energy at the pace you suggest. A competitive market can move faster and be more nimble than government...." - Robert Dillon , Energy Choice Coalition
Participants also discussed whether consumer choice of electricity is a feasible way to increase the amount of renewable energy on the grid:
"Retail electricity markets are great for con artists but not consumers. There are the weekly ads for all green electricity in New England but at times of low wind and sun, that is not physically possible in New England. It results in people really believing they are only using renewable electricity when that is clearly false.

"More dangerous is one may build non-viable low-carbon grids. The current fad in New England is to push offshore wind to meet most electricity demand. However, those wind farms are not designed for Category V storms that have the bad habit of tracking right through where those wind farms are to be built." - Charles Forsberg , MIT Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering
Reply to Charles: "Under a reorganized market with retail choice, the ISO [Independent System Operator] or RTO [Regional Transmission Organization] regulates the operation of the grid. The incumbent utility is still responsible for the transmission lines that the electricity travels on to reach customers. The retail market creates a place where consumers can choose their energy supplier. There will always be a role for a regulator to make sure everyone is playing by the market rules to protect consumers and to make sure the grid is operating properly. Why would we want to cut consumers out of the process?"  - Robert Dillon , Energy Choice Coalition
Want to join the discussion ? Sign in . Or register if you don't have an account yet and are an energy professional.
Podcast Spotlight

Imagine you’re a system operator for a network of power plants. You ensure that electricity is being delivered reliably to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses. One day, as your team is looking at the power of being used across the system, you suddenly can’t access the data you were viewing.

At first, you don’t know what’s happened. Then you realize that your system has been the victim of a cyberattack that could lead to blackouts or other disruptions to electricity delivery. How did this happen? How could it have been prevented? And what can you do now?

These are the questions Stuart Madnick (founding director of cybersecurity at the MIT Sloan School of Management) and Shaharyar Khan (cybersecurity researcher at the Sloan School) answer for the companies and organizations they work with, to identify cybersecurity risks and prevent attacks. Hear their conversation with Emily Dahl on this MIT Energy Initiative podcast . The transcript is also available.
Source: Cox Automotive, Evolution of Mobility: The Path to Electric Vehicle Adoption , August 2019, p. 3, from a Consumer Sentiment Survey, Jan-June 2018.
Featured Events This Week
Washington, D.C.
  • When: Tues, Aug 27, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
  • Where: Microsoft Innovation & Policy Center, 901 K Street, NW, 11th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20001

  • When: Tues, Aug 27, 1-3 p.m.
  • Where: D.C. Fleet Administration, 1833 West Virginia Ave NE, Washington, D.C. 20002

  • When: Wed, Aug 28, 11:30-1:30 p.m.
  • Where: Clyde’s Gallery Place, 707 Seventh St NW, Washington, D.C. 20001

To see more upcoming energy events across the country, visit the OEP Events Calendar.
Was this email forwarded to you?   Sign up here .