Moniz: Harvey’s Destruction Demonstrates Value of Strategic Petroleum Reserve

The nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve, with its supplies of crude oil and gasoline, was created by statute to protect the U.S. economy from “severe energy supply interruption.” This authority, exercised by a presidential declaration, can be used in the event of a disruption of either domestic or imported petroleum products.

The unprecedented rainfall, flooding and destruction from Hurricane Harvey this week has struck the energy nerve center of the nation and is exactly the kind of event of “significant scope and duration, and of an emergency nature” that the SPR was created to address.

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EFI Publishes Major Study on the U.S. Nuclear Energy Enterprise

Washington, D.C. (August 15, 2017): The Energy Futures Initiative, Inc. (EFI) a new not-for-profit dedicated to driving innovation in energy technology, policy and business models, today released its first major report entitled ``The U.S. Nuclear Energy Enterprise: A Key National Security Enabler.’’

The report examines the key role the U.S. nuclear energy enterprise plays in meeting national security imperatives, and notes the important role the domestic nuclear energy industry plays in supplying the nation’s electricity system and maintaining a robust supply chain (equipment, services, and skilled personnel) that is necessary for U.S. leadership in global nuclear nonproliferation policy. EFI outlines immediate actions that the government should take to ensure the viability of the U.S. nuclear enterprise.

Among the key points of the report:

More than 700 companies located in 44 states provide products or services in direct support of the U.S. nuclear energy industry.  The top five states for nuclear supply chain companies are Pennsylvania, California, Texas, Illinois and Ohio.

The dominant Russian presence in the Mideast nuclear power market does not augur well for U.S. national security objectives.

The Navy will eventually need additional highly enriched uranium (HEU) to fuel its reactors for long intervals between refueling, and the entire supply chain from uranium feed to the enrichment technology must be of U.S. origin. There is currently no such domestic capability in the supply chain.

The U.S. faces the threat of a diminished workforce in the nuclear energy sector. Domestic university programs are likely to tip more towards international students coming from countries with expanding nuclear prospects, which will further dilute the pool of American nationals who can fill national security roles.  Retirements are also a significant concern, as the nuclear power sector will soon lose 25,000 skilled workers to retirement.

The EFI report calls on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to place a greater emphasis on the national security importance of nuclear power and its associated supply chain. EFI’s report recommends that the government make maximum flexible use of its existing resources and capabilities, including credit support, tax incentives and federal siting and/or purchase power agreements, to bolster support for current new builds and to encourage additional new builds.

About EFI:

The Energy Futures Initiative, Inc. (EFI) was established in June 2017 by former Energy Secretary Ernest J. Moniz as a thought-leadership organization to provide policymakers, industry executives, NGOs and other leaders options on how to advance a cleaner, safer, more affordable and secure energy future.

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EFI Names Jeanette Pablo General Counsel and Senior Associate

Washington, D.C. (August 14, 2017): The Energy Futures Initiative, Inc. (EFI) a new not-for-profit dedicated to driving innovation in energy technology, policy and business models, today announced that Jeanette Pablo has joined the organization as General Counsel and Senior Associate.

In her new role, which begins today, Ms. Pablo will advise on a variety of legal issues for EFI, as well as help drive strategic planning as a member of the senior management team.

The Energy Futures Initiative was established in June by former Energy Secretary Ernest J. Moniz as a thought-leadership organization to provide policymakers, industry executives, NGOs and other leaders options on how to advance a cleaner, safer, more affordable and secure energy future. 

``Jeanette was an essential part of the senior management team at DOE, and I’m delighted she’s joining us at the Energy Futures Initiative,’’ said Melanie Kenderdine, Principal of EFI. ``She has a substantial legal and analytical background on energy issues and will provide EFI clients with top-level strategic and technical advice.’’ 

Ms. Pablo comes to EFI from the U.S. Department of Energy, where she served as Acting Deputy Director for Energy Systems within the Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis. In that role, she oversaw technical analysis, analytic support, and policy advice relating to the nation’s energy systems and infrastructures – as well as a variety of threats and risks to that system – including non-fuel related energy, supply chains, shared transportation, electricity, North American energy system integration, and the energy-water nexus, energy systems modeling and economics.

‘’It is an honor to join Professor Moniz, Melanie, and Joe in this exciting new venture.  We face enormous challenges and opportunities in the rapidly-evolving energy sector.  Addressing these issues at DOE has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career.  I look forward to continuing to develop and implement strategies for a cleaner, safer, energy future at EFI,’’ said Ms. Pablo.

Ms. Pablo is an attorney with over 20 years of experience analyzing federal policy trends and providing technical and strategic advice to electric, gas, and water utilities, including PNM Resources, the American Water Company, and the Tennessee Valley Authority.

She joins a team led by Principals Melanie Kenderdine and Joseph Hezir, who both have a highly successful track record in government and academia of bringing together solution-based coalitions on energy issues.

Ms. Kenderdine served at the Department of Energy from 2013-2017 as the Energy Counselor to the Secretary and concurrently as the Director of DOE’s Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis. Mr. Hezir served as Chief Financial Officer and Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Energy from 2013-2017, leading a 200-person organization responsible for the $30 billion Department of Energy budget.

Earlier in June, David Ellis, the former Chief Content Officer of CQ Roll Call and a journalist with 30 years of experience covering public policy, joined EFI as Senior Associate for Communications and Policy Strategy. Cyrecie Stehle, a former administrator in the Energy Department’s office of the Chief Financial Officer, has also joined EFI as an Associate for Business Operations.



PDF version of press release.

 

Moniz: The National Security Imperative for U.S. Civilian Nuclear Energy Policy

Question: What do mitigating the global security challenges posed by climate change, the Nation’s nuclear navy, our role in worldwide nuclear non-proliferation, U.S. competitiveness in a global marketplace, and the security and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile have in common?

Answer: A robust domestic nuclear energy industry and supply chain.

This was the subject of my speech to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in October, 2016, where I described the problem of the nuclear industry at a crossroads and laid out eight issue areas to be addressed. The eight issues spanned the entire nuclear energy landscape including the continued operation of existing nuclear fleet, several pathways for new nuclear reactor development and deployment, and the nuclear fuel cycle including waste management and non-proliferation. My thesis was that these issues were inexorably linked, and progress in all of these dimensions required near term actions.

Since that time, the U.S. nuclear power industry has receded into an even more precarious state. Since that speech, 3 more existing nuclear power plant units have been identified for closure before the end of their current operating licenses; the construction of 4 new light water reactor nuclear plants in the Southeast U.S. have been challenged by the ongoing saga of the Westinghouse bankruptcy; and the Trump budget proposals for Fiscal Year 2018 severely cut back R&D and pre-deployment activities for advancing light water reactor technology as well as developing the next generation of advanced nuclear reactor technologies. 

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Houston Chronicle Op-ed: We Need a Modernized Strategic Reserve, Not a Smaller One

In late 2015, the Congress found that the Strategic Petroleum Reserve was, "one of the nation's most valuable energy security assets." Why would the Trump Administration conclude, just a little over a year later, that the SPR is not so valuable after all?

The rationale for the administration's current budget recommendation - selling off more than half of the SPR's current inventory, shutting down two of four storage sites in Texas and Louisiana, and eliminating the Northeast Gasoline Reserve - was supported by Energy Secretary Rick Perry in congressional testimony last month.

That rationale, however - that we are producing a lot more domestic oil so we can close SPR sites - appears to be grounded in a view of oil markets in 1973.

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Physics Today: Obama-era energy secretary champions clean-energy progress

"To open the Atlantic’s 14 June article “Obama’s energy secretary defends his legacy against Trump,” interviewer Alexis Madrigal called that former cabinet officer, physicist Ernest Moniz, the “antithesis” of President Trump. “You’d be hard-pressed,” Madrigal added, “to find anyone who understands the politics, policy, science, and technology of energy as well as Ernie Moniz.” But as media coverage vividly shows, longtime national science leader Moniz isn’t just defending his Obama-era legacy. He’s working hard to advance a Trump-era technopolitical outlook and program."

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Washington Examiner: Ernest Moniz creates new group to boost compliance with Paris climate deal

"Ernest Moniz stressed that his group, Energy Futures Intiative, was not formed in response to 'recent events,' such as President Trump's decision to leave the Paris Agreement.

'Clearly the president's announcement about setting in motion a withdrawal from the Paris Agreement [is] obviously not something I am very supportive of,' Moniz said at the National Press Club. But "another feature of that ... is the response from mayors and governors, business leaders, et cetera, all stepping forward with a consistent message, 'we're not going back. This is the way the world is going. This is where the United States is going toward a low-carbon future.''"

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Bloomberg: Ernest Moniz Is Back

"While President Donald Trump’s Energy Department is studying how to save coal plants, veterans from the administration of President Barack Obama’s Energy Department announced a new effort to figure out how to curtail carbon in the U.S. energy system.

Ernest Moniz, who was Obama’s Energy secretary, said Wednesday that there is a “leadership void” under Trump, and his new group would pursue much of the research and analysis that was begun in the federal government under his tenure. Given Trump’s budget proposal to cut energy spending by $3.2 billion, Moniz said this nonprofit, called the Energy Futures Initiative, is necessary."

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Axios: Obama energy chief's new analysis group starting off with grid study

"Former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz is launching a new research nonprofit and its first project is going to be a report about America's electricity grid.

Why it matters: The new group, Energy Futures Initiative, represents the latest in a string of efforts by people outside the government to recreate policies on energy and climate change in the wake of the vacuum the Trump administration is creating. More concretely, Energy Secretary Rick Perry is also set to soon issue a study on the power grid that many renewable-energy and environmental advocates worry will be biased in favor of fossil fuels and nuclear power. Energy Department officials have said it won't be.

"I can assure you that what we produce will be analytical and transparent," Moniz told Axios in an interview, adding later about Perry's study: "We don't compare notes.""

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