EFI's Kenderdine joins the University of Chicago as a Visiting Fellow

The Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) is pleased to welcome McKie Campbell, former staff director of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Melanie Kenderdine, former director of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis and Energy Counselor to the Secretary, as the 2018-2019 Visiting Fellows in Policy Practice. Campbell and Kenderdine will share their perspectives and expertise in a series of events, workshops and public discussions, as well as serve as resources for students and the Institute. 

Kenderdine will lecture at EPIC in addition to her role at the Energy Futures Initiative, where she remains a Principal.

“We are thrilled to welcome Melanie and McKie, whose decades of experience in energy and environmental policy will be invaluable to EPIC and the larger University of Chicago community,” says Michael Greenstone, director of EPIC and the Milton Friedman Professor in Economics. “Having played high-profile roles in major energy policy debates, their insight will help us bridge the divide between research and policy as we work to confront today’s energy challenges with practical, data-driven solutions.”

McKie Campbell, managing partner of BlueWater Strategies LLC, has more than 30 years of governmental and private sector energy and natural resource experience. Before joining BlueWater Strategies, Campbell was the staff director of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee under Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R). In that role, Campbell worked with lawmakers from both parties in Congress and federal agencies on a wide variety of energy and natural resource issues and legislative efforts, including electric generation and transmission, hydropower, nuclear energy, oil and gas development, carbon capture and sequestration, mining development, land use and more. Prior to his tenure in Washington D.C., Campbell worked on natural resource policy in Alaska. Among his positions, he was deputy chief of staff in the governor’s office and the commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. 

“Energy policy has profound implications for both our economy and our environment. Too often, however, policy makers and advocates substitute partisan alignment for analysis,” says Campbell. “EPIC and the University of Chicago have become national leaders in cutting through the arguments and bringing parties together for careful fact and research based consideration. I’m honored by the invitation to be a visiting fellow.”

Melanie Kenderdine, a principal at Energy Future Initiatives, held senior-level positions at the U.S. Department of Energy under two administrations. Most recently, she served as the energy counselor to Secretary Ernest J. Moniz and director of the Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis. In this role, she wrote or edited two installments of the Quadrennial Energy Review, and provided key strategic advice on a broad range of issues across the department. Prior to that, Kenderdine was the Executive Director of the MIT Energy Initiative. Kenderdine also held several posts in the Clinton administration, including senior policy advisor to the secretary, director of the Office of Policy, and deputy assistant secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs. Prior to serving in the Clinton Administration, Kenderdine was chief of staff for New Mexico Congressman Bill Richardson. In 2014, she was named by the National Journal one of the top five women in Washington shaping energy policy and is the longest serving political appointee in DOE’s 40-year history.

“Universities are our nation’s most credible source of unbiased and evidence-based research,” says Kenderdine. “EPIC and the University of Chicago are helping to lead the charge in bringing this vital research out of academia and into government where it can make a real difference in shaping successful policies. I’m looking forward to sharing my insights from my time in government to contribute to this important goal.” 

In their role as visiting policy fellows, Campbell and Kenderdine will lead a series of events centered on the practical realities of the political landscape in energy and environmental policymaking. Cutting-edge research coming out of the University of Chicago will serve as the launching pad to frame these deep-dive conversations, as the researchers, Campbell, and Kenderdine debate ways to translate the research into policy. The first event as part of this series will be announced this fall. 

Campbell and Kenderdine join as EPIC’s Visiting Fellows in Policy Practice program marks its second year. The inaugural fellows were Jeff Holmstead, former Assistant Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for Air and Radiation and currently a partner at Bracewell, LLP, and Sue Tierney, former Assistant Secretary for Policy at DOE and currently a senior advisor at Analysis Group. Holmstead and Tierney headlined events exploring the pros, cons and lessons learned from hydraulic fracturing and Americans’ attitudes toward energy and climate change policy more broadly.


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Ernest Moniz Receives the Inaugural Carnegie Science Public Service Award

Washington, DC: Former Energy Secretary and nuclear physicist Ernest Moniz received Carnegie’s inaugural Richard A. Meserve Public Service award in recognition of his “exemplary leadership and accomplishment in furthering public understanding of science.”

Named after Carnegie's president emeritus, the honor was created to recognize science educators, policymakers, philanthropists, and outreach-oriented research scientists who make exceptional contributions to the scientific enterprise through advancing the public’s understanding of science and its role in the betterment of humankind.

“Ernest Moniz is more than just a fine physicist, he’s also a dedicated public servant, and an effective science communicator,” said Carnegie Trustee Rush Holt, who is the Chief Executive Officer of AAAS the and Executive Publisher of Science. “He’s what they call a triple threat, so he was the perfect choice to honor with this inaugural public service award.”

Moniz headed the Department of Energy from 2013 through January 2017, during which time he led the fight against climate change, advanced nuclear security, and promoted technological innovation. He previously served as DOE Under Secretary between 1997 and January 2001, and on MIT’s faculty between 1973 and 2013. Today, he is Chief Executive Officer and Co-Chair of the Board of the Nuclear Threat Initiative and Chief Executive Officer of the Energy Futures Initiative, as well as a Special Advisor to the MIT President.

Moniz received a bachelor’s degree in physics from Boston College and a doctorate in theoretical physics from Stanford University.  He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Humboldt Foundation, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

EFI's Julio Friedmann Talks Carbon Capture Challenges with the Breakthrough Institute

Julio Friedmann chats with Emma Brush, Managing Editor at the Breakthrough Institute and Alex Trembath, Communications Director at Breakthrough.

Julio Friedmann chats with Emma Brush, Managing Editor at the Breakthrough Institute and Alex Trembath, Communications Director at Breakthrough.

EFI Distinguished Associate Julio Friedmann appeared on the Breakthrough Institute’s podcast Breakthrough Dialogues to outline the challenges of CCS (carbon capture and storage) technologies. “We are all on the clock and winning slowly is the same as losing,” he said.  “If we want to go after carbon emissions then regulating carbon is the most obvious thing to do.”

Listen to Julio’s conversation here 



Moniz on Attending Vatican Climate Dialogue

On June 7-9, the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development hosted a dialogue, “The Energy Transition and Care for Our Common Home.”

The event, sponsored by the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, convened leaders in the oil and gas, renewable energy, and global investment sectors. Former U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest J. Moniz, the Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Physics and Engineering Systems emeritus, participated in the dialogue at the Vatican and had the opportunity to meet with Pope Francis.

After the event, Moniz spoke with the MIT Energy Initiative — which he founded in 2006 as its inaugural director — on a few of the main themes and takeaways from the meeting.


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Brazil: Growth of US jobs in energy surpasses national growth rate

Economy / The US energy sector employed 6.5 million workers by 2017, an increase of 133,000 jobs over the previous year, according to the US Energy & Employment Report (USEER) , which has just been released by the Energy Futures Initiative (EFI) and the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO). Half of them - 67,000 - were created by energy efficiency companies.

The growth rate of energy jobs was 2%, slightly above the national average of 1.7%. But this growth scenario is not accompanied by supply: more than two out of three companies heard (70%) reported difficulties in hiring skilled workers in the last 12 months. For 2018, the companies participating in the survey anticipated a 6.1% increase in employment, excluding the motor vehicle sector, indicating that the demand for skilled labor will remain warm.

The report looked at four sectors of the US energy industry: electric power generation and fuels; transmission, distribution and storage; energy efficiency; and motor vehicles. Jobs in the energy sector accounted for almost 7% of all new jobs across the country in 2017. 

Jobs in natural gas electricity generation have continued to grow, adding more than 19,000 new jobs as natural gas continues to rise to the number one fuel point for US electricity generation. Solar energy companies have employed totally or partially 350,000 people by 2017. This represents a reduction of 24,000 solar jobs by 2017 - the first net loss of jobs since solar jobs were compiled for the first time in 2010. 

The USEER, and its appendix providing statistical details for all 50 states, are available for download at www.USEenergyjobs.org .


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EFI Policy Paper: How the 45Q Credit May Spur Carbon Capture Innovation

WASHINGTON (May 23, 2018) -- The Energy Futures Initiative (EFI), the nonprofit think tank established by former Energy Secretary Ernest J. Moniz, today released a report on how the expansion of the 45Q tax credit can potentially encourage the use and development of carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies. The report offers recommendations on what policymakers must still do to maximize innovation in carbon capture in the ongoing effort to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and build a low-carbon energy economy.               

The 45Q tax credit, part of the Bipartisan Budget Act passed in February, was supported by a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers in Congress. In the Senate, the bill was sponsored by Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), John Barrasso (R-WY) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). In the House, Congressman Mike Conaway, Republican of the 11th Congressional District in Texas, led a coalition of 44 members from both parties backing to tax credit.

                ``The new tax provisions, while important and generous, are just a start,’’ said Dr. S. Julio Friedmann, an expert on carbon capture technologies who was the lead author of the EFI report. ``Our report identifies gaps that may limit deployment, and discusses the comprehensive measures that could maximize opportunity, which includes encouraging more robust investment and innovation.’’

Among the report’s findings:

  • The 45Q tax provisions represent a major policy action to reduce CO2 emissions from power and industrial sources.
  • The EFI report predicts that the fastest and largest uptake will be at industrial facilities with pure CO2 sources, like ethanol plants, refineries, and ammonia producers.
  • That there is still a need for a more comprehensive set of new policies to achieve broader deployment of CCUS in the US, especially in the power sector.
  • Overall, the extension of 45Q will spur CCS deployment that in turn will help communities, create jobs, stimulate investment and help maintain US competitiveness and innovation.

Editor’s Note: In the section ``Regulation and Permitting’’ on page 19, a passage of text regarding monitoring, reporting and verification requirements was transposed. The text was corrected on May 23 and the report was reposted, with footnote 73 noting the change.  

Download the full report


Sen. Maria Cantwell's Remarks at the U.S. Energy Jobs Report Launch

I want to thank the Energy Futures Initiative and National Association of State Energy Office for their help with this critical report. We are here because we know the energy sector is the third largest in the United States and is continuing to grow. We know that there are ever increasing technologies that are related to both renewables and energy efficiency that make our cars, our homes, our buildings, and even us, smarter and it all drives down costs to both consumers and businesses. 

So that is a great phenomenon, but it is also happening at the same time as another phenomenon and that is an aging energy workforce. The average age of a utility worker is 47 years old and about 47% of all transmission distribution workers will be eligible to retire in the next several years.  We know that we need to train and skill the next generation of energy workers. Our nation is embarking on one of the greatest economic opportunities, and that is a clean, efficient energy economy. I can tell you, as someone who comes from a state that has produced three to four cents per kilowatt hour rates; it continues to drive our economy over and over again. 

At the opening of our National Nordic Museum in Ballard, Washington, attended by the President of Iceland, I said, “who would have thought that you and I would be sitting here talking about Bitcoin lending and taxation for the state of Washington and Iceland?” We can compete for low prices, so we both have been taken over by that sector. 

Consumers and businesses, we know, will demand new services and new technologies along with low carbon solutions. I can’t tell you how much this is playing out in the state of Washington where every company, whether it’s Microsoft or Amazon or Google, is looking to distinguish themselves with the energy mix that they purchase. To say to their consumers that their portfolio is made up of no or low carbon energy solutions. 

We want to continue ensuring the United States is a leader in developing these [energy] technologies and in training a workforce that will help us deliver on them. One of the sectors examined by the U.S. Energy and Employment Report is energy efficiency, which already employs millions of Americans and is predicated to grow. 

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Moniz to Introduce the 2018 U.S. Jobs Report on Capitol Hill

Washington (May 10, 2018) -- On May 16, 2018, The Energy Futures Initiative (EFI) and the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO), will publicly release the 2018 U.S. Energy & Employment Report (USEER). This is the third installment of the energy jobs survey established by the U.S. Department of Energy in 2016, which offers data on employment trends in four key energy sectors. 

The 1-hour presentation will be held in the Senate Visitors Center, Room 212-10, at 10 a.m. Eastern time. (To view the livestream click here.) Please note that attendees must be on the visitors list to gain entry to the event. Please email Tessa Browne at or call 202-688-0010 to be placed on the guest list. 

The 2018 USEER will be presented by former Energy Secretary Ernest J. Moniz, President and CEO of EFI. He will be joined by David Terry, Executive Director of NASEO, and David Foster, the author of the report. The event will be livestreamed on the NASEO and EFI websites (www.energyfuturesinitiative.orgwww.naseo.org).

“The USEER has proven to be an important tool for state energy officials, who will use this unique set of `all of the above’ energy jobs data to inform policy development and planning,’’ said David Terry of NASEO.

The USEER and its State appendix will be available for download at from 10 a.m. Eastern time on May 16. It will also be available on the NASEO and EFI websites. 

Read full release here

Moniz & McLarty: 5 Ways to Modernize NAFTA by Focusing on Energy

EFI CEO Ernest J. Moniz teamed up with Thomas F. ''Mack'' McLarty III for an opinion piece in the Dallas Morning News on the importance of keeping energy at the forefront of the NAFTA renegotiations:

Surrounded by roaring crowds at his rallies, candidate Donald Trump assailed multilateral agreements and threatened to rip up NAFTA, characterizing it as "the worst trade deal ever." Indeed, Trump's suspicion of trade dates back to the 1980s when he first began to engage on the issue.

As president, he continues to be suspicious. On day three of his presidency, he withdrew the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (although he may be having second thoughts) and more recently slapped harsh tariffs on steel and aluminum imports — sparing Mexico and Canada only for now.

Despite the push to achieve an "agreement in principle" on the North American Free Trade Agreement for last week's Summit of the Americas, the temptation to withdraw remains. In a recent cabinet meeting, the president told reporters, "We are fairly close on NAFTA and if we don't make the right deal, we'll terminate NAFTA and we'll make the right deal after that."

We each learned firsthand that achieving international accords is never easy. As chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, one of us helped pass NAFTA 25 years ago. As secretary of energy under President Barack Obama, the other worked to deepen trilateral energy integration, frequently engaging our neighbors to the north and south on a wide range of energy issues.

We are confident that it's possible to reach the modernized NAFTA that the president promised, building on its foundations and expanding fair and reciprocal trade, with energy at the heart of these efforts.

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Kenderdine & Jermain in The Hill: US Power Grid Needs Defense Against Looming Cyber Attacks

A recent poll showed that more than 90 percent of Americans believe the government is not doing enough to protect the electric grid from cybersecurity attacks. Their fears appear to be justified.

This month, the U.S. government revealed its concerns about Russian incursions into the operating systems of domestic electric power plants and noted that the efforts to disrupt date back to 2013. These attacks have the capability to bring down all or part of our electricity service.

Such large-scale grid cyberattacks were foreseen.

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EFI Report: How DOE's Loan Programs Can Help Rebuild U.S. Energy Infrastructure

The Energy Futures Initiative, Inc. (EFI), a not-for-profit dedicated to driving innovation in energy technology, policy and business models, today issued “Leveraging the DOE Loan Programs,” a report on how the Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office could deploy nearly $40 billion in available credit authority to help rebuild critical U.S. energy infrastructure.

The report team, led by former Secretary of Energy Ernest J. Moniz, notes the Department’s Loan Programs Office (LPO), authorized by Congress in 2005 with broad bipartisan backing, has so far leveraged $50 billion in investments in commercial projects that deploy innovative energy technologies. The report notes that with appropriate partnership arrangements, the $39 billion of remaining credit support authority could attract as much as $100 billion in innovative energy infrastructure improvements.

The LPO portfolio has a default rate of just over two percent and a record of accelerated repayments, providing the impetus for utility-scale solar generation and for re-tooling and reviving advanced auto manufacturing plants in eight states from Tennessee and Kentucky to the upper Midwest and California. “This success rate translates into new businesses, good jobs and a more competitive economy,” said Melanie Kenderdine, former Director of the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis.

Despite these achievements and potential further investment opportunities, the Trump Administration has proposed discontinuing the programs, contending that only “early stage” R&D should be federally supported. Yet, as the report notes, initial deployment of energy technology at scale has significant market barriers and that private-public partnerships such as those in the LPO portfolio are important to the overall innovation system, providing critical performance data to companies, investors, and policymakers.

EFI’s analysis notes that loan programs could be an important vehicle for supporting the Administration’s proposed Transformative Projects Program (TPP), which aims to provide backing for projects that can dramatically improve the Nation’s infrastructure.

“As a grant program, the TPP would require funding outlays that could increase the deficit,’’ said Joseph S. Hezir, a principal at EFI and the former CFO of the Department of Energy from 2013 to 2017. “Pairing the objectives of the Trump Administration with the existing authorities of the LPO could significantly reduce the costs of critical infrastructure projects.” 

Read the full report.