With help from Eric Wolff and Daniel Lippman.
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— A consortium of world governments are committing to the second phase of the Mission Innovation initiative to accelerate clean energy innovation.
— The Biden administration paused oil and gas leases in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge pending a review of their environmental effects.
— Sen. Shelley Moore Capito is meeting with President Joe Biden today for further discussions on infrastructure.
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BLAST FROM THE PAST: Twenty-three governments, collectively comprising 90 percent of global public investment in clean energy innovation, are committing today to the second phase of the Mission Innovation initiative, which launched in 2015 alongside the Paris climate agreement. Mission Innovation 2.0, as it’s called, is meant to help accelerate clean energy innovation, and this next phase comes ahead of the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow later this year.
“We need to do the innovation now so that we have the full range of technologies that we’ll need to get to net-zero — not only in electricity, but in transportation and industry and in buildings across the board — in a short amount of time,” Deputy Energy Secretary David Turk told ME. “2050 is not that long off. It’s three decades from now. So we’ve got to do the innovation work now to bring those additional price points down for a wide range of technologies going forward.”
Mission Innovation 2.0 will focus on the next decade and global RD&D efforts that will help implement the Paris agreement. The initiative will do so in part by focusing on public-private action and investment through sector-specific “missions,” three of which were announced this morning: power systems, zero-emissions shipping and clean hydrogen.
The announcement lands the same day the International Energy Agency is set to release a report warning that the world remains far off-track to avoid the worst effects of climate change. According to the report, annual global energy investment is set to rebound by nearly 10 percent to $1.9 trillion in 2021. This year is also on track to become the sixth year in a row that investment in the power sector exceeds that in traditional oil and gas supply, and as renewables are dominating investment in new power generation capacity.
But the $750 billion that is expected to be spent on clean energy technologies and efficiency worldwide in 2021 would need to double in the 2020s to maintain temperatures well below a 2 degree Celsius rise and more than triple to keep the door open for a 1.5 degree Celsius stabilization, according to IEA.
“The best time to invest in innovation is 5 to 10 years ago,” Turk said of the Mission Innovation announcement. “The second-best time is right now.”
HITTING PAUSE: The Biden administration suspended oil and gas leases in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as it reassesses the environmental impacts of drilling in the region, Adam Federman scooped for Pros. Biden had already put a pause on oil and gas activity in the area back in January, noting “alleged legal deficiencies” in the leasing program launched under the 2017 Republican tax bill. Activists sued the Trump administration over the leasing program, arguing it violated existing environmental laws and was pushed through via legally dubious routes.
The Alaska Wilderness League was among the groups who sued to stop the leases and applauded Tuesday’s news as prioritizing “sound science and adequate tribal consultation.”
BRACE YOURSELF: Power generators in the 13-state PJM territory should brace themselves for lower prices when the grid manager releases the results of its 2022-2023 capacity auction today.
PJM told generators to expect less demand for power for this auction, and it reduced its reserve margin for this auction, both of which should drive lower prices, Moody’s Investors Service said in a research note. The auction itself was unusually delayed as PJM and FERC tried to work out an appropriate implementation of a Minimum Offer Price Rule aimed at undermining state-based renewable generation subsidies.
PJM is working on a new implementation of the MOPR it hopes to file this summer, but it’s running capacity auctions every six months even as that process moves forward to get back on schedule.
WHAT WHEJAC WANTS: Peggy Shepard, co-chair of the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council, chatted with E&E News’ David Iaconangelo last week and cleared some air about the panel’s resistance to including carbon capture and nuclear technology in the administration’s EJ efforts.
“Certainly, we want to support research and development. It’s needed in certain areas,” Shepard said, noting that she was not speaking on behalf of the rest of the panel. “But we don’t want to support R&D [like carbon capture] that we already believe will not help our communities and that is very, very expensive. We’re going to work to ensure that these projects are not happening in communities of color.” Read more from David.
CAPITO HILL: Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) is meeting with Biden today for further infrastructure negotiations. Biden still sees a lot of reasons to continue with these bipartisan talks, as Chris Cadelago breaks down for POLITICO, even as many of his Senate friends are pushing for him to throw in the towel. But Biden’s enthusiasm won’t last forever, and today’s meeting could be a major marker in how the president engages going forward.
So far, 154 members of Congress have gone to the White House, and more than 100 of them have participated in Oval Office meetings with Biden himself, according to Chris, who dug deep into the roots of Biden’s bipartisan motivations and the political benefits of pursuing cross-aisle talks.
CLIMATE CRYSTAL BALL: Senate Energy ranking member John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and House Energy ranking member Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) want the Energy Information Administration to play out Biden’s ambitious climate goals using its National Energy Modeling System. The two Republican energy leaders wrote to the agency Thursday for modeling for Biden’s nationally determined contribution of “a 50-52 percent reduction from the 2005 level in economy-wide emissions in 2030.” They also asked about Biden’s other key emissions targets, including a net-zero emissions economy by 2050.
“When Congress and the public are presented with major, transformative policy proposals, it is important that we work to assess and understand their potential implications,” the two write. Anthony Adragna has more on the letter for Pros.
CLIMATE BANK GETS BIPARTISAN BACKING: Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.) and Don Young (R-Alaska) wrote to their party leaders on Tuesday in support of a $100 billion national climate bank as part of any major infrastructure overhaul. The four argued that a climate bank has been a “proven model” in states and would create millions of jobs while advancing clean energy to scale if taken to a national level.
Biden has supported the creation of a climate bank to finance clean energy projects and included a smaller “$27 billion Clean Energy and Sustainability Accelerator” in his jobs plan. The signatories also cosponsored legislation, H.R. 806 (117), this year to create a national climate bank overseen by the Energy Department. Anthony has more for Pros.
KEEPING UP WITH THE JONES ACT: Denmark’s Ørsted and New England’s Eversource announced Tuesday they reached an agreement to charter Dominion Energy’s Charybdis — the first Jones Act-qualified offshore wind turbine installation vessel — to support the construction of both the Revolution Wind and Sunrise Wind facilities in the Northeast. The vessel is expected to be sea ready by late 2023.
THE URBAN CLIMATE CZARS: At least 30 cities across the country have created new positions or taken other novel steps to deal with threats posed by climate change, according to the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center. The cities span the country, from Los Angeles to Miami — and some are hoping to qualify for benefits under the Biden administration’s commitment to direct 40 percent of climate benefits to EJ communities. Reuters has more.
‘ENERGY CHOICE’: Lawmakers in several states across the country are trying to prevent bans on natural gas use in buildings, and they’re all using strikingly similar talking points. E&E News obtained documents pointing to an industry effort to unify arguments against banning natural gas for buildings, arguing doing so would limit consumers’ “energy choice.” So far, 18 states have passed laws banning municipalities from blocking gas hookups to new buildings, and similar legislation is being considered in several others.
“What we’re seeing is a well-organized, coordinated campaign to demonstrate a show of force,” Alejandra Mejia Cunningham, a building decarbonization advocate at the Natural Resources Defense Council, told E&E News.
— Tim Carroll is a new deputy press secretary at EPA. He previously worked in communications for the city of Detroit before working on the Elizabeth Warren and later Joe Biden presidential campaigns in 2020.
— Don Moul will start as the Tennessee Valley Authority’s executive vice president and chief operating officer in late June. Moul previously served as executive vice president and chief nuclear officer at NextEra Energy.
— Alex McDonough is joining Pioneer Public Affairs as a partner. He previously worked on Capitol Hill for former Sen. Harry Reid, helmed his own consulting firm, McDonough Advising, and was a co-chair for clean energy for Biden during the 2020 presidential race.
— Nate Morris, founder and CEO of waste and recycling software company Rubicon and a former major fundraiser for the Bush 2004 campaign, has struck a book deal with Crown Publishing. The book will detail his personal history and professional experiences at his company, which counts Marc Benioff, Leonardo DiCaprio and Henry Kravis as investors.
— Jason Noble starts this week as national communications director at NextGen America. He most recently ran communications for Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D-Iowa) and was Iowa communications director for Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign. (H/t Playbook)
— Curtis Walter is now federal policy and advocacy manager at Clean Air Task Force. He previously was advocacy manager at the American Clean Power Association. (H/t Playbook)
— “A burning ship covered beautiful beaches in plastic ‘snow.’ Now Sri Lanka faces an environmental disaster,” via The Washington Post.
— “Greenhouse gas emissions from reservoirs are higher than previously expected,” via Florida News Times.
— “Exxon May Be Corporate America’s Canary in the Coal Mine,” via Bloomberg.
— “POET acquires Flint Hills’ ethanol business, boosts capacity 40%,” via Reuters.
— “Nasdaq and Fortum join forces to develop carbon removal market,” via Reuters.
THAT’S ALL FOR ME!