OVERNIGHT ENERGY: U.S.-China energy ties, tensions in the spotlight

The events will unfold at the second U.S.-China Strategic Forum on Clean Energy Cooperation hosted by the Brookings Institution and the China Institute for Innovation and Development Strategy.

Despite tensions over China’s green energy trade practices, experts and DOE officials say the countries – which are the world’s two largest greenhouse gas emitters and energy consumers – have much to gain by collaborating.

A top Brookings Institution expert – in a Los Angeles Times op-ed Monday ahead of his week’s meetings – called joint clean energy development an area of “particular promise.”

“Together we can produce innovative technologies and scale them up far more rapidly and inexpensively than either side can alone. This requires carefully structured deals, but it holds out the potential of investment and job creation in both directions, substantial new sources of profit, enhanced trust based on mutual interests and significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions,” writes Kenneth Lieberthal, a former senior National Security Council staffer who is now a senior fellow in Foreign Policy and Global Economy and Development at Brookings.

ON TAP TUESDAY I: Power regulator speaks

Beyond the big U.S.-China energy event described above, there are several other energy-related events in the Capital Tuesday.

National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners President Tony Clark will give a speech at the group’s Washington, D.C. headquarters.

ON TAP TUESDAY II: Public lands

Wilderness Society President William Meadows will hold a National Press Club briefing on the “state of our public lands policy,” a topic intertwined with decisions about where to allow – or prohibit – oil-and-gas drilling, mining and other activities.

ON TAP TUESDAY III: Clean technology conference

The United States Leadership Forum hosts its 2011 Clean Technology Outlook conference in Washington, D.C. The event will address the “The latest projections on clean technology funding in 2011,” as well as “priorities of the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,” the sponsors said.


House energy committee gets going in earnest

The powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a formal organizational meeting Thursday, which should lead to the committee’s plans coming into sharper focus.

Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) has sketched out an ambitious agenda that includes rolling back what he alleges are “job-killing” EPA climate regulations (among other rules), while promoting an “all of the above” energy strategy that emphasizes increased development of both traditional and alternative energy sources, including oil, gas, nuclear and renewables.

The committee will meet Thursday morning to formally adopt rules and subcommittee jurisdictions, appoint the top GOP and Democratic members of subcommittees, and appoint the subcommittees' rank-and-file members.


Energy news didn’t stop for Martin Luther King Day. On E2, we looked at whether or not House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) will probe climate change science, and from there explored how green groups are using the new report by the presidential oil spill commission to pressure Congress.

Elsewhere, we looked at how a top Energy Department official is approaching this week’s meetings with Chinese officials; reported on an analysis of what it would take to transition completely to renewable energy in 20 years; and provided an update on the Trans Alaska Pipeline.


West Virginia state lawmakers hope to lessen EPA’s authority over coal

State lawmakers fuming over EPA’s veto of a large mountaintop removal coal mine hope to lessen the agency’s influence over the industry.

“A West Virginia bill to be introduced early this week aims to give a state agency the power to grant some coal mining permits and circumvent stalling by the EPA,” the Beckley Register-Herald reports.

The piece adds: “The bill would give the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection the authority to grant permits to coal mines that sell their coal for use only within state borders. The bill is being introduced by Delegate Gary Howell, R-Mineral, and he said he has the maximum number of co-sponsors behind the bill.”

Alaska gov seeks oil tax changes

“Gov. Sean Parnell is proposing sweeping changes to Alaska's oil and gas production tax. It's an effort that he says is aimed at boosting oil production and creating more jobs for Alaskans,” the Associated Press reports.

Bjork protests energy deal

“Singer Bjork presented a petition on Monday to Iceland's prime minister, protesting against the sale of an Icelandic geothermal energy company,” Reuters reports.

“The deal to sell Iceland's HS Orka to Canadian-based geothermal firm Magma Energy Corp (MXY.TO) was approved by a parliamentary oversight committee last year, but has faced public opposition since -- most notably from Bjork.”