Policy Watch: U.S. Senate is pushing forward the stalled Energy Reform Package

After being bogged down by funding amendments for Flint, MI and other issues, the “Energy Policy Modernization Act” has been resurrected and is expected to be brought up for a vote before the U.S. Senate today (Tuesday).  This bill represents the first broad legislative attempt to address growing issues for the nation’s energy sector since 2007.   It has generally seen bipartisan support as it has made its way through committees since originally introduced by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) last year.

Currently at 424 printed pages, there’s a lot of ground covered in this package.  In addition to updating language and definitions around various energy resources, the bill requires that DOE conduct new studies to answer questions about grid reliability, lays out support for workforce training programs (including those for displaced coal workers), and would require DOE to issue final determinations on LNG terminal applications within 45 days (some LNG terminal applications have been pending for more than 4 years).

Hoping to improve the Federal government’s role in spurring innovation, it is also worth noting that the bill attempts to make it easier for small businesses to access the National Labs, and increases the authorizations for the Office of Science in the U.S. Department of Energy, ARPA-E, and the Army Corp of Engineers.

Access a current copy of the bill here.  Read more about the anticipated amendments under consideration for this bill here.

4/20/2016 UPDATE:  Senate has passed this bill, which must now be reconciled with the House version.  Read more

POWER Initiative: $65.8M in Available Funding

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) have created the Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative to stabilize and grow the economic future of coal-impacted communities through job creation, capital investment, workforce development or reemployment opportunities. Through this program, $65.8 million in competitive federal funding will be awarded to communities and regions affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries.

Register for the May 27th Regional Workshop to learn about the POWER Initiative, funding and eligibility requirements, how to identify potential projects and collaborators, and the process for developing project proposals.


RSVP: 2016 Energy Alliance Annual Meeting – Apr 25

Monday, April 25th 2016
8:30am – 10:30am
Lobby Auditorium, 11 Stanwix Street, Pittsburgh PA 15222

8:30 – 9:00am    Breakfast, Networking, & Registration
9:00 – 9:30am    2016 Energy Alliance programs and opportunities
9:30 – 10:30am   Keynote Speaker with Q&A


Keynote Speaker:  PUC Commissioner Robert F. Powelson

Commissioner PowelsonWe are pleased to welcome Pennsylvania Utilities Commissioner Powelson as our keynote for this year’s Energy Alliance Annual Meeting.  The PUC is responsible for oversight of public utility and services operations in the commonwealth, including water, energy, and transportation.

Commissioner Powelson will share his perspective and answer questions about the impacts of major new policies on Pennsylvania, such as the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, the start of Phase III of Act 129 (PA’s electricity energy efficiency and conservation program), and other significant energy-related issues before the PUC today.


Commissioner Powelson was first appointed to the PUC by Gov. Rendell in 2008, then later appointed to serve as PUC Chairman by Gov. Corbett from 2011 through 2015. Under Powelson’s leadership, Pennsylvania ratepayers have had an active voice on issues such as ratemaking, utility infrastructure replacement, broadband development, and expanded use of natural gas throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  On March 8, 2011, Governor Corbett invited Powelson to serve as a member of the Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission. The Advisory Commission reviewed the Commonwealth’s existing statutes, regulations and policies and provided recommendations to ensure that Pennsylvania maximizes the opportunity that Marcellus Shale presents in the most responsible manner possible.

Commissioner Powelson also is a voting member of the National Regulatory Research Institute (NRRI). In 2012, he was appointed to serve on the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) Advisory Council and was recently re-appointed to serve another term, which expires August 2018. Previous to his tenure with the PUC, Powelson served as the President of the Chester County Chamber of Business & Industry and was was the Director of Government Relations for the Delaware County Chamber.


Please RSVP by Wednesday, April 20th.
Light breakfast will be served.    Capacity for this event is limited; RSVPs will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.


WPXI’s Our Region’s Business: On Location at CMU’s “Energy Week”

Catch the show on Sunday, May 1 at 11:00 a.m. on WPXI-TV


IMG_0889-2Last month, Our Region’s Business, a co-production of the Allegheny Conference and WPXI-TV, hit the road to record a special edition of the program at CMU’s inaugural “Energy Week.” The show was shot inside the newest edition to the campus, Scott Hall, the home of the Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation. CMU and the Scott Institute are helping to put Oakland and the Pittsburgh region at the epicenter of a revolution in energy research. Not only are we central to enormous fossil fuel reserves – both coal and natural gas – but researchers at CMU are at the frontier of wind, solar, smart grid and intelligent building design

Guests featured on the broadcast include:

  • Dr. Jared Cohon, former president of CMU, and now the director of the Scott Institute
  • Dr. Jay Whitacre, founder and CTO of Aquion Energy, and a professor at CMU
  • Dr. Erica Cochran, UDream program director at the Remaking Cities Institute

The show airs Sunday, May 1 at 11:00 a.m. on WPXI-TV.


Our Region’s Business is a Sunday-morning business affairs program co-produced by the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and WPXI-TV that aims to play a positive role in the Pittsburgh region by providing business news, information and commentary in a lively and entertaining format. The program is hosted by veteran broadcast journalist Bill Flanagan, who is chief corporate relations officer at the Allegheny Conference and its affiliated organizations. 

Energy Networking Mixer at the Energy Innovation Center | March 22nd

Tuesday March 22, 2016, 5 – 7 pm
Energy Innovation Center
1435 Bedford Avenue
Pittsburgh PA 15219

You are invited to join the The American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE), the African American Chamber of Commerce of Western PA, and Chevron for a Networking Mixer at the Energy Innovation Center, located in Hill District of Pittsburgh.

This is an opportunity to develop valuable business and social relationships, with an emphasis this month on the energy industry including:

  • Oil & gas
  • Green energy
  • Renewables
  • Power & utilities
  • Advanced Manufacturing

RSVP required by March 18th

Call 412-392-0610 or email information@aaccwp.com

This event is sponsored by