Energy Finance 2016

march 14-16

March 14-16, 2016 the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis and Columbia Law School brought together environmental advocates and attorneys from around the world for a three-day training program in New York City. The training covered current developments in the coal, natural gas, and electric utility industries. It was designed to provide advocates and attorneys with the skills to understand and engage in the financial aspects of current debates on fossil fuels. The 2016 training was held at and in partnership with:

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Jerome Greene Hall, Rooms 103 & 106
435 W 116th St.
New York, NY 10025


Conference documents

Panel descriptions and links to presentations 

1 – State of international coal markets –This panel will describe recent developments and trends in the international coal markets.
Tim Buckley, IEEFA
Fergus Green, London School of Economics & Political Science
Moderator: Maura Cowley, Sierra Club

2Recent developments in the Chinese and Indian Coal SectorsThis panel will describe recent developments in the Chinese and Indian coal industries. It will cover projected demand for both domestic and imported coal in China and India.
Jai Sharda, Equitorials
Calvin Quek, Greenpeace
Moderator: Ashish Fernandes, Greenpeace

3 – How campaigners use financial analysis –This panel will include case studies from the U.S., India and Australia showcasing how campaigners have used financial analysis in campaigns involving utilities, coal mines and coal-fired power plants. Campaigners will explain how financial analyses has been used to attract new constituencies and media attention to campaigns.
Julien Vincent, Market Forces
Nityanand Jayaraman, Chennai Solidarity Group
Tom Smith, Public Citizen
Moderator: Yann Louvel, BankTrack

4 – Coal, natural gas & renewable energy in domestic power markets – This panel will look at the impact of low natural gas prices on the domestic fuel mix and future trends. It will discuss the ways in which natural gas is displacing coal and also renewable energy.
Colleen Regan, Bloomberg New Energy Finance
David Schlissel, IEEFA
Moderator: Bruce Nilles, Sierra Club

5- The new oil price environment: trends and politics – Panelists will discuss why oil prices are so low, the impact of low oil prices on Middle East politics, and how long prices are expected to remain low.
Tom Pawlicki, S&P Capital IQ and SNL
Steve LeVine, Quartz
Moderator: Tom Sanzillo, IEEFA

6 – Integrating renewable energy into the grid –Panelists from Germany and the United States will discuss the integration of wind and solar energy into the grid and steps that are being taken to increase the amount of renewable energy that can be accommodated by the grid.
Christoph Podewils, Agora Energiewende
Richard Sedano, Regulatory Assistance Project
Moderator: Suzanne Mattei, IEEFA, New York State Trial Lawyers Association

7 Financing renewable energy – This panel will discuss financing mechanisms for renewable energy, particularly YieldCos. Panelists will discuss how YieldCos are changing the markets for solar and why they had a particularly bad year in 2015.
Vishal Shah, Deutsche Bank
Jonathan Barrett, Luminus Management
Moderator:  Daniel Firger, Bloomberg Philanthropies

8 – Emerging issues in FERC regulation of pipelines – This panel will discuss emerging issues in FERC regulation, including (a) the need to close loopholes and gaps between state and federal regulatory processes for permitting new pipelines; and (b) the need for improved FERC regulation to incentivize more flexible and efficient use of existing pipelines.
Jonathan Peress, Environmental Defense Fund
Carrie La Seur, Baumstark Braaten Law Partners
Moderator: Heidi Binko, Rockefeller Family Fund

9 – Coal industry impacts on water – Panelists will discuss the impact of coal mining and coal power plants on water resources in the U.S. and India.
Donna Lisenby, Waterkeeper
Shripad Dharmadhikary, Manthan Adhyayan Kendra
Patrick Grenter, Center for Coalfield Justice
Moderator: Vikas Mehta, Growald Family Fund

10 – Wet gas economics and infrastructure buildout – This panel will provide an overview of the economics of wet gas and how it is used in the petrochemical industry. Panelists will explain how low prices for wet gas are driving a buildout of related infrastructure.
Nick Fowler, Rextac
Eric Schaeffer, Environmental Integrity Project
Moderator: Philip Johnson, The Heinz Endowments

11 Major institutional investor decisions on coal divestment – Panelists representing major institutional investors (Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, New York City pension funds, and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System) will discuss their funds’ decisions to divest from the coal industry.
Torstein Solberg, Norwegian Labor Party
John Adler, NYC mayor’s office
Philip Larrieu, California State Teachers’ Retirement System
Heffa Schuecking, urgewald
Moderator: Tom Sanzillo, IEEFA

12 – Planning for community transition – This panel will discuss the community organizing effort to prepare for the retirement of the Huntley coal plant in western New York and the community response to the retirement of the plant.
Richard Lipsitz, Western NY Area Labor Federation
Rebecca Newberry, Clean Air Coalition of Western NY
Moderator: Larry Shapiro, Rockefeller Family Fund

13- Are natural gas pipelines being overbuilt? – This panel will discuss the potential for overbuilding of natural gas pipelines from both a federal regulatory angle and an economics angle. The panel will include a case study of the proposed New England pipeline buildout.
Carolyn Elefant, Law Office of Carolyn Elefant
Christophe Courchesne, Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office
Moderator: Cathy Kunkel, IEEFA                               

14 – New developments at Integrated System Operators (ISOs), This panel will look at recent developments at ISOs, with a focus on PJM, and how they impact the financial viability of existing coal-fired power plants.
Wil Burns, Burns Law Firm, LLC
David Schlissel, IEEFA
Moderator: Abbie Dillen, Earthjustice

15 – Methane leakage- This panel will discuss recent developments in our understanding of methane leakage from natural gas exploration, production and storage and implications for the economics of natural gas.
Al Armendariz, Sierra Club
Mark Brownstein, Environmental Defense Fund
Moderator: Sarah Brennan, Robertson Foundation

16 – Financial trends in the structure of the utility industry-  This panel will discuss what is driving the trend of utility mergers and acquisitions. It will look in detail at the proposed merger of Exelon and Pepco.
Jim Hempstead, Moody’s
Cathy Kunkel, IEEFA
Moderator: Shannon Fisk, Earthjustice

17 – The battle over distributed solar- This panel will survey the utility counter-attack on distributed solar in different states and how advocates are responding to this issue.
George Cavros, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
Karl Rabago, Pace Energy and Climate Center
Thad Culley, Keyes Fox & Wiedman
Moderator: Lisa Hamilton, IEEFA

18 – Coal ash liabilities- This panel will discuss liabilities associated with coal ash storage in the U.S. and Puerto Rico and how those liabilities impact the financial viability of existing coal-fired power plants.
Ruth Santiago, Ruth Santiago Law Office
Lisa Evans, Earthjustice
Moderator: Eric Schaeffer, Environmental Integrity Project

19 – How the coal industry is managing financial distress – This panel will discuss the recent financial troubles of the domestic coal industry and the various bankruptcies of major coal producers. It will also look at the issue of unfunded liabilities and how states are changing their requirements for bonding as the domestic coal industry collapses.
Tom Sanzillo, IEEFA
Dan Cohn, Western Organization of Resource Councils
Margrethe Kearney, Environmental Law & Policy Center
Moderator: Sandy Buchanan, IEEFA