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Advocacy Training: Coal Finance 2014

  • Date: March 17, 2014 – March 19, 2014
  • Location: Furman Hall, NYU School of Law, 245 Sullivan Street

The Institute for Policy Integrity at New York University School of Law and the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis jointly offered a three-day training program for environmental advocates and attorneys on financial issues involving coal-fired power plants, export terminals, and mines. Panels addressed the major dynamics driving the coal market in the United States and around the world; making the economic transition from coal; and the current economics of solar, wind, and energy efficiency alternatives. Continuing Legal Education credit was available for attorneys.

Day 1: Monday, March 17

1:00-1:15 Welcome: Richard Revesz, Institute for Policy Integrity; and Sandy Buchanan, Institute for Energy and Economics and Financial Analysis

1:15-2:45 Panel 1 – The current global market for coal—what are the dynamics driving the major changes underway in the world coal markets?
Moderator: Abbie Dillen, Vice President of Litigation: Climate & Energy, Earthjustice
Presenters: Michael Parker , Senior Analyst, Bernstein Research; Tom Sanzillo , Director of Finance, IEEFA

2:45-4:00 Panel 2 – What are the international institutions funding new coal mining, export and power plant projects? And what are the handles for advocating against such funding?
Introductions: David Schlissel, Director of Resource Planning Analysis, IEEFA
Moderator: John Coequyt, Senior Washington Representative, Energy and Global Warming Program, Sierra Club
Presenters: Ailun Yang , Senior Associate, Climate and Energy Program, World Resources Institute; Calvin Quek , Head, Sustainable Finance, Greenpeace East Asia; Ibrahim Ciftci , Finance Campaigner, Greenpeace Mediterranean

4:15-5:30 Panel 3 – Proposed coal projects in India and Australia
Moderator: Suzanne Mattei, Director, New Yorkers for Patient and Family Empowerment
Presenters: Tim Buckley , Director of Energy Resource Studies, Australasia, IEEFA; Ashish Fernandes , US-India Climate Advisor, Greenpeace

Day 2: Tuesday, March 18

8:45-9:00 Welcome – Richard Revesz, Director, Institute for Policy Integrity and David Schlissel, Director of Resource Planning Analysis, IEEFA

9:00-10:15 Panel 4 – Problems facing the U.S. coal industry and coal-fired generators in 2014 and coming years – What are the current financial risks for coal mining companies and for merchant, public and regulated utility plant owners?
Moderator: Sarah Brennan, Program Officer, The Robertson Foundation
Presenters: Abbie Dillen, Vice President of Litigation: Climate and Energy, Earthjustice; David Schlissel , Director of Resource Planning Analysis, IEEFA; Tom Sanzillo , Director of Finance, IEEFA

10:30-12:15 Panel 5 – Making the economic transition from coal – How communities can survive, and indeed, gain from, the closing of existing coal plants
Moderator: Lisa Hamilton, Regulatory Consultant, IEEFA
Presenters: Erin Heaney, Executive Director, Clean Air Action Coalition of Western New York; Jean Pogge, Executive Director, Delta Institute; Phoebe Selden, Senior Vice President, Acacia Financial Group; Burt Lauderdale, Executive Director, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth

1:00-2:00 Panel 6 – Perspectives on the future price of natural gas and whether gas is a viable long-term economic alternative to coal
Moderator: Eric Schaeffer, Executive Director, Environmental Integrity Project
Presenters: Jonathan Barrett, President and Portfolio Manager, Luminus Management; David Schlissel, Director of Resource Planning Analysis, IEEFA; Deborah Rogers , Founder, Energy Policy Forum

2:00-4:30 Panel 7 A & B The current economics of solar, wind and energy efficiency alternatives to coal (domestic U.S. and international perspectives)
Moderator: Robert Ukeiley, attorney, Berea, KY

2:00-3:15 A) Renewables
Presenters: Tim Buckley , Director of Energy Resource Studies, Australasia, IEEFA; Paul Coster, Executive Director, Equity Research, J.P. Morgan; David Feldman , Senior Financial Analyst, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

3:30-4:30 B) Energy Efficiency
Presenters: Maggie Molina, State, Utilities, and Local Policy Program Director, American Council foran Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE); Jeff Pitkin , Treasurer, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority

4:30–5:45 Panel 8 – Recent developments in the Powder River Basin
Introduction: Larry Shapiro, Associate Director for Program Development, Rockefeller Family Fund
Moderator: Heidi Binko, Associate Director, Special Climate Initiatives, Rockefeller Family Fund
Presenters: Margie MacDonald, Regional Organizer, Western Organization of Resource Councils; Tom Sanzillo , Director of Finance, IEEFA; Leslie Glustrom , Research Director, Clean Energy Action

Day 3: Wednesday, March 19

8:30-8:45 Welcome – Richard Revesz, Director, Institute for Policy Integrity; and Sandy Buchanan, Executive Director, IEEFA

8:45-10:15 Panel 9 – Why have plant owners decided to retire existing coal plants and what are the prospects for future retirements?”
Moderator: David Schlissel, Director of Resource Planning Analysis, IEEFA
Presenters: Julien Dumoulin-Smith, Executive Director – Equity Research, UBS Securities, LLC; Bruce Biewald , President, Synapse Energy Economics

10:30-11:45 Panel 10 – Perspectives on fossil fuel divestment and shareholder action
Moderator: Larry Shapiro, Associate Director for Program Development, Rockefeller Family Fund
Presenters: Tom Sanzillo, Director of Finance, IEEFA: Dan Bakal, Director, Electric Power Programs, Ceres; Phil Aroneanu , US Managing Director and Co-Founder, 350.org

12:30–1:30 Panel 11 – How state PSC’s and the Independent System Operators subsidize the continued operation of existing coal plants
Moderator: David Schlissel, Director of Resource Planning Analysis, IEEFA; Presenters: Cathy Kunkel , Fellow, IEEFA; Christophe Courchesne , Staff Attorney, Conservation Law Foundation

1:30-3:00 – Concurrent panels/workshops on:

1) Panel 12 – Recent developments in proposed coal export terminals
Introduction: Lisa Hamilton, Regulatory Consultant, IEEFA
Moderator: Al Armendariz , Senior Campaign Representative, Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign
Presenters: Clark Williams-Derry , Director Research and Communication, Sightline Institute; Grace Morris , Coal Campaign Organizer, Gulf Restoration Network; Tom “Smitty” Smith , Texas Director, Public Citizen

2) Panel 13 – Proposals for regulating CO2 emissions from existing coal plants
Moderator: Larry Shapiro, Associate Director for Program Development, Rockefeller Family Fund
Presenters: Chris Van Atten , Senior Vice President, MJ Bradley and Associates; Bruce Buckheit, Environmental Consultant; Dan Lashof , Director, Climate & Clean Air Program, Natural Resources Defense Council

3:00-3:30 – Wrap Up: Sandy Buchanan, Executive Director, IEEFA; and Richard Revesz, Director, Institute for Policy Integrity