Bay Area Chapter (California)

 

 

 

 

C.-Y. Cynthia Lin

Assistant Professor

University of California at Davis

cclin@primal.ucdavis.edu

 

 

I am pleased to report that the USAEE Bay Area Chapter was recently formed in fall of 2012.  Our chapter is led by our Vice President, Dr. Andrew J. Coleman (Electric Power Research Institute); our Treasurer, Les Deman (LDEC Consulting Co.); our Secretary, Karen Lang (PG&E), and myself, as President.

 

In the Bay Area we are fortunate to have a unique mix of energy economists from diverse backgrounds in the private sector, public sector, or academia, as well as from diverse locations including San Francisco, Berkeley, Palo Alto, Silicon Valley, Davis, and Sacramento. One of the goals of the newly formed USAEE Bay Area Chapter is to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas, of advances in knowledge, and of professional experiences among energy professionals and students from these diverse backgrounds and diverse locations.  We therefore plan to have meetings at various locations in the Bay Area.  Given that our members may travel long distances from various parts of the Bay Area to attend our meetings, our quarterly meetings are held in the evenings, and include dinner.

Our first meeting in fall 2012, which was held at the University of California at Davis and featured a panel on “Energy Economics Careers and Future Prospects”, was a success.  Our panel consisted of prominent local speakers representing different types of energy economics jobs to talk about their work, their careers and where they see the field and industry going.   We were fortunate to have the following esteemed and world-renowned energy economists as panelists: Dr. Fereidoon P. Sioshani (President, Menlo Energy Economics), Richard Karp (Economic Consultant, Corporate Business Development, Chevron Corporation) and Les Deman (President, LDEC Consulting Co.).  This meeting was made possible through generous sponsorship by the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California at Davis.

We had a great turnout for our first meeting, with 25 participants, including both students and professionals, representing diverse organizations in academia, the private sector and the public sector. The panelists each described a typical day/week for them at their job, how they got to be so successful in their field, how they chose their career path, career advice they had to offer for energy economists at different points in their career, what they liked and disliked about their job, where they thought the energy economics field was headed, and what they thought were the critical skills and experiences energy economists should have.  The presentations from the panelists were engaging and inspiring, and engendered a lively discussion amongst the participants on energy careers and the energy industry.

 

Panelists at USAEE Bay Area Chapter winter 2013 meeting.  From left to right: Adam Diamant, Marino Monardi, Steve Cliff.

 

For our winter 2013 meeting, we featured a panel on “California’s Cap and Trade Program” consisting of prominent local experts representing diverse perspectives on the topic.  Our panel included the following esteemed speakers: Dr. Steven Cliff (Chief of the GHG Market Development and Oversight Branch, California Air Resources Board), Marino Monardi (Director in Energy Supply Department, PG&E), and Adam Diamant (Technical Executive in the Energy and Environmental Policy Analysis and Company Strategy Program, Electric Power Research Institute).  Our panel was moderated by Victor Niemeyer (Program Manager for the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Options Program, Electric Power Research Institute).  The meeting was held on Monday, March 18, 2013 from 6:30-8:30pm at the Electric Power Research Institute.  Dinner was served.  This meeting was made possible through generous sponsorship by EPRI.

Our moderator, Victor Niemeyer, is the Program Manager for the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Options Program at the Electric Power Research Institute. The Program helps energy companies investigate market mechanisms and offsets in climate policy design, assess the market impacts of climate policy on business and compliance strategies, understand the benefits and risks of new technologies, and assess the impacts climate policy at state and regional levels. Before joining the Global Climate Change program, Mr. Niemeyer managed the Power Markets and Risk program area in EPRI’s Power Delivery and Markets (PDM) Sector.  He has also worked as a Project Manager in the Environment Sector.  Mr. Niemeyer holds a Bachelor of Arts in economics from the University of California and a doctorate in economics from the University of Texas at Austin. His fields of emphasis are energy economics, power market simulation, and environmental economics.

Our first panelist was Dr. Steven Cliff, who is the Chief of the Climate Change Program Evaluation Branch in the Stationary Source Division at the California Air Resources Board and a Research Professor in the Air Quality Research Center at the University of California at Davis.  Dr. Cliff’s branch at ARB is responsible for developing and implementing the greenhouse gas Cap-and-Trade Program outlined in California’s Scoping Plan for implementing the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32).  The Cap-and-Trade Program went into effect in January of 2012, with full Program implementation starting January 2013.  In addition, Dr. Cliff has more than 15 years experience in global climate and air quality research and is a recognized expert on global air pollution transport.  Specifically, his research on air pollution carried with winds across the Pacific Ocean has been the subject of numerous research and news articles.  He earned his B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Chemistry from the University of California at San Diego.

Our second panelist was Marino Monardi, who is the Director of the PG&E’s Portfolio Management Department, responsible for management and procurement of Combined Heat and Power and conventional power resources as well as procurement of GHG compliance instruments.  Mr. Monardi has 27 years of industry experience with the last nine years at PG&E.  His career has focused on power planning and procurement.  Mr. Monardi has a Masters in Public Policy with a focus on energy economics from Indiana University and a BA from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.

Our third panelist was Adam Diamant, who is a Technical Executive in the Energy and Environmental Policy Analysis and Company Strategy Program at the Electric Power Research Institute. Mr. Diamant’s current research focuses on the development and evolution of international greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions trading programs, the design and implementation of GHG emissions offsets policies and programs, and developing information and methods to help electric companies make strategic decisions in the face of climate policy uncertainty.  Previously, Mr. Diamant founded and operated a private consulting firm that specialized in economic and policy analysis of key energy and environmental issues.  Mr. Diamant also was Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of UtilityGuide, Inc., an Internet start-up firm that helped individuals and small business manage their utility services online.  Mr. Diamant also worked as a Policy Analyst in the Executive Office of the President of the United States, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), where he was responsible for oversight of the regulatory programs of the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Forest Service. Mr. Diamant holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Master in Public Policy degree from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Steve Cliff started off the panel by describing California’s cap-and-trade program, which is one of a suite of measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32).  In California’s cap-and-trade program, the “cap” limits total GHG emissions from all regulated sources, and participants are allowed to “trade” state-issued GHG emissions allowances.  Steve explained who was covered under the program, what was required of them, and how the allowances were distributed.  He also described elements of the program design that ensure market integrity.  Steve also discussed the role of offsets and results of the auctions.

Next, Marino Monardi began his presentation by describing PG&E’s direct and indirect obligations under cap and trade.  He also described how the market has evolved so far, and how well the auctions functioned.  He discussed possible areas for improvement, including offset credit supply.   He discussed future expectations about the allowance price.  While carbon prices in Europe are plunging to under $5/t, he believes that CARB has done a better job than the EU, and therefore that prices would not plunge in the same way in California.

Adam Diamant’s presentation focused on the exploring the interaction between California’s greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program and “complementary” greenhouse gas emissions reduction policies.  Complementary policies are direct regulatory measures that target emissions from key sectors, including transportation, electricity and industry.  Complementary policies in AB32 include the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), and the Pavley automotive standards.

We had a great turnout for our second meeting as well, with 23 participants including a contingent of visitors from the NCAC Chapter.  Following the panel, a lively discussion on offsets and other issues regarding California’s cap-and-trade program ensued.

The USAEE Bay Area Chapter has offered important networking opportunities to energy economists in the Bay Area and has engendered several important connections between members.  For example, James Plummer (QED Research), Founder and Past President of the IAEE, and Dale Manning, a Ph.D. student at the University of California at Davis, met at the first USAEE Bay Area Chapter meeting and since then have written a paper together on black carbon that they plan to submit to a peer-reviewed journal for publication.

The newly formed USAEE Bay Area Chapter has gotten off to a great start and we look forward to many successful meetings in the future.

 

 

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