#GMF2016 Day 1: Importance of Methane Mitigation and Methane Project Financing

Hello from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., USA, where we have just completed the first morning plenary session of the Global Methane Forum! We had a packed house of methane mitigation enthusiasts ready to discover the importance of mitigating methane as part of a near- and long-term strategy for implementing the COP21 goal of limiting global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.

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A packed house before the first Plenary Session of the 2016 Global Methane Forum. Photo credit: Christopher Voell, Director of the U.S. EPA’s AgSTAR program and Co-Chair of GMI’s Agriculture Subcommittee.

The first session kicked off with a talk by GMI Steering Committee Chair & Acting Assistant Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Janet McCabe on methane’s critical role as a short-term climate forcer and the global cooperative efforts on its mitigation, including the Global Methane Initiative. She also detailed U.S. domestic plans for methane mitigation in the oil & gas sector, including the recent announcement with the government of Canada. Her talk was followed by a complementary discussion on the outcomes of COP21 and the implications of future methane work by the U.S. State Department’s Deputy Special Envoy for Climate Change, Karen Florini. Ms. Florini also acts as a key player in the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), the co-host of the Forum.

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In a panel of technical experts on coal mine methane, Scott Foster of the United Nations’ Economic Commission for Europe called for increased international cooperation. Photo credit: GMI project staff.

As the policymakers exited the stage, the scientists entered – CCAC’s Climate Advisory Panel scientists Dr. Johan Kuylenstierna, Deputy Director, Stockholm Environment Institute, University of York, and Dr. Drew Shindell, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University. In a ‘tag team’ talk, Dr. Kuylenstierna and Dr. Shindell explained the far-reaching impacts of methane emissions not only as a climate forcer, but on air quality as well – which negatively impacts human health, agricultural crop yields, etc.

The final session of the morning featured a roundtable moderated by Dianne Rudo, during which the speakers detailed varying approaches to methane project financing, including:

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Steven Wan speaking on financing Ventilation Air Methane (VAM) projects after the collapse of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). Photo Credit: GMI project staff.
  • Steven Wan, Fortman (Beijing) Clean Technology Co., Ltd., discussed establishing a public-private partnership with SinoSteel to finance coal mine methane projects.
  • Scott Cantor, Carbon Finance Specialist, World Bank described the World Bank’s new innovative, award-winning climate finance mechanism, the Pilot Auction Facility, based on providing a price guarantee for methane projects via auctioning put options.
  • Samuel Tumiwa, Deputy Regional Director, Asian Development Bank, outlined approaches to climate project financing in Asia, including smaller scale, easily replicated loans used to add biogas digesters to existing projects.
  • Laurence Blandford, Center for Clean Air Policy (CCAP), presented on his recently-published CCAP paper on converting COP21 INDCs into action. The major takeaway: publishing a country INDC investment strategy.
  • Bob Ichord, Ichord Ventures, LLC, discussed improving enabling environments for mitigating methane emissions from the oil & gas sector. As he noted, oil and gas production will not cease anytime soon, so we must deal with the emissions.

All in all, a successful morning. Stay tuned to our Twitter page for live updates, and please check our website in a few weeks for presentation materials from this morning.

Global Methane Forum FAQs – UPDATED!

With just a few days remaining before the Global Methane Forum (GMF), the Administrative Support Group would like to take this opportunity to answer some frequently asked questions.

  1. When and where is the GMF?
  2. Where can I find the agenda for the Forum?
  3. How much does the GMF cost?
  4. Where do I sign up?
  5. What if I need a room overnight?
  6. What if I can’t make it to D.C. for the Forum?
  7. What if I have other questions?

When and where is the GMF?

The GMF will be held Monday-Wednesday, 28-30 March 2016 at the Georgetown University Hotel and Conference Center in Washington, D.C., USA. Back-to-back with the Forum, the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) will be hosting a Science Policy Dialogue session on 31 March which will be open to all Forum attendees.

Where can I find the agenda for the Forum?

You can download the latest draft agenda (PDF) right here!

How much does the GMF cost?

Registration for the Forum is free!

Where do I sign up?

Unfortunately, online pre-registration for the Forum is now closed, but you can still register on site at the Forum on Tuesday morning!

What if I need a room overnight?

GMI’s block of rooms at the Georgetown Hotel and Conference Center is sold out. GMI is providing a free shuttle service Tuesday through Friday from the Key Bridge Marriott to the Forum, although the GMI block of rooms at that hotel is also sold out. However, there are many other hotels near the conference center or the shuttle pick-up point!

What if I can’t make it to D.C. for the Forum?

Although we won’t be broadcasting the Forum online, all the presentations from the Forum will be posted to globalmethane.org after the event.

What if I have other questions?

For more information, you can go to globalmethane.org/forum or email us at asg@globalmethane.org.

Global Methane Forum Speaker Highlights – Ricardo Hamdan

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Ricardo Hamdan, North America Sales Manager, Greenlane Biogas

Ricardo Hamdan has nearly a decade of experience in renewable natural gas and biogas technology. He is currently the Sales Manager for North America for Greenlane Biogas in Vancouver, Canada, where he has been instrumental in the sale and completion of a broad array of biogas projects around the world, including landfills, wastewater treatment plants, and large-scale animal waste digesters. At the Global Methane Forum, Mr. Hamdan will present on Small Scale Biogas Upgrading Case Studies.

Founded in 1986 in Auckland, New Zealand, Greenlane Biogas is one of the world’s largest suppliers of biogas upgrading technology, including biogas to biomethane. Greenlane Biogas is an independent technology solution provider, offering water wash systems, pressure swing adsorption and membrane systems to clients of all sizes, from small-scale installations to extensive district and industrial biomethane facilities (input rates between 50 and 2500 cubic meters per hour). The two largest biogas-upgrading plants in the world—at Güstrow, Germany and Montreal, Canada—use Greenlane’s pressurized water scrubbing systems.

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Greenlane Biogas TOTARA biogas upgrading equipment.

Mr. Hamdan speaks regularly on topics relating to anaerobic digestion, biogas upgrading and renewable natural gas policy and regulation. He is an active member of the American Biogas Council and the Biogas Association of Canada. He has spoken at several global industry conferences, including the BioCycle Conference, the Global Methane Initiative’s Methane Expo, and the Latin American Carbon Forum.

New U.S.-Canada O&G Regulations and GMI O&G Video

BIG news today for reducing methane! In his first official visit to Washington, D.C., Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, alongside U.S. President Barack Obama, announced coordinated action on methane emissions in the oil and gas sector. Specifically, the leaders commit to reduce methane emissions by 40-45% below 2012 levels by 2025 from the oil and gas sector, and explore new opportunities for additional methane reductions.

To achieve this target, both countries have committed to regulating existing sources of methane emissions in the oil and gas sector:

  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will begin developing regulations for methane emissions from existing oil and gas sources immediately and will move as expeditiously as possible to complete this process. In April, EPA will start a formal process to require companies operating existing methane emission sources to provide information to assist in development of comprehensive standards to decrease methane emissions.
  • Environment and Climate Change Canada will also regulate methane emissions from new and existing oil and gas sources. Environment and Climate Change Canada will move, as expeditiously as possible, to put in place national regulations in collaboration with provinces/territories, Indigenous Peoples and stakeholders. Environment and Climate Change Canada intends to publish an initial phase of proposed regulations by early 2017.

The agreed-upon framework also includes several key objectives:

  • Work collaboratively on federal measures to reduce methane emissions: Building on the Canada-United States Air Quality Agreement, both countries will work collaboratively on programs, policies, and strategies, and share experiences on reducing oil and gas methane emissions as they implement their respective federal regulations, beginning this year.
  • Improve data collection, transparency, and R&D and share knowledge of cost-effective methane reduction technologies and practices: To ensure their actions are based on the best available data and technology, Canada and the United States will work together to improve methane data collection and emissions quantification and transparency of emissions reporting in North America, and share knowledge of cost-effective methane reduction technologies and practices.
  • Jointly endorse the World Bank’s Zero Routine Flaring by 2030 Initiative: Reflecting their increasing concern about the climate, environment, and energy security impacts of oil and gas flaring, particularly in sensitive regions such as the Arctic, Canada and the United States commit to jointly endorse the World Bank’s Zero Routine Flaring by 2030 Initiative, and report annually on progress.

GMI has been working in the oil and gas sector around the world since 2004. We recently created a video on oil & gas methane emission sources and mitigation methods. Check it out!

GMI Speaker Highlight – Coal Mine Methane: Tom Vessels

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Tom Vessels, CEO of Vessels Coal Gas, Inc. Photo credit: Vessels Coal Gas, Inc.

Tom Vessels has been working in the natural gas and coal mining industries for more than 40 years. He is currently the president of Vessels Coal Gas, Inc. (Vessels) and manager of North Fork Energy, LLC, both of Denver, Colorado, USA. Mr. Vessels’ presentation will cover the stages of coal mine methane (CMM) project development, including conception, initial discussions, and initial design. He will also cover project operations and technical issues to resolve in local environments, as well as discuss policy and political hurdles one might encounter when developing a CMM project.

 

vessels2Vessels has been working on qualifying energy from waste mine methane for the high value carbon and energy markets since 2007. The company has developed and is expanding projects for capturing CMM in three states. The company’s largest CMM collection project is in Colorado, while its longest-running project is in Pennsylvania. Vessels has won awards for environmental excellence in both states.

Vessels currently operates a CMM recovery facility on the abandoned Bethlehem Energy Mine 33, initially registered with the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). The pipeline injection of mine gas project came online in May 2008 and electrical generation began in December 2010. As of January 1, 2013 the plant had sold over 407 billion cubic feet of natural gas into the Peoples Natural Gas local distribution company pipeline. The plant has produced over 152,910 Verified Carbon Units using the VCS methodology, and generated 8,291,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity and 8,291 Renewable Energy Credits.

vessels3Under the Climate Action Reserve, the company is currently destroying approximately 2,700,000 standard cubic feet per day of vented mine methane.

 

World Bank PAF Second Auction and Consultation Series

The Pilot Auction Facility for Methane and Climate Change Mitigation (PAF) is pleased to announce the date and parameters of its second auction, as well as the release of the Bidder Application Package. In addition, PAF will host a series of informational consultations and webinars in the coming weeks to provide an update on its upcoming second auction.

The second auction is scheduled for 12 May 2016 and will have a budget of $20 million. It will be a forward auction, where the price guarantee for emission reductions is fixed at $3.50 per ton and the premium cost to purchase the price guarantee will be bid up, starting at $0.06 per ton. The full list of parameters can be found on the PAF website.

Parties wishing to receive the Bidder Application Package can do so by sending an email to paf_secretariat@worldbank.org. PAF will offer price guarantees to projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the solid waste, wastewater or agricultural waste sectors. Interested colleagues are invited to review the second auction eligibility criteria, frequently asked questions and explanatory videos on the PAF website.

The series of informational consultations and webinars includes two webinars and six in-person meetings, the last of which will take place at GMI’s Global Methane Forum on 28 March 2016. These events will provide an overview of the auction’s eligibility criteria, parameters, and timeline, as well as the steps required to participate in the auction. Attendees will also have the opportunity to receive direct answers to their questions regarding the second auction. You will find below the complete list of events with corresponding registration links. For more information, see the events page on the PAF website.

Location Date Time* Venue Address Registration
London Monday, 7 March 2016 10:00 – 12:00 The Millennium Gloucester Hotel 4-18 Harrington Gardens, London, GB SW7 4LH, United Kingdom Register
Zurich Wednesday, 9 March 2016 16:30 – 18:00 The Sheraton Zurich Hotel Pfingstweidstrasse 100, 8005 Zürich, Switzerland Register
New Delhi Wednesday, 16 March 2016 08:30 – 10:30 The Silver Oak, India Habitat Centre Lodhi Road, New Delhi, Delhi 110003, India Register
Bogotá Friday, 18 March 2016 10:00 – 12:00 Bogotá World Bank Office Cr 7 # 71 – 21, Torre A, piso 16, Bogotá, Colombia Register
São Paulo Monday, 21 March 2016 09:30 – 12:00 São Paulo, IFC Office R. James Joule, 65, São Paulo – SP, 04576-080, Brazil Register
Webinar 1 Wednesday, 23 March 2016 09:00 – 11:00 Webex Online Register
Webinar 2 Wednesday, 23 March 2016 20:00 – 22:00 Webex Online Register
Washington, DC Monday, 28 March 2016 14:00 – 16:00 Georgetown University Hotel and Conference Center 3800 Reservoir Rd NW, Washington, DC 20007 Register

*all times in local time, in the time zone of the location of the event

Should you have any questions, please email paf_secretariat@worldbank.org. If you would like to receive emailed updates directly from the PAF, please subscribe using this form.

Global Methane Forum Highlights – GHGSat

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Did you know that GHGSat, one of GMI’s Project Network organizations and a supporter of next month’s Global Methane Forum, is ramping up to launch a new satellite this year?

GHGSat offers methane detection, measurement and monitoring services, using its innovative satellite technology. After its launch in April, their state-of-the-art greenhouse gas (GHG)-monitoring satellite (named “CLAIRE”) will begin an emissions monitoring project in conjunction with Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance. Once in orbit and fully operational, CLAIRE will start taking measurements of methane emissions from two tailings ponds and one mine face.

Ultimately, GHGSat’s platform will be able to measure carbon dioxide and methane emissions from individual industrial facilities, anywhere in the world, with high precision and at lower cost than comparable alternatives. Since the same satellite can measure any facility in the world, GHGSat can provide consistent, reliable measurements across jurisdictions. GHGSat was also named on the 2016 GreenTec Awards’ Top 10 in the Production category!

For more information, see www.ghgsat.com or contact them at info@ghgsat.com.