After three decades of work on air and climate policy as president and founder of the Center for Clean Air Policy, Ned Helme today exclusively announced to E&E that he will step down as president of the organization effective Feb. 16. During today's OnPoint exclusive, Helme and CCAP's incoming CEO, William Tyndall, discuss the changes ahead for the organization and plans for policy dialogues, clean energy technology distribution and climate finance.
Monica Trauzzi: Hello and welcome to OnPoint. I'm Monica Trauzzi. With me today are the Center for Clean Air Policy's Ned Helme and Bill Tyndall. Ned, Bill, thank you both for coming on the show.
Ned Helme: Our pleasure.
Bill Tyndall: Thank you.
Monica Trauzzi: So Ned, after three decades of working on air and climate policy at CCAP, you are announcing today that you'll be stepping down as president coming off of a historic agreement in Paris. Why now? Why this moment?
Ned Helme: It feels like the perfect time, Monica. As you know, we've been working very hard for a number of years now to bring the developing countries into this game and feel really pleased with how it came out.
I've never been at one of these -- and I've been to almost every one where the texts on Wednesday got stronger by the final signature. Talking to people ... it was almost like an avalanche. Everybody, all the countries joined in and everybody joined together. So it's a very, very significant breakthrough.
Monica Trauzzi: Was Paris the highlight of your 30 years?
Ned Helme: I don't know if it was the highlight, but certainly the culmination in terms of the work. I think we did some things earlier that were even more from a CCAP perspective important, but in terms of the flow of that 30 years, absolutely.
Monica Trauzzi: So Bill, welcome to the show effective Feb. 16. You'll take over as CEO of CCAP. What interested you about this opportunity?
Bill Tyndall: Well, I've known the organization for a long time and I've always admired it. Pragmatic, nimble, results-oriented, in the middle of lots of interesting issues. Partnering with governments. Partnering in the climate context with the countries, the donor countries, the developing countries and really great staff.
So it was an interesting moment with Paris over and this now we're going to move to really trying to create all these reductions, create all these programs that were talked about. Just thought it was an interesting opportunity.
Monica Trauzzi: You were most recently with Duke Energy. What are you hoping to bring from your private-sector experience to CCAP to advance the work that CCAP does?
Bill Tyndall: I had a very interesting assignment for the last couple years at Duke Energy where I was working on distributed energy resources, distributed solar, distributed storage, advanced energy, advanced energy efficiency controls and strategies. There is just this amazing transformation going on. Technology advancing daily.
What I saw was the opportunity to take that technology, take the change that's coming because of the reality of this and bring it into the developing countries, bring it really into first-economy countries as well.
Monica Trauzzi: So can we expect a shift in CCAP's approach on bringing these clean energy technologies to the developing world?
Bill Tyndall: No. One of the things I've done with CCAP for the last couple years has been spoken at some of their conferences about this. Now they're already in the middle of bringing energy transformation into the climate discussions. So we'll continue that work.
We'll continue working on climate financing and we'll also look at trying to do more in the United States around distributed energy, mined heat and power trying to see how some of the climate policies can interact with those things, help those things.
Monica Trauzzi: On investments and financing, with your experience in both the public and private sectors, how do you think that'll impact the discussions that you have on investments?
Bill Tyndall: I've had the fortune or misfortune of changing jobs a lot. So I've been a regulator. I've worked on the Hill for the House, Energy and Commerce Committee. I worked in the private sector. I've had a stint working really in investing and I really feel like I have a 4-inch-deep knowledge of all these different things and you really need all these different perspectives. You need all these tools to be successful in trying to solve these problems.
So I bring that approach. We have tremendous staff at CCAP. Tremendous ability to partner. Ned has got this amazing history of convening all sides to discuss things, and I look forward to trying to use that history to push things forward.
Monica Trauzzi: I'll ask this question of both of you. What are the biggest questions post-Paris for each of you. Bill, if you want to take it first.
Bill Tyndall: Well, I guess the one thing about coming from the private sector, one of the things I look at is OK, what is necessary to get technology that is cost-effective that works today out and into the market in any jurisdiction, anyplace and I think the challenge post-Paris, but it's really there with or without Paris, is how do you pull down the barriers, create the financing so that we can leapfrog fossil fuel in Africa and use clean technologies to electrify the billion people on Earth without power.
So that's how I would look at it.
Ned Helme: I think Bill's right on target. My sense is we got 200 countries to put together plans and targets. Now we got to convert those targets into real specific policies, the kinds of things Bill's talking about, and into the investment packages that the Green Climate Fund and all those investors that made all those proclamations the first couple days of Paris have made. So there's enormous money, there's enormous energy, there's enormous opportunity and Bill's the right guy for us 'cause he can really help us. He's done the deals on the ground and that's what's the next step.
Monica Trauzzi: CCAP has a history of focusing on policy dialogues. It's a key distinction compared to other environmental groups. Will that continue to play a central role?
Bill Tyndall: Absolutely. I think it isn't just dialogues. It's using the dialogues as a way of socializing ideas, of bringing ideas from one part of the world to another, from one level of countries to another, and we have a whole slew of them planned in 2016.
We're trying to get the world to adjust that Ned won't be sitting at the podium for all of them although maybe we'll force him out of retirement to do some of them.
Monica Trauzzi: Ned, next steps for you? You'll remain active in the climate space -- ?
Ned Helme: Yeah. I'm going to be a strategic adviser to Bill and help with this. I wanted to get away from raising the money and managing the organization. So I'm excited about helping Bill with this. I'm going to probably go to Berkeley, my old alma mater, Goldman School of Public Policy and be a visiting scholar and do some of this work from there helping them and helping developing countries.
So I'm not leaving the field, but a chance to do some kayaking and spend some time with the wife and that sort of thing.
Monica Trauzzi: Wonderful. Congratulations to both of you. Thank you both for coming on the show.
Ned Helme: Thank you very much.
Bill Tyndall: My pleasure.
Monica Trauzzi: Thanks for watching. We'll see you back here tomorrow.
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