Some 40 experts from the HVAC&R industry, U.S. Senate and several federal agencies-including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Commerce Department and Environmental Protection Agency-discussed the global energy situation at the fourth Danfoss EnVisioneering Symposium, “Energy Efficiency Investment and the Emerging Global Cost Paradigm.”
The event, held April 17, 2007, at the Hotel Washington in Washington, DC, touched on a variety of complex energy issues – from global warming and the future of power prices, to the cost of raw materials and labor, to selling energy efficiency into the developing world, most notably China.
“The impact of the global energy situation on our industry is significant,” said John Galyen, president of Danfoss Refrigeration & Air-Conditioning North America. “Global raw material and labor costs are rising, spurred on by intense development efforts in countries like China and India. These cost pressures will further burden energy efficiency technologies that were already struggling with a first-cost driven demand.”
Other highlights from the symposium included:
- Michael Goo, majority counsel for the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, addressed global warming and U.S. policy. He noted that the committee has already held several hearings to help key decision-makers understand the scope and magnitude of global warming. In fact, he predicted that the U.S. Congress will pass substantial global warming legislation over the next two to four years.
- On the topic, “The Future of Power Prices,” Roger Kranenburg, director of the Edison Electric Institute, and David Shin, chief economist and director of statistics for the American Gas Association, discussed both short- and long-term trends. Shin anticipates that liquified natural gas (LNG) will help “fill the gap between demand and supply from now until 2020.”
- Martin Regalia, vice president and chief economist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, noted that the economic impact of the global energy situation will be significant in coming years. Its impact will be strongly felt in the raw materials and labor markets as well as specific energy markets. “There is definitely going to be a shift away from carbon-based fuels,” he noted. “That will be a long-term trend.”
- Rachael Halpern, energy and environmental industries trade specialist for the U.S. Commerce Department, and Jean Lupinacci, chief of the ENERGY STAR Commercial and Industrial Branch with the U.S. EPA, tackled the topic “Who Uses Power, and Managing Its Hidden and Future Costs.” Lupinacci noted that EPA recently joined the U.S. Department of Energy, energy regulators, utilities and other influencers to begin work on a National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency. “How to make energy efficiency the fifth fuel (is the goal),” she said.
- On the topic “Selling Energy Efficiency Technology into the Developing World,” symposium attendees heard from Donald Forest, managing director of Sierra Asia, and Catherine Vial, team leader for environmental industries with the U.S. Commerce Department. Forest, who lived in China for more than seven years, said that county is trying to shift away from its reliance on coal, which accounts for two-thirds of its energy production. He predicted that, over the next five years, China will invest $150 billion to $200 billion in private and public funds to improve the environment and promote energy efficiency. “There’s a new (energy) paradigm in China,” Forest said. “China has turned the corner.”
These and other energy issues were at the forefront of discussion at the symposium. Attendees agreed that the issues are complex, with multiple factors to consider-and multiple solutions to be weighed.
“These factors mean a lot of uncertainty for the HVAC and refrigeration industries-uncertainty about regulation, the future of sales, and our investment in product development strategies,” Galyen said. “We need to peer into the future, assess the trends, gauge the risks, identify the opportunities and explore new approaches. It is hard to imagine how the world – or we as an industry – can stand still on energy strategy.”
Galyen hosted the symposium, which was led by Robert Cavey, president of Global Strategy Initiative (GSI). Moderators include Michael Ivanovich, chief editor of Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine, and John Suzukida, president of Lanex Consulting.
Symposium Series Provides Access to Ideas, Information
The April 17 symposium was the fourth in a series of conferences that make up the EnVisioneeringSM Symposium series. The inaugural conference, held at the Kansas City Public Library in August 2006, focused on how energy challenges of the 21st century are transforming business strategy and the conditions of American international policy. The second symposium, held at the Chicago O’Hare Hilton in October 2006, addressed the role of states in developing effective energy policy. The third symposium, held at the Sofitel in Washington, D.C., in December 2006, focused on America’s global energy technology strategy.
The fifth symposium will be held June 5, 2007, in Long Beach, CA, on the topic, “Making Dollars and Sense of Energy Efficiency: A Focus on Conservation.” The sixth symposium, “Education and Awareness: Overcoming Communications Barriers with Regard to Energy Efficiency,” will be held October 23, in Washington, D.C.
For more information about the Danfoss EnVisioneeringSM Symposium, call GSI at (202) 339-6207 or visit: http://www.envisioneering.danfoss.com/symposium.