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Association Bisnow
January 10, 2008


An important task for Interstate Gas Association of America president Don Santa is convincing lawmakers that natural gas will play an important role for years to come—even with lots of alternative energy sources coming online.  To make its point, INGAA and three other gas industry associations issued a September report using the Department of Energy’s own model to forecast the nation’s natural gas requirements under climate change legislation sponsored by Senators McCain and Lieberman.  Apparently it made an impact—Hill staffers have been calling up INGAA, asking the association to analyze competing climate change legislation. 

Don was nominated to be a member of the FERC back in 1993.  The era of Nannygate (remember Zoe Baird?) was an interesting time to be going through the Senate confirmation process, Don says.  Lucky for him, he was only 34 and didn’t have much of a past to investigate.  He left the FERC in 1997 to join LG&E Energy, a Louisville company, as deputy general counsel and SVP.

INGAA first got the idea to do the modeling late in ’06, when they saw a DoE report that forecast energy usage.  The DoE’s assumptions about the rate at which nuclear power and renewable generation could be added to the nation’s energy supply “didn’t seem realistic.”  So INGAA approached the energy consultants at SAIC, which had done the modeling for the DoE but didn’t have an exclusive agreement with the government.

INGAA asked them to use the same model they’d used for the DoE study, but to run scenarios that envisioned, for instance, a smaller number of nuclear power plants in place by 2030.  The result, Don says, was a persuasive “reinforcement that gas will be an important bridge fuel for the future.”

As you can see from the artwork (one by Don’s 10 year-old son, Evan), this guy has a thing for sailing.  Don’t try scheduling a meeting with him Wednesday afternoons during Annapolis’s racing season—he’ll probably be prepping for the evening races on his 34-foot, J105 sailboat.

For INGAA, the project had the added benefit of drawing it closer to the American Gas Association, the Natural Gas Supply Association, and the Independent Petroleum Association of America—its partners in the Natural Gas Council.  After INGAA saw the promising early results of SAIC’s modeling, they got the Council on board as a sponsor of the work.  While the financial help was appreciated (INGAA is a 28-member, 13-staff association with about $5.5 million in revenue), Don says that putting the report out through the Council was more significant because it’s “a platform for doing other projects together.”  He also notes that any time you can get three other associations to join your agenda, it’s a very good thing.

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