SOURCE: American Council On Renewable Energy

American Council On Renewable Energy

April 23, 2015 13:33 ET

ACORE Forum Highlights Key Role of Policy in Driving Renewable Energy Growth

Congressional Leaders Join Industry Executives in Discussing Their Commitment to the Next Generation of American Renewable Energy

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - April 23, 2015) - The American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE) brought together champions for renewable energy from industry and government at its annual National Renewable Energy Policy Forum. The Forum focused on how policy impacts the energy industry, and the next generation of legislation and regulations that can continue to build a prosperous America utilizing clean, renewable energy.

"The renewable energy industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in the nation's economy, creating jobs while helping America become cleaner and more secure," said Dan Reicher, interim President & CEO of ACORE and Executive Director of the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy & Finance at Stanford University. "I believe strongly that the growth of renewables in this country is inevitable. The issue is not whether, but how renewables succeed; technology by technology, company by company, state by state - and how quickly and at what cost. We need to continue to update policies, at both the federal and state levels, that encourage additional investment to drive the industry forward. Our country is in the midst of an energy transformation, and increasingly affordable and reliable renewables are helping to lead the way." 

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) opened the Policy Forum with a keynote speech reinforcing the importance of renewable energy for the U.S. economy and the industry's positive impact on communities. "Renewable fuels and alternative energy have more appeal than ever. Consumers and businesses want and need options to meet their energy needs, and the more options, the better," stated Grassley. "The environmental benefits of using non-polluting energy sources are significant. Biofuels give the United States a welcome alternative to fossil fuels from unstable parts of the world. With the many benefits from renewable energy and alternative fuels, government agencies such as the EPA need to do their part to offer stability and predictability to the industry. Ethanol, biodiesel, electricity from wind and more create jobs, increase energy independence and fulfill consumer demand. These sources of energy are here to stay and here to grow."

Senator Dean Heller (R-NV), a long time champion for business and renewables, also spoke at the Forum, stating, "Energy is one of our nation's greatest assets, and I believe continuing to develop renewable and alternative sources is important for our nation's economic future. I appreciated the opportunity to speak at the conference this year to further the discussion about this important topic." Senator Heller added, "Representing a state like Nevada, I am fully aware of the progress the industry is making and look forward to advancing the dialogue well into the future."

Bipartisan support for renewable energy is a recurrent theme at ACORE's Policy Forum. Recently-elected Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) praised the benefits of clean energy for all Americans. "Renewable energy has been a passion of mine since my time in the state legislature, and it's an issue that Coloradans care about deeply. There's a real opportunity in Congress for bipartisan cooperation on renewables, and it's going to be a major focus of mine in the 114th Congress and beyond," said Senator Gardner.

From the other side of the aisle, Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) said, "Expanding renewable energy is central to meeting our most serious economic, environmental, and national security challenges -- from the dirty fuels that pollute our air and damage our climate to scarcer resources in the face of growing populations and rising living standards." Senator Coons continued, "As countries around the world grapple with these challenges as well, our leadership in renewable energy will be critical to maintaining our economic competitiveness and engine of innovation. We need sustained policies that reduce technological, regulatory, and financing costs and encourage the private sector deployment of renewable technologies. The strong growth in renewables within the last five years has been very welcome, but it should only spur us to do more. ACORE has been a critical ally in the push for a cleaner, more secure energy future and I look forward to continuing our partnership for years to come."

This year's Policy Forum highlighted recent progress to reduce costs and increase deployment at scale. Policymakers and industry executives lauded past policy successes, including the Production Tax Credit, Investment Tax Credit, and Renewable Fuel Standard that continue to be instrumental for the business of renewable energy. These policies demonstrate the impressive commitment from private sector investors, who have subsequently invested more than $380 billion in clean energy since 2007.

"People in Washington know government -- that's good -- but they don't always know finance particularly well. The financial community has clearly signaled its commitment to smart investments in renewables and sustainability, so isn't it time we get long-term policy certainty to reflect this?" said Michael Eckhart, Managing Director and Global Head of Environmental Finance at Citigroup. "The message to lawmakers is simple: we're looking for common sense policy from Washington to support the business innovation that is building this industry today and into the future."

Industry leaders at the Forum provided a private sector perspective to the national policy debate. "Solar and wind energy investments are a job creation engine in the United States today, with approximately 250,000 Americans employed in these fields," said Ahmad Chatila, SunEdison CEO. "Now is the time for the leaders of the renewable energy industry to join together to ensure policymakers understand how renewable energy investment policies have succeeded delivering economic benefits, as well as clean, safe and reliable energy, to each and every state in the nation."

Ben Fowke, Chairman, President and CEO of Xcel Energy also added, "This kind of policy discussion helps ensure the long-term viability of renewable energy, which is a vital and growing part of our resource mix."

The ACORE National Renewable Energy Policy Forum is an annual event that brings together high-level speakers from government, business, and non-profits to discuss the critical energy policy issues surrounding renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable development, finance, and national security. The final product of the Forum, the policy roadmap for renewable energy industry, will be shared with the President, Congress, and numerous governors, legislators, and regulators in the states.

ACORE, a 501(c)(3) non-profit membership organization, is dedicated to building a secure and prosperous America with clean, renewable energy. ACORE seeks to advance renewable energy through finance, policy, technology, and market development and is concentrating its member focus in 2015 on National Defense & Security, Power Generation & Infrastructure, and Transportation. Additional information is available at www.acore.org.

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