Bioenergy, Geothermal, Hydropower, Solar, Wind Power

ACORE Calls for Phase II of Renewable Energy

For the past 30 years, research and development in the U.S. has honed and perfected renewable energy technologies, making them more efficient, and cost-effective. Now, the time has come to shift from a focus on research and development, to a focus on deployment. That was the resounding message presented at the American Council On Renewable Energy’s (ACORE) conference in the nation’s capital.

At the meeting, 24 national leaders spoke to over 500 experts from industry and finance in the Cannon Caucus Room of the U.S. House of Representatives. These speakers called for a necessary and responsible shift in U.S. energy policy to put renewable energy technologies into use immediately. Their program, called Phase II, will result in substantial contributions to the nation’s energy supply, national security, environmental quality, and economic growth. “This meeting marks a recognition that Phase I, the 30 years of taxpayer funding for research, development and demonstration of renewable energy technologies, as initiated by Presidents Nixon, Ford and Carter, has in fact been a success, and that it is time to put the new technologies into use, broadly across our society,” said Michael Eckhart, President of ACORE Senator Wayne Allard (R-CO) pointed out that, while America has been the leader in renewable energy technology development, it is now a 22 billion dollar industry with rapid growth potential and that Japan and Germany were ahead of us in using these sources of energy. A national security panel of speakers was composed on R. James Woolsey, former Director of Central Intelligence, Frank Gaffney and Bud McFarlane, former national security advisors to President Reagan, C. Boyden Gray, former White House Counsel to President G.H.W. Bush, and Adm. Dennis McGinn, USN (Ret.), former Deputy Chief of Naval Operations. They reiterated that the US is at war, that oil is an element of that war, and that it will continue for decades unless the US government adopts new policies to reverse the direction of change. Solutions include tax policy, incentives, mandates, increased funding for technology development, and federal support for state-level initiatives, Many of the leaders discussed the potential impact of renewable energy sources in the U.S., saying that the basic technology of wind energy is ready for prime time at a utility scale, that a massive buildup of biofuels such as ethanol can address the oil imports dilemma, and that a broad-based commitment to installing renewable solutions and distributed energy options will produce domestic energy and jobs at the same time. Rob Pratt, Director of the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust and ACORE Chairman, added that, “Within the next several months, ACORE with its many partners will define and design a framework of new national goals and policies to accomplish this task.” The meeting was arranged through a cooperative effort involving ACORE, the Environmental and Energy Studies Institute (EESI) and the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucuses of the US Senate and US House of Representatives.