Policy, Predictions & the U.S. Renewable Energy Industry

Members of Congress, corporate CEOs, government agency officials and representatives from prominent industry associations are converging on Capitol Hill today to discuss the next step in policy implementation and forecast how much renewable energy will contribute to U.S. energy supplies — by 2010, 2020, 2030, 2040 and 2050.

The 5th annual national policy conference, Renewable Energy in America: Phase II Market Forecasts and Policy Requirements, is hosted by the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE). The event, being held in the Cannon Caucus Room of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Capitol Hill Club on November 29-30, sold out last week with pre-registration being capped at 450 people. “The interest this year is unprecedented and we intend to create, on Thursday, a new vision for how much renewable energy will contribute to our nation’s future energy supply. The answer will surprise many people,” said Mike Eckhart, ACORE President. One of the key questions on the table at the 2006 conference will be how much can renewable energy really contribute to the nation’s energy supply — and by when. According to ACORE, government agencies like DOE and EIA, and institutions like NREL and EPRI, are working hard to calculate the nation’s future energy supply and demand — while wind, solar, hydro, ocean and biofuel associations are all under pressure to predict what their ever-evolving industries can deliver. ACORE designated Phase II to be the period from 2000 to 2025, when the focus will be on implementing the new technologies. Phase II policies began at the state level with the passage of Renewable Portfolio Standards and economic incentives. Phase I of renewable energy in America was the period 1975-2000, centered on federally funded research, development and demonstration (RD&D) programs that were successful. After an opening reception in Washington’s Union Station this evening, Thursday will kick off with a full day of presentations by the nation’s leading renewable energy figures, including John Geesman, commissioner of the California Energy Commission; Dan Kammen, professor at the University of California Berkeley; Rob Gramlich, policy director at American Wind Energy Association; Rhone Resch, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association; Linda Church Ciocci, executive director of the National Hydropower Association; Richard Meyer, president of the Ocean Energy Council; Karl Gawell from the Geothermal Energy Association; Bill Holmberg, chairman of the Biomass Coordinating Council; Vivienne Cox, chief executive of Alternative Energy at BP; Richard Kelly, CEO of Xcel Energy; and Alan Waxman, managing director, Goldman Sachs & Co. “The future of renewable energy is critical to the economic and national security of America. ACORE will convene the renewable energy community to work towards taking the industry from the R&D days of Phase I to an established and coherent vision for the future under Phase II,” said Rob Pratt, the outgoing Chairman of ACORE, Senior Vice President of the Henry P. Kendall Foundation and former Director of the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust. ACORE recently announced the election of John Geesman and Dan Reicher as Co-Chairs of its Board of Directors along with the election of Sue Tierney, Mel Jones, and Howard Learner to the Board of Directors. The newly elected Chairmen and Board members will take their seats at the Annual Membership Meeting on November 29th, which is being held in conjunction with the Phase II policy forum. “I am pleased to have such terrific Co-Chairs as John and Dan take the lead for ACORE at a time when the organization is growing so well. My three-year tour as Chairman of the Board of ACORE has been exciting and hugely rewarding, and I’m delighted to turn over the chair to John and Dan for the next three years,” said Pratt.
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