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By ACORE's Transportation Associate Pete Metz
ACORE’s Transportation Initiative launched in early 2012 to position our organization at the intersection of the renewable energy industry and the transportation sector. ACORE recognized this as an important opportunity for a number of reasons:
The renewable energy industry has gone from a media darling to often being blamed for a wide range of problems and economic issues. Those problems often in truth have little or nothing to do with the underlying business propositions of the projects that make up the sector, and we at AOL Energy hear feedback and complaints from the industry all the time.
Support for renewable energy by the Obama administration has made the sector a political football, with the Romney campaign attacking green energy projects without much nuance. Many forms of renewable energy are in fact actively supported by Republicans who might shy away from the “green energy” label, and that reflects an evolving complexity that has proved difficult for much of the media to cover.
If there were any doubts about the global potential for renewable energy, Michael Lewis, COO at E.ON Renewables, quickly put them to rest. Opening up Thursday's keynote at this years RETECH conference in Washington, D.C., Lewis told the audience renewables will continue to expand, with global capacity expected to increase three-fold by 2020. "When people ask me if renewables are just a niche, I show them the data we've put together," he said.
Lewis expects the industry to grow between seven to fourteen percent leading up to 2020. And he thinks investment dollars will follow, citing the seventeen percent year-over-year growth for renewables in 2011. He explained that in spite of the natural gas surplus in the United States, renewables like solar bring predictability to pricing, which reduces volatility in wholesale and retail utility markets.