By ACORE CEO and President, Vice Admiral Dennis V. McGinn
During the final sprint to Election Day, Americans will hear political leaders point fingers as they attempt to explain why the U.S. is experiencing slow domestic job growth. We will hear versions of an “all of the above” energy strategy, versions that may not in fact fairly embrace all of our domestic energy resources. Evidence of the lack of consistent support for all sources of energy abounds in Congress’s failure to extend the Production Tax Credit (PTC) even as the wind industry has been making significant gains in previous years. If leaders of any party want to truly establish “all of the above” energy strategy that embraces all sources of energy--natural gas, fossil fuels, and renewable energy--on a level playing field, the PTC must be extended.
With an industry tax credit in jeopardy and new projects at a virtual standstill in the U.S., you might have expected the wind industry to come limping into RETECH2012. Instead, the audience heard from a sector that’s honing in on what it can control -- namely cost reductions and innovation.
“We haven’t placed any orders for turbines for 2013,” said First Wind’s Julia Bovey in the opening remarks. That’s been the norm in 2012 for wind developers and turbine manufacturers as utilities and power purchasers have adopted a wait-and-see approach when it comes to the Production Tax Credit (PTC).
By David Field, OneRoof Energy CEO and Founder
The demand for solar in the U.S. has nearly doubled over the past few years, bringing significant opportunity for solar installation providers along with challenges that such rapid growth inevitably brings. Now the solar industry must collectively take advantage of this momentum by advocating for a streamlined and more efficient solar permitting practices and working with local governments to establish a permitting standard that will increase efficiencies and help installers manage costs amid this growth.
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.