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January 13, 2014

Dear Member,

With the greatest pleasure, I am writing to you as the ACORE Board of Directors' unanimously elected third President & CEO of the American Council On Renewable Energy. The trust and confidence that the Board of Directors vest in me by electing me to this important position is a distinct honor.

Since I began serving as the Interim President and CEO on July 29th, 2013, I have been deeply involved in ACORE’s day–to-day activities and have gotten to know and respect the ACORE staff.  As we move forward, the ACORE staff and I will operate under a thoughtful constructionist ethic, closely adhering to our bylaws and the Board of Director’s ratified strategic plan which I helped enact.  I also assure you that ACORE will always keep its ears open to the views of our members. I know ACORE works best when our members, thought leaders, and staff work together.

There are many near and present opportunities for ACORE and our members to engage across the renewable energy industry. Right now, ACORE is leading a wide, diverse coalition from the renewable liquid fuels sector submitting comments on USEPA’s 2014 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO), which were reduced from 18.5 billion gallons to 15.21 billion gallons for 2014. ACORE views USEPA’s decision both as a conflict with statute and a breach of trust with America’s farm and forest community.  ACORE is certain renewable liquid fuels must remain a national energy policy priority. To that end, we will liaison with the White House and the appropriate federal agencies about the dangers of their course reversal on the RVO. We will highlight the potent economic opportunities that come from holding the RVO course defined by law and by strengthening renewable liquid fuels policies with certainty.

Naturally, ACORE has an exceptionally strong interest in matters surrounding renewable energy tax matters including credits and incentives. We sense real direction coming out of both the House Ways & Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee on these energy tax issues. To make sure the facts are clear surrounding the need for long-term certainty for renewable energy tax matters, ACORE is closely and formally aligned with all renewable energy trade associations to share our 501(c)3 compliant  strategic communications educational messaging.  Such unified efforts are long-overdue in our renewable energy industry and ACORE’s clear role as the voice of all renewable energy…regardless of technology… is a distinct reflection of ACORE’s strong, effective and sustainable strategic communications prowess.

And as I put a permanent hand on the ACORE helm at the beginning of 2014, I must also mention that I see a rapidly approaching problem on the horizon that everyone in the energy industry should be alarmed about – our growing global water crisis. The crisis at the water - energy nexus is a true matter for concern. Notwithstanding our cultural and demographics differences, we ought to pay close attention to China’s north where a voracious appetite for coal-fired electricity has taken a dramatic toll on the volume in their aquifers for power plant steam and cooling.  Our own U.S. homeland west of the 100th meridian fully fits the definition of an arid landscape. Even now, lands have been transformed into salt flats, and groundwater sources have deteriorated from man’s irrigation attempts to forever change desert ecology into lawns, parks and farmland. But if history tells us anything it is as Marc Reisner points out in his issue defining work, Cadillac Desert, “Only one desert civilization, out of dozens that grew up in antiquity, has survived into modern times.”  Not even the one surviving one, Egypt, closely equates to the modern water demands of America west of the 100th Meridian. 

Today, nearly every manner of  power generation is highly water-use intensive and is making exorbitant demands on  already depleted aquifers, and this dangerous reality is being exacerbated by reduced precipitation rates due to regional climate change. Without solutions all along the water-energy nexus, water becomes the next critical resource commodity, and we all know wars are fought over such commodities and resources. If water is the next “commodity,” I want to make sure ACORE and our Initiatives including National Defense & Security, Power Generation & Infrastructure, Transportation and International Programs are positioned to confront this growing problem and develop solutions for combating the threats along the water-energy nexus.

ACORE is close to my heart and be assured  I will work hard every day across the renewable energy industry to communicate the value proposition of renewable energy through ACORE’s strategic communications strategy, Initiatives, programs, and our tremendous member thought leadership. ACORE is the voice for all renewable energy…regardless of technology, and together that makes us all more powerful.

I appreciate you taking your time to read a little bit about my vision for ACORE. Save the date of Wednesday February 5th when ACORE will host a member-only webinar discussing the future of ACORE. I will welcome all questions and look forward to hearing from our many members. Additionally, I’ll be hosting a Twitter Q&A from @ACORE with the help of my communication team in the upcoming weeks and I’ll be sitting down for another Q&A for the ACORE Blog. Stay tuned for further details.

Michael Brower
Interim CEO & President, ACORE

ACORE: Building a secure and prosperous America with clean, renewable energy.

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