2013 was an important year for ACORE. Against a backdrop of partisan politics and policy uncertainty, ACORE not only weathered all storms but also came out on the other side well positioned to take on whatever the future provides. Since I joined ACORE in August, my experience tells me no single person is more responsible for ACORE’s present successful course and speed than Admiral Dennis McGinn.
Before serving ACORE, Admiral McGinn served our country for more than thirty five years in an ever increasing number of more and more essential Navy assignments. His already renowned Navy inclusive leadership style and breadth of experience led ACORE to a level of effective morale and effort generally only to be wished and hoped to be achieved…and we know wishes and hopes are not a strategy. Admiral McGinn had a strategy too! His decision to launch EnergyFactCheck during the 2012 election was his strategy to demystify and depoliticize renewable energy and it was widely lauded for its efficacy and timeliness. His guileless, resonating ability to reach out to the media, policymakers, as well as ordinary Americans to convey the business case for renewable energy made him an unmatched spokesperson for the renewable energy industry. Most importantly Admiral McGinn embodied a professional “grace under pressure” that enabled him to stand up for what is right regardless of the opposition. And stand-up for the military’s renewable energy programs is a thing the Admiral did. Some people call that courage, we sailors call it duty.
To me, it was no surprise that President Obama appointed Admiral McGinn as Navy’s renewable energy “go-to person” as Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations & Environment. Like most Navy “stick and rudder “folks, Admiral McGinn never sought a legacy beyond “being good around the boat,” seeing a greenie board covered with OK 3s and a with luck and skill coffee mug with “Skipper” on it. But fortune still favors the brave and good and at ACORE he added more luster to his clearly “Right Stuff” legacy and now he’s at it doing it even more for our nation and the essential business of renewable energy. Now, I have the good fortune to know ACORE even better because of Admiral McGinn’s insightful vision and know him for what he always has been…a comrade in arms, a brother aviator and most importantly, a true friend. Happy New Year Admiral from the ACORE Board, Members and Staff!
Convening the Industry
An important part of ACORE’s mission is to convene thought leaders focused at advancing renewable energy policy and market solutions—our convening function is truly one of ACORE’s greatest strengths. Our many events bring the industry together to advance policy, best practices and finance tools and opportunities. We kick off 2014 with our member-only State of the Industry Briefing webinar on January 9th (with NASCAR’s Dr. Mike Lynch, Managing Director of Green Innovation), I suggest you ought to tune in to find out the game-changing things NASCAR is doing from both a fuels and facilities renewable and sustainable energy perspective. We follow our continuing ABA/ACORE webinar series on January 22nd. In February, on the 27th, we host another of our National Defense & Security Initiative’s meetings, Military Service and the Renewable Energy Industry, here in Washington, DC. Keep your “eyes-on” our “new and improved website (www.acore.org) for more details. The new and improved website kudos and a tip of the hat goes to ACORE Webmaster and IT Associate Bill Nelander!
Later in March 2014, ACORE hosts our 11th annual National Renewable Energy Policy Forum on Capitol Hill. This capstone event draws our nation’s greatest renewable energy champions from the Hill and government. As the industry convenes at these events, we advance our triple bottom-line equation of energy, economic and environment security with our national policymakers. We need policy certainty in Washington and the Policy Forum is a vital way to have our unified voice heard. We are in the final dance steps in setting the National Renewable Energy Policy Forum Capitol Hill venue, so more to come on this front!
We are looking forward to producing two more finance marquee events in 2014—the Renewable Energy Finance Forum (REFF)-Wall Street set for June 25-26th, and the Renewable Energy Finance Forum (REFF)-West in San Francisco, on September 16-17, 2014. Both events promise to live up to their sterling reputations and even exceed expectations with quality speakers and relevant and timely programs. Both events have provided platforms for leaders in our industry to educate, guide, and inspire us. Be assured these events will do all that but do it better in 2014.
Also in 2014, we will be launching ACORE’s newest premiere conference and exhibition, the Renewable Energy Latin American and Caribbean Conference and Exhibition (RELACCX), on April 24-25, 2014, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. RELACCX focuses on investment, finance, policy and project development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The program and content is designed and developed by a group of co-chairs representing several of the focus countries, banks and professional services companies investing in the region, and clean energy producers. Strategically, we are allied for RELACCX with our close colleagues at the Latin American and Caribbean Council On Renewable Energy (LAC-CORE) and our Co-Chairs and affiliates include Roland Clarke, Clarke Energy Associates; Jocelyne Croes, Minister Plenipotentiary, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (Green Aruba); Sydney McNiff Johnson, Dentons; Dino Barajas, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP; Camila Ramos, CELA - Clean Energy Latin America; Pablo Reyes, El Centro de Estudios Estrategicos Latinoamericanos; Gabriela da Rocha Oliveira, First Solar; Robert Sternthal , Reznick Capital Markets; Carlos St. James, Cámara Argentina de Energías Renovable; Ken Westrick, Westeva; and Leo Williams, Williams & Associates
Latin America is rich with opportunity for renewable energy. In 2012, clean energy investment in Latin America totaled $9.7 billion, with four countries seeing triple-digit investment growth. Clearly, we must explore such international markets and help form international partnerships aimed at creating a healthy, collaborative, and competitive global market for renewable energy.
ACORE, Speaking Up for Renewable Energy
ACORE has always been the leading technology-neutral voice for the entire renewable energy industry and we continue collaborative efforts that help industry through strategic communications. Clearly, we are a stronger industry… if we move forward together.
ACORE is so well positioned to convene diverse stakeholders to advance common economic interests, which is exactly what we are doing in response to the USEPA’s decisions to reduce 2014 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO from 18.5 billion gallons to 15.21 billion gallons in 2014. USEPA’s position is quite disappointing to ACORE and our Members and ACORE will file public comments for the record drawn from a working group of members and staff representing the entire renewable wet fuels community. Once again, ACORE is acting as a clear, unified voice for renewable energy without regard to technology. Renewable fuels are an essential part of our present and future energy portfolio and we know that acting now is strategic and so we are working to help USEPA get this right in order to create more certainty in our renewable wet fuels industry as it plays their vital role in the energy, economic and environmental security of the United States.
As part of our mission to advance the industry as a whole, we continue to work and speak out on behalf of all sectors of the industry in responding to myth and misinformation in the media using our vanguard communications tool Energy Fact Check and working with our Energy Communicators Group (ECG), who now number over 400. Our US PREF group convenes regularly to put the best economic minds together to demonstrate the value of renewable energy as part of their mission. Feel free to scan our website archives for PREF White Papers previously presented to leaders on Capitol Hill. Speaking of Capitol Hill, our Capitol Energy news note continues to grow, educating over 400 energy staffers every week. ACORE’s Regional Roundtables take high-level discussions to various cities around the nation, addressing the unique strengths and challenges facing different states and regions. And our International Programs take ACORE to different countries including China, India, the UAE, and Aruba—where we share our and your learning and expertise with the goal of strengthening the global scale-up of renewable energy.
There is much to look forward to in 2014. Opportunities await and challenges lie ahead. But before then, take time to relax and enjoy the Holidays with your loved ones. Thank you so much for your continued support. I look forward to working with you in 2014…OBTW, if you renew your ACORE Membership by 12/31/13…you save 5%...you ought to do that right now! Best Regards,
Michael Brower Interim CEO & President, ACORE
ACORE: Building a secure and prosperous America with clean, renewable energy.