Jodie Roussell, American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE)

EarthToys Interview With Jodie Roussell Of Acore

Jodie Roussell | ACORE

EarthToys Interview  Jodie Rouss


Jodie Roussell, American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE)

1. What is ACORE?

The American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE), a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization in Washington, D.C., focuses on accelerating the adoption of renewable energy technologies into the mainstream of American society through work in convening national conferences, publishing information about renewable energy, and communications programs.

2. Please describe ACORE's mission.

ACORE's mission is to bring renewable energy into the mainstream of America's economy and lifestyle. ACORE accomplishes this by creating a leadership forum of all of the renewable energy sectors, building a greater sense of common purpose among the renewable energy community and with related communities, developing better understanding of renewable energy issues, and sponsoring national outreach and education about the benefits of putting renewable energy to use in America.

Through this focus on communications, convening and information ACORE fosters pubic awareness at a level that has not been achieved in the past, consistent with the emerging availability of reliable, economically-viable renewable energy systems. ACORE's theme is "putting renewable energy first" among energy supply options, and will promote this as a prudent and beneficial strategy for government, utilities, industry, commerce, and individuals - all of American society.

ACORE will support all of the renewable energy options including solar energy, wind power, hydro power, geothermal energy, biomass energy, and biofuels, waste fuels, and hydrogen energy systems. ACORE's scope includes secondarily the promotion of other related technologies that enhance the value of renewable energy including energy efficiency and energy storage.

ACORE's core philosophy is the advocacy of renewable energy on a positive basis. While ACORE acknowledges and will respect the fact that many of its members will have positions against fossil or nuclear energy, and others may have limitations on their support for renewables, for example opposition to large scale hydro, or wind power in visually valuable places, or waste-to-energy of certain types. ACORE will not seek to encompass, espouse or resolve those issues. ACORE has no negative agendas. ACORE will promote the members' shared positive advocacy of renewable energy.

3. What is REFF-WS 2005?

The annual Renewable Energy Finance Forum - Wall Street, a joint venture with Euromoney Institutional Investor, is a high level investor forum that brings together leaders of the finance industry to discuss the financing of renewable energy, including venture capital, debt and equity markets, project finance and public sector finance. Renewable Energy Finance Forum- Wall Street will take place at the Waldorf Astoria, June 23-24th, 2005 in New York. For more information visit www.euromoneyenergy.com  or www.acore.org.

4. Why should financiers, developers, bankers or attorneys attend REFF-WS 2005?

The REFF is the premier event to find out what is new in the renewable finance arena, and what is happening now - the most recent deals are in terms of not only size, but interesting financial architecture.

5. What other events does ACORE put together?

Renewable Energy in America: Phase II Policy Meeting, Washington D.C., October 17-18 2005. A high level, two-day policy conference addressing key issues facing the renewable energy community. This year's forum is part of a three year theme, Phase II, focused on expanding the utilization of existing commercially available renewable energy technologies in the United States for national benefits including improved national security, mitigation of climate change and improved economic growth and job creation. Participants in this policy forum include leaders from government, industry finance, and nonprofit organizations. For more information visit www.acore.org.

Power-Gen Renewable Energy
Renewable Energy Trade Show, Las Vegas, NV., March 1-3, 2005. A joint venture with PennWell Communications, this all renewable energy conference and exhibition draws attendees from equipment suppliers as well as customers from the energy, power generation, distributed energy, green power marketing, renewable fuels, and transportation industries. This is the only national event that bring utility buyers together with technology sellers. For more information visit www.power-gengreen.com.

ACORE also co-coordinates roundtables on renewable energy with the American Bar Association, Renewable Energy Modeling Forums for statistical modelers with the EPA, NREL and DOE, and is planning a series of renewable energy roundtables for its members and interested parties around the country.

6. Name benefits/features that ACORE offers its members.

ACORE's main feature is that we're a nonprofit that works to enact policy change and as a member of ACORE, members benefit from this ever important task. ACORE's membership derives from eight areas - End Users, Education, RE Industry, Corporate and Energy Groups, Professional Services, Financial Institutions, Non-Profits and Associations, and Government - hence ACORE's eight circle logo. ACORE's strengths are twofold as a member oriented organization. First, only ACORE brings industry, advocates, the financial community and policymakers together in pursuit of comprehensive solutions for national energy security, economic development and the environment. Second, ACORE is anchoring yet also facilitating the movement of renewable energy into the mainstream. The greatest benefit of being associated with ACORE is being part of the fastest growing ALL renewable umbrella organization that is inclusive and reaches out to all industry players, thus developing political and economic clout and promoting favorable policies and programs at both the federal and state levels.

In the process of moving forward and changing policy framework towards renewable energy, membership with ACORE allows members to interact through membership events, committees, working groups, and ACORE's main three conferences. ACORE actively communicates with its members to enhance benefits, create significant interaction amongst its members, and further its status as a member driven organization. Specifically in 2005, ACORE's members are forming finance, utility, and education groups to address specific topics in the RE industry. Interaction includes but is not limited to meeting with top leaders in your industry and interaction with key government officials, trade associations and industry representatives. Membership with ACORE also avails members to interact with the international RE players since ACORE is the North American Secretariat for REEEP (Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership), Leadership Partner for North America for WCRE (World Council on Renewable Energy), and a Steering Committee Member for North America on the non-governmental level for REN-21.

7. What can be done in real terms to educate the average citizen about renewable energy? It is a "cool" concept but is it real to people in their everyday lives?

The first connection to be made for someone outside the renewable energy industry is that renewable energy is clean and reliable domestic energy. Many citizens will take action when the benefits of renewable energy have been clearly articulated, in terms of increased national security, a cleaner environment and improved human health though cleaner air and water, and increased numbers of domestic, non-exportable technology jobs in information services, installation and maintenance the technologies.

These are very real benefits to anyone who has a family member suffering from asthma, cringes at the increasing cost of gasoline at the pump, or has lost their job to outsourcing overseas.

Giving citizens a way to take action in the marketplace through information and real options is critical. Through increasing demand for renewable energy options, the choice to buy a domestically fueled ethanol or biodiesel vehicle or to buy green power on your electric bill at home will be increasingly available and affordable.

8. Do you see a time in the near future where the use of renewable energy will be sold as a more economical option rather than one which on it's own cannot compete with traditional energy sources?

Renewable energy is already the more economical option for the country when the true costs and benefits for society are evaluated. Accounting for the health or security related costs to the country due to air pollution from dirty electricity has not been included on your electric, fuel or tax bill. Clean energy however does not receive a discount for not increasing national security costs, or heath care costs to the nation.

There are new systems developing however that seek to track the economic costs of different forms of energy. The Chicago Climate Exchange, an ACORE member, is the first US market for carbon emission trading and around the country state markets for tracking and trading the environmental benefits of clean energy (REC's or Renewable Energy Certificates) are being developed.

9. While government participation is crucial to the future of renewable energy adoption, how and when do you see the corporate business world taking over as the primary driver of the marketplace?

Both business and the government have roles to play as drivers of renewable energy marketplaces. In Europe and Japan through government leadership and effective marketplace incentives, thriving renewable energy industries have been developed over the past 5 to 10 years creating hundreds of thousands of jobs. In China, businesses with excellent solar power hot water heating systems dominate the marketplace due to their reliability and affordability.

10. Is there room for small businesses to grow and prosper in the Renewable Energy Industry or will it primarily be the conglomerates and multinationals that run the show? Is there a formula for success as a small business?

Successful small businesses exist in all areas of the industry from marketers, installers and servicing companies to professional services firms. The California solar market in the US is a great example of one where small businesses, especially electrical contractors, have found a new niche to expand their business.

11. What is in the horizon for ACORE in 2005-2006?

ACORE, after about 3 years of formative work, is beginning to expand and grow rapidly now. The three national conferences are in their second year, all increasing in size by 50% to 100%. Our special workshops in modeling, and joint committees in things like REC Trading Markets, are well attended. Membership is increasing at a rate of 50% per year. A key theme is that ACORE generally operates with partners in each endeavor, and this should continue - we are happy to share the limelight.

Looking ahead, our new initiatives focus on mobilizing our members into active working groups and committees, like a utility working group, and an education working group, and so on.

ACORE also is beginning a brand new series of regional strategy meetings, essentially taking ACORE's original and very successful Steering Committee on the road, reaching out to all of the members to participate in, and form, ACORE's ongoing strategy for the future.


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