The American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE) is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to building a more secure and prosperous America with clean, renewable energy. ACORE provides a common educational platform for a wide range of interests in the renewable energy community, including technology, finance, and policy. Through such focus, ACORE promotes all renewable energy technologies for the production of electricity, fuels, heat and hydrogen including: solar energy, wind power, hydro power, ocean and tidal energy, geothermal energy, biomass, biofuels, and waste energy and fuels. ACORE additionally connects hundreds of members by creating leadership forums across renewable energy sectors, building a greater sense of common purpose, a better understanding of renewable energy issues, and initiating national outreach about the benefits of renewable energy.
ACORE’s National Defense & Security Initiative
In partnership with the Department of Defense (DoD), ACORE has launched a Member Initiative to examine the strategies, technological & financial opportunities, and challenges related to the expanded use of renewable energy in support of national defense. A series of Initiative forums will highlight innovative ways the purchasing power of DoD, combined with the ingenuity of private sector industries and financiers, can be used to lower costs as well as support the military’s mission.
The collaboration is focused on accomplishing the following: to establish energy requirements that meet forecasted military needs with competitive renewable and alternative energy sources; to identify existing and forecasted technological gaps not addressed by off-the-shelf energy technologies and applications; to define next-generation financing structures that will help DoD accelerate the adoption of renewable energy without significant budgetary impact; and to define model procurement methodologies to accelerate project development, reduce procurement overhead, enhance project value, and maximize results for DoD and the taxpayer.
The forum series strives to identify mechanisms that help DoD achieve mission objectives, save taxpayer expenditures, and reduce barriers to renewable energy deployment. The Initiative and forums are supported by industry partners, the Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), and several foundation partners, notably the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation and the Energy Foundation.
The Power Generation and Infrastructure Initiative
Another important Member Initiative is the Power Generation and Infrastructure Initiative. This Initiative will convene all relevant stakeholders at multiple forums to examine the growing role of renewable energy and the utility business models of the future.
Building on the considerable progress power generation companies across the U.S. are making in employing a host of strategies to integrate renewable energy into their operating systems, the objective of this Initiative is to define a viable architecture for the scale up and systems integration of renewable energy resources. The collaboration will examine the challenges, opportunities and appropriate strategies related to the expanded use and effective integration of renewable energy in the power generation sector. It will also explore 21st century business models that will allow for this renewable energy scale-up.
ACORE, in partnership with the Electric Power Research Institute and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory on this Initiative, is uniquely positioned to help define the expanded opportunities for renewable energy and utility business models of the future by drawing on the collective expertise and experience of its membership, renewable energy leaders involved in generation manufacturing, project development, finance, end‐use and professional services.
Renewable energy currently represents 12% of power generation, but it will continue to grow as a share of the overall U.S. electricity portfolio. A combination of private sector ingenuity and investment, along with government policy, has driven significant cost reduction, technology improvement and scale-up of the renewable energy industry. Over the last five years, 35% of all new power production has come from renewable energy generation.
At the same time, developments in natural gas extraction present game-changing opportunities. Stringent environmental standards are raising performance requirements. The central generation fleet is aging and the transmission/distribution systems require expansion and upgrade. The broadening fuel portfolio and need for extraordinary capital investments are occurring even as technological innovations, regional differences in resource availability, shifting customer relations and usage patterns, emerging financing structures, and the electrification of our transportation sector continue to present challenges as well as opportunities to the power generation sector which is tasked with delivering state-of-the-art and reliable service.
Transportation for Tomorrow
ACORE’s Transportation Initiative aims to provide a forum in which to discuss the vision and strategy for tomorrow’s renewable transportation sector, encompassing all technologies and principal constituencies: vehicle and equipment manufacturers, energy providers, technology developers, component suppliers, government agencies, cities and ports and end users. The Initiative is structured around several forums occurring throughout the year that will unite major players in the industry to discuss specific developments in the field that will ultimately result in an overarching strategy to guide the Initiative into the coming year. This multi-part forum series will examine economic, environmental, and security-related challenges and opportunities driven primarily by the growth of automotive, transit, goods movement and aerospace fleets. The Initiative will take a “30,000 foot view” of the issues and explore the intersection between fuels, infrastructure and technology. Discussion will engage all aspects of transportation as they relate to fuel efficiency, electric power, natural gas and fuel generation from renewable sources, including integrative design, IT-based solutions, and construction of infrastructure, finance, supply, and operation of transportation services worldwide.
ACORE members involved in the Initiative encompass all sectors of transportation from sea, air and land. A broad array of technologies will be discussed, including clean diesel, natural gas, electric, biofuels/flex fuels, batteries and fuel cell technologies.
Renewing Understanding of Renewable Energy
In recent years, the renewable energy industry has experienced a period of record-breaking growth. Solar installation is soaring across the country, growing 109% in 2011. Wind energy is cost-competitive in many parts of America and grew 27% in 2011, creating an opportunity for the U.S. to compete in global, clean energy manufacturing. Biofuels offset our dependence on foreign oil as 15 billion gallons of ethanol and biodiesel were produced by U.S. refineries in 2011.
Despite these business successes, misinformation about the different renewable energy technologies abound in the media and renewable energy has become a sort of political football in the United States. ACORE set out to create a website to debunk the misinformation surrounding renewable energy, to rebalance the energy debates and provide fact-based information about the industry.
In 2012, ACORE launched Energy Fact Check (www.energyfactcheck.org) and @EnergyFactCheck. The website and Twitter feed respond to media misinformation and help educate about the successes and potential of renewable energy. Energy Fact Check provides clarification on hot-button issues surrounding the industry. Content focuses on specific misinformation such as, “Renewable energy is too expensive and drives up electricity and fuel prices.” The “Featured Fact Checks” provide credible information (attributed facts, reports and statistics) from over 30 Content Contributor organizations and others that debunk misinformation surrounding claims.
Overall, ACORE has found Energy Fact Check and @EnergyFactCheck to be extremely valuable resources. Energy Fact Check has provided key journalists with the facts needed to write a balanced story about renewable energy. ACORE has also reached out to journalists through Letters to the Editor and Op-eds, pointing to Energy Fact Check information. Recent efforts have produced nine editorial pieces in national and regional publications, and Energy Fact Check responses to misinformation can be found in more than thirty publications.
Polls increasingly indicate that a majority of Americans support clean and renewable energy, regardless of political affiliation. Though it does not take credit for the shift in public sentiment, ACORE feels that Energy Fact Check and @EnergyFactCheck are helping provide facts that convey the reality that renewable energy is a growing and successful American industry.