Top Ten Sustainability Initiatives of ACORE

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ACORE, which stands for the American Council on Renewable Energy, was established in 2001 and is a non-profit organization in the United States that remains solely focused on increasing the speed of adoption for renewable energy technologies into the American mainstream society. ACORE, which is based in Washington DC, offers a platform for a large variety of interests revolving around the renewable energy sector, including industries, utilities, associations, professional service firms, end users, government agencies, and financial institutions. ACORE covers all sectors of renewable energy, including solar, wind, biofuels and biomass, geothermal, waste energy, and hydropower current/tidal energy.

1 ) Phase II of Renewable Energy in America National Policy Forum. Every year, ACORE holds the Phase II of Renewable Energy in America National Policy Forum. In 2011, the topic of the forum was “Renewable Energy in America – Creating Security and Prosperity.” The forum looked to define the next critical steps in the creation of a viable renewable energy policy. Those who are involved in the forum include renewable energy leaders, government officials, businesses, and other organizations as they assess the state of the current renewable energy policy and create a viable framework that will take the nation through 2012 and further.

2 ) REFF Wall Street. The Renewable Energy Finance Forum Wall Street, or REFF Wall Street, is an annual conference that is held by ACORE. It is a premier meeting place for renewable energy project developers, investors, and financiers to get together and network, create deals, and push the drive forward when it comes to the nation’s energy future. In 2010, there were over 700 people in attendance from more than 23 companies and 450 companies. According to the website, “With over 70 percent of attendees at Director level or above, REFF Wall Street brings together the crème de la crème of the USA’s renewable energy industry, drawing attendees from the entire value chain, including financiers, manufactures, and developers.”

3 ) REFF West. The Renewable Energy Finance Forum West, or REFF West, looks to unite investors, financiers, and clean energy executives throughout the western region of the United States. The conference covers a wide range of clean energy and renewable energy technologies topics, maintaining focus on the western region. Some of the topics that are covered include venture capital, project financing, emerging commercial technologies, renewable power generation, equity financing, financing small projects, as well as established technologies.

4 ) RETECH. In September of 2011, ACORE held RETECH 2011, which stands for the Renewable Energy Technology Conference and Exhibition. This annual conference held in Washington DC is the “premier all renewable energy business event in the United States.” There is a trade show exhibition and business conference. In the exhibition, more than 100 organizations and companies from all sectors of the renewable energy industry host booths. These exhibitions include equipment suppliers and manufacturers, investment and finance firms, systems providers, project developers, research and development businesses, as well as green builders, law firms, construction companies, non-governmental organizations, and government agencies. At the business conference, more than 250 speakers, who are industry leaders, share their insight and knowledge with the people in attendance. There are discussions on all types of clean technology sectors, including carbon capture and storage, smart grids, energy efficiency, green buildings, and so on.

5 ) Renewable Energy Teleconference Series. Every month, ACORE holds their Renewable Energy Teleconference Series. The monthly seminars provide individuals with an “opportunity to network and discuss the subject matter with renewable energy lawyers, federal and state policy makers, and business experts.” It is in a webinar format that anyone can join into. Topics include items like “Integration of Renwables into the Smart Grid,” and “Defense Department Initiatives for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Development.”

6 ) Biomass Coordinating Council Program. The Biomass Coordinating Council Program was created by ACORE. It was created to aid in the acceleration of the total adoption of renewable biothermal, biofuels, biogas, bio-power, and other bio-based products into the mainstream American society. This is done through communication, networking, and various initiatives. The objective includes reducing the American dependence on fossil fuels, creating a much cleaner, more sustainable environment, and expanding the markets for rural locations across America.

7 ) US – China Program. ACORE sponsors a US – China Program that is “dedicated to increasing the understanding of the [United States] and Chinese renewable energy markets and fostering public and private sector partnerships between the two countries.” Between ACORE and the Chinese Renewable Energy industries Association (CREIA), a number of topics were addressed, including the quickly changing landscape of “renewable energy and infrastructure project development and finance in China, and provided a perspective on future collaboration. It also provided networking opportunities with leaders in the field to discuss pending challenges, including the recent trade filing, as well as tighter sources of financing for [research and development].”

8 ) ACORE Regional Outreach Program. The ACORE Educational Regional Outreach Program looks to “mobilize member thought leaders to help identify and develop regional renewable energy strategies and to identify the regional policy and financing structures best suited to support these strategies.” ACORE has divided the United States into five regions and this program serves as a primary component in the ongoing work at ACORE to strengthen and expand the renewable energy economy. Some of the objectives include providing support for renewable energy innovation and policies, bringing together information on local, state, and regional levels, and bring the views of the nation to Washington DC.

9 ) US PREF. US PREF, which stands for the US Partnership for Renewable Energy Finance is an educational program of ACORE providing market-based analysis on finance policies and proposed policy concepts regarding renewable energy. US PREF is not an advisory committee or a lobbying organization, but is made up of renewable energy financiers from some of the leading financial institutions, project development companies, technology companies, and law firms to provide educational resources regarding renewable energy financing to increase capital flow to these projects throughout the United States.

10 ) ACORE Leadership Council. The ACORE Leadership Council has a mission “To facilitate expert input on the development of effective public policy for renewable energy, and to provide a channel through which leaders from all sectors of the renewable energy community can have their views known.” The leadership council is governed by five individuals that make up the executive committee and they represent different industry sectors.

Article by Shawn Lesser, Co-founder & Managing Partner of Atlanta-based Watershed Capital Group – an investment bank assisting sustainable fund and companies raise capital, perform acquisitions, and in other strategic financial decisions. He is also a Co-founder of the GCCA Global Cleantech Cluster Association ”The Global Voice of Cleantech”. He writes for various cleantech publications and is known as the David Letterman of Cleantech for his “Top 10″ series. He is also author of The 2012 Cleantech Directory. He can be reached at shawn@watershedcapital.com.

About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.