WASHINGTON — At the American Council On Renewable Energy’s (ACORE’s) annual RETECH Trade Show and Conference, industry leaders noted that the renewable energy sector has shown surprising growth for 2011. In the first half of the year, 2,151 MW of newly installed wind power and 582 MW of solar power were added to the nation’s power supply, officials said.

“Renewable energy is increasingly competitive with traditional sources of energy and a growing source of grid power,” said Vice Admiral (Ret.) Dennis V. McGinn, president of ACORE. “Thirty-three percent of all new power in 2010 was generated by renewable energy resources. A combination of economics and policy is driving U.S. market growth. However, to sustain this momentum, we need long-term consistency in government policy. We are no different from other industries — renewable energy investors need policy consistency. The U.S. economy, and American industry and workers, will be the beneficiaries of stable policy.”

ACORE believes that the pending expiration of the 1603 cash grant in lieu of tax credits at the end of 2011 and expiration of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) at the end of 2012 could significantly dampen the number of new projects in 2012. According to ACORE’s Partnership for Renewable Energy Finance (US PREF), $20 billion in renewable energy projects would be lost if the 1603 and PTC programs are not extended.

In a keynote address at RETECH, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said, “There’s a lot of reason for optimism about clean technologies. New ideas are emerging, costs are coming down, and deployment is increasing. All of those are welcome developments for our energy supply and the global environment. Federal policies have played a role, but much of the progress we’ve seen is the direct result of your creativity and determination.” Murkowski went on to describe her view on what policy leaders need to do. “Budget cuts have now begun here at home, and the Breakthrough Institute has determined that more than 70 percent of the federal support for renewable energy has either expired already or will expire within the next three years… We need to design policies that can endure both the passage of time and shifts in party lines, and that will receive consistent funding for five years or 10 years or longer.”

ACORE said it is actively working with its members to build a vision for a sound, financially viable long-term federal policy and to highlight the detrimental effects of inconsistent policy.

The RETECH conference provided educational content from more than 250 industry speakers, covering all of the renewable energy industry’s key technologies, including wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, and biofuels.

For more information, visit www.acore.org.

Publication date: 10/31/2011