New Renewable-Energy Group Head Outlines Priorities

FELDHEIM, GERMANY - JUNE 20: A 2 MW wind turbine of German alternative energy producer Energiequelle GmbH spins in a field of wheat on June 20, 2011 near Feldheim, Germany. Feldheim recently won recognition from the state of Brandenburg for becoming exclusively reliant on alternative energy sources for its energy needs. It produces electricity and heat at a biogas facility and also draws electricity from nearby wind and solar farms operated by Energiequelle. Germany is investing heavily in renewable energy sources as part of its plan to abandown nuclear energy by 2022.
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Amy Harder
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Amy Harder
Jan. 13, 2014, 6:07 a.m.

Bio­fuels, tax policy and wa­ter short­ages are atop the agenda of the new head of the Amer­ic­an Coun­cil on Re­new­able En­ergy.

In a let­ter be­ing sent Monday to the more than 500 mem­bers of his di­verse re­new­able-en­ergy group, ACORE’s in­com­ing Pres­id­ent and CEO Mi­chael Brow­er out­lined chal­lenges both in the near-term, namely de­fend­ing the re­new­able-fuel stand­ard and pre­serving tax in­cent­ives, and in the longer-term, such as ad­dress­ing the glob­al wa­ter-en­ergy nex­us.

On the RFS, Brow­er cri­ti­cizes a re­cently pro­posed EPA rule that lowered the volumes of bio­fuels re­quired to be blen­ded with gas­ol­ine. It’s “both a con­flict with stat­ute and a breach of trust with Amer­ica’s farm and forest com­munity,” Brow­er writes.

With­in the de­bate of tax policy, Brow­er writes that his co­ali­tion is uni­fied with oth­er re­new­able-en­ergy groups ar­guing that Wash­ing­ton must provide long-term tax cer­tainty for all re­new­able en­ergy, “re­gard­less of tech­no­logy.”

Brow­er said the glob­al wa­ter crisis is ex­acer­bated by heavy coal us­age in China and droughts in the Amer­ic­an Mid­w­est. “Without solu­tions all along the wa­ter-en­ergy nex­us, wa­ter be­comes the next crit­ic­al re­source com­mod­ity, and we all know wars are fought over such com­mod­it­ies and re­sources,” Brow­er writes.

Brow­er has been ACORE’s in­ter­im pres­id­ent and CEO since Ju­ly when Pres­id­ent Obama ap­poin­ted its former head, Den­nis Mc­Ginn, to be As­sist­ant Sec­ret­ary of the Navy for En­ergy, In­stall­a­tions and En­vir­on­ment. Be­fore this post, Brow­er was fed­er­al policy dir­ect­or at Mo­sa­ic Fed­er­al Af­fairs, a re­new­able-en­ergy lob­by­ing firm.

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