A new coalition of US renewable energy organisations held its first national organising conference in Washington DC, July 10-11. Calling itself the American Council for Renewable Energy (ACRE), it intends over the next months to hammer out a new national strategy that will "take renewable energy to the next level." Among the conference speakers were Christopher Flavin of the Worldwatch Institute, Amory Lovins, Rocky Mountain Institute, and Senator Jeff Bingaman, who chairs the US Senate Energy Committee. "This is a very big community if you ever put it all together," said conference co-chair Dan Reicher, a former Assistant Secretary at the US Department of Energy and a familiar name in US wind energy circles. He is now executive vice-president of Northern Power Systems. "It is long overdue that the leadership come together and create a new, national initiative that can take renewables to a higher level of credibility and results. It is time to put an end to on-again off-again public policy." Michael Eckhart, acting chair of ACRE, says that with 250 high-level people attending, the conference met all the objectives any first year organisation could expect. Participants decided ACRE should be a non-profit organisation, not a lobbying group, and that it should deliver more information about renewable energy to the American public, not just to Congress. The task now is to find the funding to meet all of ACRE's goals, Eckhart says.
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