The American-Danish Business council participated in the American Council on Renewable Energy Member Day, Thursday March 27, 2014

ACORE working dinner

The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) held its member day event at the Newseum in Washington, DC on March 27th.  The day focused on three panels:  National Defense and Energy Security, Transportation, and Power Generation and Infrastructure.

It’s about lives:

The National Defense and Energy Security Panel included:  moderator Todd Foley (ACORE), Colonel Jim Caley, Director Expeditionary Energy Office, US Marine Corps; Bill Anderson, Eaton Corp; and Scott Provinse of Sun Edison.

Both Colonel Caley and Bill Anderson (former Assistant Secretary of the Air Force) made the point that for the military it is about lives.  In Iraq and Afghanistan, there was approximately one death for every 50 convoys carrying water and fuel to the outposts.

The military is meeting their goals of implementing renewable energy on bases and using alternate fuel for cars.  However, the greatest challenge now is for tracked vehicles.  Water is also an issue for outposts where convoys must bring in water supplies.  Therefore, water-saving devices are most welcome.

Transportation

The Transportation panel was moderated by Gary Guzy of Covington & Burling and included panelists:  Reuben Sarkar, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Sustainable Transportation at the Department of Energy,  Bo Poats, VP of Pace Global, Siemens, and Paul Woods, President and CEO of Algenol Biofuels.

Cars and trucks are able to use biofuels, electricity or natural gas.  However, airplanes are a more difficult area for which to develop alternative fuels.  However, within the next two to three years, synthetic jet fuels should be available.

Paul Woods talked about his company’s ability to supply almost unlimited amounts of biofuels from algae.  However, current US laws prohibit him from selling his product.  He called for a quick change in the laws to encourage rather than discourage innovation and the implementation of green energy.

Power Generation and Infrastructure

Moderated by ACORE’s Todd Foley, this panel included: Peter Davidson, Executive Director, DOE Loan Guarantee Programs Office, Joe Desmond, Senior VP, Marketing and Government Affairs, BrightSource Energy.

The Loan Guarantee Program is for the deployment of projects at commercial scale.  The Department of Energy manages a $32 billion portfolio with 30 projects since 2010 with less than 2% of those loans a loss.  EERE supplies grant money for demonstration projects.

One of the barriers to the Loan Guarantee Program is the high application fee of approximately $1million.  Mr. Davidson said that DOE is looking at this issue.  Several suggestions were put forward:  such as, a small application fee or a closing fee rather than an application fee; a subsidy or credit; and formulating a financial model for Part B.

BrightSource Energy gave a presentation on their IvanPah project in the Mohave Desert in California (see link http://www.brightsourceenergy.com/ivanpah-solar-project)

There were a number of environmental issues to be addressed –  including a protected species issue that was happily resolved.

NASCAR AND ACORE

Finally ACORE announced its partnership with NASCAR through the NASCAR – Green initiative.  NASCAR fans number around 100 million of whom 70% support the NASCAR – Green initiative.

Water & Energy Nexus

Concomitantly, ACORE announced its water and energy nexus working group which will look at the issues of water and energy together.