Renewable Energy Market Update

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Renewable energy industry leaders, known as the Executive Roundtable, met to discuss the bright future of renewable energy. Although Capitol Hill wants to possibly reduce or end incentives in the renewable energy industry, the industry remains one of the United States economy's most consistent job creators and enjoys widespread support among politicians and the public.

Chief Editor David Wagman convened this year's Executive Roundtable, which included Barry Worthington, executive director of the U.S. Energy Association; Mark Ahlstrom, CEO of WindLogics; Jayesh Goyal, vice president of sales for Areva Solar; Pat Dinkel, vice president, Power Marketing, Resource Planning and Acquisition at Arizona Public Service; and Allen Marks, partner in the Global Project Finance Department of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP.

Power Engineering: Are there any as-yet undiscovered or little used policy avenues at either the state of the federal levels that might help promote renewable energy?

Jayesh Goyal: States are going to find ways to make sure that there is still growth in their particular neck of the woods even in the absence of federal policies. So you've seen states announcing feed-in tariff programs even though there's nothing at the national level. We've heard that New Jersey just passed a very aggressive offshore wind bill that provided a minimum of 1,100 MW and renewable energy credits. That just effectively created a market there for offshore and of course promotes jobs in that area.

PE: Let's discuss some reforms that might be possible or necessary at the state level given the current economic and political conditions.

Mark Alhstrom: At the state level the policies have been very effective and efficient in getting a lot of renewable on the grid with very little cost. Most utilities are finding maybe initially they're concerned about these standards but they seem to find very cost-effective ways of meeting that, which have been a good way of making progress.

I would certainly like to see more growth, if not of national at least regional views around this like we're seeing with various state governors' associations in different parts of the country where they create regional consensus and markets, at least for renewable energy credits (RECs). But I think the state-level stuff is definitely where we're going to see a lot of the action and often the states will figure out how to do this and maybe that will eventually show up in federal legislation when you take the best practices from the state levels.

PE: What renewable energy project made you take notice during 2010 and why?

Pat Dinkel: You'll forgive me for a little self promotion, but the project that I thought was pretty transformative is our Community Power Project that we've launched and that our corporation commission approved. It's important from an industry perspective that we've done in one of our communities on a single feeder we will put over 200 customers with distributed generation resources. We're putting on over half a megawatt of energy storage as well as a small utility scale photovoltaic system. This is an examples of what it takes to put a dense amount of distributed renewable along with smart technologies.

The Executive Roundtable had an extensive interview which covered different aspects in the renewable energy industry. Overall, the leaders were optimistic about the future of renewable energy and encouraged the public to take a part in it.

The American Institute of Renewable Energy (AIRE) is a solar training school that gives the public the opportunity of learning how to enter the renewable energy industry. AIRE offers a variety of courses in solar power, weatherization and green information technology. By attending this solar training school, one can gain the knowledge, skills and abilities in order to be a part of the projects that stood out to the Executive Roundtable.

AIRE specializes in training in a wide range of courses including solar sales force training, solar installation training certification, and solar photovoltaic (PV) training. The Executive Roundtable expressed that at the state-level, there is a lot of support for the industry. Now is the time to enter the industry and receive your solar power training at AIRE.

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