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Forum looks at viable US renewable energy business models

A series of forums to outline a viable business model for renewable electricity has begun in the US, organised by the California Clean Energy Fund (CalCEF), the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).

By Kari Williamson

The first forum, Business Models for Renewable Energy Electricity in the 21st Century, gathered leaders from utility, development, regulation and financial institutions, which looked at how to define an actionable strategy for US renewable electricity development by 2013.

Participants have initiated action plans to address the regulatory framework, customer relations models, emerging financing structures, and technological innovation needed to integrate significant amounts of renewable onto the US grid.

“This is the first time top leaders from the utility and renewables industries have met to hammer out an executable plan to boost renewable energy integration nationwide,” says Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn, president of ACORE. “Everyone in the forum wants more renewables, but we may not all be aligned on how to get to that shared goal. This year’s forums aim to reach that alignment so utilities and renewable energy companies can strike forward most effectively.”

Panel participants and keynote speakers included Dan Arvizu, Director of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL); Michael Howard, CEO of Electric Power Research Institute; Doyle Beneby, President and CEO of CPS Energy; Marshal Salant, Head of Citigroup’s Alternative Energy Finance division; and Michael Peevey, President of the California Public Utilities Commission.

“Industry collaboration and new financing mechanisms are the keys to the widespread deployment and integration of clean energy in America,” adds Dan Adler, President of CalCEF and ACORE board member. “The leaders who participated in the forum spoke candidly about the issues slowing the growth of renewables, and it was heartening to see their perspectives steadily align over the course of the day. We anticipate much more of the same over the coming year’s forums.”

Additional partners in the initial dialogue included Stanford University’s Steyer Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance, the Climate Policy Initiative, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

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