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American Council on Renewable Energy

Skoll Entrepreneur(s): Michael Eckhart
Award Year: 2008
Focus Area(s) Addressed: Sustainable Markets

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Mike has worked in the energy field for 30 years on both RE and traditional energy. In 1995, he decided he couldn’t do conventional power work any longer and founded the Solar Bank Initiative to finance solar energy in India, South Africa and Brazil. In 2001, along with other U.S. leaders, Mike formed ACORE to create a U.S. renewable energy community. His role as president started as a volunteer activity and grew into a full-time commitment. Since then, ACORE has created a “renewable energy” community, ending a 30-year era of stove-piped, technology-specific RE industries.

IMPACT AS OF JAN. 2014:

  • ACORE is the only dues-paying membership group to be formed successfully in the energy and environment space since the 1970s. We’ve brought together all the players needed to make renewable energy successful in the U.S., including end users, technology companies, financial firms, universities, associations, NGOs and government agencies — all working on wind, solar, hydro, ocean, geothermal and biomass sources of energy.
  • ACORE aggressively brought the banking, investment and insurance companies into the field of renewable energy through a very high-end finance annual conference and other education. They focus on educating lawyers, accountants and consultants who support financing, increasing their level of expertise via a joint venture with the American Bar Association. Some $10 billion was invested in renewable energy companies and over $20 billion went into project finance in the U.S. in 2009.
  • ACORE seeks to advance renewable energy through finance, policy, technology, and market development and concentrated its member focus in 2013 on National Defense & Security, Power Generation & Infrastructure, and Transportation.
  • ACORE led the movement to argue for the investment, economic growth and new jobs that would accompany a national commitment to renewable energy. This is now the standard argument supporting public policy proposals and has broadened the base of political support, resulting in better public policies.

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