As 2018 was winding to a close, we were certain about two things. First, we knew that market forces were aligning behind our mission in an unprecedented way. Second, to realize this potential, the clean energy sector needed a more unified and powerful voice in Washington.
Apex has always considered itself a rising leader in our space. We didn’t want to wait for others to take action. When other like-minded companies began to recognize the same trends, we invested time and resources to work together toward a mutual goal of creating a stronger, more sophisticated trade association to represent us in Washington.
The Problem and the Solution
In the past, our sector was represented by technology-specific trade groups. When Congress or the administration sought guidance, it heard from multiple voices representing specific points of view from associations representing onshore wind, offshore wind, solar, storage, and others. This weakened our position, especially when fossil fuel interests had spent decades working to establish one clear voice on Capitol Hill.
Granted, we achieved some significant policy milestones in the recent past, helping position us for the moment we are experiencing today. But to emerge as our nation’s energy solution for the future, and drive needed changes to modernize our grid, we required a stronger, more sophisticated association that represents all renewable energy technologies under one roof.
The effort organized under the core principle that the process needed to be managed by corporate leadership and be representative of the entire industry. After over a year of extensive evaluation, planning, and diplomacy, the sweat equity paid off. We united the power of wind, solar, storage, and transmission companies with a shared mission of transforming the U.S. power grid under the banner of the American Clean Power Association (ACP).
The new association is under the direction of Heather Zichal, who has made an immediate impact as CEO and rolled the staff and capabilities of the preexisting American Wind Energy Association into the new organization. Prior to joining ACP, Heather directed the Obama administration’s clean energy agenda, worked in the nonprofit sector, and served on several corporate boards.
The organization is anchored by a strong and diverse set of founding member companies, including Apex, that are working closely with Heather to build and properly fund a premier trade association. I’ve gotten to know her over the past few months and I’m confident she has the experience and vision to lead our industry.
Going “All In” on a Clean Energy Future
The immediate stakes are high, and our long-term policy vision is equally ambitious. The Biden administration has set the bold goal of achieving 100% renewable electricity for the U.S. grid by 2035. In tandem, the American Clean Power Association’s agenda includes creating one million new well-paying jobs through the deployment of 70 GW annually over the next decade. The priorities are aimed at transforming how energy is produced and used in the United States.
ACP policies seek to accomplish these goals by expanding demand for renewable energy technologies at the national, regional, and state levels. The organization will work to remove barriers for entry through regulatory, permitting, and siting reforms and establish long-term market certainty to ensure increased investment and manufacturing of renewable energy technologies. We will champion policies that invest in a national grid that is reliable, secure, clean, and designed for a renewable future—all while developing a robust, stable, and diverse workforce.
As a unified industry, we can achieve our shared vision, help rebuild our economy for the better, and address climate change in a meaningful way.
The growth and evolution of our representation in Washington mirrors our own maturation as a company. As we continue to explore and develop new business units, investing in the growth of a pan-renewables trade association will create market demand and opportunity for Apex as an individual company.
We’re just getting started with the American Clean Power Association, and Apex will continue to play a leadership role in the organization and across the clean energy space. With a unified industry, we can achieve our shared vision, help rebuild our economy for the better, and address climate change in a meaningful way—all while positioning Apex as a leading voice. Now more than ever, we are accelerating the shift to clean energy.