American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE)
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75 Nations Sign as Members in Historic Meeting ACORE Attends as U.S. Observer
January 26, 2009 - Bonn, Germany: The American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE) attended the founding meeting of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) today in a ceremony attended by over 100 countries in the Bundestag in Bonn, Germany, leading to the signing of a compact by 75 nations.
"This is a meeting of historic importance, as 75 nations of the world have come together to make a formal commitment to accelerate the adoption of renewable energy," said John Geesman, Co-chairman of ACORE's Board of Directors.
Sigmar Gabriel, Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety opened the conference by saying: "It is time to launch a new and strong voice for renewable energy. It will be an international platform for cooperation and collaborative efforts between nations."
IRENA was formed on a proposal presented in 1990 by German renewable energy leader Hermann Scheer, who said today: "From this day forward, the world's nations will have a mechanism for working together on the adoption of renewable energies. The debate about whether to adopt renewable energies is over. IRENA is now in place. The question is now how quickly we can assure a sustainable future."
Andris Piebalgs, Energy Commissioner for the European Commission, noted the challenge of scaling up renewable energy to meet European goals for 20% renewables, and closed by saying: "only renewable energy sources can provide for sustainable prosperity for all mankind."
The former head of renewable energy in the European Commission, Wolfgang Palz, said in an interview: "the founding of IRENA has been a long time coming, and renewable energy has had to win out against 20 years of fierce opposition by conventional energy forces," he said. "It has been a struggle worth winning. Yet the real work lies ahead. We must scale up the use of renewable energies. This will require commitments, cooperation between nations, and learning from each other."
The founding document was signed by 75 countries, each of which spoke or made statements in the meeting. The United States was represented by an observer from the U.S. State Department Embassy in Berlin.
The American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE) also attended as an invited observer. "We are hopeful and confident that the United States will reverse the decision of the Bush Administration not to join IRENA, and return the U.S. to world leadership on renewable energy, a matter that is a priority of the new Administration in Washington," said Mr. Geesman. "We urge Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to take this is up as a matter of symbolic urgency that aligns the U.S. with the rest of the world."
Mr. Scheer sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton the day before the founding meeting, thanking her for her leadership on renewable energy and expressing his hope that the U.S. will join IRENA.
ACORE has pledged its collaboration as a non-government organization with IRENA, and is urging official U.S. membership.
"We have a new basis for leadership," said Michael Eckhart, ACORE President. President Obama has called for a doubling of alternative energy production in three years. ACORE has announced support for the goal by establishing the DREAM ("Doubling Renewable Energy in America") initiative. The first review of DREAM Action Plans will take place at the RETECH 2009 conference and exhibition at the Las Vegas Convention Center, February 25-27, 2009.