With a new focus on both wind and solar energy, the Wind Energy Foundation has changed its name to the Wind Solar Alliance (WSA).
WSA has also expanded its board of directors to include solar stakeholders Dan Shugar, founder and CEO of NEXTracker, and Colin Meehan, director of regulatory and public affairs at First Solar.
Having led national wind-solar advocacy campaigns for several years through its “A Renewable America” program, the nonprofit WSA says it saw an opportunity for increased collaboration between the two sectors.
“Accelerating the deployment of wind and solar technologies is one of the fastest ways to mitigate climate change while strengthening the U.S. economy,” states John Kostyack, executive director of WSA. “The new name reflects our view that wind and solar industry leaders and other energy experts are stronger working together on this shared agenda than apart. Our coalition effort is now well-positioned to reform the U.S. electricity markets, as well as transmission and utility procurement planning processes, and thereby to rapidly scale these two technologies.”
Shugar and Meehan join leaders from other solar-only, wind-solar and wind-only companies on the WSA board. The American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) CEO, Tom Kiernan, also sits on the WSA board. Mark Alhstrom, president of the Energy Systems Integration Group, serves as a board advisor.
“WSA’s executive director, John Kostyack, has done a great job in keeping ahead of an important trend toward increased coordination of wind and solar advocacy,” says Kiernan. “The organization’s expanded vision will continue to complement AWEA’s education and advocacy efforts.”
WSA will continue to focus on research, communication and advocacy to raise awareness of the benefits of renewable energy. In addition, the organization will give increased attention to addressing the need for policy changes for independent system operators, public utility commissions and other venues that determine whether renewables will be given a fair opportunity to compete in the electricity marketplace, the organization explains.
“There are many areas where the wind and solar agendas align,” notes Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “We’ve seen great benefits from working with the wind advocates on federal, regional and state policies on the ‘A Renewable America’ campaign, and in other areas, over the past several years. We hope to continue to expand these meaningful efforts going forward, with support from the philanthropic community.”