Friday, December 12, 2008

Solar Energy Field, Association Category

Emcee: Debra Poneman

The Environmental Hall of Fame would like to honor Brad Collins and the American Solar Energy Society for their commitment to the environment and leadership of the renewable energy and energy efficiency revolution.

Brad is the Executive Director of the nation’s largest and oldest membership society dedicated to advancing the US to a sustainable energy future. He is the publisher of SOLAR TODAY magazine. Based in Boulder, Colorado, ASES has led the effort to educate professionals, decision-makers and the public for 55 years.

For 37 years ASES has organized a series of annual solar conferences where engineers, scientists, designers, architects and educators meet and share ideas. The conference has long functioned as a key educational resource for professionals in renewable energy. ASES works to educate the public through publication of the award winning magazine, SOLAR TODAY – now in its 23rd year.

ASES hosts the nation’s largest demonstration of solar energy and green buildings – the National Solar Tour. The Tour drew close to 150,000 participants in 2008. These tour-takers learn how their neighbors are using solar energy and green building practices on their own homes and buildings. They learn how profitable it can be to reduce the household’s carbon footprint and produce their own energy. They learn that the technology is available and affordable not in the future, but right now, in the neighborhood, from local dealers. Many tour takers go out and purchase these low carbon options for themselves.

Finally, ASES educates policy makers with credible, timely information. The Society provides perspective on legislation to enable adoption of renewable energy, energy efficiency, smart buildings and efficient transportation options.

ASES has been a strong voice of reason to challenge attempts to cut budgets for renewable energy research and deployment. For example, in 2002 ASES helped restore government research funding for Concentrating Solar Power – a rapidly growing utility-scale technology in the US Southwest. A year later, ASES challenged the Department of Energy to look beyond fossil fuel and nuclear plants as options for the production of hydrogen in support of the president’s hydrogen fuel vehicles program. ASES organized an international group of scientists to share their research on how to create hydrogen from many renewable sources, including wind, solar, algae and biomass.

In 2006 Brad published the landmark ASES study, TACKLING CLIMATE CHANGE: Potential Carbon Emissions Reductions from Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy by 2030. This work demonstrates that with the aggressive application of energy efficiency and six renewable energy technologies the U.S. could reduce its atmospheric carbon output by 60 to 80 percent by 2050. This reduction would require no new technological breakthroughs but would require a concerted effort by U.S. leaders to make deployment of these technologies a national priority. This study answered the challenge of climate change with a strong set of ready solutions – taking the country from despair to hope.

In 2007 ASES released the first-ever national study on the economic importance of the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries. The report, Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency: Economic Drivers for the 21st Century, showed that in 2006 these industries provided more than 8.5 million jobs, nearly $970 billion in total revenue and more than $150 billion of federal, state, and local government tax revenues. In a crash effort, by 2030 the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries in the United States could generate up to $4.5 trillion in revenue and 40 million jobs. This would represent about one in every four American workers – clearly Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency are THE economic driver for this Century.

Brad has guided ASES since February 2001. He represents the Society at functions and events throughout the country and works to educate and advocate for renewable energy technologies among decision makers, educators, media and the public.

He is a tireless advocate, a champion for renewable energy technologies, for climate mitigation practices, construction of new and renewed green buildings, smart transportation policy choices and energy literacy. In 1980, he and his wife designed and built their own passive solar house. He is a proud husband and father who is dedicated to leaving to the following generations a planet that can sustain itself.