New U.S. clean energy trade group taps former Obama adviser as CEO


(Reuters) – A new U.S. clean energy trade group on Thursday named Heather Zichal, who coordinated climate change policies for the Obama White House, as its chief executive.

The American Clean Power Association (ACP), which will launch formally on Jan. 1, represents solar, wind, energy storage and transmission companies.

The group replaces the primary wind energy trade group, the American Wind Energy Association, and its founding members include major U.S. renewable energy developers and investors like NextEra Energy and Berkshire Hathaway Energy.

Zichal, who will begin her position next week, said in an interview the group’s membership felt the fast-growing renewable energy industry needed a trade group that reflected its diversity and scale.

Its creation comes as President-elect Joe Biden, who will take office on Jan. 20, has pledged to implement policies to bring the U.S. economy to net-zero emissions by 2050. His plan includes ramping up use of renewable energy technologies like those ACP will be promoting.

“We are poised for success,” Zichal said.

Among the group’s first priorities will be engaging with the Biden administration and Congress on policies that can aid in an economic recovery.

“We can step up and help identify the policies that are going to provide cost-effective solutions to the climate crisis while creating jobs,” she said.

The ACP will approach a divided Congress by seeking to educate members about the evolution of the renewable energy sector, Zichal said, adding that there were many clean energy jobs across the country.

(Reporting by Nichola Groom; Editing by Tom Brown)