New Renewable Energy Group Eyes Downwind Strategy

American Wind Action, a new 501(c)(4) advocacy group, aims to shape the political landscape by focusing its advocacy energy on state and federal congressional races.

With the unusual circumstances of the 2016 presidential election—specifically, the presence of Donald Trump and the historically low approval ratings for both candidates—an advocacy strategy focused elsewhere during this cycle is unsurprising.

That approach is reflected by American Wind Action, a new 501(c)(4) group that announced its launch this week. The new nonprofit will work to educate the public on issues relevant to the uptake of wind energy. The Washington Examiner reports that the group will spend 40 percent of its budget on congressional races at the federal and state levels, with races supporting candidates from both major political parties. The other 60 percent of the budget will be focused on presenting industry-relevant issues to the public.

“American Wind Action will help inform and educate the public on the many benefits that wind energy brings to our nation and to communities across America,” Sam Enfield and Jeff Clark, two members of the group’s board of directors, noted in a statement sent to the Examiner and Politico.

The group, while separate from the American Wind Energy Association, lists Jim Reilly, senior vice president for legislative and political affairs at AWEA, as the third member of its three-person board. According to its statement this week, it has at its disposal a seven-figure budget to advocate for the potential of wind power, which has come into its own in recent years. The U.S. Department of Energy reported last month that wind energy and solar power together generated more than two-thirds of the total capacity added to the electric grid in 2015.

“Windpower is lowering energy prices for consumers and revitalizing rural economies,” Enfield and Clark said. “The importance of wind as an energy source for America cannot be overstated, and we’re proud to push the discussion on wind energy forward by launching AWA today.”


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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