About the Wind Energy Foundation

 

The Wind Energy Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to raising public awareness of wind as a clean, domestic energy source through communication, research and education.

 

The Wind Energy Foundation’s (WEF) campaigns and programs are aimed at educating decision makers, the media and the general public about the economic and environmental benefits of wind energy and need for policy action to secure these benefits. We recruit, train and mobilize leaders from the wind industry, other renewable energy sectors, and the broader community of supporters to deliver personalized messages about how renewable energy is helping to improve our economy and environment.

 

A Renewable America, WEF’s largest campaign, takes a multi-sector approach to communicating about the economic success story of renewable energy in key states around the country. Working with the leaders of six renewable energy trade associations, we help business leaders from renewable energy companies and their supply chains to educate decision makers about the large-scale investments and jobs that renewable energy businesses are bringing to their states and districts and the clean, reliable and affordable electricity that is being produced. Currently, A Renewable America is operating in six states: Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

 

Businesses for a Healthy Climate is a coalition of businesses and nonprofit organizations, led by the Wind Energy Foundation, focused on educating the public and decision makers about the business imperative of addressing climate change and the importance of a national price on carbon pollution.  Our coalition does not advocate any particular policy solution. Instead, it works to build a bipartisan consensus at the local level around the economic principle that businesses should cover their costs and should not be allowed to shift them onto other businesses and the general public. We are currently piloting our consensus-building approach in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

 

The Wind Vision campaign is a joint educational effort of the Wind Energy Foundation and the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) to educate the American public, the media and decision makers about the potential for wind energy growth in the U.S., the benefits of such growth, and the policy actions needed to achieve it. The campaign builds on the work of the U.S. Department of Energy in its March 2015 report, “Wind Vision: A New Era of Wind Power in the United States,” which quantifies the large growth potential of wind energy in the U.S. and the significant economic and environmental benefits that will be realized if that potential is realized. In our campaign, we are recruiting, training and mobilizing wind industry executives and their allies – the so-called Wind Vision Ambassadors – to educate key audiences about not only the promise of renewable energy, but also the policy actions that will be needed to make this promise a reality. In essence, we are unleashing the knowledge and story-telling powers of industry leaders and other experts to build excitement for wind energy and support for the policies needed to enable wind energy to succeed at a grand scale.

 

Executive Director

 

John Kostyack
John Kostyack

Executive Director
Wind Energy Foundation

John Kostyack arrived at the Wind Energy Foundation to serve as its Executive Director in September 2014. John is an attorney with roughly 30 years of experience in the government, private and nonprofit sectors.

 

Before arriving at the Wind Energy Foundation, Kostyack worked for 20 years at the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) at the nexus of climate change, energy, and wildlife conservation policy. While serving as Vice President at the NWF, Kostyack helped develop and lead a host of policy advocacy campaigns. Among other things, he worked closely with reinsurance industry leaders and others to advance nature-friendly solutions for communities grappling with climate change impacts. He also served on the board of directors of the American Wind Wildlife Institute, working with wind industry leaders and others to find responsible ways to site and operate wind turbines.

 

In previous posts at the NWF, Kostyack conceived and led the first national conference on climate-smart conservation and helped establish NWF as a recognized leader in that field. He oversaw NWF’s wildlife advocacy before Congress, the federal agencies and the courts, became a well-known expert on endangered species policy, and helped to win Congressional enactment of federal tax incentives for landowners contributing to recovery of endangered species. John also won several landmark cases enforcing wildlife and wetlands protection law, and represented wildlife conservation groups in Massachusetts vs. EPA, the first-ever global warming case to reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

 

Director, Public Affairs

 

Kevin O'Rourke
Kevin O'Rourke

Director, Public Affairs
Wind Energy Foundation

Kevin O’Rourke joined the Wind Energy Foundation as the Director of Public Affairs in 2016, after serving as a consultant on the A Renewable America campaign since its inception in the fall of 2013. Kevin is an attorney with significant public affairs experience, having previously consulted for the American Wind Energy Association, the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, Ceres, Climate Nexus, the Solar Foundation, and other leading clean energy and environmental organizations.

 

Prior to consulting in D.C., O’Rourke was a legislative assistant at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. O’Rourke is a graduate of Vermont Law School.

Letter from the Executive Director

I cannot imagine a more exciting time to be leading the Wind Energy Foundation. Within our sights is a better future, a world powered by clean, abundant and low-cost renewable energy.

 

For a host of environmental and economic reasons, individuals, companies and governments today are demanding that their electricity come from renewable sources. And thanks to technological innovations, the renewable energy sectors are now able to deliver reliable electricity at low cost and at a massive scale. To get a sense of the scale of this clean energy revolution, consider this: the wind industry alone has invested an average of $15 billion annually in U.S. communities in each of the past five years, resulting in 550 manufacturing facilities, 73,000 jobs, and $180 million in annual lease payments to landowners.

 

The United States is fortunate to have abundant wind, solar and other renewable resources and dynamic companies ready to bring these resources to the electricity grid. But our country lacks the federal and state policies needed to spur clean energy investments at the pace and scale we will need to meet the urgent threat of climate change.

 

In 2014, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that continued inaction on climate change will lead to a breakdown in food systems, more violent conflicts, and a host of other disruptions to our economy and quality of life. Fortunately, it also said that a livable climate can be preserved by keeping average temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, and that achieving this target can be done at relatively low cost — if carbon stabilization measures are enacted quickly. In contrast, a 2011 report by the International Energy Agency shows why postponing action makes no economic sense: it found that “for every $1 of investment in cleaner technology that is avoided in the power sector before 2020, an additional $4.30 would need to be spent after 2020 to compensate for the increased emissions.”

 

Role of the Wind Energy Foundation

The Wind Energy Foundation educates the American public and decision makers about why ramping up the transition to wind and other forms of renewable energy is so urgent and about the host of economic, social and environmental benefits that this transition would bring about. Launched by leaders of the U.S. wind energy industry in 2011, the Wind Energy Foundation’s focus and expertise is with mobilizing business leaders to deliver these important messages.

 

Why business leaders? First, we need their knowledge and experience to inform the debate over our nation’s energy future. Those opposed to the transition to renewable energy have mounted a large-scale public relations campaign based on misleading claims that such a transition would threaten U.S. jobs and the economy. Business leaders knowledgeable about renewable energy can put these myths to rest.

 

Second, we need the personal relationships and compelling stories that business leaders bring with them. Perhaps the most important insight I have gained in my nearly thirty years of advocating for natural resources conservation and sustainable development is that facts alone do not sway decision makers or the American public. Relationships and stories are ultimately what change people’s hearts and minds.

 

On the question of renewable energy’s value and viability, the most powerful messengers are often those local business leaders who are delivering jobs and investments in our communities. The Wind Energy Foundation helps connect these leaders and their stories with decision makers and the broader public and helps them to become more effective in advancing the cause of renewable energy.

 

How You Can Get Involved

In 2015, the Wind Energy Foundation is deploying business and community leaders to advocate in favor of renewable energy in fifteen states and in three unique campaigns – A Renewable America, Businesses for a Healthy Climate, and Wind Vision. If you are a business or community leader or someone interested in supporting our efforts in another way, please send us an email at ingf0fo@windenergyfoundation.-org.

 

I look forward to working with you to build a future powered by clean, abundant and affordable renewable energy.

 

John's Signature

 

Board of Directors

 


Jayshree Desai
Jayshree Desai
Sarah Webster
Sarah Webster

Vice Chair
Pattern Energy


 



 


Ty Daul
Ty Daul

Board Member
Sunpower

Doug Fredrickson
Doug Fredrickson

Board Member
Blattner Energy


 


Kevin A. Lynch
Kevin A. Lynch
James Walker
James Walker

 


Steven Dayney
Steven Dayney

Board Member
Senvion


 


Ron Stimmel
Ron Stimmel

Board Member
Amazon


 


Emily Williams
Emily Williams

Board Member
Edison Energy