About the Wind Energy Foundation

 

The Wind Energy Foundation (WEF) 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.

 

WEF’s 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 the economic success story of renewable energy. Working with the leading U.S. renewable energy trade associations, we help renewable energy business executives, their employees, and supply chains educate key decision makers about the large-scale private investments, added tax revenue, land-lease income, and job creation that renewable energy is delivering to their communities. A Renewable America is currently operating in nine states: Colorado, Minnesota, North Dakota, Nevada, Iowa, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, and Washington.

 

Rewarded with Wind, launched in the fall of 2016, is recruiting, educating, and mobilizing rural Americans in support of wind energy. This program works to enlist natural allies in rural America – in particular, those places where wind energy is a key driver of economic development and job creation – to assist with enacting pro-wind policies. RWW is currently operating in Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Texas.

 

Electric Nation: Powered by Wind is WEF’s social media campaign, focused on activating the many wind energy supporters currently sitting on the sidelines of the national energy debate. By creating a vibrant, online community, Electric Nation is helping supporters educate their friends and families about the many benefits and importance of accelerating the United States’ transition to this clean, homegrown source of electricity.

 

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. Since then, he has worked with the Foundation board of directors and a team of staff and consultants to craft a strategy for accelerating renewable energy deployment in the U.S.  During his tenure, WEF has recruited, trained and activated hundreds of inspiring people from the companies that develop, build, operate and buy power from renewable energy projects as well as those from the communities that most directly benefit from the resulting jobs and economic development.

 

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 economic and environmental 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 more than $143 billion in U.S. wind projects over the last decade, resulting in 550 manufacturing facilities, over 102,000 jobs, and $245 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 pre-industrial levels, and that achieving this target can be done at relatively low cost — if carbon stabilization measures are enacted quickly. In contrast, a 2014 report by the White House’s Council of Economic Advisors shows why postponing action makes no economic sense: it found that delaying climate policies to the point where average global temperatures rise 3° Celsius above preindustrial levels — as opposed to the internationally agreed-upon limit of 2 degrees Celsius — could increase economic damages by approximately 0.9 percent of global output. A 0.9 percent decrease in Gross Domestic Product would amount to approximately $150 billion in annual losses in the United States alone. Stated simply, acting now is far less costly that postponing the inevitable shift to renewable energy sources.

 

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 2017, the Wind Energy Foundation is deploying business and community leaders to advocate in favor of renewable energy in thirteen states and in three unique campaigns – A Renewable America, Rewarded with Wind, and Electric Nation: Powered by Wind. If you are a business or community leader or someone interested in supporting our efforts in another way, please send us an email at info@windenergyfoundation.org.

 

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

 

John's Signature

 

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Board of Directors

 


Jayshree Desai
Jayshree Desai
Sarah Webster
Sarah Webster

Vice Chair
Pattern Energy


 



 


Ty Daul
Ty Daul

Board Member
Canadian Solar

Doug Fredrickson
Doug Fredrickson

Board Member
Blattner Energy


 


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

 


Ron Stimmel
Ron Stimmel

Board Member
Amazon


 


Emily Williams
Emily Williams

Board Member
Edison Energy


 


Steve Bowers
Steve Bowers

Board Member
Apex Clean Energy

Tom Starrs
Tom Starrs

 

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