The Wind Coalition, an AWEA regional partner organization based in Austin, Tex., yesterday announced the hiring of veteran government affairs professional Jeff Clark as its new Executive Director. Clark most recently served as the Vice President of Governmental Affairs for TechAmerica. He previously worked as the executive director of the National Federation of Independent Business-Texas, as governmental affairs manager at the Texas Association of Business, as chief of staff for a member of the Texas House, and as a governmental relations employee for the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs.
“Jeff Clark is an experienced governmental relations professional who has managed diverse issues across multiple states, and brings a critical knowledge of the technology industry that is vital to the advancement of the wind industry,” said Zeina El-Azzi, President of The Wind Coalition. “In the last decade the wind industry has grown exponentially in Texas and the South Central United States. As our industry navigates the numerous legislative and regulatory issues of the next decade, we need a seasoned governmental affairs professional like Jeff Clark leading the way.”
“I’m very excited about this new opportunity with The Wind Coalition, and will work to continue he coalition's great work to harness our region's vast wind resources. Our economy relies on a reliable power grid and that grid requires a diversified mix of affordable generation sources like wind,” said Clark. “Wind energy is helping to meet the country's rapidly increasing power needs and will remain vital to our future economic, environmental, and energy needs. I look forward to advocating for a healthy wind energy industry in our region.”
The Wind Coalition consists of 33 member companies, many of which specialize in the development of wind projects and the manufacturing of wind turbine components. The coalition is active in eight south central states: Texas, Arkansas, New Mexico, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.
Texas is the national leader in wind generation, with more than 10,000 MW of installed capacity, providing nearly seven percent of Texas’ electricity in 2011. The state is also taking a lead role in building transmission capacity through the construction of Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ), which will relieve congestion in West Texas, and allow for greater development of the abundant wind resources of West Texas and the Panhandle. The Wind Coalition states are responsible for more than 15,000 MW of the nation’s more than 48,000 MW of installed capacity.
Since October, 2006, Clark has managed the policy and advocacy efforts of Tech America in the southern United States. Most recently, that region included 13 states including Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah. He has also managed Tech America's state lobbying efforts on energy infrastructure and grid modernization issues. His work in the Texas public policy arena dates back to November 1990 when he started in the Texas Capitol as a legislative aide.