The American Clean Power Association (ACPA) has named Heather Zichal as the first chief executive officer of the recently merged cross-renewables sector advocacy body.

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Jim Murphy, president of developer Inverggy and the chair of ACPA – formed through the amalgamation in September of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and a range of renewables companies and organisations to lobby for an “integrated, multi-technology [clean-energy] future” – said Zichal’s appointment came at a time when the sector needed to “speak with a unified voice … when investments in renewable energy can help solve two of the nation’s biggest challenges, rebuilding our economy and addressing climate change”.

Zichal comes to the newly formed role from the executive directorship of the Blue Prosperity Coalition, a global network of governments, non-governmental organisations, scientists and ocean experts “working to advance sustainable, blue economy goals.

“With renewable energy having the potential to supply half of the nation’s electricity by 2030, Heather brings the perfect mix of experience, skills and relationships to help our industry seize this historic opportunity for further investment in the US economy,” said Murphy.

Zichal served during the Obama Administration as deputy assistant to the President for energy and climate change and was involved as well as US’ landmark Climate Action Plan.

She also worked with legislative director John Kerry – who was last week named President-elect Joe Biden climate czar – when he was a senator.

“Solving climate change means leading a clean energy transformation which will rebuild America’s economy. ACPA will be the leading voice for creating jobs, spurring massive investment and driving innovation, while bringing us closer to the carbon-free future we need,” said Zichal.

“This is a pivotal moment to unite the entire clean power supply chain behind one organization to ensure renewable energy continues to grow into the dominant source energy for America. No job could be more inspiring.”

Tom Kiernan, the outgoing CEO of AWEA, said: "I want to congratulate Heather and extend my support to her in this transition. ACP is poised for great and important work in the coming years.”

Zichal assumes her role on 14 December, with ACPA formally set to launch on 1 January 2021 with a mission of representing solar, storage, wind and transmission companies, manufacturers and construction contractors, developers and owners/operators, utilities, financial firms and corporate purchasers in the US.

The US wind industry has continued its torrid Trump- and Covid-defying pace of construction with almost 2GW of installations in the third quarter and is on track to set a national record for new capacity this year, while third quarter solar installations surged 46% from a year earlier to 3.8GW as the industry’s recovery accelerated from the business impacts of the pandemic, led by record new utility capacity.