Graham Richard is CEO of Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), a fast growing national association of businesses working toward a prosperous future based on secure, clean, affordable energy, and CEO of the Advanced Energy Economy Institute, AEE’s charitable and educational affiliate. He leads AEE’s federal and state policy work, business convenings, and membership development. He also directs the work of AEE’s State Coalition, which consists of 15 state and regional partner organizations active on state energy policy in 23 states across the country. Richard has spoken at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Conference, Future Energy Conference (Seattle), the Bloomberg New Energy Finance Summit, and the Aspen Institute, among other venues.
Richard served as mayor of Fort Wayne, Indiana, from 2000 to 2008, following a 20-year career in business. As mayor he launched a number of initiatives to save energy and create jobs, and received national awards for leadership in high-speed broadband deployment. As a businessman, Richard was an investor in cogeneration and hydropower businesses. He also served in the Indiana State Senate, where he chaired the utilities committee.
Energy Is a Key Part of Our Infrastructure Challenges
Energy is a key part of the infrastructure changes and the challenges, whether you’re talking about water, sewer, or you’re talking about redoing your electric street lighting to a new LED system…So when you think about infrastructure improvements, why not be thinking about infrastructure improvements that include what we would call the “advanced energy infrastructure.”
Engaging Consumers to Fight For a Better Electrical Grid
We have companies that are helping to reach out to individual consumers of electric power…and giving them more data that is clearly easy to understand, comparing your own power usage to a neighbor’s, understanding how the power is generated. Customers are asking, “Is this clean energy? Is this coming from a particular source of light coal that is not perceived to be clean power?”
The System Can’t Change Without the Public on Board
We’re seeing consumer power has been growing, meaning the clout that consumers have in many different dimensions of our economy. And I see that happening now in energy. In that same opportunity where consumers want to know where that power’s coming from, they want to know what the cost is—but they’re also willing, when you have an opportunity to explain what the technology could do, to improve that aging infrastructure.
Advanced Energy Economy: Mission & Goals
We work to help accelerate the growth of our advanced energy companies…and we think this is really important because the advanced energy industry is a $200 billion market in the United States. That means it’s bigger than the airline industry, and it’s as big as pharmaceuticals, and it’s growing rapidly.