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U.S. offshore regulator joins solar power trade group

BOEM's director leaves public office to lead the Solar Energy Industries Association.

By Daniel J. Graeber
U.S. offshore regulator joins solar power trade group
Abigail Ross Hopper to join solar energy trade group after serving as the head of the U.S. offshore regulator under the Obama administration. Photo courtesy of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

WASHINGTON, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- A solar energy trade organization said Monday it named a top U.S. oil and gas administrator as its next president and chief executive officer.

"I am thrilled to lead the Solar Energy Industries Association," Abigail Ross Hopper said in a statement. "I have spent my career working with all sides of the political and ideological spectrum to arrive at pragmatic approaches to energy policy."

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Hopper joins the SEIA as of Jan. 17 after serving as the head of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the offshore regulator in the United States. One of her last moves at the BOEM was to announce the final auction for acreage in the Gulf of Mexico for drillers under a five-year plan introduced by outgoing President Barack Obama.

President-elect Donald Trump has put forward an energy policy that emphasizes oil and natural gas, vowing to make the country energy independent. Hopper in December said drilling in the Gulf of Mexico would help reduce America's dependence on foreign oil.

For renewable energy, the trade group said the industry is setting records in the United States. Solar power costs are on the decline, leading to a corresponding increase in usage. The SEIA estimated the country is on pace to have 50 gigawatts of solar power on the grid this year and pass 100 GW by the end of the decade.

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One GW of solar electricity is enough to power 160,000 average homes.

"Abby possesses the leadership skills, experience and infectious enthusiasm needed to help drive solar's rapid but sustainable growth trajectory," SEIA Board Chairman Nat Kreamer said.

The SEIA as a trade group said it helped defeat industry-limiting measures in Florida while helping to establish better markets in Colorado and New York.

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