These Innovators and Influencers have had such a significant impact on the wind industry that the staff of Windpower Engineering would like to celebrate their success in this first annual Innovators and Influencers of Wind Power special section.
Barack Obama – This forty-fourth president of the United States and recipient of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize was elected to office in the mix of a significant economic and an energy crisis that will shape national policy for years to come. President Obama has made strides toward several energy-independence initiatives including energy efficiency standards, renewable energy production grants, loans, and tax rebates, and has headed the efforts to pass legislation to cut America’s greenhouse-gas emissions. For these accomplishments, we recognize the President as a significant Influencer in the wind power industry.
Before being elected President, Mr. Obama received a Bachelors of Arts degree in political science from Columbia University in New York City. After later graduating magna cum laude from Harvard law School, Obama returned to Chicago to serve as a professor at the University of Chicago Law School for twelve years. After his time as a professor, he served on several committees as a United States senator, one of which was the Environment and Public Works committee, where he was directly responsible for several environmental and clean energy advancements.
In 2008, Mr. Obama began his presidential campaign with an emphasis on energy independence among other goals. As president, he has proposed an aggressive energy policy reform, including the need for a reduction of CO2 emissions, with a market cap and trade program which, if implemented, will increase demand for energy production from renewable means. Additionally, President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 includes more than $70 billion in direct spending and tax credits for clean-energy production and transportation programs.
In an address given at a wind-tower manufacturing plant in Iowa, Mr. Obama stated, “We’re providing incentives to double our nation’s capacity to generate renewable energy over the next few years – extending the production tax credit, providing loan guarantees, [and] offering grants…My budget also invests $15 billion each year for 10 years to develop clean energy, including wind power”.
Furthermore, President Obama and his administration have, for the first time, authorized the leasing of federal waters for projects to generate electricity from wind, wave, and other renewable energy sources. This authorization is expected to open the door to major investments in offshore wave and wind power. According to the American Wind Energy Association, it is estimated that if private industry pursues these offshore opportunities along with the further development of onshore wind plants, the U.S. can generate as much as 20% of its electricity through wind power by 2030.
Steven Chu – This distinguished scientist and co-winner of the 1997 Nobel Prize for Physics was appointed by President Obama as the 12th Secretary of Energy. Secretary Chu is a significant influencer in the wind industry because he has devoted his recent scientific career to searching for solutions to the nation’s energy challenges. He is charged with helping implement President Obama’s agenda to invest in alternative and renewable energy, end our dependence to foreign oil, address climate change, and create millions of new jobs.
In announcing his selection as DOE Secretary, President Obama said, “The future of our economy and national security is inextricably linked to one challenge: Energy. Steven has blazed new trails as a scientist, teacher, and administrator, and has recently led the Berkeley National Laboratory in pursuit of new alternative and renewable energies. He is uniquely suited to be our next Secretary of Energy as we make this pursuit a guiding purpose of the Department of Energy, as well as a national mission.”
The Missouri native has been a vocal advocate for more research into alternative energy and nuclear power, arguing that a shift away from fossil fuels is essential to energy independence. While speaking at the 2009 National Science Bowl about the importance of America’s science students, he emphasized their future role in environmental planning and global initiative.
Prior to his appointment, Chu was director of DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, and professor of Physics and Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California. He successfully applied techniques he developed in atomic physics to molecular biology. Before his appointment, he led the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab in pursuit of new alternative and renewable energies. Previously, he held positions at Stanford University and AT&T Bell Laboratories.
Chu stayed at Berkeley for two years after receiving his doctorate. Then Professor Chu’s research in atomic physics, quantum electronics, polymer, and biophysics includes tests of fundamental theories in physics, development of methods to laser cool and trap atoms, atom interferometry, and the manipulation and study of polymers and biological systems at the single molecule level. While at Stanford, he helped start Bio-X, a multi-disciplinary initiative that brings together the physical and biological sciences with engineering and medicine.
At Bell Labs, he and several co-workers carried out his Nobel Prize-winning laser cooling work. He left Bell Labs and became a professor of physics at Stanford University in 1987 serving as the chair of its Physics Department from 1990 to 1993 and from 1999 to 2001. While at Stanford, Chu, together with three other professors, initiated the Bio-x program, which focuses on interdisciplinary research in biology and medicine, and played an important role in securing the funding of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology. In August 2004, Chu was appointed as the director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and joined UC Berkeley’s Department of Physics and Department of Molecular and Cell Biology.
Robert Hornung – has been the President of the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) since August 2003, representing the interests of more than 460 members in the industry. He is also a Board member of the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), thus not only representing wind nationally, but also impacting the vision of wind energy development internationally. Mr. Hornung’s commitment to the Canadian wind energy industry stems from those core values which champion a better future for our children, through greener and more sustainable ways of harnessing those natural resources Canada which holds in abundance.
Mr. Hornung paved the way for his present CanWEA commitment by working at the Pembina Institute, an environmental research and advocacy organization specializing in energy and environmental issues. While at the Institute, he served as the Policy and Communications Director and as the Climate Change Program Director. Mr. Hornung has also worked on the climate change issue with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Environment Canada, and Friends of the Earth Canada.
With this background in advocacy, energy, and environmental work, Mr. Hornung came to CanWEA fully prepared to impact Canada’s energy future. This non-profit trade association is the voice of the wind energy industry, actively promoting the responsible and sustainable growth of wind power throughout Canada.
Under Mr. Hornung’s leadership, CanWEA undertakes policy development and advocacy with different levels of government, implements a broad range of communications and outreach activities, and provides educational and networking opportunities for all stakeholders. One of his greatest accomplishments to date has been to map out CanWEA’s Windvision 2025, an ambitious policy platform that makes the case for wind energy satisfying 20 per cent of Canada’s electricity demand by 2025. Achieving this goal would generate $79 billion in new investment, create at least 52,000 high-quality, full-time jobs including many in rural communities, produce $165 million in annual revenue for municipalities, and cut Canada’s annual GHG emissions by 17 megatonnes.
Canada’s wind energy capacity has increased 10-fold in the last six years, and enters 2010 on a high note. Despite a global financial crisis, 950 MW of new wind energy capacity was installed across Canada in 2009 – a record year for the industry. These projects, representing more than $2 billion in investment, increased Canada’s installed wind energy capacity by 40 per cent in one year to reach a new total of 3,319 MW. In 2010, Canada’s existing wind farms will produce enough electricity to power 1,000,000 Canadian homes.
Mr. Hornung has an M.A. in Political Science from the University of Toronto and a B.A. in Political Studies from Trent University, as well as an International Baccalaureate from the Lester B. Pearson United World College of the Pacific. He was named an Honorable Member of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society in 2009.
Denise Bode – Ms. Bode is a nationally recognized energy policy expert twice elected to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, where she served for 10 years. Her over 30 years experience in the energy field is both extensive and diverse. In 2009, Ms. Bode was bestowed the honor of “Woman of the Year” for the Women’s Council for Energy and the Environment and she was named among the Washingtonian’s “100 Most Powerful Women of Washington.”
Bode’s move to the American Wind Energy Association on January 1, 2009, coincided with unprecedented opportunities and challenges for the U.S. wind-energy industry. With Bode at the helm, a new Administration and Congress in place, and in the midst of one of the toughest economic crises in years, the industry can point to many accomplishments, such as:
Record-breaking installations. The U.S. wind energy industry installed 10,000 MW of generating capacity in 2009. This success was made possible thanks to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Building a U.S. wind turbine manufacturing base. To attract even more manufacturing investment to the U.S, AWEA is calling for passage of a strong national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES). This a long-term renewable energy policy will create market certainty that manufacturers need to invest in new facilities and create hundreds of thousands of jobs.
A thousand businesses join AWEA. Another sign of the continued development and expansion is the association gaining over 1,000 new business members in 2009.
WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition was named the nation’s fastest growing trade show in the country by Tradeshow Week. In Chicago, the conference hosted over 1,200 exhibiting companies and 23,000 attendees. WINDPOWER 2010 will be held May 23 to 26 in Dallas, Texas.
Increasing funding for wind power R&D. In 2009, President Obama signed an $80 million appropriation for the DOE’s Wind Program, the highest funding level since 1981.
The wind energy industry’s transmission agenda moved forward, thanks to industry filings with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the release of a Green Power Superhighway White Paper produced with the Solar Energy Industries Assn.
Momentum towards offshore wind farms continues to accelerate, with clear signs that offshore wind power is on its way to become a reality in the U.S.
More small wind systems power homes and businesses. The U.S. government expanded the federal Investment Tax Credit for small wind systems and incorporated small wind into the popular Energy Star consumer certification program.
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