May 7 to 10, 2018
Chicago, Illinois | windpowerexpo.org
Early last year, American jobs in the wind industry surpassed a milestone: over 100,000, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Energy. Shortly before then, wind-turbine technician became the fastest growing profession in the country. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects wind tech jobs to grow by 108% by 2026. That’s more than twice as fast as the second fastest growing U.S. job.
What’s more, the wind industry employs veterans at a rate that’s 50% above the national average. And according to Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), work in the wind industry is just getting started.
“Wind energy is revitalizing America’s economy,” he said. “Building new wind farms keeps American factory and construction workers busy, while breathing new life into farming and ranching communities. The wind industry’s powerful growth is poised to continue in 2018, and beyond.”
AWEA’s U.S. Wind Industry Fourth Quarter 2017 Market Report outlines much of this progress. For example, the pipeline of wind farms under construction or in advanced development totals 28,668 MW — a 34% increase compared to the end of 2016. There are about 89,077 MW of wind power installed across 41 states. America’s offshore wind industry is also poised to scale up, building on the successful completion of the first U.S. offshore wind project in 2016. By one report, the offshore industry could create another 40,000 wind jobs within a decade.
One way AWEA is fostering new wind growth is by supporting the development of students and up-and-coming leaders the industry requires. Expect a strong focus on education at this year’s WINDPOWER 2018 Conference & Exhibition, the largest wind energy event in the Western Hemisphere..
“The future of wind energy’s success is truly in the hands of today and tomorrow’s energy leaders,” shared Jana Adams, Senior Vice President for Member Value and Experience at AWEA. “WINDPOWER’s Emerging Leaders program is designed to help grow and groom the next wave of industry talent.”
Emerging Leaders provides opportunities for mentorship, knowledge sharing, and skill development. The program recognizes emerging talent and connects current industry leaders with future wind power professionals.
The U.S. Department of Energy Collegiate Wind Competition is also returning to this year’s event. The competition allows students from across the country test their skills and engineering know-how by developing business plans, designing model wind turbines, and showcasing hypothetical utility-scale wind farms. A team of wind industry leaders will serve as judges for the event.
“As per the WINDPOWER 2018 tagline, Powering Forward to Reach New Heights, we are hoping to inspire, educate, and grow the wind industry in productive ways,” said Adams.
Powering thought leadership
AWEA also aims to bring thought leaders together to swap ideas and share meaningful discussions that drive the industry forward in the most efficient ways possible.
According to the WINDPOWER 2018 website: “The program will feature speakers with ‘disruptive’ and innovative ideas that will continue to strengthen wind energy’s value proposition and challenge the current way we do business.”
New this year are TED-style talks from policy leaders, industry experts, and visionaries on high, level, thought-provoking ideas for wind. “You’ll hear about how technology advances will continue to lower LCOE, and learn lessons from other industries that are more mature or have experienced similar rapid growth,” said Adams.
The WINDPOWER program will also feature three General Sessions, one each morning of the conference. Sessions and stand-alone presentations will be organized into five education stations in the exhibit hall, which are open to attendees and exhibitors. Here’s what to expect at each:
- Power Station (powered by Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy). Gain a better understanding of how wind energy experts are pushing for global growth through market expansions and new commercial opportunities.
- Tech Station (powered by GE Energy) Hear from the top minds in business, academia, and government on innovations in wind that could fundamentally change the industry.
- Operations Station (powered by UL). Learn how to analyze management strategies to better address operational lifecycle issues that challenge wind farm owners and operators.
- Project Development Station (powered by UL). Exchange ideas and discuss key topics for developing a successful wind power project, including siting, permitting, forecasting, monitoring, connecting to the grid, and more.
- Thought Leader Theater (powered by Mortenson Construction). This station brings together industry experts to discuss lessons learned and company successes so others can achieve the same.
“Across the country, wind is welcome because it means jobs, investment, and a better tomorrow,” said Kiernan. “Let’s power forward, propel new growth, and take our industry to the next level!”
View the full agenda here.
Filed Under: News