Just miles from where NASA launches rockets to explore the final frontier, wind power developers, manufacturers, workers, executives, and more from around the world gather today for a four-day exploration into what’s next for wind energy in the U.S. The WINDPOWER 2015 Conference & Exhibition of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) kicks off this afternoon, following election of new leadership this morning by AWEA’s Board of Directors.
U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz will keynote tomorrow morning on how technology advancements are accessing a major new energy resource for America which has previously gone undeveloped, opening up new areas for wind farms including the Southeastern U.S.
“As attendees and others will hear over the next few days, we continue to improve our technology and lower our costs, creating new opportunities for wind projects and job growth all across the country,” said AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan.
Florida is home to 15 factories building wind turbine parts and supplies. Siemens USA is based in Orlando, and leading wind energy producer NextEra Energy in Juno Beach. “It’s great to be here in Florida, a state with such a strong wind manufacturing presence and home to some of the major corporate headquarters in our industry,” Kiernan said. “We aim to bring operating turbines here soon.”
The AWEA Board elected Mike Garland, CEO of Pattern Energy Group LP, its new chairman, succeeding Susan Reilly, President and CEO of RES Americas. Also elected today was 2016-17 Chair-Elect Chris Brown, President of Vestas American Wind Technology Inc.
Joining as new additions to AWEA’s Board of Directors are:
- Pete Duprey, President and CEO, Broadwind Energy, Inc.
- Jeff Grybowski, CEO, Deepwater Wind
- Borja Negro, CEO, Gamesa Technology Corporation
- Michael Skelly, CEO, Clean Line Energy Partners LLC
- Peter Wells, CEO, UpWind Solutions, Inc.
- Ray Wood, Managing Director, Head of U.S. Power & Renewables, Bank of America
Meeting for the first time ever in Florida, WINDPOWER 2015 attendees converge this week to lead panels, show off new technology, make deals, and witness major announcements about the latest technology advancements growing the industry. Wind power already supports 2,000 jobs in the Sunshine State, and the recent approval of Florida’s first contract for wind energy could save consumers up to $48 million over 20 years.
The conference comes as a near-record – 13,600 megawatts (MW) worth – of new wind energy capacity is under development across 100 projects in 23 states, creating a “wind rush” that is opening up new opportunities, job growth and $23 billion in private investment to the U.S. economy. The wind industry added 23,000 new jobs in 2014, bringing the national total to 73,000 jobs.
The falling cost of wind energy has attracted corporate and other non-utility purchasers, a topic likely to be on many conference-goers’ minds.
Major brands such as Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, the Mars Corporation, IKEA and Dow Chemical are buying wind energy because it helps their bottom-line – long-term, fixed price contracts for wind energy help shield these companies against fuel price volatility. Doug Greenholz, President of IKEA Property, Inc.will provide color to this emerging trend when he speaks during the Welcome and Opening General Session at WINDPOWER 2015. Last year, IKEA purchased two wind farms, including their biggest renewable energy investment so far – a 165 megawatt wind farm in Texas.
AWEA has partnered with the Clean the World Foundation at this year’s WINDPOWER. Clean the World is an organization that distributes basic hygiene products otherwise discarded by the hospitality industry. WINDPOWER attendees can stop by a special booth on the show floor to assemble hygiene kits, and AWEA aims to finish 9,000 of them by the end of the conference – diverting 1,687 pounds of hotel soap and 27,000 plastic bottled amenities equaling 4,987 pounds of total waste from landfills.
AWEA WINDPOWER 2015
Filed Under: News, Policy