That’s why folks go to Las Vegas, after all. They’re not really trying to strike it rich at the tables. They don’t go for the five-star dining. It’s not even the world-class entertainment.
Everything about Las Vegas screams “escape.” It’s one-stop shopping for anyone who simply needs time away from the grind—a vacation where you can leave yourself and lose yourself.
Considering all that this industry has been through in recent years—another “boom-and-bust,” political opposition, shaky policy—it would be easy to argue that wind energy needs a break. Raise your hand if you need a vacation.
The truth of the matter is, we can’t afford to take a break. The very reasons we need a vacation are the challenges we continue to face. A record number of projects are in the construction phase. Technology is expanding at breakneck speed. Other renewable energy sources have redoubled their efforts in competing for market share. Coal is expected to remain relatively flat in the short term. The alternative financing models that we’ve been investigating may need to be put into practice.
The good news is, it feels like we’re moving in the right direction. Is it just me, or does anyone else sense a changing of our collective outlook and attitude? Our past frustration now seems to be focused on moving the industry forward.
I think we can attribute much of that to the leadership that the American Wind Energy Association has brought to the table. This time last year, then-incoming AWEA chair Gabriel Alonso outlined a five-point strategy for a sustainable future for our industry. I’m paraphrasing, but this strategy involved: strengthening AWEA; proving wind’s worth; developing a long-term strategy and acting on it in the short- and mid-term; unifying the industry under one voice; and encouraging a strong, vocal, participating membership.
In just a year, the industry has come a long way in acting on that philosophy. But we can’t stop there. We can’t allow ourselves to be overly distracted by small setbacks or other shiny objects. Admittedly, that will be difficult as we gather next month in the ADD capital of the world.
Thankfully, the Association has taken steps to ensure we stay on task. The theme of WINDPOWER 2014 is “Transformation in Motion.” Personally, I think it’s a spot-on description both of where we are and where we must perpetually be as we push toward a stable future for wind energy.
It takes me back to just after WINDPOWER 2013 in Chicago. Wind Systems was starting to reinvent itself editorially, and we felt the need to make a strong, yet simple statement that would solidify both our commitment to and position in the industry. What arose was “GIVING WIND DIRECTION,” which in many ways is nearly synonymous with “Transformation in Motion.”
So when you make your way into the Mandalay Bay Convention Center next month, keep both in mind. If you’re fuzzy on what we mean by “GIVING WIND DIRECTION,” stop by booth 3074 (trust me, this time you won’t be able to miss us) and a colleague or I will be happy to fill you in.
Oh, and have a little fun while you’re in town. I’m not much of a gambler myself, but I do have one sure bet…
I’m putting it all on wind.
As always, thanks for reading!