The U.S. wind energy concluded the world’s largest wind conference held May 4-7 in Chicago, which hosted 1,280 exhibiting companies and more than 23,000 attendees. “The size and breadth of this show are a clear indicator that the wind energy industry is a hub of business activity even in this hesitant economy,” says AWEA CEO Denise Bode. “What we heard loud and clear from the industry assembled here in Chicago was a call to enact a national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) to secure a stable and growing market for renewable energy.”
A poll released by AWEA at WINDPOWER showed that more than 75 percent of Americans, including 71 percent of independents and 62 percent of Republicans, support an RES requiring that 25 percent of the nation’s electricity be generated from renewable energy by 2025. Show highlights include:
• Siemens announced it will open a wind turbine nacelle manufacturing facility in Hutchinson, Kansas. Investment in manufacturing facilities in the U.S. has accelerated over the past two years, with over 55 wind turbine and wind turbine component manufacturing facilities announced, added or expanded in 24 states in 2008(see page 12);
• Exhibitors from 48 states, and representatives from all 50 states and from 70 countries were present at WINDPOWER, demonstrating the industry’s national and international scope;
• The exhibition hall exceeded 290,400 square feet—more than the 2008 (168,700 square feet) and 2007 (92,500 square feet) WINDPOWER shows combined.
• WINDPOWER welcomed over 23,200 attendees, up from 13,000 in 2008, 3,600 in 2004 (which was also held in Chicago), and 1,000 in 2001;
• Five Governors (Chet Culver of Iowa, Jim Doyle of Wisconsin, Jennifer Granholm of Michigan, Pat Quinn of Illinois, and Ted Strickland of Ohio) addressed the conference. The Governors of Kansas and Pennsylvania were also present. States and their offices of economic development are competing to attract wind turbine supply chain companies and create good jobs. At least 19 state or regional economic development offices were exhibiting at WINDPOWER.
• Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Energy Secretary Steven Chu (via a taped speech), and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Jon Wellinghoff also addressed the conference. Secretary Salazar pointed to new rules for offshore wind farms that open the way for the U.S. to become a leader in offshore wind power. Both noted the value of a national Renewable Electricity Standard in creating jobs, helping hold down costs for consumers, and diversifying the nation’s electricity portfolio. “At no time in our history has the time for a new energy policy been so urgent. This is an opportunity that Americans cannot afford to miss,” Salazar said.
• T. Boone Pickens, who planted wind energy firmly in the public consciousness with his high profile campaign, again pointed to the need to get off foreign oil by using more renewables to produce electricity and more natural gas for transportation. He predicted Congress will eventually pass comprehensive legislation, including an RES, because the American people support it.
AWEA is the national trade association of America’s wind industry, with more than 1,900 member companies, including global leaders in wind power and energy development, wind turbine manufacturing, component and service suppliers, and the world’s largest wind power trade show. AWEA is the voice of wind energy in the U.S., promoting renewable energy to power a cleaner, stronger America. The WINDPOWER 2010 Conference & Exhibition will take place May 23-26 in Dallas, Texas. To learn more go to www.awea.org.