BB200607, EWEA Activities
Wind industry on show in Pittsburgh
The dynamism of the wind energy industry showed its full force in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on 4-7 June: a record 5,000-plus attendees showed up for the WINDPOWER 2006 conference and exhibition, where they did business with over 290 exhibitors, gained valuable industry knowledge at over 40 educational sessions and three pre-conference seminars, and networked with their colleagues within the industry.
Meanwhile, industry players made news at the conference, making benchmark announcements and grappling with key issues affecting the industry.
Conference panels and sessions, meanwhile, provided a forum for industry leaders to both educate attendees and make progress on key wind power issues. The event marked the first time in the history of the WINDPOWER conference that two governors shared the same stage: Governors Edward Rendell (from the Democrat party) of Pennsylvania and Tom Vilsack (also democrat) of Iowa, both of whom are considered national leaders in wind. Rendell and Vilsack outlined their respective states’ initiatives in renewables and called on the industry and the nation to make further strides.
Andy Karsner, the U.S. Department of Energy’s assistant secretary of energy efficiency and renewable energy, offered the federal perspective and underscored President Bush’s statement earlier this year that wind can potentially meet 20% of U.S. electricity needs. Karsner pledged to work with the industry on solving the military radar siting issue.
Industry players had the chance to address that issue head-on at the conference. At an AWEA Siting Panel on military issues, participants interacted with stakeholders from all sides. One concrete outcome: Lt. Col. William Crowe, chief of airspace for the U.S. Air Force, offered to serve as a point of contact for the industry as the various parties work through the issue.
AWEA Communications Policy Specialist Laurie Jodziewicz called the panel “an opportunity for industry members to understand the impacts and solutions for radar and airspace issues.”
Finally, at the AWEA Awards Banquet, newly appointed Board President Edward Zaelke of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius made a powerful call for greater industry visibility. “After 30 years, we finally have America’s ear,” he said. “We now have to find our voice, and find it immediately.” Zaelke said that at the board meeting a few days prior, he had asked the board “to proceed with a national visibility campaign for our industry and to work with the industry to begin implementation of the visibility campaign this year.”