Sunday, May 22, 2005

WINDPOWER 2005 Conference Highlights Expansion of Industry

Utility, National And State Leaders Recognized At Largest U.S. Wind Energy Event Ever
WINDPOWER 2005 Conference Highlights Expansion of Industry and Challenges to Continued Growth
Denver, Colorado - The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) recognized utility and business leaders, national and state policymakers, and renewable energy advocates at its largest conference and trade show ever, hosting more than 4,100 attendees at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, Colorado.

The WINDPOWER 2005 Conference and Exhibition featured an Exhibit Hall with more than 235 companies demonstrating advanced products and technology, an awards banquet honoring twenty-two individuals from across the nation for leadership in the development and promotion of the U.S. wind energy industry, and the U.S. launch of the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) uniting the global wind energy industry and its representative associations.

High-tech wind energy equipment worth $3 billion will be installed across the U.S. in 2005. Wind energy facilities in 30 states currently total 6,740 megawatts of energy capacity from coast to coast, producing enough power for the equivalent of 1.6 million households. New exhibitors at this year’s conference included Siemens, which purchased Bonus Wind Energy in late 2004; and Goldman Sachs, which purchased a controlling interest in Zilkha Renewable Energy earlier this year.

“Wind energy is big business,” said Randall Swisher, executive director of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). “Clean, renewable, domestic wind energy is increasingly being seen as an important part of the solution to Americans’ growing appetite for energy. Private and public utilities, global finance leaders, international power plant developers and all facets of the energy industry now look to wind energy as part of their future planning and to more stable government support for this fast-growing sector.”

The industry’s annual awards banquet recognized over twenty individuals for accomplishments ranging from the passage of the first voter-approved renewable energy standards initiative (in Colorado) to Congressional leadership on promotion of the renewal of the federal production tax credit for wind energy. The list includes the following awards and individuals (Complete list -- PDF):

State Leadership Award for “tireless support of state renewable energy policies culminating in the passage of the precedent-setting Colorado RPS initiative”

• Lola Spradley, Former Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives
• U.S. Rep. Mark Udall (D-CO)

Congressional Leadership Award for “longstanding leadership in support of wind energy
and the wind energy Production Tax Credit”

• U.S. Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA)
• U.S. Representative Bill Thomas (R-CA)
• U.S. Representative Jim McCrery (R-LA)

Utility Leadership Award for a “leadership role in the increasing utilization
of wind power by the electric utility industry”

• Western Farmers Electric Cooperative
• MidAmerican Energy Company

Wind Energy Advocacy Award for “outstanding leadership and support of wind through effective advocacy, culminating in the passage of the Colorado RPS initiative”

• Matt Baker, Environment Colorado
• John Nielson, Western Resource Advocates
• Craig Cox, Interwest Energy Alliance
• Ron Lehr, Western Representative, AWEA

Wind energy is a global industry, and the Denver WINDPOWER 2005 conference also marked the U.S. launch of the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). GWEC brings together the wind industry and its representative associations -- such as AWEA, the European Wind Energy Association, the Indian Wind Turbine Manufacturers Association -- and global companies such as GE and Vestas to call for stronger national and international policies to support the expansion of wind energy. GWEC members operate in more than 50 countries and represent over 1,500 organizations involved in hardware manufacture, project development, power generation, finance and consultancy, as well as researchers and academics.

“Wind energy today is a global, multi-billion-dollar industry,” Swisher said, “and the growth of this conference reflects the dynamic market for wind power. Our association believes that, with stable, supportive federal policy, wind energy could provide six percent of the nation’s electricity by 2020 – all from a clean, domestic, and inexhaustible source.”

Download Complete Award List (PDF Document)

AWEA, formed in 1974, is the national trade association of the U.S. wind energy industry. The association’s membership includes turbine manufacturers, wind project developers, utilities, academicians, and interested individuals. More information on wind energy is available at the AWEA web site: