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WINDPOWER 2016 comes marching into New Orleans


Event unveils big changes and ‘Generation Wind’ theme in the Big Easy

New Orleans, May 23, 2016 — Thousands of wind power developers, manufacturers, workers, executives, and more arrive from around the world to New Orleans for a four-day conference and exhibition today as America’s industry with the fastest growing job kicked off its largest event all year.  

WINDPOWER 2016 began this morning with the election of new leadership by the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) Board of Directors and takes place as wind energy stays on track to supply 20 percent of U.S. electricity by 2030 – and with Louisiana rising as an emerging player in the industry. Former Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu will provide local flavor for the wind industry’s largest gathering in the Western Hemisphere by speaking during tomorrow’s Welcome & Opening General Session at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center starting at 9:00 a.m.

“With long-term policy certainty in place, this year’s attendees are excited to arrive in New Orleans and see what’s next for our industry,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA. “Thanks to U.S. factory workers building wind turbine parts and supplies, including hundreds here in Louisiana, we continue to lower our costs and give Americans the power to power ourselves.”

Wind power now supports 88,000 jobs in the U.S. and could support 380,000 jobs by 2030. American innovation has helped wind power lower its costs by two-thirds in just six years, passing the savings onto American homeowners and businesses.

“Thanks to 20 percent job growth over the previous year, there are more workers in wind power than there are seats in the Superdome,” continued Kiernan. “With its continued technology upgrades wind energy continues to expand throughout the Southeastern U.S. By adding new transmission lines we can bring even more of wind power’s clean, low-cost source of electricity to more Americans in this region.”

As its technology changes and new leaders emerge a new generation of wind power is arriving in the U.S. Those changes led to this year’s WINDPOWER theme to be labeled ‘Generation Wind’ The theme helps to promote future leaders in the industry and, with over 100 sessions and presentations, this year’s conference offers more opportunities than ever for attendees to learn and to network.

“Wind power has become a key part of America’s electricity mix, and generation wind has arrived here in New Orleans,” said Jana Adams, Senior Vice President of Member Value and Experience, AWEA. “Our flagship trade show WINDPOWER 2016 is changing to match our industry’s progress, we’re engaging the industry on many levels, training future leaders, and together preparing to meet America’s energy needs.”

This year’s WINDPOWER comes at a pivotal point for the industry as long-term policy certainty was passed by a bipartisan Congress last year, a continued rise of new investment in clean energy technology by Fortune 500 companies and other emerging buyers, and an unstoppable shift to a safer, cleaner-powered future by many states and the electricity sector takes hold.

New AWEA leadership

AWEA’s membership elected Chris Brown, President of Vestas Americas, its new Board chairman, succeeding Mike Garland, CEO of Pattern Energy Group LP.  Other officers elected today are Chair-Elect Tristan Grimbert, President and CEO of EDF Renewable Energy, Treasurer Ray Wood, Managing Director – Global Head of Power & Renewables at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and Secretary Michael Skelly, President of CleanLine Energy Partners.

Also joining as new additions to AWEA’s Board of Directors through its member elections are:

  • Bill Fehrman, Chief Executive Officer and President, MidAmerican Energy Company
  • Rafael Gonzalez, Chief Executive Officer, Enel Green Power North America, Inc.
  • Greg Wolf, President, Commercial Portfolio, Duke Energy Renewables

Finally, we welcome new interim Directors recently voted in by AWEA’s Board: 

  • Frank Burkhartsmeyer, President and Chief Executive Officer, Avangrid Inc.
  • Karen Lane, Chief Financial Officer, Wind Power and Renewables, Siemens Energy

More details on tomorrow’s Welcome and Opening General Session

While meeting for the first-time ever in Louisiana, industry leaders arrive at WINDPOWER 2016 to make deals and set the course for the next generation of wind power.

Set to address the big topics facing the U.S. wind industry today, and in the years ahead, is the U.S. Wind Industry Leaders Panel, beginning shortly after Sen. Landrieu speaks tomorrow, featuring newly-elected AWEA Board Chair Chris Brown, and panel moderator Wall Street Journal’s Senior Energy Reporter Russell Gold. 

Tuesday, May 24

WINDPOWER 2016 – Welcome and Opening General Session

What: WINDPOWER 2016, Welcome and Opening General Session, followed by media availability.

Who: New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu (invited)

Former Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu

Steve Farber, Keynote Speaker and Best-Selling Author

Tom Kiernan, Chief Executive Officer, American Wind Energy Association

John Woolard, Vice President of Energy, Google

Steve Berberich, President and Chief Executive Officer, California ISO

Jacob Andersen, President, Wind Power and Renewables, Siemens         

Kevin Gildea, Executive Director, Business Development, NextEra Energy Resources

Chris Brown, Board Chair, AWEA, and President, Vestas Americas

Jeffrey Grybowski, Chief Executive Officer, Deepwater Wind LLC

Michael Skelly, Founder and President, Clean Line Energy Partners, LLC.

Eric Stidman, Chief Financial Officer, BP Wind Energy North America, Inc.

Patrick Woodson, Chairman, E.ON Climate & Renewables, North America          

When: 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., Tuesday, May 24

Where: Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, Convention Center Boulevard

Wind currently supports hundreds of Louisiana workers in the manufacturing sector, including factories that produce wind turbine blades and also components for the U.S. offshore wind industry. Already with 500 facilities in 43 states, the manufacturing sector has the ability to grow with the industry. While Southeastern utilities are already recognizing the value of wind energy, Louisiana utilities are now also showing interest, joining others that are signing long-term, fixed price contracts to import wind and save consumers money.

AWEA is the national trade association of the U.S. wind energy industry. We represent 1,000 member companies and over 114,000 jobs in the U.S. economy, serving as a powerful voice for how wind works for America. Members include global leaders in wind power and energy development, turbine manufacturing, and component and service suppliers. They gather each year at the Western Hemisphere’s largest wind energy event, the AWEA WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition, next in Denver, June 1-4, 2020. WINDPOWER 2020 will be housed within CLEANPOWER, the new exhibition hub for utility-scale renewable energy, bringing together wind power, solar power, and energy storage industries. Find information about wind energy on the AWEA website. Gain insight into industry issues on AWEA's blog, Into the Wind. And please join us on Facebook and follow @AWEA on Twitter and LinkedIn.