ANAHEIM, Calif., May 23, 2017 — U.S. wind industry leaders and the leader of the California Senate described the mounting economic benefits of increased wind power as thousands arrived in Anaheim for the American Wind Energy Association’s annual WINDPOWER Conference and Exhibition.
“With wind’s success comes new and solvable challenges. Management of the grid needs to evolve to meet these challenges,” said Tristan Grimbert, newly elected AWEA Board Chair, and President and CEO of EDF Renewable Energy. He said to compete in the low price energy environment will take increased and improved transmission; fairer market rules; and for the market to recognize and compensate for wind’s attributes. “A brand new attitude is to embrace now, all forms of support to help forge the necessary policies and regulations for wind to thrive,” Grimbert said.
State Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León gave the keynote address on Tuesday, highlighting wind power's success.
“California’s clean energy economy is a model for the rest of the nation and the world,” said Kevin de León, California State Senate President pro Tempore. “We’ve turned some of our biggest environmental challenges into incredible opportunities. We can dramatically expand clean energy while also growing our economy and putting people to work.”
De León authored California's signature 50 percent renewable energy standard in 2025. That leadership continues this year as the Senate President has legislation that would take California to the next level. Modern wind power originated in the mountain passes of California. As one of the most affordable and reliable forms of electricity generation, wind will play an increasingly important role in the state and nation’s expanding clean energy mix.
“Wind power has grown to be America’s largest source of renewable capacity because we’ve delivered on our promises,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA. “We said more wind could be reliably added to the grid, that with stable tax policy we could grow jobs, and that with a level playing field we would invest in America. We delivered. Today we have five states over 20 percent wind, and over 100,000 American wind jobs. And we’ve invested $14 billion two years running in communities that need it the most.”
“We’re not just here to stay, we’re here to grow, and grow, and grow,” added Kiernan.
The Western Hemisphere’s largest wind energy conference features over 400 exhibitors, including 91 at the show for the first time. Kiernan in his remarks and columns this week in trade media described 16 trends that will continue to buoy the industry beyond 2020, once the wind energy Production Tax Credit completes its current phaseout. They include the falling cost of wind energy, expanding state policies like California’s, and upgrades to the nation’s power grid and transmission infrastructure.
New AWEA Leadership
In his new role as AWEA Board Chair, Grimbert appointed two Board members to fill temporary vacancies until 2018 member elections: Laura Beane, President and CEO, Avangrid Renewables, and Paul Loeffelman, Director, Corporate External Affairs and Head of Corporate International Affairs, for AEP. Earlier on Monday, AWEA welcomed new Board members elected by AWEA’s members in the 2017.
Panel: Energizing the Value Proposition for Wind Energy to Support Growth Beyond 2020
Wednesday, May 24
What: General session, featuring special presentations by Ben Fowke, President and CEO of Xcel Energy, and Chris Brown, President, Vestas Americas, and a panel discussion, followed by a media availability for media attending the conference.
Wind energy today is a highly competitive source of power in many regions of the U.S., thanks to steady and significant reductions in wind generation costs in recent years. Coupled with a growing preference for clean energy on the part of consumers and industrial customers, policy support from the PTC and state RPS policies, and the price volatility of natural gas, wind energy has grown impressively and now delivers 5.5 percent of electrical power in the U.S. With the continued falling cost of solar and the PTC sunset, the industry must make an effective business case for wind energy moving forward.
Special presentations and dialogue from:
- Chris Brown, President, Vestas Americas;
- Ben Fowke, President and CEO, Xcel Energy;
- Amy Francetic, SVP, New Ventures & Corp. Affairs, Invenergy LLC;
- Aparna Narang, Senior Director, Electric and Gas Acquisition, Pacific Gas and Electric Company;
- Chris Brown, President, Vestas Americas;
- Renee Carlson, Procurement Manager, Global Energy, 3M Corporation;
- Moderator: Stephanie Kushner, CEO, Broadwind Energy;
When: 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, May 24
Where: General session to be held at the Power Station, simulcast in all education stations, the AWEA booth and streaming online. This year’s new simulcast feature enables the general session to reach a record number of viewers. A media availability will take place tomorrow in the Green Room (pictured below) at 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time, following the panel.
You can register for the General Session livestream here.
California was an early wind energy pioneer and still ranks fourth in the U.S. in wind power installations with over 5,600 megawatts (MW) of installed capacity. That growth has led to $12.5 billion dollar in capital investment and up to 4,000 jobs. This includes manufacturing jobs at 12 wind-related factories across the state. Wind farms in California pay rural landowners $20 million a year in land lease payments.
Wind energy supporters who aren’t attending this year’s conference can follow this week’s event by using the hashtag #windworks primarily on Twitter or Facebook.
A media kit for the conference is available here: www.awea.org/WINDPOWER2017MediaKit