Two thoughts on AWEA Chicago 2009

This blogger attended the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) annual event in Chicago. Some 20,000 people reportedly attended. Over 1000 exhibitors were pitching a solution for every (and I mean every) element of the wind power equation. Truly an impressive sight.

I am left with two thoughts. First is a concern whether the extraordinary enthusiasm is part of a growing bubble that inevitably will burst or, rather,  illustrative of an authentic and emerging attitudinal shift, the end result of which would make renewables in general and wind in particular part of the mainstream vernacular. As a veteran of two bursting bubbles (telecom and mortgage lending) I feel cautious.

Second is in regard to that potential paradigmatic shift. One panel of leading industry executives (Vic Abate-GE, Ditlev Engel-Vestas, Declan Flanagan- E.On, Michael Polsky-Invenergy LLC and even Gen. (ret.) Wesley Clark-now of Emergya Wind Technologies) stressed that the U.S. needs policy changes to reach goals (e.g., 20 percent wind by 2030) commonly discussed in the industry. That panel was followed by an interview of Boone Pickens.

While Mr. Pickens certainly has his millions of dollars, he nevertheless possesses a down home appeal, which has helped his transformational natural gas/wind energy Pickens Plan to attract millions of adherents. If wind is to become a power generation source adopted by the mainstream, the industry will need more like Mr. Pickens – a non-preacher who can explain its appeal in readily understandable terms.

New York wind energy developments 7/30

Altona wind farm

WPTZ.com (7/24) reports on Horizon Wind’s project.

Cape Vincent wind farm

Watertown Daily Times (7/23) reports that BP Alternative Energy will present the siting of its 95-turbine wind project in Cape Vincent (Jefferson County).

Cattaraugus County discusses lawyer fees

The Buffalo News (7/21) reports that the county legislature is determining whether to spend $25,000 on lawyers fees to review and negotiate payment in lieu of taxes agreements with wind developers. More reports on 7/25.

Charlotte zoning includes wind provisions

Observer Today (7/27) reports on the Town of Charlotte (Chautauqua County) passing a zoning law including wind provisions.

Evans NY wind law on hold

Buffalo News (7/19) reports on decision of Evans (Erie County) Town Board to delay discussion of wind energy law affecting residential and commercial projects. More reports from The Sun (7/24).

Hanover wind law

Buffalo News (7/29) reports that the Hanover (Chautauqua County) Town Board approved a new wind law.

Hartsville wind project advances

The Evening Tribune (7/26) reports that E.On (successor to Airtricity) is moving ahead with a Hartsville (Steuben County) project of some 33 to 46 turbines.

Horse Creek Wind Farm

Watertown Daily Times (7/24) reports on concerns raised by residents of the Town of Clayton (Jefferson County) regarding potential water contamination.

Iberdrola-Energy East

Albany Times Union (7/25) reports that Iberdrola requested July 14 that the New York Public Service hold a special meeting to vote on Iberdrola’s proposed acquisition of Energy East.

Portland PILOT and wind law

The Observer (7/21) reports on developments in the Town of Portland (Chautauqua County) relating to a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreement. Separately, the Observer (7/21) reported on the presentation to the Town Board of a proposed wind law.

Richmondville ZBA approves extension permit for met tower

The Schenectady Daily Gazette (7/23) reports that the Town of Richmondville (Schoharie County)  Zoning Board of Appeals voted unanimously to approve a one-year extension of the permit allowing Reunion Power to site a meteorological tower in the Town.

Ripley-Westfield wind farm draft scope available

The draft environmental scoping document for the Ripley-Westfield (Chautauqua County) Wind Farm is available here. The Westfield Republican (7/24) reports that comments on same are due by August 8.

Tompkins County wind developments

Ithaca Journal (7/28) reports on multiple zoning initiatives, in Enfield, Ithaca and Newfield (6 month moratorium)

Wind siting challenges across NYS

The Press & Sun Bulletin (7/24) describes a variety of local projects and potential conflicts of interest.