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.

NY wind energy siting and legislative updates

NY PSC on Marble River

Associated Press reports that the New York Public Service Commission has greenlighted Horizon Wind and AES-Acciona Energy’s joint project to create the 229 MW  Marble River Wind Farm in the towns of Clinton and Ellenburg (Clinton County). Reuters on same.

Niagara Falls Wind Project

Buffalo News on efforts of Empire State Wind Energy to site a project near Niagara Falls.

Wind Law Manlius

The Eagle Bulletin/DeWitt Times reports that the Town of Manlius (Onondaga County) has passed a local ordinance regulating the siting of wind turbines.

Net Metering

Niagara Gazette on the real potential that net-metering reform legislation become law this session. In a June 18 statement, ACE-NY commended Gov. Paterson, Assembly Speaker Silver and Senate Leader Bruno for their commitment to see the enhanced net metering legislation become law.

GE Wind Turbine

Schenectady Daily Gazette front page article on GE’s planned 1.5 MW turbine in Rotterdam, which aims at powering the company’s Renewables Global Headquarters. Albany Times Union piece on same.

Galloo Island Wind Project

Watertown Daily Times reports on Galloo Island. NYS DEC, lead environmental review agency for the project, taking public comment through June 30 regarding scope of environmental impact statement.

Offshore Wind

Wall Street Journal on U.S. failure to advance offshore projects, including one off Long Island.