Wind Powering America Hosts 11th Annual All-States Summit: A Wind Powering America Success Story

June 27, 2012

Approximately 100 members of Wind Powering America's (WPA's) network attended the 11th Annual All-States Summit on June 7 at the Georgia Tech Research Institute Conference Center in Atlanta, with an additional 53 attending via webinar. The Summit, which follows the American Wind Energy Association's (AWEA's) annual WINDPOWER Conference and Exhibition, provides state Wind Working Groups, state energy officials, U.S. Energy Department and national laboratory representatives, and professional and institutional partners an opportunity to review successes, opportunities, and challenges for wind energy and plan future collaboration.

According to Charles Newcomb, WPA's Wind for Schools project lead, the goal of the Summit is to share experiences and challenges while educating attendees about the current status of the wind industry.

"The objective of the Summit is to bring together stakeholders from around the country and give them an update on policy and technology changes, evolving deployment strategies, and new barriers that have been observed or encountered in other locations," Newcomb said. "We had a very successful meeting."

The event began on the evening of June 6 with regional meetings, followed by a reception at the Georgia Institute of Technology's College of Management, which allowed interaction among attendees prior to the next day's proceedings.

On the morning of June 7, Jonathan Bartlett of the Energy Department, Tom Horton of Georgia Tech, and Ian Baring-Gould of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) welcomed the participants and explained the need to address barriers in the wind energy market.

"We see the market acceleration and deployment activities that we're engaged in as an essential component to addressing the barriers that are preventing large numbers of gigawatts from being deployed," Bartlett said during his welcome.

Presentations summarizing the current state of the wind market followed the opening remarks. Mark Bolinger of the Energy Department's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory previewed the soon to be released 2011 Wind Technologies Market Report, Susan Sloan of AWEA presented View from the States and AWEA's State Activities, and Jeff Logan of NREL presented Natural Gas and the Energy Market: The Wind Context.

Karin Wadsack, state facilitator for the Arizona Wind for Schools project and research assistant at Northern Arizona University, believes that the Summit provides not only invaluable resources but also personal connections that are essential to success.

"During AWEA's WINDPOWER Conference, it isn't always easy to connect with the individuals who are working at the state level in similar positions in the state programs and the Wind for Schools programs," Wadsack said. "I think getting together in person like this and being able to share ideas, share success stories, and pick the brains of people who've had different or more experiences is important. It allows all of us to be successful."

Following the presentations, Baring-Gould moderated the Methods to Support Wind Development panel, which examined strategies that states and communities can use to advance markets, increase demand, and increase investment in wind energy in the face of low natural gas costs, the potential loss of the Renewable Electricity Production Tax Credit, and continued lack of a national energy policy.

One of the highlights of the annual WPA All-States Summit is an awards presentation recognizing the accomplishments of peers. For the second year, network stakeholders participated in an online survey to nominate individuals for awards. Team members at NREL and the Energy Department reviewed the nominations and presented the following awards during this year's summit:

  • Outstanding Wind Working Group: Georgia Wind Working Group for efforts to promote wind energy in Georgia and the Southeast, including support for the 2012 Summit
  • Outstanding Leadership in Education: Gwen Andersen of St. Francis University for her efforts to spearhead the development of wind energy education
  • Outstanding Wind Powering America Partner: Southern Alliance for Clean Energy for efforts to support land-based and offshore wind energy development in the Southeast
  • Larry Flowers Outstanding Leadership Award: Mackinaw Power and the Gratiot Community Wind Project for leadership in developing wind projects in harmony with the local community
  • Outstanding Young Advocate Award: Karin Wadsack of Northern Arizona University for her incredible energy and creativity in developing wind energy education across the state
  • Small Wind Leadership Award: Brett Pingree for his tireless efforts in support of the small and community wind industry
  • Western Regional Leadership Award: Western Interstate Energy Board for forward-thinking efforts to develop the Western Renewable Energy Zones and multi-state collaboration in transmission planning
  • Midwestern Regional Leadership Award: Windustry for supporting community wind development and the Community Wind across America conference series
  • Eastern Regional Leadership Award: Massachusetts Clean Energy Center for long-term leadership in offshore and community-scale wind development
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Dwight Bailey, U.S. Department of Energy and National Energy Technology Laboratory, for his tireless efforts in support of wind energy and regional networks.

Rita Kilpatrick, Georgia Policy Director for the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and Georgia Wind Working Group member, was proud to be a recipient of this year's Outstanding Wind Working Group Award.

"We appreciate the support of Wind Powering America over the years to help us get to this point. We're very proud of getting this award and being able to attend the Summit to receive it. The Georgia Wind Working Group is made up of more than 90 representatives. My organization is one of many that are a part of this," Kilpatrick said.

Ed DeMeo, Renewable Energy Consulting Services, was the lunch keynote speaker. He provided an overview of the Renewable Energy Futures Study. Following lunch, attendees were able to rotate among tables staffed with experts to discuss topics such as avian and wildlife issues, community wind, economic development analysis, federal loads and lands, NIMBY/social acceptance/property values/sound, offshore wind, radar, small wind, state and federal policy, state markets, state wind maps and resources, transmission and integration, wind for schools, working with co-ops, zoning, the Renewable Energy Futures study, Wind Powering America communications products, and natural gas and the energy market.

Simon Mahan, Renewable Energy Manager for Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, led the Offshore Wind Technology table and had an interesting discussion with an attendee from Illinois.

"We chatted for awhile," Mahan said. "In Illinois, they have quite a few of the same problems that we do with offshore wind. Aesthetics, costs, birds, many of the same issues, but I would never have thought to reach out to someone in Illinois to help solve some of our problems here in the Southeast," Mahan said.

The day concluded with break-out discussions on topics including supporting the development of a young wind energy market, capitalizing on an existing wind market, and learning new approaches to outreach and organization.

To ensure that who couldn't attend the event could benefit from the panel discussions and presentations, the morning's proceedings were available via live webcast. Attendees were able to view not only the presentations but also participate via Internet.