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WPA Convenes 10th Annual All-States Summit: A Wind Powering America Success Story

June 7, 2011

Approximately 110 members of Wind Powering America's network attended the 10th Annual All-States Summit on May 26 in Anaheim. The Summit provided state wind working groups, state energy officials, DOE and national lab representatives, and professional and institutional partners an opportunity to review successes, opportunities, and challenges for wind energy and the Wind Powering America network in the past year and plan future collaborative efforts.

The 2011 Summit began on the evening of May 25 with three regional meetings followed by the summit reception. Mark Higgins and Michele DesAutels of the U.S. Department of Energy and Ian Baring-Gould of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) kicked off the event on the 26th with opening remarks. Ryan Wiser of DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory presented on the U.S. Wind Market, Simon Mahan of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy presented on Offshore Wind Development Potential, and Victoria Pebbles of the Great Lakes Commission presented on the Development of a Regional Network. This series of presentations provided an overview of current market conditions and programmatic directions of DOE's current stakeholder engagement activities. Higgins stressed the importance of the engagement activities in his remarks, highlighting that "Wind Powering America has been the cornerstone of the wind program's deployment-focused initiatives for the past 10 years, and that's a legacy that I hope to see continue." DesAutels also highlighted the importance of these activities in her closing remarks: "...the promise of wind will only be realized with the concerted effort by many players. That, for me, captures the importance of what Wind Powering America network is all about and why we keep gathering together year after year even through the hard times."

Using the results of the Wind Powering America regional meetings as the basis, the second panel focused on the barriers to national wind deployment and featured Abby Arnold of American Wind Wildlife Institute (Federal Environmental Guidelines), Bob Grace of Sustainable Energy Advantage (Public Acceptance of Wind Technologies), Anne Margolis of Clean Energy States Alliance (Lack of State Markets), Bob Anderson of Western Grid Group (Transmission Limitations), Michael Vickerman of RENEW Wisconsin (The Challenge of Local Planning And Zoning Approval), and Charles Newcomb of NREL (Barriers to Community and Distributed Wind).

"This panel represents the experts discussing the most pressing current barriers to the deployment of wind technology, barriers that must be understood and addressed if the nation is to reach a high level of wind contribution to our nation's energy mix," stated Ian Baring-Gould "We can learn from their work to address these barriers, and that should help to guide activities in each of our states."

Larry Flowers of the American Wind Energy Association was the lunch keynote speaker, presenting on the direction of current energy policy and wind's role in achieving our nation's energy future.

One of the highlights of the annual Wind Powering America All-States Summit is an awards presentation recognizing the accomplishments of peers. This year the Wind Powering America team requested nominations from participants. Team members at NREL and DOE discussed the nominations, deciding on the following awards:

  • Outstanding Wind Working Group Award: Nebraska Wind Working Group, for excellence in wind outreach to a broad stakeholder group and for effectively engaging the utility and agricultural sectors
  • Outstanding Wind Powering America Partner Award: The NEED Project and The KidWind Project, for dedication in partnering with the Wind for Schools Project to champion wind energy education
  • Larry Flowers Award for Outstanding Leadership: Great Lakes Commission, for excellence in developing a new model of regional wind collaboration
  • Outstanding Young Advocate Award: Remy Luerssen of James Madison University, for tireless outreach in the effort to advance wind energy education in Virginia
  • Small Wind Leadership Award: NV Energy, for leadership and dedication to championing the small wind turbine market in Nevada
  • Western Regional Leadership Award: Alaska Wind Working Group, for creative leadership in advancing wind energy in Alaska
  • Midwestern Regional Leadership Award: David Loomis of Illinois State University, for creative leadership in advancing wind energy in the Midwest
  • Eastern Regional Leadership Award: Sustainable Energy Advantage, for bold leadership and commitment to advancing wind energy in the East.

Following lunch, attendees were able to rotate among tables staffed with experts to discuss topics such as avian/wildlife issues, community wind, economic development analysis, federal loads and lands, shaping the future of Wind Powering America, social acceptance, property values, sound, offshore wind, radar, small wind, state and federal policy, state wind maps and resources, transmission and integration, Web tools, Wind For Schools, and working with co-ops.

The day concluded with a facilitated national barrier break-out discussion on topics including public acceptance of wind technologies, lack of state markets, transmission limitations, obstructive local planning, barriers to community and distributed wind, and regional networks and funding.

To ensure attendance by a diverse set of stakeholders, the Summit follows the American Wind Energy Association's annual WINDPOWER Conference and Exhibition. To allow Wind Powering America's stakeholders who couldn't attend the event to 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 a live video stream.

—Julie Jones