Chatting About Wind Trends in 140 Characters or Less

How much can you say about wind in 126 characters or less? Quite a lot as it turns out. I had the privilege earlier this week to moderate a #Cleantechhub chat via twitter for the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation earlier this week. My chat was part of a series the group held to coincide with Windpower 2010 in Dallas.

Moderators over the three days included myself, Colorado Governor Bill Ritter and Clean Edge’s Clint Wilder. Gov. Ritter discussed the states’ roles in building the wind and other cleantech sectors. Clint’s chat was focused on how the U.S. can regain and keep an edge in the cleantech industry. My chat was on emerging trends in the wind industry.

Below are some highlights from my chat, listed by question.::continue::

Q1: 2009 was another record year for wind but 2010 is off to a pretty slow start, why do you think that is?

  • MetroDenverEDC: Ability to get financing for large projects seems to be one issue.
  • NWC_Rob: Slow financing and the places to site wind are more rugged.
  • WECC_Energy: More regions courting developers, they can afford to wait the “best” projects, more negotiations = more time.
  • DerekMarkham: As a Southwesterner, I see the push back from wildlife/conservationists hooding it back a bit too.

Q2: More & more suppliers are becoming part of the wind value chain. Will renewables lead a renaissance in US manufacturing?

  • MetroDenverAB: I think there’s a renaissance in manufacturing. We see it in CO right now. Half of prospects are energy manufacturing.
  • NWcleantech: The manufacturing renaissance is going to happen fast whether it’s here or China.

Q3: Cape Wind has the green light from DOI. When will turbines hit the water and will it lead to more offshore projects?

  • Merrick_MARS: Yes, more turbines will be place offshore! No worry about leaking oil into the water!
  • PlaceMarketer: When it comes to a choice between offshore drilling or offshore wind seems like the choice should be clear now.

Q4: Other than tax credit extensions, what issues still face the onshore & offshore wind markets in your estimation?

  • Merrick_MARS: Lack of reliable transmission lines to integrate with existing national grid…lots of work to modernize entire system!
  • NWC_Rob: Congress, the PTC was only extended through 2012. Short sighted if you ask me.

Q5: Some have been mentioning the small wind space. Will it ever make a big impact on the market?

  • wind4me: Small wind, unless it scales to higher kWh is hard to justify vs costs vs ROI.
  • SecurityThreat: Wind Quality in urban areas will limit small wind. If you live somewhere with consistent wind, you probably want to move.
  • wind2power: Small wind is evolving, innovation is not a straight line, but certification will make it easier to consumers to choose
  • Graham_REWorld: @wind2power How big do you see the small wind market being and who will be buying?
  • wind2power: hard to put a $$ for market, lots of interest from residential, green companies, universities and communities.

Q6: Any other policies that could help the wind industry in addition to tax credits? RES?

  • CMecklenborg: RES reassures VC that state/federal governments will be pushing things forward.
  • NWcleantech: Tough choice but RES sets sturdy framework to build around…tax credits always have uncertainty of expiration
  • wind2power: RES is good for big wind, but small wind prefers the tax credits and local rebates.

Overall, people were really excited about the long term prospects for wind, even if the year to date installation figures and predictions for all of 2010 remain low. If you have answers of your own post them here in the comments section or on twitter using the #Cleantechhub hash tag. Finally, if you’re new to the world of Twitter, check out this blog post from SolarFred to get you up to speed on tweeting.

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Former Editor at, now Assistant Counsel at the New York State Department of Public Service, regulating New York's electricity, gas, and telecommunications industries.

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