WINDPOWER 2008 Focuses on 20% Wind by 2030

With the WINDPOWER 2008 Conference & Exhibition coming less than a month after the Department of Energy released its landmark report detailing how wind energy can meet 20% of the nation’s electricity needs by 2030 — a report that will serve as the foundation of a vision for the wind industry — the 20% theme promises to run throughout the event in Houston, Texas next week.

DOE released the report, “20% Wind Energy by 2030: Increasing Wind Energy’s Contribution to U.S. Electricity Supply,” on May 12. The announcement’s proximity to WINDPOWER 2008 is fitting, for the initiative — on which AWEA, Black & Veatch and various DOE laboratories assisted — was first formally launched at WINDPOWER 2006 in Pittsburgh, Pa.

“The concept of 20% wind power promises to inspire and drive the industry forward for a long time to come,” said AWEA Executive Director Randall Swisher. “Given that WINDPOWER 2008 is following on the heels of the release of DOE’s landmark analysis, I know the report and the 20% theme as a whole will be constant and powerful topics of discussion in Houston. Consequently, WINDPOWER 2008 will be remembered as the conference at which the industry really got down to the business of achieving this bold vision.”

Twenty percent wind energy is certainly driving the formal program itself at the conference. Among the sessions most directly related to the report is one entitled, “How Today’s Market Realities Prepare the Way to 20%.” The session will examine the current wind power market and how trends comport with the 20% wind technical report. Moderator Kathy Belyeu, AWEA’s manager of industry information services, will provide a look at where the industry stands today in terms of current wind energy installations.

Jim Walker, vice chairman of the board at enXco and incoming AWEA board president, will give an overview of results of the 20% report and also offer a developer’s perspective on achieving such a vision.

Seth Dunn from GE Energy will offer the turbine manufacturers’ perspective, discussing supply-chain implications.

Ryan Wiser, a scientist with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, will be presenting the just-released “Annual Report on US Wind Power Installation, Cost, and Performance Trends,” which analyzes key trends in the U.S. Wind market focusing primarily on utility-scale wind applications from data collected over the past 5 or more years.

“We have seen strong improvements in wind project performance over the last decade and, if project installed costs moderate, we will be on schedule to meet the cost and performance assumptions of the 20% analysis,” said Wiser.

Nate Blair of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will be giving a talk on the sensitivity analysis to the 20% wind scenario.

Another session, “Delivering 20% Wind to Customers – The Critical Role of Electric Utilities,” as its title suggests, tackles the 20% concept from a utility perspective. The drivers for utilities adding wind power to their power supply portfolios are diverse and varied; the session will examine a number of those drivers.

As the industry moves toward 20% wind penetration, siting issues around wind projects will continue to grow as well, and gaining community acceptance of wind power will continue to be critical. In “Building Community Support in a 20% Scenario,” experts will discuss laying a foundation for public acceptance and education for the wind and transmission needed under a 20% scenario.

Those sessions, of course, are merely the spots on the program where the topic will formally take center stage. The 20% penetration theme promises to permeate countless other sessions, discussions and informal conversations in Houston as well. will be covering the conference in full. Look for more news, interviews, and coverage from the show next week.

This majority of this article first appeared in Wind Energy Weekly, and was republished with permission from the American Wind Energy Association.

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