AWEA Annual Conference

by Phil DeVita

I recently attended the WINDPOWER 2009 Conference and Exhibition in Chicago, Illinois  where HMMH was an exhibitor.  This was the fourth consecutive year we have exhibited at the conference – one that is rapidly becoming the marquee trade show in the wind energy business.

This year’s conference was the largest wind power event in the world, with over 23,000 attendees and 1,200 exhibiting companies.  For some perspective, this is up from 13,000 attendees last year in Houston, Texas and 1,000 attendees in 2001.

The conference was highlighted by talks from five Governors: Pat Quinn of Illinois, Ted Strickland of Ohio, Chet Culver of Iowa, Jim Doyle of Wisconsin, and Jennifer Graham of Michigan.  There were other Governors and economic development groups in attendance all vying for the attention of the wind industry to the benefits of their states and communities for locating renewable energy jobs.

The conference highlighted the advancement of wind energy technology over the years.  Last year alone, 8,500 MW of new windpower was installed, accounting for over 40% of the new generating capacity in the U.S.  In addition to the success of onshore wind, the Department of Interior’s Minerals Management Service (MMS) recently issued new rules for offshore wind development.  This should clear the way for developing future offshore wind projects and enable the U.S. to become a major player in offshore wind generation.

The conference also built upon the current administration’s commitment to renewable energy to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.  This was further highlighted by T. Boone Pickens and his talk about developing viable wind energy to produce electricity along with developing a national renewable energy standard (RES).  A national RES would force electricity producers across the nation to generate a certain percentage of electricity through renewable energy sources.  The national RES is currently being debated in Congress.

As evidenced by the presentations and discussions on the exhibition floor, noise is still a very important issue in siting and operating wind turbines.  HMMH has been involved in conducting noise studies for various wind turbine projects across the United States, including expert testimony for the Sheffield Wind Project.  HMMH has recently branched out from our core noise consulting business and is now capable of offering a broader array of consulting services related to wind energy, including visual assessments.  A list of our services can be viewed on our website

See you at next year’s WINDPOWER Conference in Dallas, Texas!

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