New Orleans, LA — Thousands of wind power developers, manufacturers, workers, executives, and more arrive from around the world to New Orleans for a four-day conference and exhibition today as America’s industry with the fastest growing job kicked off its largest event all year.
WINDPOWER 2016 began this morning with the election of new leadership by the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) Board of Directors and takes place as wind energy stays on track to supply 20 percent of U.S. electricity by 2030 – and with Louisiana rising as an emerging player in the industry. Former Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu will provide local flavor for the wind industry’s largest gathering in the Western Hemisphere by speaking during tomorrow’s Welcome & Opening General Session at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center starting at 9:00 a.m.
“With long-term policy certainty in place, this year’s attendees are excited to arrive in New Orleans and see what’s next for our industry,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA. “Thanks to U.S. factory workers building wind turbine parts and supplies, including hundreds here in Louisiana, we continue to lower our costs and give Americans the power to power ourselves.”
Wind power now supports 88,000 jobs in the U.S. and could support 380,000 jobs by 2030. American innovation has helped wind power lower its costs by two-thirds in just six years, passing the savings onto American homeowners and businesses.
“Thanks to 20 percent job growth over the previous year, there are more workers in wind power than there are seats in the Superdome,” continued Kiernan. “With its continued technology upgrades wind energy continues to expand throughout the Southeastern U.S. By adding new transmission lines we can bring even more of wind power’s clean, low-cost source of electricity to more Americans in this region.”
As its technology changes and new leaders emerge a new generation of wind power is arriving in the U.S. Those changes led to this year’s WINDPOWER theme to be labeled ‘Generation Wind’ The theme helps to promote future leaders in the industry and, with over 100 sessions and presentations, this year’s conference offers more opportunities than ever for attendees to learn and to network.
“Wind power has become a key part of America’s electricity mix, and generation wind has arrived here in New Orleans,” said Jana Adams, Senior Vice President of Member Value and Experience, AWEA. “Our flagship trade show WINDPOWER 2016 is changing to match our industry’s progress, we’re engaging the industry on many levels, training future leaders, and together preparing to meet America’s energy needs.”
This year’s WINDPOWER comes at a pivotal point for the industry as long-term policy certainty was passed by a bipartisan Congress last year, a continued rise of new investment in clean energy technology by Fortune 500 companies and other emerging buyers, and an unstoppable shift to a safer, cleaner-powered future by many states and the electricity sector takes hold.
New AWEA leadership
AWEA’s membership elected Chris Brown, President of Vestas Americas, its new Board chairman, succeeding Mike Garland, CEO of Pattern Energy Group LP. Other officers elected today are Chair-Elect Tristan Grimbert, President and CEO of EDF Renewable Energy, Treasurer Ray Wood, Managing Director – Global Head of Power & Renewables at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and Secretary Michael Skelly, President of CleanLine Energy Partners.
Also joining as new additions to AWEA’s Board of Directors through its member elections are:
- Bill Fehrman, Chief Executive Officer and President, MidAmerican Energy Company
- Rafael Gonzalez, Chief Executive Officer, Enel Green Power North America, Inc.
- Greg Wolf, President, Commercial Portfolio, Duke Energy Renewables
Finally, we welcome new interim Directors recently voted in by AWEA’s Board:
- Frank Burkhartsmeyer, President and Chief Executive Officer, Avangrid Inc.
- Karen Lane, Chief Financial Officer, Wind Power and Renewables, Siemens Energy