AmericanWindWeek

#AmericanWindWeek 2020: We are wind

#AmericanWindWeek 2020: We are wind

Chris Brown is AWEA’s Board Chair and President, Vestas North America

Nearly 40 years ago, Vestas sold its first turbine in North America. Almost 30 years ago, Congress prioritized renewable energy development when they passed the Production Tax Credit (PTC) into law. Twenty years ago, California was the leader in wind installations. Ten years ago, we opened the largest wind tower factory in the world in Pueblo, CO. And today, the industry has surpassed 100 gigawatts of wind installed on U.S. soil.

Wind works for America. Now we turn to the next 40 years. I see a renewable energy powerhouse that will add thousands of jobs to the work force. An industry that values both advanced technology development and community development. A group of people that are ready to deliver on the promise of a cleaner, healthier world. I see 2020 as just the beginning.

This vision is just one vision. Members of my Vestas team and those we’ve had the pleasure of working with have their own ideas on the future of wind. Their visions for wind show a deep commitment to wind growing our economy, improving our communities, and contributing to a cleaner environment. They also recognize that we’ve only just begun.

Bruce Collins, Project Manager in Construction Support, IA

What does wind mean to you?

Wind means a lot to me and my family. My community has approximately 400 turbines within 20 miles, many of which are visible from my back yard. Those turbines are providing a valuable resource to my area. I have several friends who work at those wind farms, they provide landowner payments to farmers who are struggling with commodity prices, and they are providing clean power right in my community. I’m proud to tell my kids about the industry I’ve chosen to work in and enjoy educating people about what we do.

What is your vision for wind in the U.S.?

My vision for wind in the U.S. is to become a welcome resource to every community across the nation. I see wind pairing with other technologies to ensure that we are creating the cleanest, most efficient power possible in each local area. Educational campaigns focusing in communities, ensuring that the community has facts about the positive impacts of wind being close to home. I see components that are manufactured here, constructed here, and maintained by people who live here.  Wind will be as welcome of a resource as the run of the mill gas pump at a filling station. Wind will become an even greater neighbor, partner, and asset to its local communities. 

Kevin Cleary, Montague Wind Project Site Manager, Arlington, OR

What does wind mean to you?

To me, wind means sustainability, longevity and growth. It creates opportunities for rural communities to thrive with more jobs, community taxes for better schooling and infrastructure, while bringing diversity to the region. Projected job growth and continuous training make wind a unique career where no two days are the same.

What is your vision for wind in the U.S.?

I see wind transforming and incorporating a wide variety of renewables. The gap between oil & gas compared to renewables is becoming marginal when more efficient batteries and solar panels are combined. Wind has pushed past the first barrier and opened the doors to creating renewable portfolios that can handle all our energy needs in the future.  

Cassandra Olsen, Pricing Analyst Supervisor at Anderson Trucking Service Specialized, St. Cloud, MN

What does wind mean to you?

Wind is my livelihood and it makes me proud. I love driving by a wind farm with my daughters and one of them asking, “Mom is that one of yours?” Working in wind has offered a sense of community. I consider myself lucky to have had the opportunity to connect with and learn from fellow industry workers, experts and leaders over the years. To me, wind matters because it creates jobs for American workers and brings positive economic benefits to local communities and landowners across the country. Most importantly, wind is good for our planet. Wind will provide us with clean energy for generations to come.

What is your vision for wind in the U.S.?

Innovation and a strong supply chain drive this industry and I can only see continued growth. In just a few short years, we have observed substantial advancements to wind turbine technology. It will be crucial for the industry to continue collaboration to overcome some of the obstacles we see with the increase in size of turbine components today. I feel fortunate to be a part of ATS, a forward-thinking company that is committed to wind and has a vision to support the industry no matter what it entails. Dedicated to growing Driver expertise and building new and innovative equipment, we are eager to provide solutions in transportation that will move this industry forward. I am excited to see what the future will bring and I believe that wind energy will play a significant role in power generation for decades to come.

Anna Bass, Engineer in Technical Sales, Vestas, Portland, OR

What does wind mean to you?

As we often hear, wind is the future – an industry that is adapting and strengthening. I think this growth translates into creativity and passion in the day-to-day workplace. Folks who work in wind do not simply clock in-and-out for the paycheck. They work in wind for diverse reasons focused on something bigger than themselves like job creation, climate change, and promoting competitive business markets. For me, wind means mindful and driven communities working to better the world.

What is your vision for wind in the U.S.?

Like all industries, wind should be comprised of diverse communities including people of Color, Black people, and women. Companies and industries thrive when folks of different backgrounds come together to challenge ideas and build solutions. My vision for wind is a brighter, sustainable future for every person regardless of economic or cultural background.

Erich Reichert, Process Lead on the Hub Line at Nacelle Factory in Brighton, CO

What does wind mean to you?

I have been fortunate to travel the world training on new models and supporting a few factories during model changes.Wind means to me that I have a good job and can support my family. And knowing that what I do is helping to provide clean and affordable energy to many.

What is your vision for wind in the U.S.?

My vision for wind is that we will be able to continue to produce clean energy and become less and less dependent on fossil fuels.

Richard Greene, Experienced driver for Anderson Trucking Service Specialized in New Salem, NC

What does wind mean to you?

Being blessed to be in on the ground floor of wind energy does create a humble feeling of being a part of something bigger than oneself. Like the builders of skyscrapers and iconic bridges, I too am now part of the American Landscape. From Texas to New Mexico, up to Montana and across to Maine, I have left a footprint along with those of many others, while doing something good for this nation. And who knows, one of these days after I’m long gone a great grandchild of mine might ask their grandmother or grandfather, “what did your dad do” and my child will be able to walk over, turn on a light and say “well, I guess you can say he still helps keep the dark away.” 

What is your vision for wind in the U.S.?

With the brilliant and innovative people, both directly and indirectly involved in wind energy, I can’t see an end to the industry. One tower has gone from providing power to a hand full of homes to being able to sustain a small community. To me the biggest obstacle wind energy faces today is machinery in the areas of erection and transportation. However, I have faith those problems will fall to the wayside as well. The old saying is true, “Give me a fulcrum and a lever and I will move the world.”

Christopher Cook, Process Lead at Brighton Nacelle Factory in Brighton, CO

What does wind mean to you?

Wind has taken on a whole new meaning since coming to Vestas. It is no longer the thing that can ruin a perfectly good day. It is no longer nature taken for granted. It is now a resource. It is now a means to support my family. It is now an industry that I can look to build a career.

What is your vision for wind in the U.S.?

I believe that wind is a good industry to be a part of. I would like to see wind energy alternatives offered that are more accessible to the individual and not just to corporations or energy suppliers.

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