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Conference brings together small wind community

Conference brings together small wind community

Innovation and industry advances were in strong supply this year at the sixth annual Small Wind Conference, a gathering of approximately 200 small wind installers, manufacturers, and advocates, in Stevens Point, Wis.

The conference, held June 11-13, focused on topics of interest to the installer community including

• Product updates from 14 small wind manufacturers;
• Activities of the Small Wind Coordinating Committee, North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners, Interstate Turbine Advisory Council, and Distributed Wind Energy Association; and
• Topical panels on state incentive programs, testing and development, public acceptance, resource assessment, permitting, business strategies, and case studies.

The conference was keynoted by Dan Juhl, a long-time leader in the field, who discussed the rather unique history of small wind product and market development.

Receiving annual awards were Guasti Construction for Installer of the Year and Mike Bergey for Lifetime Leadership. AWEA’s exhibit and poster featured the AWEA 2011 Small Wind Market Report, and AWEA’s Larry Flowers moderated the incentives panel and participated in the “Business of Wind” panel, in addition to helping judge the turbine competition described below. Many of the conferees went on to participate in the Midwest Renewable Energy Association Energy Fair in Custer, Wis., on June 18-19.

The event kicked off with an exhibitors’ reception featuring a competition among small teams that designed and built turbines before making a marketing presentation to conference attendees. Rather than using the steel, copper, fiberglass and other high-tech materials usually associated with wind turbines, resourceful participants executed their innovative designs with plastic tubing, wooden dowels, tongue depressors, string, plastic cups, corks, and a myriad of craft-making materials—resulting not only in creative outcomes but outstanding team building.

Related articles:

Arizona investment fund awards $1.3 million to Native American groups for renewable energy projects, June 25, 2012
Alaska village wind project to save 60,000 gallons of diesel fuel per year, May 29, 2012
At last, a resource map for small wind, May 25, 2012
Turbine installation on Martha’s Vineyard exceeds expectations, May 24, 2012
Birthplace of Wind for Schools, Colorado program honored with Wirth Chair Award, May 8, 2012
U.K. market for small turbines surpasses U.S., but U.S. manufacturers benefit, May 3, 2012
With Illinois launch, Wind for Schools enters new era, April 16, 2012
In triumph for Maine high school students, wind turbine goes online, April 3, 2012
Free at last: High school students get final signoff to install 100-kW wind turbine, December 23, 2011
Small wind milestone: Bergey turbine first to obtain new AWEA Small Wind Turbine certification, December 13, 2011

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Carl has been a part of the AWEA team since 2006. He brings both his expertise in communications as well as experience with the evolving wind energy industry to the job of overseeing AWEA's online and written publications including the Wind Energy Weekly, WINDPOWER Update, WINDPOWER Today, and various print materials. He has worked as a journalist in the energy industry as a staff writer for Public Utilities Fortnightly magazine and in the association sector as senior editor at Association Management magazine. He also has covered the home-building industry, where his areas of greatest interest were sustainable development and "smart growth," and has written articles for numerous other publications as a freelance writer. Carl received his B.A. from James Madison University and spent some time in New Orleans employed as a teacher as well as working with homeless youth.

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