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Florida’s wind purchase shows it is perfect for WINDPOWER

Photo courtesy of Brad Jones
Florida’s wind purchase shows it is perfect for WINDPOWER

A recent purchase of wind energy from a Florida utility highlights one reason why the WINDPOWER 2015 Conference & Exhibition (May 18-21) will be held in Orlando.

Florida is emblematic of wind energy’s growth, in that today the industry’s presence is increasingly palpable in yet another state not historically known for the affordable and clean energy source. Across the country, advancing technology is opening new opportunities for the industry, allowing it to bring projects and jobs to new areas. In that sense, the timing is perfect for WINDPOWER 2015 to take place in the state known more for oranges than energy.

Here are a few ways in which wind energy’s presence is now felt in Florida:

Wind energy consumption. Just this month, Pensacola-based Gulf Power recently signed the first contract to import wind energy to the state, adding clean energy at no cost to consumers. The 20-year agreement with the Kingfisher Wind project in Oklahoma is expected to save customers between $11 million and $48 million, the Florida Public Service Commission said upon approving the contract. With wind energy’s cost dropping by more than half in the last five years alone, this contract may be the first of many.

“The power we get from Kingfisher Wind will represent approximately 5 percent of our projected energy mix,” said Jeff Rogers, External Communications Manager at Gulf Power. “Wind power helps diversify the power supply and Kingfisher Wind is projected to provide lower overall energy costs.”

Jobs. Wind power means Florida jobs—up to 2,000 of them already. Today, 15 Florida factories are supplying components and materials to the industry. At the top of the supply chain, General Electric (GE) has a wind turbine assembly facility in Pensacola.

Home to wind energy powerhouses. GE isn’t the only original equipment manufacturer (OEM) with a presence in the Sunshine State.  Fellow OEM Siemens’ wind power business for all of the Americas is located in Orlando.

Another wind energy powerhouse calls Florida home. NextEra Energy Resources has led the industry in project ownership for years. The Juno Beach, Fla.-based company is part of the Florida Power & Light family.

Those are just some of the reasons that AWEA is excited to host WINDPOWER 2015 in Orlando. Join us by registering here!

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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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