This blog is by IHP Climate Change students, a study abroad group currently visiting the United States to study climate change and sources of energy. This group recently visited Pattern Energy's offices in San Francisco, California.
Pattern Energy, the first publicly listed wind company, generously hosted our undergraduate student group last week. We are part of a study abroad program focused on climate change and began our studies in the Bay Area in California before leaving for Vietnam, Morocco, and Bolivia. We are focusing on food, water, and energy, so it was very enlightening to hear about the wind industry in the U.S. before we set out on our international travels.
IHP students with Pattern Energy's Sarah Webster (fourth from left)
Sarah Webster, Vice President of Investor Relations, Government Relations and Corporate Communications at Pattern Energy, gave us a comprehensive overview of the company’s history and recent IPO, as well as the U.S. energy market and the lack of a national energy policy.
Ms. Webster explained some benefits of wind energy: it uses no water, which is particularly important in drought-stricken California, and it is a strong, developed sector with consistently improving technology and innovation.
She also candidly discussed the issue of bird and bat deaths as a result of wind turbines and was hopeful about improvements in technology to lessen this consequence of wind energy. We were impressed with the company’s successful IPO and strongly encouraged by the fact that the average price of wind has gone down 43 percent in four years. It is exciting that leaders in this field like Ms. Webster are so knowledgeable and passionate about their work.
As we travel over the course of the next three months, it will be interesting to compare international renewable energy development, particularly wind, with our experience at Pattern Energy.