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Windsights: To realize a vision, you’ve got to talk about it

Windsights: To realize a vision, you’ve got to talk about it

One of a new “Windsights” series highlighting insights from the WINDPOWER 2015 Conference & Exhibition – in the words of the experts themselves.

It’s a human trait commonly known yet not always remembered: Most people believe what they believe based on information coming from those they trust.

That makes sharing the good news about the power of wind among trusted friends and colleagues all the more important.

Today, leaders of the U.S. wind energy industry and their allies have an unprecedented opportunity to talk within their communities about wind energy and what it can do for America. In March, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released its landmark Wind Vision report, which details how wind energy can supply 10 percent of the nation’s electricity by 2020, 20 percent by 2030, and 35 percent by 2050. The report also assesses the tremendous economic, environmental, and social benefits of achieving those benchmarks.  In essence, the report shows that clean, domestically produced wind energy can become one of the nation’s largest sources of energy while saving consumers money.

Unfortunately, not enough people know about the power of wind, and, frankly, not enough of us are talking about it.

Here’s where you, the members of the industry and other wind energy advocates, come in. The Wind Vision Ambassadors initiative, a key focus of the Wind Energy Foundation for 2015, is providing materials and training to anyone who is interested in telling the exciting story of wind energy. WEF will be assisting those who already have speaking engagements and, where feasible, it also will help find new speaking engagements. AWEA will serve as a critical partner in implementing this initiative and, in particular, will help us assemble detailed materials and organize events in states such as Michigan, Iowa and Texas.

The Wind Vision report lays out wind’s success story to date and provides a road map for rapid growth in the coming decades. However, it does not address needed policies. For wind energy to double in the next five years and reach 20 percent by 2030, action by Congress on tax incentives and by the states on the proposed Clean Power Plan will be critical.

Through the Wind Vision Ambassadors program, we’ll educate industry leaders and allies about wind’s environmental and economic benefits and the policies needed to secure those benefits. We will provide a crucial forum for industry leaders and other advocates to synchronize their messages, thus strengthening and magnifying them.

Several prominent industry leaders have already signed on as Ambassadors, and they’ll be sharing their expert insights on the Wind Vision in what promises to be a very special session at the WINDPOWER 2015 Conference & Exhibition (May 18-21, Orlando, Fla.).

The session provides an outstanding opportunity to learn about the DOE report, how to talk about it, and the Wind Vision Ambassadors program. Jose Zayas, Office Director for the Wind and Water Power Technologies Office in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at DOE, will talk report specifics. Then he will be joined by industry leaders to discuss the significance of the report, obstacles to realizing the vision, and how the industry can overcome them. These leaders will have insights on how the industry can transform itself to achieve the aggressive but very achievable benchmarks. Perhaps most importantly, they will attempt to answer the question: What sort of outreach and engagement with decision makers and the public will be needed to realize the Vision?

Industry leaders who will participate in the session include:

  • Jan Blomstrann, Chairwoman and CEO, Renewable NRG Systems
  • Kevin Lynch, Managing Director, Iberdrola Renewables
  • Susan Reilly, President, RES Americas
  • Elizabeth Salerno, Strategic Business Management, Siemens Wind Power
  • Jim Walker, Vice Chairman of the Board, EDF Renewable Energy

Consider this your invitation to join Wind Vision Ambassadors. To sign up or for more information, contact Charlie Martin, cmartin@windenergyfoundation.org.  For more information on the session and WINDPOWER 2015, go to windpowerexpo.org.

 

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John Kostyack is the executive director of the Wind Energy Foundation. He held senior roles at the nexus of climate change, energy, and wildlife for the past 20 years at the National Wildlife Federation, and served on the American Wind Wildlife Institute board of directors for the past 3 years.

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