AWEA WINDPOWER 2012 Wrap-up; Microsoft & Sprint Push for PTC

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Here’s another slightly belated repost for you all to enjoy. Here’s AWEA’s own wrap-up of its recent WINDPOWER 2012 conference, which we posted on a couple times. For anyone who’s been following wind industry news, there’s not a whole lot of new information in here, but some important news is that Microsoft and Sprint, two of the largest companies in the US, have now officially gotten behind extension of the PTC for wind power (a very important topic that needs acted on ASAP). Here’s AWEA’s full statement for more:

ATLANTA, Ga., June 6, 2012 – Major new supporters, including Republican strategist Karl Rove, emerged for the campaign to keep U.S. wind energy growing by extending a critical Production Tax Credit (PTC), as the global wind industry’s largest annual gathering, WINDPOWER, entered its fourth and final day today in Atlanta.

Microsoft and Sprint delivered a new letter to Congressional leadership asking for an extension of the PTC. Microsoft and Sprint are the largest “wind customer” companies to endorse the campaign, ranking 37th and 90th, respectively, in the Fortune 500, with combined annual revenues of over $100 billion. They join 15 other major U.S. companies and consumer brands, including Starbucks, Nike, Campbell’s Soup, Staples, Yahoo!, and Hewlett-Packard, who have committed to purchasing more renewable energy, and endorse the PTC extension.

And Tuesday, Karl Rove endorsed a PTC extension along with Robert Gibbs, a former spokesman for President Obama in a lively discussion during a general assembly appearance before an audience of thousands.

“We’ve got a growing economy that’s increasing energy consumption and wind energy should be part of the solution,” Rove said, describing how he saw wind energy’s benefits in person while staffing then-Gov. George W. Bush in Texas. Extending the PTC “should be a priority,” he said.

At the first WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition to take place in the Southeast, thousands of corporate leaders and wind power professionals dug deep into industry issues via a full slate of concurrent educational sessions and committee meetings on topics from federal legislation, transmission, and state policy, to operation and maintenance, safety, and the wind industry supply chain. Business discussions continue on the tradeshow floor, which this week has been home to over 900 exhibitors.

“With more than 90 wind-related manufacturing facilities located in Southeast – 20 of which are in Georgia – and the proximity to Hartsfield-Jackson International, the world’s busiest airport, Atlanta was a natural fit to host WINDPOWER, and we are excited that AWEA chose Atlanta as the host city this year,” said Metro Atlanta Chamber (MAC) Vice President, Supply Chain & Advanced Manufacturing Development Bob Pertierra. “Wind energy, renewable energy and clean technology represent one of the fastest-growing segments for economic growth in the world.”

“WINDPOWER 2012 has truly been a phenomenal event, starting with the location of Atlanta—in the Southeast, where over 90 manufacturing plants now serve the wind power industry,” said Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association. “This week we have seen that the energy that our industry brings to America—both in terms of electrons produced and jobs created—can and will not be stopped. But Congress must do its part and pass an extension of the Production Tax Credit for wind energy as soon as possible so that our industry can move forward.”

The Production Tax Credit (PTC), wind power’s primary policy driver, is scheduled to expire at the end of the year, and already the industry’s supply chain is feeling the effects of the uncertainty. The PTC has been a key topic throughout WINDPOWER 2012 and will continue to be until Congress takes action. A recent study found that extending the PTC will allow the industry to grow to 100,000 jobs in just four years, while an expiration will cause the loss of 37,000 jobs.

WINDPOWER 2012 helped send the message of the PTC’s economic importance straight to Washington, D.C. Just in the last three days, Members of Congress received some 20,000 contacts from their constituents via the industry’s grassroots action network, at PowerofWind.com.

The event’s reach is global as well as regional, as some 60 countries were represented at WINDPOWER 2012.

Industry finds value in meeting up

As WINDPOWER marches through its final day, thoughts already are turning to WINDPOWER 2013, which takes place May 5-8 in Chicago, as well as a busy schedule of AWEA fall events. Headed into WINDPOWER 2012, WINDPOWER 2013 sales were already 60 percent sold out of the space available. Prospective WINDPOWER 2013 exhibitors can still secure their space before leaving Atlanta, right at the AWEA Booth (#1609).

As for fall events, like WINDPOWER 2012, the 2012 Offshore WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition heads to the Southeast this year, underscoring the opportunity for an offshore wind energy supply chain to develop in coastal states. The event, set for Oct. 9-11, will take place in Virginia Beach, Va.

AWEA’s slate of recently launched regional events is now in full swing as well, with the Regional Wind Energy Summit – New England (Sept. 5-6) happening in Portland, Maine, and the Regional Wind Energy Summit – Southwest (Dec. 5-6) headed for Houston, Texas. The Wind Resource and Project Energy Assessment Seminar, which takes place in Pittsburgh, Pa., Sept. 13-14, is always a big draw for those working in the resource side of the industry, while one of the industry’s cornerstone events this side of WINDPOWER is the high-level AWEA Wind Energy Fall Symposium, taking place this year in Chandler, Ariz., Nov. 14-15. For information on all AWEA events, go to www.awea.org/events.


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Zachary Shahan

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