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Wind Power: Securing America’s Energy Future

That the WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition is one of the top 50 fastest-growing shows in North America was clearly visible in Chicago from 4 till 7 May. The event welcomed over 23,000 attendees, up from 13,000 in 2008, 1,300 in 2004 (which was also held in Chicago), and 1,000 in 2001. A total of 1,200 exhibitors showcased their products and services at the exhibition floor, which exceeded 290,000 square feet (27,000 m2). It has been said before that the wind energy industry could be the mainstay for the recovery of the economy, and if you look at the size of the show you might think there is no recession at all. But many manufacturers and suppliers from other industries (which are hit by the recession) attended the show to see if they could fill in their overcapacity caused by the downturn they are currently facing. According to the exhibitors their number was quite high and this might distort the number of visitors.
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{access view=!registered}Only logged in users can view the full text of the article.{/access}{access view=registered}The fact that well-known global companies are entering the market also indicates that the industry has a bright future. In November last year Samsung Heavy Industries from Korea announced they were to set up a wind power division to diversify their portfolio. Not only were they exhibiting at the show this year, but they also announced that developer Cielo Wind Services plans to deploy serial numbers 1, 2 and 3 of Samsung’s new 2.5MW turbine. Turbine delivery and construction on the project, to be located near Lubbock, Texas, is expected to begin in 2010, with full operation of the three turbines anticipated to start in 2011, which is also the year that Samsung plans to begin providing commercial wind turbines to the US market.

And Samsung is not the only Korean manufacturer interested in a piece of this market. Also Hyundai Heavy Industries, Hyosung Corporation and Doosan Heavy Industries entered the wind energy market with their newly developed wind turbines. Other manufacturers continue to set up US facilities to be able to fulfil the demand.

A clear yes for RES
One of the themes during the show was ‘Yes to RES,’ a slogan referring to the need for Congress to enact a renewable electricity standard (RES). The message was also reinforced by signs and buttons visible all over the venue. AWEA released results of a new poll showing strong support for a national RES requiring utilities to generate at least 25% of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2025. The poll found that 75% of voters favour a 25%-by-2025 RES. Just after the event the House Energy & Commerce Committee reached an agreement on a national Renewable Electricity Standard. Although the industries welcomed the agreement, the AWEA is disappointed that the renewable energy target in the bill could be as low as 12% by 2020 instead of 25% by 2025.

All in all the event was successful. But if you planned to attend the conference sessions and see the complete exhibition, the three days were not enough. I suggest for next year attendees prepare a detailed plan of what they are interested in instead of just wandering around and maybe getting lost. Next year’s event will take place between 23 and 26 May in Dallas, Texas.

Enjoy reading,

Floris Siteur
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