Monday, June 04, 2007

AWEA Executive Director Welcomes WINDPOWER 2007 Attendees

Welcome to Los Angeles and the WINDPOWER 2007 Conference & Exhibition!

On behalf of the AWEA Board of Directors and staff, I hope you find this week an invaluable ‘window’ on the state of the wind industry. We are excited about the industry’s future and believe that this week’s events can help build a foundation for sustained growth for decades to come.

We are gathered in Los Angeles around a theme of compelling interest to AWEA members – “Growing the Wind Business” – and many of the presentations will be focused on exploring that theme. What are the challenges we must confront if we are to sustain the industry’s record growth? What are the steps we must take today to ensure that the industry has steady growth for decades to come? What are the public benefits that would accrue from a wind industry that is 20 times larger than today’s industry?

Last year, President Bush recognized that this industry has the potential to provide as much as 20% of the nation’s electricity. We’ve taken the President’s statement as an invitation to look closely at just how much potential this industry has as well as the steps we would need to take to achieve that potential.

We are experiencing another record year in 2007, and the size of this event reflects the substantial growth of the industry. The U.S. was the largest single market for wind in the world in 2005 and 2006, and, with continued policy support, we expect strong demand in this country for years to come. Not surprisingly, given the industry growth, WINDPOWER 2007 will be our largest conference in history, with more than 6,500 attendees gathered at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The exhibition is especially impressive, with 419 exhibitors expected—a 40% increase in the size of the exhibition compared to last year’s record event! For those of you that are veterans of the industry, think back a decade or so to earlier AWEA trade shows and be amazed at how far the wind industry has come in such a short time. I want to thank our exhibitors for making such a significant investment of their time and resources, and pledge to you our commitment to work to ensure that this week is worth every minute of your time.

As the scope of this event has grown, it has become an increasingly complex management challenge. On the program side, we were faced with an enormous stack of thoughtfully constructed abstracts from many expert presenters, and the great majority of the abstracts would have been a positive contribution to the agenda. Unfortunately, there was no way to make room for them all, but the strong interest in participating is a major contribution to the quality of the event.

The Conference Program Committee was led by two very strong and capable Co-Chairs – Adam Umanoff of Chadbourne & Parke, LLP, on the business side, and Bob Zavadil of Enernex Corp., on the technical side. Adam and Bob assembled a well-qualified Program Committee representing a wide range of expertise and spent an entire day with the Committee reviewing abstracts and building the strongest possible program. As you will be able to tell, the process worked. Thanks to Adam and Bob for doing an amazing job as Program Chairs for this impressive event.

I would also like to single out AWEA’s Conference and Education Department—directed by Stephen Miner, and including Stefanie Brown, Sakura Emerine, Lori Rugh, Marissa Bundy, Monica Wolfe, and Michael Swinburne—for the countless hours they have invested in making this the best possible conference it can be. They have succeeded in staying on top of a growing number of details and have really taken this conference to the next level of professionalism. I want to express my appreciation to them and to every member of the AWEA staff for the huge effort that was required to bring this event together.

Finally, I would like to express my appreciation to our sponsors for this event, who are listed in this program. Special thanks go to our Giga-Watt level sponsors: NRG Systems, GE Energy, and Michael Best & Friedrich, LLP. The support from these companies and all of our other sponsors has allowed us to enhance the conference in a variety of ways for your benefit.

Thanks to all of you for joining us here in Los Angeles and welcome to WINDPOWER 2007!

Randall Swisher
Executive Director
American Wind Energy Association

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