Before I put away my AWEA file for 2010, it is worth reflecting on the phenomenon known as wind power in America circa the summer of 2010.
The cavernous Dallas convention center was swarming with wind entrepreneurs, giant corporations, consultants. A big convention would have filled one or two bays of the convention barn. This one spilled on wing after wing. Countries like China and the United Kingdom had pavilions carved out, clusters of businesses from their nation eager to win new wind business.
Don Furman, a top executive of Iberdrola Renewables, took time to chat about the wind gathering and its implications in one of the meeting rooms carved out in the heart of his company’s exhibit space. Attendance was at 20,000 or so, he said. That would be down slightly from a year ago when the meeting took place in Chicago – easier to get to from around the country. On top of that, Furman said that lots of industrial suppliers in the upper Midwest – feeling a slackening of wind in the sails of the auto sector – were eager to stop by the Windy City event and check things out.
But the exhibitor interest in the American Wind Energy Association Dallas 2010 gathering was up from a year ago – “considerably” in Furman’s view.
And attendance dwarfed the 12,000 logged in Houston two years ago.
“The growth has been vertical for this conference.” Just nine years ago – 9 – a few hundred AWEA spawners met in a Holiday Inn.
Furman, perhaps one of the most eminent big picture wind strategists in the nation, reflected on this moment and the issues before our nation – with the Gulf Oil Disaster, mining disasters and everything else.
Putting it in an interesting double negative, Furman declared: “WE CANNOT NOT MAKE PROGRESS ON CLIMATE IN THIS CONGRESS.”
Want to know what makes Furman and the wind industry tick these days? Going to the printer in a few days will be the July/August issue of EnergyBiz with an in-depth interview conducted with Furman in his Portland, Oregon offices a few months ago. Watch for it, sailing into cyberspace soon by visiting EnergyBiz.