Small Wind Conference Brings Together the Industry for the 11th Annual Event
Once again, the Small Wind Conference lived up to its reputation as the premier small wind event in the United States, with people attending from 25 of the United States, as well as four foreign countries. A total of 109 individuals representing 73 different businesses, manufacturers, organizations, and institutions of higher learning participated in the conference.
The conference, organized by the Small Wind Conference Coordinating Committee, LLC, began on Monday June 15, with the evening’s social in the Exhibition Hall filled with sponsors and exhibitors. The evening’s entertainment featured a small wind “design/build” competition amongst conference participants, with plenty of laughs and smiles all around.
Tuesday began with a keynote address by Roger Dixon of Skylands Renewable Energy, based in Hampton, NJ. Roger took the audience on a retrospective journey of his history with small wind, beginning in the early 1970s, and complete with all of the hard lessons that he learned along the way. Roger left us with his rousing view of where the small wind industry is headed.
Following Roger’s excellent keynote address, 30 presenters delved into a variety of issues of interest to the small wind industry, from wind resource assessment and siting lessons, to turbine testing and new developments in off-grid applications. A session titled “SMART Wind—Reducing Installed Costs” focused on towers and installation soft costs. This audience participation exercise was one of the highest-rated sessions of the conference. In addition, several excellent posters were presented in the Exhibition Hall. All of the presentations are available on our Presentations Page
Day two of the Small Wind Conference began with a breakfast hosted by the Women of Small Wind Energy (WoSWE), followed by more presentations and panels throughout the day, and also included the annual small wind awards ceremony.
This year’s Small Wind Installer Award went to Roy Rakobitsch of Windsine in Viola, Wisconsin, as one of the most low-key but outstanding small wind installers in the industry.
Randy and Maureen Faller of Kettle View Renewable Energy in Random Lake, Wisconsin, were presented with the Installer and Advocate Team of the Year in recognition of their enthusiasm, dedication, advocacy, and outstanding work in the small wind industry.
Finally, John Dunlop, Renewable Energy Services, LLC of Minneapolis, Minnesota, was recognized with an award for his Lifetime of Contributions. John started his career in solar and with the Minnesota Energy Office before making the leap to wind with the American Wind Energy Association, where he spent his next 22 years. During his tenure there, John managed to nudge the small wind agenda forward with AWEA from time to time.
In addition to their plaques, all awardees were presented with their token (but gigantic) wrenches and hardhats, the SWC’s symbols for those who work hard in the trenches of the small wind industry.
The conference closed with the outstanding presentation of Renewsical! by preschoolers and grade school students from the Tomorrow River Community Charter School. The children received a standing ovation for their passionate effort and performance.
2015 saw 14 sponsors help offset the cost of the Small Wind Conference. Twenty exhibitors, from manufacturers to component suppliers, to consultants and site assessors, answered conference attendees’ questions about their businesses. Our sincerest appreciation goes out to all sponsors and exhibitors for helping to make the conference the success that it was. The participants enjoyed a networking and educational event second-to-none in the small wind world.
In addition to the two-day Small Wind Conference, a flurry of other events took place during the week. The morning before the conference, the Distributed Wind Energy Association (DWEA) held its Board of Directors’ meeting, as well as their annual meeting, open to the public, discussing organization development issues and opportunities for attendees to advance policies that help the small wind industry. Also that afternoon, the Small Wind Certification Council (SWCC) Board of Directors met for their annual planning session.
After the conference, on Thursday and half of Friday, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) hosted the Distributed Wind Resource Assessment Stakeholders’ Workshop, with both national as well as international participants.
The Small Wind Conference Coordinating Committee, LLC would like to thank all who exhibited, participated, and helped with the event, especially our sponsors which included:
Plans for the 2016 Small Wind Conference are already underway and registration opened on January 5th.
The 2015 Small Wind Conference was managed by Samantha Smart-Merritt. The 2015 Small Wind Conference, LLC included: