AWEA staff, industry leaders tout wind’s value at COP15 By Chris Madison

Key American Wind Energy Association’s staff and members have been participating in a flurry of activities at the 15th United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.

The logistics are challenging: The Bella center where the conference is taking place holds around 18,000 people, yet 35,000 people have registered. So getting in can mean a long wait–or not at all, when entrance passes are restricted. Even so, the AWEA team has been able to spread the message about U.S. wind energy potential to the international press and to our international colleagues.

Below are pictures of Energy Department Undersecretary Christina Johnson with Danish Energy Minister Lykke Friis, who connected over a dinner hosted by the Global Wind Energy Council. Also pictured are Abby White and Barton Merle-Smith of NRG Systems in Vermont.

The United States does not have any offshore wind power projects installed yet, but being in Denmark gave U.S. officials and reporters a sense of what offshore wind looks like, courtesy of an AWEA sponsored tour of wind facilities offshore Denmark. Among those taking advantage of the opportunity was U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

Back at the Bella center, at a press conference hosted by the European Wind Energy Council and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the message was overwhelmingly positive. Suzlon’s chairman Tulsi Tanti, nd the leader of China’s largest wind turbine company outlined how global wind energy can be a significant tool for reducing global warming, especially since it is ready now. Also, a UNEP representative noted the need to bring countries from Africa and Latin America into the wind movement.

On Sunday, AWEA sponsored a reception and panel discussion. Speaking were Jan Blittersdorf, President and CEO, NRG Systems, Denise Bode, CEO, AWEA, Ditlev Engel, President and CEO, Vestas Wind Systems, Dr. Ian Mays, CEO, Renewable Energy Systems Ltd., Steve Sawyer, Secretary General, GWEC and Tulsi Tanti of Suzlon.