WINDPOWER Preview: Embracing renewables, Ted Turner heads for Anaheim

Last year, the WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition featured a man who held the top post in government. Gracing the bill this year is one of the biggest names in business. Last year’s keynote speaker is known as having a fairly reserved disposition. "Colorful maverick" might characterize the image of this year’s speaker.

One thing the two men have in common: renewable energy.

When last year’s speaker, former President George W. Bush, served as the governor of Texas, he supported passage of a trailblazing renewable electricity standard along with a market structure and transmission policies that have since catapulted the state to the number-one position in wind energy development.

And during his presidency, Bush’s statement that wind power could provide 20% of the nation’s electricity in part spurred the U.S. Department of Energy to produce the landmark report showing the feasibility of reaching 20% wind penetration by 2030.

Ted Turner, the WINDPOWER 2011 speaker who built a media empire and brought the world CNN, likes renewables, too. In January the 30-MW Cimarron Solar Facility in New Mexico went online. Turner Renewable Energy is a partner in the project, which is one of the nation’s largest photovoltaic plants.

Apparently Turner, whom some might call a business visionary, knows a smart choice when he sees one. “Given the current state of the world, it’s absolutely imperative that we turn our attention to renewable energy as soon as we possibly can,” Turner told WINDPOWER Update. “The clean energy industry, which includes wind and solar, is one of the greatest business opportunities that our country has ever seen, and I urge you to take advantage. The days of fossil fuels are over. It’s just a matter of how soon everyone realizes it.”

So get ready for such insights when Turner takes the stage at WINDPOWER 2011’s Opening Session on Monday, May 23, and talks wind power in a one-on-one Q&A with American Wind Energy Association CEO Denise Bode.

By Carl Levesque, AWEA Editor & Publications Mgr.,