During his keynote address, Wozniak spoke at length about his experiences as a young computer enthusiast, his work with the late Steve Jobs and his views on technological innovation in the wind industry.
Wozniak drew parallels between his experience increasing the efficiency and lowering the cost of personal computers with the current status of technological innovation in the wind industry. Both have lowered costs for consumers by using better materials and things that break down less often. "A technology like wind is so important," Wozniak told attendees.
In speaking of the early days of Apple, where advances like the computer mouse were first popularised, Wozniak said, "We were changing the way things were done in the past. It very much makes you think of wind energy."
He also mapped out a vision of a future where increasing amounts of electricity are harnessed from clean sources like wind and the sun. “If you have two modes of production of electricity, and one of them is dirty and one isn’t, and they cost the same, and that’s where efficiency comes into play.”
Now a noted philanthropist (and a one-time contestant on television’s “Dancing with the Stars”), Wozniak helped shape the computing industry with his design of Apple’s first line of products, the Apple I and II, and influenced the popular Macintosh.
In 1976 Wozniak and Steve Jobs founded Apple Computer Inc. After leaving Apple in 1985, Wozniak has been involved in various business and philanthropic ventures, focusing primarily on computer capabilities in schools and stressing hands-on learning and encouraging creativity for students.
Wozniak also poignantly remembered his colleague and friend Steve Jobs, who passed away recently, as "a beloved technological leader."
"Steve was a visionary, a leader and a doer. I haven’t seen any like him," he said.
This year’s AWEA Fall Symposium event focused heavily on industry trends and innovations, as well as communications techniques for addressing wind energy’s benefits to external audiences.
Notable participants include Program Chair Edward Zaelke from the law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, LLP, Steve Trenholm, CEO, E.ON Climate & Renewables North America, and Randy Mann, Vice President, Wind Development, Edison Mission Energy.