Indianapolis the focus as wind energy leaders kick off summit

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) kicked off its Wind Power Transmission Seminar in Indianapolis, Ind. at the hub of one of America’s fastest growing states for wind power. Indiana increased its installed wind farm ten fold in 2009 and 2010. Meanwhile, wind manufacturing is powering as many as 2,000 Indiana jobs in at least 14different Indiana factories including companies like Brevini, a major gearbox manufacturer in Muncie, Ind.

Over the next two days, attendees at the Westin Indianapolis will hear about the issues that are impacting transmission the most. The AWEA Wind Power Transmission Seminar is the leading U.S. transmission event dedicated solely to addressing the challenges and identifying the solutions to transmission and wind energy. The workshop brings together top experts from the wind industry, transmission sector, utilities, consulting, and policymaking worlds to discuss the progress being made, difficulties that remain, paths forward and lessons learned on wind energy transmission.

Attendees will also hear keynote addresses from AWEA’s Senior Vice President of Public Policy, Rob Gramlich, Commissioner John Norris of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and John Bear, President and CEO of the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator (MISO).

“With roughly 35 percent annual growth in the U.S. wind industry over the past five years, and almost 200,000 megawatts of proposed wind projects waiting to be connected to the power grid, the development of new transmission lines is vital to the continued growth of the wind turbines industry,” said AWEA’s Gramlich. “This conference will explore solutions to transmission bottlenecks that can help get more clean, affordable and homegrown wind energy to market and create tens of thousands of new jobs.”

The Midwest wind power market continues to be a vital center for the U.S. wind power industry. The Midwest was home to almost a third of all new American wind megawatts installed last year.

The tremendous growth in wind energy installations and Midwestern manufacturing jobs in recent years is being driven by the federal Production Tax Credit for wind. But with the PTC expiration looming at year-end, the stakes for Indiana, the Midwest and the nation could not be clearer. Economic studies have shown that Congressional inaction on the PTC could eliminate 37,000 American jobs, shutter plants and cancel billions of dollars in private investment.

“Wind power and the federal Production Tax Credit for wind are driving a midwestern manufacturing success story,” said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. “That is why extending this one crucial tax credit for wind power production is our top national policy objective. And why we are leaving no stone unturned in our drive to get the PTC extended now, before it is too late for tens of thousands of good midwestern jobs.”

AWEA will hold its Wind Finance and Investment Seminar in New York on April 12-13, 2012, while its major annual conference and exhibition, WINDPOWER 2012, will hit Atlanta, Ga. on June 3-6.