Wind energy: WINDPOWER 2012 drew thousands to Atlanta

The American Wind Energy Association’s first-ever WINDPOWER Conference and Exhibition in the South succeeded in drawing 11,000 participants and 920 exhibiting companies to Atlanta June 3-6, including 120 exhibitors from the region.

The Association (AWEA) chose the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta five years ago as the site to hold WINDPOWER 2012, because the South has emerged as a manufacturing and transportation hub for U.S. wind power factories and their supply chain.

It’s also now an emerging market for wind power purchases, as well as new wind farms, as continued technological innovation such as new turbines, taller towers, and longer blades make cost-effective generation of electricity possible at lower-wind locations.

AWEA noted the high quality of the technology on display in Atlanta and the senior level of the attendees, and said the conference and exhibition hit attendance numbers within the range expected.

"We met our expectations for our first entry into the South, with tremendous response from members of the business community who were not aware how much ‘skin in the game’ the South has, with 90 manufacturing facilities in wind turbines," said Denise Bode, CEO of AWEA.

"We’re excited now about our return next year to Chicago, which is where we held the world’s biggest-ever WINDPOWER Conference and Exhibition, in 2009,” Bode said. “We’ll be back there next May, at McCormick Place Chicago." That 2009 event created $37 million in economic activity for the city.

After Chicago, Ill., May 5-8, 2013, WINDPOWER will move to Las Vegas, Nev. (in May 2014); Orlando, Fla. (May 2015); and New Orleans, La. (May 2016).