WINDPOWER 2015 launches in Orlando as wind energy industry elects new leadership

Just miles from where NASA launches rockets to explore the final frontier, wind power developers, manufacturers, workers, executives and more from around the world gather today for a four-day exploration into what’s next for wind energy in the U.S.

The WINDPOWER 2015 Conference & Exhibition of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) kicks off this afternoon, following election of new leadership this morning by AWEA’s Board of Directors.


U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz will keynote tomorrow morning on how technology advancements are accessing a major new energy resource for America which has previously gone undeveloped, opening up new areas for wind farms including the Southeastern U.S.

“As attendees and others will hear over the next few days, we continue to improve our technology and lower our costs, creating new opportunities for wind projects and job growth all across the country,” said AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan.

Florida is home to 15 factories building wind turbine parts and supplies. Siemens USA is based in Orlando, and leading wind energy producer NextEra Energy in Juno Beach. “It’s great to be here in Florida, a state with such a strong wind manufacturing presence and home to some of the major corporate headquarters in our industry,” Kiernan said. “We aim to bring operating turbines here soon.”

The AWEA Board elected Mike Garland, CEO of Pattern Energy Group LP, its new chairman, succeeding Susan Reilly, President and CEO of RES Americas. Also elected today was 2016-17 Chair-Elect Chris Brown, President of Vestas American Wind Technology Inc.

Joining as new additions to AWEA’s Board of Directors are:

  • Pete Duprey, President and CEO, Broadwind Energy, Inc.
  • Jeff Grybowski, CEO, Deepwater Wind
  • Borja Negro, CEO, Gamesa Technology Corporation
  • Michael Skelly, CEO, Clean Line Energy Partners LLC
  • Peter Wells, CEO, UpWind Solutions, Inc.
  • Ray Wood, Managing Director, Head of U.S. Power & Renewables, Bank of America

Meeting for the first time ever in Florida, WINDPOWER 2015 attendees converge this week to lead panels, show off new technology, make deals, and witness major announcements about the latest technology advancements growing the industry. Wind power already supports 2,000 jobs in the Sunshine State, and the recent approval of Florida’s first contract for wind energy could save consumers up to $48 million over 20 years.

The conference comes as a near-record – 13,600 megawatts (MW) worth – of new wind energy capacity is under development across 100 projects in 23 states, creating a “wind rush” that is opening up new opportunities, job growth and $23 billion in private investment to the U.S. economy. The wind industry added 23,000 new jobs in 2014, bringing the national total to 73,000 jobs.

The falling cost of wind energy has attracted corporate and other non-utility purchasers, a topic likely to be on many conference-goers’ minds.

Major brands such as Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, the Mars Corporation, IKEA and Dow Chemical are buying wind energy because it helps their bottom-line – long-term, fixed price contracts for wind energy help shield these companies against fuel price volatility. Doug Greenholz, President of IKEA Property, Inc. will provide color to this emerging trend when he speaks during the Welcome and Opening General Session at WINDPOWER 2015. Last year, IKEA purchased two wind farms, including their biggest renewable energy investment so far – a 165 megawatt wind farm in Texas.

AWEA has partnered with the Clean the World Foundation at this year’s WINDPOWER. Clean the World is an organization that distributes basic hygiene products otherwise discarded by the hospitality industry. WINDPOWER attendees can stop by a special booth on the show floor to assemble hygiene kits, and AWEA aims to finish 9,000 of them by the end of the conference – diverting 1,687 pounds of hotel soap and 27,000 plastic bottled amenities equaling 4,987 pounds of total waste from landfills.

Members of the press won’t want to miss two media availabilities, one following WINDPOWER’s Welcome and Opening General Session on Tuesday, May 19 at 10:05 a.m. ET and the other after the Wind Industry Leaders Panel on Wednesday, May 20 at 10:05 a.m. ET. Both media availabilities are located in the green room behind the stage in the South Exhibit Hall SA1, Orlando Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Fla.

A call-in number is available on request for accredited journalists to attend the press availabilities by telephone; for the number, please contact Evan Vaughan at or 202-431-4640.

Top newsmakers at WINDPOWER 2015 include these:

Tuesday, May 19                                                

WINDPOWER 2015 – Welcome and Opening General Session

What: WINDPOWER 2015 – Welcome and Opening General Session, followed by media availability with Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz and AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan.

Who: Dr. Ernest Moniz, U.S. Secretary of Energy

Tom Kiernan, Chief Executive Officer, American Wind Energy Association

Lisa Davis, Member of the Managing Board of Siemens AG, Siemens AG

Doug Greenholz, President, IKEA Property, Inc.

Moderator: Jacob Susman, Chief Executive Officer & Founder, OwnEnergy, Inc.

Panelists: Karen Conover, Vice President, DNV GL

Paul Gaynor, EVP of North America Utility and Global Wind, SunEdison

Anne M. McEntee, President & CEO Renewable Energy, GE Power & Water

Susan Reilly, President, Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc.

When: 8:30 a.m. through 10:00 a.m., Tuesday, May 19

Where: South Exhibit Hall SA1, Orlando Orange County Convention Center

Wednesday, May 20

Wind Industry Leaders Panel & Keynote Speaker

What: Wind Industry Leaders Panel & Keynote Speaker, followed by media availability with select Industry Leaders panelists.

Who: Keynote Speaker: Jonah Berger, Author of Best-Selling Contagious: Why Things Catch On

Moderator: Mike Garland, Chief Executive Officer, Pattern Energy Group Inc.

Panelists: Chris Brown, President, Vestas

Tim Maag, Vice President and General Manager, Mortenson

James Murphy, Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Invenergy LLC

Mike O’ Sullivan, Senior Vice President of Development, NextEra Energy, Inc.

Michael Storch, Executive Vice President, Enel Green Power North America, Inc.

Jeffrey Wehner, Vice President, Operations, Duke Energy Renewables

When: 8:30 a.m. through 10:00 a.m., Wednesday, May 20

Where: South Exhibit Hall SA1, Orlando Orange County Convention Center

Wind Vision: An Opportunity to Rally the Public Around a Future of Abundant Clean Energy

What: Hear from Department of Energy leader about key findings of Wind Vision, and hear the views of “Wind Vision Ambassadors”.

Who: John Kostyack, Executive Director, Wind Energy Foundation

Panelists: Jan Blomstrann, Chairwoman and CEO, Renewable NRG Systems

Kevin Lynch, Vice President, External Affairs, Iberdrola Renewables

Susan Reilly, President, Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc.

Elizabeth Salerno, Product and Marketing Strategy Manager, Siemens

James A. Walker, PhD, Vice Chairman, EDF Renewable Energy

Jose Zayas, Director, Wind and Water Power Technologies Office, U.S. Department of Energy

When: 10:30 a.m. through 11:45 a.m., Wednesday, May 20

Where: Room S320A, Orlando Orange County Convention Center