AWEA hires Jennifer Jenkins to launch national distributed wind energy program

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has hired Jennifer Jenkins to lead efforts expanding the U.S. market for distributed wind power. Jenkins is the former founding Executive Director of the Distributed Wind Energy Association (DWEA) and comes to AWEA with over ten years’ experience in the industry.

AWEA, already the national trade association for utility-scale wind power, now adds distributed wind to its portfolio. In contrast with utility-scale wind farms, which are connected to transmission lines and have an average capacity of roughly 200 megawatts (MW), distributed wind systems are generally connected behind the meter or to a local distribution grid and can range in size from a one kilowatt (kW) or smaller off-grid wind turbine at a remote cabin, to a ten kW turbine at a home or farm, to several multi-megawatt wind turbines at a university campus, manufacturing facility, or small community.

The inclusion of distributed wind at AWEA expands the Association’s ability to educate Americans about all the benefits of wind energy, including the potential wind turbines have to supply on-site power for homes and businesses. Distributed wind also provides a unique opportunity for the public to engage more directly with wind power technology at residential and community scale.

“AWEA is proud to represent the distributed wind power industry and I can think of no one better than Jennifer to be at the head of that effort,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA. “Utility-scale wind is growing strong as the largest source of U.S. renewable energy capacity, and AWEA’s distributed wind program aims to expand opportunities for Americans to own part of that future.”

There are ample opportunities to grow distributed wind power in the U.S. market. Distributed wind capacity in the U.S. reached one gigawatt (GW) in 2017, providing electricity to homes, farms, businesses, and communities in all 50 states. The distributed wind industry is growing at a healthy rate and business prospects are improving. Economic potential in states like Colorado, Minnesota, and New York are reported to be over three GW, collectively, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

“A major key to the success of distributed wind will be to leverage the Investment Tax Credit while working with local municipalities, advocates, and community members to create a pro-growth environment. This high tech, high potential industry can continue to create new American manufacturing and construction jobs,” said Jennifer Jenkins, Director of AWEA’s distributed wind program. “Healthy partnerships with DWEA on national policy, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association for education and outreach, and groups like the Clean Energy Business Council for state support will be critical as we grow this sector of the wind industry.”

“I’m thrilled to be a part of such a collaborative effort that will enhance and expand the distributed wind market in the U.S.” said Jenkins. “We’ve got a lot of work to do and the future looks bright.”