The industry has "huge potential" under the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s new proposed regulations on emissions from existing power plants, said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA, at Windpower 2014.
EPA’s proposed regulations will be unveiled next month, and finalised in June of 2015, Shaun McGrath, administrator of the agency’s Region 8, told the conference. EPA is part of the Obama administration, which has vowed to slash carbon emissions.
Wind is currently at a "crossroads", added AWEA’s Kiernan. Next week, an extension of the valuable production tax credit may reach the Senate floor, he noted.
And he reiterated the lobbying group’s long-time demand - that wind needs policy stability.
Kiernan recalled a positive trend too - that clean energy lobbyists helped defeat challenges to renewable portfolio standard (RPS)s in 20 states in 2013. And two RPSs are being attacked this year in Ohio and Kansas.
America’s wind industry has tenacious roots. AWEA is celebrating its 40th year, Brian McNiff of McNiff Light Industry, said to delegates.
The industry attending the conference is indeed "leaner, meaner, more creative and better than ever," observed Jayshree Desai, executive vice president of Clean Line Energy Partners.
Windpower 2014 will have attracted more than 440 exhibitors - from major international turbine manufacturers to service companies and makers of small components - and 10,000 attendees by the time it closes on May 8, said organisers.
Society still needs to grasp the urgency of climate change more strongly, concluded wind industry pioneer James Dehlsen, innovation and system architecture, Ecomerit Technologies and formerly a founder of Zond, Enron Wind - which was bought by GE - and Clipper.