Looking back at 2020’s clean energy education curriculum

There’s no question that 2020 has been a year for the books. Despite the challenges we’ve all faced, American wind power continued to innovate and expand. Here at AWEA, we reworked our conferences and events to continue bringing the industry together and providing meaningful, relevant educational content. As a newer staff member, taking a step back and reviewing recordings and resources from this year really helped me learn more about wind, clean energy, and the future of our industry. If you’re like me and didn’t get to attend some of these events, either in-person or virtually, it’s not too late to dive into these exciting topics– recordings and resources from our 2020 events are available for purchase online! Here’s a quick run-down:

AWEA Wind Project O&M and Safety Conference

At the AWEA 2020 Wind Project O&M and Safety Conference at the Hotel Del Coronado on February 26 and 27, the industry came together to recognize unique challenges and identify solutions in the four main sectors of health and safety, O&M, workforce training and development, and quality assurance. The conference drew more than 1,150 attendees and over 130 exhibitors. The top attended sessions included: Leveraging Technology to Reduce LCOE for an Aging Fleet; Bridging the Gap Between Wind and Solar; Innovations in Repowering: How Industry Leaders are Making the Old New Again; Data Innovation Utilization of Multiple Technologies for Advanced Drivetrain Analysis; and, The Future Workforce. Leading renewable project owner operators and OEMs collaborated to develop valuable content to optimize project operations, with over 100 industry experts in the 33 sessions, and if you’re interested in watching any of the sessions you can purchase the recordings.

2020 Spring Virtual Learning Series

This 16-webinar series ran from May 6 to June 18 and covers everything from the latest technology trends to financing and project operation strategies and using digital media to increase support for wind. Odds are, if you’ve ever had a question about the future of the wind industry, one of these webinars will answer it. Check out the full list of topics and purchase recordings from the full series.

Wind 101 Webinar Series

Did you know that wind power avoided 198 million metric tons of CO2 in 2019? That’s equal to 42 million cars’ worth of carbon emissions! The three-part education series AWEA hosted this summer covered an overview of the market, wildlife, siting and permitting, and more. It’s another must-see for anyone looking for a quick but comprehensive introduction to the wind industry. Want to learn more? Check out this blog post for a summary of the series, or purchase the recordings.

Solar 101 Webinar Series

Webinar topics include: Market Drivers for the U.S. Solar Energy Industry; Project Finance & Investment; Wildlife, Siting and Permitting: Regional Differences; Bifacial Modules and the Albedo Effect; Transmission and Integration; and Technological Advances & Solar + Storage Integration. Between the diversity of topics and the expertise of the panelists, this is a must-see series. In her blog post, summer intern Lauren summarizes each panel. You can purchase the recordings and watch them for yourself!

CLEANPOWER 2020 Live Streams

The pandemic couldn’t stop the utility-scale renewable industry from coming together to learn and network at the CLEANPOWER 2020 Stronger Together Virtual Event. AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan gave a State of the Industry Address, noting that despite COVID-19-related economic challenges, renewables have a bright future. This was echoed by AWEA board chair and former President of Vestas North America Chris Brown, who called for unification to meet the goal of 50 percent renewable power by 2030. If you’re interested in learning more about how unification can benefit all renewables, check out the post-event blog post. CLEANPOWER 2021 is also sure to be an exciting event for anyone in the renewable space. Booth reservations are open, so check out the floor plan and reach out to  exhibition@cleanpowerexpo.org with questions.

Wind Resource & Project Energy Assessment Conference 2020

Another event that went all virtual this year was the Wind Resource & Project Energy Assessment Conference, the nexus for everything concerning wind farm production. It’s also the place where meteorologists and engineers highlighted recent advances and debated the critical issues affecting wind resource assessment. After all, how much electricity a wind farm is going to produce is the single biggest driver of wind project economics, and an accurate assessment is a critical factor in developing successful wind projects. It has a direct impact on which projects are financed and constructed and which ones are not. Anyone involved in planning wind developments should check out these sessions.

AWEA Wind Project Siting & Environmental Compliance Conference

The 2020 Siting and Environmental Compliance Virtual Summit program featured two educational tracks that walked attendees through issues regarding wildlife and community engagement. This is yet another must-see for anyone new to the industry. Siting and Environmental Compliance can seem complicated, but this event had something for everyone. Topics covered in the recordings include wildlife, climate, and public perception.

Offshore WINDPOWER 2020

The Offshore WINDPOWER 2020 Virtual Summit in early October was the first event I attended as an AWEA team member. It was a great way to dive right into a growing facet of the industry. Nearly 1,100 attendees joined us for two days consisting of 20 live streamed sessions, 13 on-demand presentations, and 20 posters, underscored by the conference theme, “Offshore Wind: Building the Future.” In addition to messages of support from key political leaders including New York Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, there were many insightful discussions between the offshore sector, other ocean industries, and key stakeholders. I enjoyed hearing from all the senior execs from the existing offshore wind leases and the emerging players in the market. Many speakers delivered messages that sought to explain how we can grow the industry to be successful, responsible, and inclusive. Check out this blog post summarizing the event, or purchase the recordings.

Webinar Recordings

Beyond our regular events, AWEA continued to bring timely, cutting-edge information to our members and the public through our educational webinars. Everything from COVID-19 impacts to battery storage to compliance was covered in at least one webinar this year. These resources can be a great way to stay up-to date with challenges, successes, and changes in the industry. Members can view recordings of our quarterly member briefings for free, and members and non-members can browse the full list of webinar recordings available for purchase.

Safety Campaign: Stand Tall

While October (safety month) has come to a close, you can still engage with this year’s safety campaign “Stand Tall,” which focused on sprains and strains from working in the nacelle. Materials available include a PowerPoint presentation, two posters, Fitness for Work Guidelines, an on-demand webinar, two hard hat stickers, and two additional safety videos: “Tasks in the Nacelle” and “Dynamic Stretching.” Get your materials now, because workplace safety is crucial every day.

And the year’s not over yet! Check out our upcoming webinars, follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn, or sign up for our emails to stay current on all things AWEA.   

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