WINDPOWER 2014: What happens in Vegas won’t be staying in Vegas

Guest blog by Mike Barnard, Senior Fellow for Wind Power, Energy & Policy Institute.

WINDPOWER 2014 is upon me, and I’m revved up to learn more and make excellent contacts. I’ll be live-Tweeting from @barnardwind and live-FB updating from /barnardonwind, both using the hashtag #windpower14, so look for that too. Daily blogs will be posted on the E&PI blog and re-posted on the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) Into the Wind blog, and if I say something relevant to their audience on CleanTechnica as well, so there are too many ways that what happens in Vegas won't be staying in Vegas, at least for me this time.

Tomorrow has several lengthy sessions, and the one most interesting to me, if I'm able to attend, is the Navigant Consulting session with their partners at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Topics will include Market and Cost Outlook; Renewable Energy Integration; Distributed Generation Business Models; Policy Issues; and Development Challenges. Lots of meat there and I’m sure I’ll learn a lot. The opening reception that follows at the House of Blues should be good too.

Tuesday will kick off with a general session including U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy, AWEA senior representatives as well as Nevada Energy and MGM Grand perspectives on sustainability and renewables. An interesting and eclectic mix from a range of serious organizations; looks like low hype, high content.

The 11:00 AM slot on Tuesday is offering too much wealth of choice with radar, bats, emerging opposition and acoustics (all subjects I’m following) versus financing, wind in the Middle East, wind in Canada (close to my heart) vs a top-notch panel on key costs of integration and transmission (also interesting). The other sessions look good too, but were crowded off the scorecard. Hopefully emerging buzz will help me decide closer to Tuesday.

The Tuesday PM general session offers a respite from decision making with the DOE’s perspective on the future of wind generation. I’m all about going to where the ball will be rather than where it was, so I’m looking forward to that.

Then more problems of selection: US state policy perspectives vs financing innovation vs geeky reliability deep dive vs building vs advanced noise control approaches. More networking opportunities follow over cocktails and an exhibit hall reception close off the day. Lots of interesting stuff already, so thinking about Wednesday and Thursday can wait until tomorrow.

Of course I’ve made initial contact with a bunch of interesting people and am looking forward to being introduced to or bumping into more over the next few days. Policy gurus, consultants, site developers, acousticians, executives and deep thinkers of various hues: all here to talk to. My plan is to capture key insights from my conversations and the presentations fresh hourly and daily. Stay tuned!


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