In March, the Distributed Wind Energy Association (DWEA) will partner with the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) to host the industry’s first Distributed Wind 2012: A Capitol Hill Event for Small and Community Wind. The first day will focus on lobbying legislators, with a short “Lobby 101” seminar kicking off the program. The second day features panels on the state of the industry, permitting and interconnection issues, and technical issues of interest to the Small Wind community.
Founded in 2010, the Distributed Wind Energy Association works to facilitate the installation of wind energy systems at homes, farms, businesses, and public facilities in order to reduce electric bills, help the environment, and strengthen the economy. The prime objective of DWEA is to turn obstacles into opportunities by working with local municipalities, advocates and community members to create a healthy climate for distributed wind.
In its first year, DWEA’s membership grew to include nearly one hundred active team members and experts from around the industry. The action takes place in six working committees. The Federal and State Policy Committees cover current opportunities on the political landscape, while the Midsize and Installer Committees offer a venue for industry cohorts to discuss barriers and solutions. The Permitting and Zoning Committee works to create material for the industry to move forward against its number one barrier: zoning. And, the Education Committee is committed to creating an online pro-wind library, as well as other opportunities to grow the market.
Progress was made last year, in spite of a federal budget crisis. The DWEA team represented the industry to the Department of Energy, asking for more support in two areas: research and development; and education and outreach. DWEA recognizes that the distributed wind industry desperately needs support to accomplish more in education, and has seen how effective it has been for the solar industry. DWEA talked extensively with the Department of Agriculture about the REAP program and ways to improve it. The DWEA team provided a unified voice to the Fish and Wildlife service to show that there is a clear difference between utility and distributed wind energy and suggested that be reflected in the Agency’s draft wind siting guidelines. DWEA joined the 1603 Coalition to attempt to save the much-needed cash grant and is active on Capitol Hill in promoting the Community Wind Act.
As state legislatures and funding programs find themselves reassessing their distributed wind programs, the member companies of DWEA submitted comments and recommendations to promote efficient and useful initiatives. Through the work of the DWEA State Policy committee, the industry is able to organize their efforts effectively across the country.
At the local level, the industry is challenged by permitting and zoning issues, coupled with a lack of education about distributed wind energy. Experts and small businesses around the country unite under the DWEA banner to come up with solutions to these local issues.
To learn more about Distributed Wind 2012, click here.
Source: Distributed Wind Energy Association