Once again, the Small Wind Conference lived up to its reputation as the premier small wind event in the United States, with people attending from 26 of the United States, as well as eight other countries. A total of 89 different businesses, manufacturers, organizations and institutions of higher learning participated in the conference.
The conference, organized by the Small Wind Conference Coordinating Committee, began on Monday with socializing in the Exhibition Hall filled with sponsors and exhibitors. The evening’s entertainment featured a small wind trivia competition, with plenty of laughs all around.
Tuesday began with a keynote address by Dr. Dennis Scanlin of Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. Dennis took the audience on a romp through ASU’s history of education of small wind on a shoestring budget, from do-it-yourself wind student projects and NASA’s 2 MW MOD 1 wind turbine, to today’s world class Appropriate Technology and Small Wind Educational Facility. ASU’s Beech Mountain Small Wind Demonstration and Test Facility hosts eight wind turbines and towers that are monitored and maintained by students. In 2009, ASU students funded the installation of a Northwind 100kW turbine, the largest student-initiated small wind installation in the country.
Following Dennis’ excellent talk, 36 presenters delved into a variety of issues of interest to the wind industry, from wind resource assessment and siting lessons, to turbine testing and results, to equipment warranty issues. A session titled, “Engineers Gone Wild” and a parallel track on off-grid solutions were both heavily attended. All of the presentations are available at the conference website.
After his presentation on site assessments using drones, Charles Newcomb of Endurance Wind Power demonstrated his smart phone-linked drone to a crowd of enthusiasts. Some are guessing that the next big thing in small wind site assessments will be the use of drones to get a hub height view of the tower location and surrounding landscape.
Day two of the Small Wind Conference began with a breakfast for the Women of Wind Energy followed by a lighthearted technical “lecture” on Wind 101 Myth-Busting by Dr. David Laino of Endurance Wind Power. Both days culminated in socials in the Exhibition Hall.
This year’s Small Wind Installer Award went to Gary Harcourt of Great Rock Windpower on Martha’s Vineyard. The Lifetime Educator Award was presented to Dr. Dennis Scanlin of Appalachian State University. Both were recognized for their enthusiasm, dedication, advocacy, and decades of outstanding work in the small wind industry. Besides their awards, both Harcourt and Scanlin were presented with the token (but gigantic) wrench and hardhat, the SWC’s symbols for those who work in the trenches of the small wind industry.
Roy Butler and Mick Sagrillo were presented with awards by Larry Sherwood of the Small Wind Certification Council (SWCC) for exceptional service on the SWCC Board of Directors.
This year, 13 sponsors helped offset the cost of the Small Wind Conference. Twenty exhibitors, from manufacturers to component suppliers to consultants and site assessors, answered attendees’ questions about their businesses. The organizers expressed their sincerest appreciation to all sponsors and exhibitors for helping to make the conference the success that it was.
In addition to the two-day Small Wind Conference, a flurry of other events took place during the conference week. Monday afternoon, the Small Wind Certification Council Board of Directors met for their annual planning session. Tuesday evening, the Distributed Wind Energy Association introduced attendees to their Department of Commerce/NIST SMART (Sustainable Manufacturing Advanced Research and Technology)Wind Project , the work the SMART consortium will be engaged in over the next year, and opportunities for involvement in the consortium.
Thursday morning, the Distributed Wind Energy Association held its annual meeting. At the meeting, which was open to the public, organization development issues were discussed, as well as opportunities for attendees to advance policies to help further the interests of the small wind industry. Thursday afternoon, the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) Small Wind Turbine Standards Committee convened to begin drafting the next version of the ANSI standards for small wind turbines (turbine under 200m2 or less).
The Small Wind Conference Coordinating Committee would like to thank all who exhibited, participated and helped with the event, especially conference sponsors.
Plans for next year’s 11th Small Wind Conference are being developed now.
The Small Wind Conference manager is Samantha Smart-Merritt. The Small Wind Conference Coordinating Committee includes Roy Butler, Trudy Forsyth, Jenny Heinzen, Mick Sagrillo, Brent Summerville and Ian Woofenden.
Source: Small Wind Conference Coordinating Committee