Denise Bode is CEO of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). She is a nationally recognized energy policy expert and has more than 30 years experience in the energy field, including DEO of the American Clean Skies Foundation, President of the Independent Petroleum Association of America and a tax partner in a D.C.-based law firm. Bode shares her opinions on the growing wind energy market and the role composites can play.
How has the wind industry changed over the past few years?
The American wind industry has grown rapidly in the recent past and now provides about 85,000 American jobs. The data we have from AWEA members shows they have increased domestic manufacturing twelve-fold since 2004 and invested over $1 billion in U.S. wind manufacturing facilities in the last three years.
How do you see that percentage increasing further?
Over 50 percent of the 8,000 component parts of wind turbines used in the U.S. are manufactured in the U.S., up from 25 percent a few years ago. Our goal is to increase that percentage as quickly as possible by recruiting supply chain companies from across all over the world, to build manufacturing plants in the U.S. Passing a renewable electricity standard (RES) would help persuade those companies by creating demand for wind components.
What technology has given the wind energy market the biggest boost?
There have been a series of incremental improvements in an industry where a new generation of equipment comes along every few years. One of the smaller improvements with a big effect is taller towers. Another is variable speed drives on the turbines themselves.
What’s driving that adoption?
The adoption of taller towers is driven by the realization that greater energy-capture will more than make up for the extra cost.
What do you see as the next hot topic in wind energy?
We are working closely with members of Congress to address their concerns in wind energy and to find ways to create more American jobs. Enacting legislation such as a renewable electricity standard would provide the long-term commitment American companies need to justify investment in manufacturing facilities here in the U.S. This step alone would create more than 250,000 jobs in the next 15 years.
Where do you see the most potential for composite growth within wind energy?