A Brief Proposal for a New Wind Energy Association in the United States
by Paul Gipe
Need for New Organization
Originally AWEA (the American Wind Energy Association) began as an advocacy group for those who believed in the use of wind energy. However, many years ago AWEA became just another trade association representing the financial interests of its “corporate members”: wind turbine manufacturers, wind developers, and electric utilities. AWEA’s advocacy reflects the interests of these firms.
It has become increasingly clear that internal reform of AWEA is not likely, and may not be possible. Many proponents of wind energy and many members of the wind industry, frustrated with AWEA’s direction and the increasing concentration of political control in the hands of a few companies, have considered forming an alternative association.
Past attempts to form an alternative wind energy advocacy group in the United States have failed. AWEA has been the only single-issue voice for wind energy for the past two decades.
Purpose of New Group
Advocacy of wind energy development in the United States for the rest of us. That is, those farmers, homeowners, and city dwellers who want to develop or use wind energy like that seen in Denmark and Germany and for those who already own a wind turbine. Such groups exist in Denmark (Danmarks Vindmølleforening), and Germany (Bundesverband Windenergie). These groups exist alongside and independent of organizations representing wind turbine manufacturers and wind farm developers.
Grassroots organization where all members are equal. No membership class system based on the amount of dues paid. No corporate purchases of employee memberships. All members must pay their own dues.
Part time use of Midwest Renewable Energy Association staff. MWREA is a professionally operated, and successful advocacy group with offices centrally located in the Midwest.
It’s unlikely that membership fees alone will be able to sustain such an organization, or at least for very long. It’s essential that multi-year funding be obtained.
An annual low-key, low-cost meeting once per year. Again, the German and Danish wind turbine owners associations’ annual meetings could be a model. They are held at universities or in halls provided free of charge by sponsors. There could be quarterly meetings held around the country as part of the annual energy fairs or other conferences.
You may circulate this proposal to whoever you like.
Here are some possible names for a new organization. Points to keep in mind about a name. The name should convey that this organization represents people in the USA and not the “Americas.” The name should also distinguish ourselves from the other wind organization. Preferably the name should also convey something of the membership and its objectives.
Citizens for Wind Energy (CWE)
New Wind (NW)
New Wind for US (NWUS)
People for Wind Energy (PWE)
USA Wind (USAW)
Wind Energy for US (WEUS, WEfUS?)
Wind for the Rest of US (WftRUS?)
Wind for US (WUS?)
If you would like to help form an alternative wind energy association in the United States contact myself or Mick Sagrillo.
I have worked for AWEA as an independent contractor and I have been a member of its board of directors. I was an at-large candidate for AWEA’s board of directors in 1999 and 2000. I was not elected. My proposals for changes to AWEA have been rejected.