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October 3, 1998

Wind Energy Advocate Honored at World Conference


The World Renewable Energy Congress hailed long-time wind energy advocate Paul Gipe as a "pioneer in renewable energy" at its recent international conference in Florence, Italy. The designation, one of the organization's highest honors, was announced by Professor Ali Sayigh at the Congress' banquet on 23 September, 1998. Gipe was recognized for his more than two decades of writing and lecturing about wind energy.

Two other Americans were also honored at the Congress. Robert San Martin, chief scientist in the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, also received a "pioneer in renewable energy" award. Alan Hoffman, associate deputy assistant secretary in DOE's Office of Utility Technologies, was named an outstanding scientist. Ironically, Gipe's book, Wind Energy Comes of Age, was highly critical of the U.S. Department of Energy's research program.

The honor comes at a time when Gipe has publicly broken ranks with some in the U.S. wind industry. He has called on the American Wind Energy Association to abandon its effort to extend the production tax credit and to instead launch a campaign for a renewable energy feed-in tariff such as is used in Germany and Denmark. Gipe has also openly condemned the environmental records of several wind farm operators in California.

Gipe represented the American Wind Energy Association on the West Coast from 1986 to 1994. The association presented him with its highest honor in 1988. He has also served on AWEA's board of directors. Gipe was the executive director of the Kern Wind Energy Association from 1987 to 1995.

Since publication of his book Wind Energy Comes of Age, which was selected by the American Library Association as one of the outstanding academic books of 1995, Gipe has been a frequent lecturer in Canada, Europe, and the South Pacific.

Gipe's interest in wind energy grew out of his wish to limit the environmental effects of conventional energy sources, particularly those of coal and nuclear power. He is active in the Sierra Club.

The World Renewable Energy Congress is held every two years. The "pioneer" honor not only acknowledges Gipe's contribution, but also the growing importance of wind energy as renewable energy's most visible success story. Wind energy has become a multi-billion dollar worldwide industry.


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