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Wind Energy

March 2, 2020
Paul Gipe

The Need for and the Value of the World Wind Energy Association

The World Wind Energy Association was formed because existing organizations were narrowly focused on the often arcane and specialized needs of the commercial wind industry. There was no organization with the long term view that people, especially the people who use and live with wind energy were vitally important to the industry's ultimate success. There was a need, and WWEA filled it. That need still exists today--even more so now than two decades ago.

The following essay is in response to recent political developments within the NGO community in Germany.

As one country after another--Great Britain, Germany, and now France--turns away from wind energy on land, our ability to tackle climate change in time dangerously diminishes.

We are being assaulted on all sides by wealthy and organized opponents of wind energy--and they're winning. The recent decision in France is calamitous. It sends a signal that wind turbines are again not welcome, and it drives a stake through the heart of plans to close aging French reactors in our lifetime.

We will not win this fight with fancy brochures, tailored focus groups, and opinion polls. We can only win acceptance of wind turbines on the landscape and in our communities by inviting the people to participate. This has been proven time and again. Only WWEA has understood this and campaigned to keep this option open as the industry has marched on. Without WWEA the dream will die, and with it the acceptance necessary for the rapid expansion of massive amounts of wind energy the planet needs.

It was WWEA that worked with me to reach Michael Brune, the chief executive of the Sierra Club, the US's largest and most powerful environmental group. Together, we brought Brune to the 2012 Bonn conference jointly sponsored by WWEA and BWE (the German wind turbine owners association) where he saw first hand not only the environmental benefits of wind energy but also the means for achieving greater public acceptance of wind energy through community participation and ownership. Subsequently, Brune and the Sierra Club issued a joint statement with WWEA and others on the need for renewable energy to address climate change. That meeting in Bonn cemented the cooperation of one of the most powerful non-governmental groups in the US to the benefit of both the German and US wind industry and the global environment as well.

WWEA is another voice. It is an important voice, and a voice that is sorely needed.

Paul Gipe is the author of Wind Energy for the Rest of Us, his seventh book on wind energy. He's been an advocate of wind energy for more than four decades. Some have called him one of the industry's pioneers. In Husum in 2012, Gipe warned Energy Minister Peter Altmaier that Germany was taking a dangerous path that would threaten the domestic wind industry as well as the country's renewable energy goals. The warning went unheeded.

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