Indiana wind power is focus of July conference

June 15, 2010

The Fowler Ridge wind farm, seen here, is evidence of Indiana's growing wind power industry, which is the focus of a statewide conference in July. The state has gone from no turbines to more than 1,100 in two and a half years and is ranked the third fastest-growing state for wind power in the country. (Purdue Office of Research Communications photo/Linda A. Howell)

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Indiana's only statewide wind power conference, taking place July 21 and 22, will concentrate on better integrating wind with the power grid and includes talks on topics ranging from big wind farms to wind power for individual homes or small communities.

WIndiana 2010 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis will bring together experts from industry and government to address key issues in wind power. The conference is organized by the Indiana Office of Energy Development and the  Energy Center at Purdue University's Discovery Park.

The conference, which is in its third year, has expanded to include three tracks focusing on "big wind" - or utility-scale wind generation - small-scale wind generation for communities and individuals, and Indiana's wind industry supply chain.

"Indiana's wind industry continues to grow," said Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman, who will deliver a keynote address. "As more wind farms are built, as smaller wind facilities are installed, as more wind manufacturing supply chain jobs are created, we must understand how it all works together towards Indiana's energy and economic future."

Indiana has gone from no turbines to more than 1,100 in two and a half years and is ranked the third fastest-growing state for wind power in the country, according to the American Wind Energy Association. The association ranks Indiana 13th for most installed wind power capacity in the country.

"This conference keeps getting bigger and better and mirrors wind power expansion in the state," said John Schneider, Purdue's assistant vice president for industry research. "It's the perfect opportunity to network. We're expecting several hundred attendees representing local and state government, developers, manufacturers, landowners, and others. Officials will keep abreast of the latest technological and economic developments, and property owners will learn how to go about putting up wind turbines."

Researchers also will discuss how their work has the potential to impact the wind-power industry.

"By bringing scientists, engineers, economists and wind companies together to address major issues, universities in the state can play an important role in advancing the field," said Douglas Adams, Purdue's Kenninger Professor of Renewable Energy and Power Systems in the School of Mechanical Engineering and director of Purdue's Center for Systems Integrity.

Adams' research at the center includes work to develop "smart" turbine blades that would use sensors and computational software to improve efficiency by adjusting for rapidly changing wind conditions.

Indiana has five privately developed wind farms that generate a total of more than 1,000 megawatts, compared to about 23,500 megawatts of generating capacity for utilities in Indiana, primarily from coal. Wind farms now online in Indiana can power the equivalent of more than 250,000 homes. A sixth wind farm facility is under construction, and several others are proposed.

"In addition to the farms themselves, 11 Hoosier companies manufacture wind turbine components," said Brandon Seitz, director of the state Office of Energy Development. "These companies employ about 1,000 people."

Conference registration will be 7-8 a.m. the first day and 7:30-8:30 a.m. on the second day. Those interested in registering early may do so at http://www.conf.purdue.edu/wind

Skillman will give the keynote address at noon on July 21. Also speaking at that time will be Keith Trent, vice president for renewables at Duke Energy, Indiana's largest investor-owned utility.

Sessions are divided into three tracks running simultaneously. Events will include sessions on:

* Integrating wind power into the daily grid; integrating property owners' concerns into small and community-scale wind operations; and an overview on the wind-power supply chain, 10:30 a.m. to noon on July 21.

* Transmission expansion and planning; using wind power in communities; and how the supply chain works, 1:45-3:15 p.m. on July 21.

* Integrating the latest technology into industry; wind applications for small businesses and homes; wind turbine and component manufacturing, 3:15-5 p.m. on July 21.

* Integrating research activities into industry; the state's work force; and wind-power services and support in Indiana, 8:30-10:15 a.m. on July 22.

* "Bumps in the Wind Power Road," challenges and opportunities; and improving the wind power supply chain in Indiana, 10:30 a.m. to noon on July 22.

A roundtable discussion on various wind power topics is scheduled for 12:15-3:30 p.m. on July 22.

The conference includes a tour of the Horizon Energy Meadow Lake I wind farm in White County. Because space for the tour is limited, attendees who want to take the tour are asked to indicate this in the registration process or on the registration form. Attendees more interested in small- and community-scale wind power may take a tour of wind and solar installations at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Registration for the conference is $100 per person before July 1 and $125 after. More information is available at http://www.energy.IN.gov

Writer: Emil Venere, 765-494-4709, venere@purdue.edu 

Sources:   John Schneider, 765-494-5532, jas@purdue.edu

                   Douglas Adams, 765-496-6033, deadams@purdue.edu