A wind expert WHO?
Who can answer any question! At least that's what people are hoping when they call the Windustry Information Hotline. “Through member supported outreach, education and advocacy we work to remove the barriers to broad community ownership of wind energy,” goes our mission. One way we pursue that mission is to advise people new to wind energy, landowners hoping for a new harvest of renewable energy, and citizens who want to make a difference in their communities by advocating for Community Wind projects.
Energy Empowers is a web service by the U.S. Department of Energy that tells the nation's clean energy stories, from appliance rebates to wind farms to the 1,000-mile American Le Mans Series endurance contest for alternative fueled vehicles. Energy Empowers recently featured the story “Ring ring. Who's there? A wind expert,” about the Windustry Information Hotline.
“The questions are all over the map,” says David Tidball, who has been fielding calls since early 2009. “It's everything from, ‘What's a wind turbine look like?’ to ‘How do I get involved in a wind project of my own?’”
Karen Butler, a school board member from Estherville, Iowa, made several calls in 2007 and 2008, looking for guidance on how to get a wind turbine erected at the Estherville Lincoln School.
“They were most helpful in helping me in my direction, as well as teaching me about this whole industry,” Butler says. “They put me touch with lots of people to help me find the money, where the seminars were and about grants.”
Windustry does not have a dedicated staff person for the Hotline. The workload is shared by several people, and assignments rotate depending upon who's available and who's in the office. While we have boilerplate answers ready for simple questions, complex questions may be referred to our Program Analyst or Policy Analyst who have the needed expertise.
Interns, just like new staff, can be assigned to answer the Hotline phone or to sort through incoming email as a learning experience. There's no better way to perform basic research on the wind industry than to take on real questions from real people. Many answers to common questions are already on the Windustry web site along with links to the best resources on the web, so it's a great introduction to the wealth of information that Windustry offers.
Remember—Need a Wind Expert?