General Wesley Clark at
Community Wind across America
A four star general, a former CIA director, and a U.S. senator each brought messages for a national energy policy to the regional Community Wind across America Midwest conference, held in St. Paul, MN, this past fall.
The Midwest event marked the second in a series of Community and Small Wind conferences presented by Windusty, with support of the U.S. Department of Energy. Wesley Clark delivered a keynote address during the two-day event, which focused on wind energy development with the highest benefit for residents of the region. The retired general called for a stop to America’s massive spending on foreign fuel. “We can’t import oil at the expense of the American economy. The money has to stay here. It is the difference between 4% growth and creating jobs and 2% growth and losing jobs,” said Clark. He went on the say that Community Wind is the “sweet spot” for creating new energy sources, as that power can plug into the current transmission grid.
National security and distributed energy framed an address from former CIA director James Woolsey, delivered by video. The longtime proponent of alternative energy said our best security strategy is “to move away from oil,” which currently funds enemy states, and lays Americans vulnerable to possible terrorist strikes and disruptions in supply. He argued for America to develop all forms of renewable energy, and supportive legislation to encourage investment and advancement of it.
U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-MN) stated that it is incumbent upon legislators to establish a Federal Renewable Energy Standard, and add further incentives that would bolster Community Wind development. Franken was in session at the time and his letter was read by a representative from his office.
At the regional level, 300 attendees from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, South and North Dakota learned the needed details for how to develop wind energy with the highest benefit for area residents. Among them were Community Wind industry leaders, developers, turbine manufacturers, utility representatives, and government officials provided details around permitting, overcoming transmission grid limitations, and turbine selection.
Said an attendee. "Speaking one on one with attendees and presenters was very valuable. I was able to get personal responses to specific question."
The conference was also supported by national sponsoring partner Nordic Wind Power.