Outreach and Education
The Wind Program works to remove barriers to wind power deployment and to increase the acceptance of wind power technologies by enhancing public acceptance and engaging key stakeholders. This page describes the program's efforts to increase the deployment of wind energy nationwide, its goals, and where you can find more information about the program's major outreach initiative, Wind Powering America.
The program conducts outreach activities to overcome market and regulatory barriers at the national, state, and local levels, which is essential to making progress toward significant increases in the use of wind energy. Reaching an installed capacity threshold of 100 Megawatts (MW) in a state has been used as an important indicator that wind is being accepted as a large-scale generating option by that state's utilities, regulators, and investors. When the program launched Wind Powering America in 1999, only four states boasted more than 100 MW of installed wind capacity. By 2008, 22 states had more than 100 MW and seven states had more than 1000 MW. The program's goal for technology acceptance is for 30 states to have 100 MW of wind installed by 2010.
Accelerating the Use of Wind Technologies
The program develops and disseminates credible information on a range of wind technologies and issues to national, state, and local stakeholders and decisionmakers. Through the Wind Powering America initiative, team members work at the state and regional levels to promote wind energy, placing an emphasis on states with good wind resource potential but little wind energy development. At the state level, team members work with community members to form wind working groups in each state. Working group members include landowners, agricultural-sector representatives, county commissioners, rural-development specialists, utilities and regulators, colleges and universities, advocacy groups, and other state and local groups. Wind Powering America currently has 33 state Wind Working Groups.
Wind Powering America is also working to develop Regional Wind Energy Institutes (RWEIs). The goal of the RWEIs is to provide accurate and current information to members of state wind outreach teams that are actively engaged in furthering wind power development by educating key constituents in their respective states.
Workforce Development and Education
The United States now leads the world in installed wind power capacity, and continued growth requires trained and qualified workers to manufacture, construct, operate, and maintain wind turbines. Additionally, the nation will continue to need skilled scientists and engineers who can develop the next generation of wind power technologies.
The program addresses the wind industry's workforce needs through the Wind for Schools project, which raises awareness in rural America about the benefits of wind energy while simultaneously developing a wind energy knowledge base in the future leaders of our communities, states, and nation. The Department of Energy is working with other federal agencies that are heavily invested in training and education, such as the Departments of Labor and Education and the National Science Foundation, to fill existing gaps and ensure that federally-sponsored training activities and educational programs are appropriately targeted and complementary.