World Wind Energy Conference

I attended the World Wind Energy Conference in Kingston last week.  It was quite invigorating.

The World Wind Energy Association (WWEA) is one of two such associations.  CanWEA and AWEA, for whatever reason, have chosen to join the other world association, the Global Wind Energy Council.  The two organizations have very different approaches.  I rather like the approach of the WWEA.  They are less compromising.  Much of the talk at the conference was of the need to head toward 100% renewable energy, and of the ways to do it.  It is a more radical approach, and more grass roots.  The Canadian sponsor – the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association, which has been a tireless advocate of the Standard Offer in Ontario, was there in force.
There were 800 people at the conference, from 40 countries, and about half from Ontario.  There were over 100 presentation.  Four Ontario cabinet ministers attended – George Smitherman (energy), Donna Cansfield (natural resources), John Gerretsen, (environment), and Leona Dombrowski, (agriculture).   It is clear that the politicians support wind energy, and the deployment of more renewable energy.  John Gerretsen stated that there was no more pressing need than dealing with climate change.  Interesting that he believes that, yet the policy framework of the Ontario government to deal with the problem remains incredibly weak.  I will the the Ontario ministers credit, though.  At least they were there.  The Harper government, whose ministers are a mere 2 hours away, didn’t bother to show up at all.  Maybe they were at a tar sands conference.
But in the hallways and in the presentations, there was a seething anger and disgust with the Ontario government’s current policies, especially with the Standard Offer.  Hydro One, and the OPA, were roundly and legitimately criticized for blocking the deployment of more renewables.  The determination of those in the audience to see change was clear.  The government, the OPA, and Hydro One had better get ready for it.  The current policy, that ensures that we don’t hit renewable energy targets, and blocks all sorts of legitimate projects cannot stand.  The people at the conference won’t let it.

Hermann Scheer, the German Paliamentarian pointed out in his speech that the renewables revolution will not be delivered to society by the incumbent energy companies, but rather by new investors.  Incumbent energy companies have a mind set that won’t let them do anything but dabble in renewable energy.  I rather think he is right.

Good conference.  Good energy.

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