Two-day event takes an in-depth look at the myriad of issues facing Oklahoma as it moves towards its goal of being America’s leading wind energy state.
OKLAHOMA CITY — A wind-inspired revolution is taking place in Oklahoma and to help everyone in the state better understand the multitude of challenges and possibilities of this exciting new industry, Oklahoma’s Secretaries of Energy and Environment will present REVOLUTION: The Oklahoma Wind Energy Conference, December 2 and 3, 2008, at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City.
“Wind power has come of age,” said David Fleischaker, Oklahoma Secretary of Energy. “Clean, sustainable and affordable, wind is at the forefront of America’s new energy plan. At the same time, we need to move forward with wind in a conscientious, deliberate and balanced manner. There are a number of issues that need to be thought about and discussed, which is the whole intent of Oklahoma’s first-ever wind energy conference.”
The Oklahoma Wind Energy Conference’s two keynote speakers illustrate Secretary Fleischaker’s point. The luncheon keynote speaker on December 2 is T. Boone Pickens, the author of “The Pickens Plan” and undoubtedly America’s most outspoken advocate for America’s wind energy future. The luncheon keynote speaker on the second day is Mark Tercek, CEO of The Nature Conservancy. While Pickens will discuss the critical need for America to remain committed to wind energy solutions, Tercek will provide a perspective on wind energy development that emphasizes the importance of environmental stewardship.
“With Oklahoma poised to become a national leader in wind power, the full spectrum of issues we face in developing this new energy industry have to be examined, ” said J.D. Strong, Oklahoma Secretary of Environment. “From discussions about rural economic development to exploring solutions for imperiled prairie wildlife, attendees will find REVOLUTION an engaging and highly informative conference.”
The conference will appeal to landowners, farmers and ranchers who want to hear more about land leasing issues, wind turbine manufacturers, wind farm developers, community planners and community developers, economic development groups, consultants, sustainable energy advocates, conservation and environmental groups, utility companies and co-ops.
On day one, conference topics will include:
* Will Oklahoma Be the “Saudi Arabia” of Wind Power? Larry Flowers from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo., and Jay Caspary from the Southwest Power Pool in Little Rock, Ark., will discuss the basics of wind energy generation, and whether or not the economics of wind power really add up.
* Why Oklahoma Should Be Bullish on Wind. This economic development panel, moderated by Natalie Shirley, Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce and Tourism, features speakers representing higher education, workforce training, communities and industry.
* Wind Energy Transmission: Delivering Power to the People. Which comes first – wind farms or transmission lines? Always a challenging debate, this panel will address the opportunities, issues and concerns related to expanded transmission and distribution.
* Wind Power and Wildlife. This critically important session examines the need to understand, predict and minimize wind power’s impact on wildlife through an approach that includes comprehensive research and careful site design. Panelists include representatives from the American Wind Wildlife Institute, the Sutton Avian Research Center and the Oklahoma Nature Conservancy.
* Key Issues for Landowners. Can the wind above the land be considered a resource similar to the mineral resources below the land? What kind of “deal” should a landowner expect from a wind farm developer? These questions, and more, will be discussed in this session moderated by Oklahoma Lieutenant Governor Jari Askins.
On day two, session topics include:
* The Role of Community Wind Power. Smaller, locally-owned wind power operations can significantly impact the energy needs of a community; this session examines the differences between large and small-scale wind power generation and the potential bottom-line benefits of community-based wind power.
* The Citizen’s Role in Wind Power’s Future. What is it going to take for Oklahoma – and America – to make wind power a vital part of its energy portfolio? This session, moderated by Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner Jeff Cloud, will examine what is needed in terms of policy, education and incentives, to turn the potential of wind power into a reality.