Make Your Case – Links

1 –   “Annual Energy Outlook 2009 with Projections to 2030”

Accessed: December 1, 2009.

Published online by the Energy Information Association (EIA) in March 2009, a report of this nature appears annually and is compiled by the DOE (no specific authors are listed). Using scientific and statistical information as well as many lovely multi-colored graphs, this report summarizes the overarching trends in energy use of 2009. It also projects energy use for every year up to 2030. I used this information to provide context to my issue and explore how urgent developing green energy actually is.

Judging by its tone and syntax, this piece is intended for other scientists/researchers interested in energy consumption. It may also be useful for energy companies as they forecast future consumer demands. However, it is easy to access online if one is interested in green energy and so, in a sense, also addresses the citizen population at large. (Government/Institution/Academic Research)

2 –  “20% Wind Energy by 2030”

Accessed: October 2009

I have previously referred to this report from the DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Department. According to the DOE website, the report was funded to “[examine] the technical feasibility of using wind energy to generate 20% of the nation’s electricity demand by 2030.” That such a field is of interest to the DOE speaks to the topicality of my topic, and also provides scientific fact for me to build my argument from. As mentioned in my final essay, the information available here comes from the DOE-sponsored National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) with the lead editors all heads of either the DOE or the NREL.

In addition to these industry leaders, the report also identifies “more than 90 individuals and more than 50 organizations” that contributed. As such, like with my first link, this piece was written by scientists and researchers for others in their respective fields. Indeed, some of the involved institutions went on to use this source to fuel their own organization decisions, as was the case for the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) which has a website completely devoted to achieving the goal set forth in the “20% Wind Energy by 2030” report. However, by making the report available online and in downloadable PDF format, the DOE makes the information available to anyone, like myself, who is interested in the hard numbers behind the energy issue.(Government/Institution/Academic Research)

3 –  The Danish Wind Industry Association

Accessed: October 2009

The Danish Wind Industry Association (DWIA) website has been critical in my research because Denmark has long led the offshore wind industry. Although the DWIA is obviously in strong favor of wind energy (the association represents 99.9% of Danish wind turbine manufacturing), I have found the information extremely useful in terms of statistics and seeing whether or not offshore wind is truly worth the cost of development. No specific authors are mentioned on this website. Rather the information is presented as the collective opinion of the DWIA. Its simple-to-understand nature as well as the ready availability of the information (any Google search for the industry leader in Danish wind will lead to the DWIA homepage) lead me to believe that the facts presented here are intended for the general public.

A special note – the URL of the site intrigued me (namely the “talent factory” part of it). I found that the Talent Factory is, as described on its webpage, a “co-operation between 16 leading wind power companies that represent the broad span of technical challenges in the industry.” The Talent Factory is the party responsible for presenting the DWIA webpage translated in English. This fact may seem small but sheds light on the Talent Factory and DWIA’s shared goal to extend offshore wind power education to parties, governments, and companies beyond Denmark . (Institution with institution-funded research)

4 –  The European Wind Energy Association

Accessed: November 2009

The DWIA and many of the companies involved with the Talent Factory are also members of this organization: the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). I include so many resources dealing with Europe because one of the main points in my essay is that the offshore wind farm has already proven to be a viable market in various foreign countries, many of which are members of the European Union and the EWEA.

In addition, the EWEA is the European counterpart to the AWEA. Both are responsible for all wind power related matters that occur in their specific regions. However, the two organizations are not connected beyond this, and the EWEA wields much more influence than the AWEA. For example, the EWEA oversees a number of wind associations and institutions around Europe, including the two mentioned earlier. In the United States, such coordination and leadership power tends to fall to the DOE. Knowing this information is important in appreciating the differences between the European and American approaches to offshore wind power. (Institution with institution-funded research)

5 –  DOE press releases:

September 15, 2009 press release

October 15, 2009 press release

Accessed: October/November 2009

These links go to two DOE press releases which announce respective rounds of funding that directly involve the offshore wind market. In both cases, this funding in some way involves Principle Power, a company I directly reference in my final essay.

The DOE is, obviously, a government body. However, being press releases, these two documents are worded to attract media attention and, in this way, be introduced to a larger audience. Thus, it is not surprising that U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu plays a prominent role in both. In fact, the format of both press releases is surprisingly similar: an introductory sentence, followed by a favorable quote from the Secretary about the importance of green energy, and ended with an easy-to-understand summary of the funding and “awarded” projects.

As is the case with most of the government/institutional sources I’ve listed, these documents have no listed authors but rather are written in such a way as to embody the very voice and opinions of the group they represent. One difference with these two links is that the press releases include a phone number for media personnel to contact. This drives home the fact that the information presented here is meant for an audience larger than just green energy scientists and government officials. (Government/Journalism – Public Relations)

6 Wall Street Journal “Environmental Capital” blog post

Accessed: November 2009

I originally presented this link as a source providing a “more negative” view on offshore wind turbines. After reading through the selected Wall Street Journal “Environmental Capital” blog post and its companions (visit these two additional ones here: #1 and #2), however, I came to the conclusion that this viewpoint wasn’t so much more negative as highly realistic.

Dealing with the business and financial side of things (not surprising knowing the origin of these pieces) the intended audience for this article is, most likely, a younger, up-and-coming set of businesspeople. I say this because this article appears online in the daily “Environmental Capital” blog, which advertises itself as covering “the business of the environment”. Only someone who was both technologically savvy and interested in a financial opinion on environment ventures would religiously follow such a resource.

The lead writer on the blog is Keith Johnson who is very prolific on environmental issues ranging from China’s green energy plans to “Green Ink”, a daily round-up of the most current environmental news. He is the go-to guy for all Wall Street Journal environmental coverage. This is important as it means that, in general, Mr. Johnson and his editor(s) are the voice of the Wall Street Journal‘s opinion on the environment.   (Journalism)

7 –  Interview with Alla Weinstein

Accessed: November 9th, 2009

As I mention in my final essay, Alla Weinstein is the CEO of Principle Power, a Northwest green energy company currently developing the first prototype of its WindFloat technology. This technology would allow turbines to float on top of the ocean and thus open up a whole new area of development for offshore wind farms, especially along the American West Coast. Principle Power has received funding from the DOE although Ms. Weinstein said the majority of the company’s money comes from private donors.

I learned such information in my interview with Ms. Weinstein. During our talk, it was obvious that Ms. Weinstein is no stranger to the media – she was very adept at shifting focus from specific information concerning Principle Power’s budget to more encouraging topics, such as the progress of the green energy market. Keeping this in mind, Ms. Weinstein’s information was still very helpful in learning more about the field. In addition, she provided estimates on how WindFloat technology budgets that orientated my research in terms of similar green energy project costs. (Institution)

8 –  Interview with Mary Jane Parks

Accessed: November 3rd, 2009

Like Ms. Weinstein, Mary Jane Parks works for Principle Power. She is the company’s senior vice president. I interviewed both Ms. Parks and Ms. Weinstein to provide a more dynamic view of Principle Power and the company’s role in the offshore wind business. Where Ms. Weinstein has made a career of green energy, Ms. Parks began working for the company only a couple of years ago. As such, Ms. Weinstein provided more information on the company’s technology development, while Ms. Parks elaborated on the benefits of Principle Power’s work. She, like Ms. Weinstein, tended to skirt questions involving finances.

One additional note – I was referred to speak with Ms. Parks by Patrick Ashby (more information below) and, due to many failed attempts trying to contact Ms. Weinstein, Ms. Parks was to be my only Principle Power viewpoint.

9 –  Interview with Patrick Ashby

Accessed: Multiple dates in October 2009

Another information-rich interview I conducted was with Patrick Ashby, the General Manager of the Tillamook County People’s Utility District (PUD). The PUD currently has a Memorandum of Agreement with Principle Power concerning a proposed 40-turbine farm off the Tillamook coast. Mr. Ashby oversaw the MOA and continues to work with Principle Power as that company develops the WindFloat technology the Tillamook project would use. It was Mr. Ashby who referred me to Ms. Parks.

Although he and the project he manages didn’t end up featuring as much in my final essay as they did in earlier assignments, Mr. Ashby’s interviews were very helpful in confirming the facts and financial information on the Tillamook project that Ms. Weinstein and Ms. Parks also shared. He also provided an opinion that is not directly connected to the offshore wind business seeing as Mr. Ashby’s position does not, to the best of my knowledge, hinge on the success of the development of Principle Power’s WindFloat. Unlike Ms. Parks, Mr. Ashby was not accountable to Ms. Weinstein or, for the most part, Principle Power officials. (Institution/Citizen)

10 –   Oregonian article “Company floats idea of Pacific Ocean wind power”

Accessed: October 2009

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this article was the match point for my entire project. Written for a regional (Northwest) audience, this piece goes over the basics of the Principle Power and Tillamook PUD agreement and how it would impact Tillamook County and, more broadly, the state of Oregon. In addition, this piece provides background on East Coast wind projects and floating turbine technology, including Principle Power’s WindFloat. Many of the main characters in this article, including Alla Weinstein and Garibaldi, Oregon, citizen Jeff Folkema, ended up finding their way into my research.

However, there is information the article leaves out that I found vital in my own research. For example, the piece does not provide a very extensive look at the proposed downsides of the Tillamook project. Little context is given about other projects outside America or how this sector of the green energy market has grown around the world. Also, competing technologies, such as those developed by the United Kingdom company Blue H, go unmentioned.

I can relate to the struggle the journalist Gail Hill must have had in trying to incorporate all the available offshore wind information. I too had trouble fitting all my research into a concise written piece. There are many topics, such as the expected impact of various wind turbine technologies on ocean life, that pages and pages of text could be devoted to. Ms. Hill no longer appears on the Oregonian staff although the paper still features an environmental section on its webpage and, at times, in its physical newspaper. (Journalism)

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