AWEA Dives Into Distributed Wind, Names New Program Leader


The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has hired Jennifer Jenkins as the director of its new distributed wind program.

Jenkins, the former founding executive director of the Distributed Wind Energy Association (DWEA), comes to AWEA with over 10 years’ experience in the industry.

AWEA, now adding distributed wind to its portfolio, explains that distributed wind systems can include a 1 kW or smaller off-grid wind turbine at a remote cabin, a 10 kW turbine at a home or farm, or several multi-megawatt wind turbines at a university campus, manufacturing facility or small community. In contrast with utility-scale wind farms, which are connected to transmission lines and have an average capacity of roughly 200 MW, distributed wind systems are generally connected behind the meter or to a local distribution grid.

AWEA says its inclusion of distributed wind expands the association’s ability to educate Americans about the benefits of wind energy, including the potential wind turbines have to supply on-site power for homes and businesses. Distributed wind also provides a unique opportunity for the public to engage more directly with wind power technology at residential and community scale, AWEA adds.

“AWEA is proud to represent the distributed wind power industry, and I can think of no one better than Jennifer to be at the head of that effort,” states Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA. “Utility-scale wind is growing strong as the largest source of U.S. renewable energy capacity, and AWEA’s distributed wind program aims to expand opportunities for Americans to own part of that future.”

“A major key to the success of distributed wind will be to leverage the investment tax credit while working with local municipalities, advocates and community members to create a pro-growth environment. This high-tech, high-potential industry can continue to create new American manufacturing and construction jobs,” says Jenkins. “Healthy partnerships with DWEA on national policy, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association for education and outreach, and groups like the Clean Energy Business Council for state support will be critical as we grow this sector of the wind industry.”

According to AWEA, distributed wind capacity in the U.S. reached 1 GW in 2017, providing electricity to homes, farms, businesses and communities in all 50 states.

“I’m thrilled to be a part of such a collaborative effort that will enhance and expand the distributed wind market in the U.S.,” adds Jenkins. “We’ve got a lot of work to do, and the future looks bright.”

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