HMMH Exhibits Wind Energy Services at Community Wind Conference12.20.2010 | HMMH |
By Steve Barrett
HMMH attended the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) Community and Small Wind Conference in Portland Oregon during the second week of December. This was our first time on the road in the “Energy and Climate” arena with our new booth which communicates HMMH’s expanding skill set including renewable energy support services. While the annual AWEA conference, held each year in late spring, now attracts up to 25,000 attendees and has over 1,000 exhibitors, the Community Wind Conference offers a more intimate venue to meet with the wind industry’s community and residential segment. Small wind is generally characterized by wind turbines that are under 100 kW; many exhibited at the conference were in the 5-20 kW range suitable for homes, farms, and small industry.
Community wind has a less precise definition but is typically characterized by wind projects owned by landowners with the model being Midwest farmers constructing multiple utility-scale (i.e., 400 foot tall) wind turbines and generating alternative sources of income. Particularly in more densely developed areas like New England and coastal areas, interest in community wind projects are increasing because projects with fewer wind turbines fit more appropriately into the landscape and the benefits of the wind energy can be provided locally. Several projects that HMMH has recently worked on in Massachusetts – Falmouth, Cohasset, and West Gloucester – all fit this model. And because these projects are often located close to residences, they require sound studies to assess potential noise exposure from a proposed wind turbine on neighbors, which is one of HMMH’s developing areas of specialty. While Portland was seasonally cool and rainy during our visit, the conference provided us with an opportunity to meet people working on small and community wind projects throughout the country and we hope to expand our work in this sector capitalizing on our success in the Northeast.