Why the booming wind industry needs a renewable electricity standard

Last Wednesday was New York Wind Energy Day. Like other recent officially designated days (New York International Fringe Festival Day, Hispanic Television Summit Day), Wind Energy Day coincided with a big conference: the Wind Power Finance & Investment Workshop, hosted by the American Wind Energy Association.

On MTV's 44-foot billboard at 45th and Broadway in Times Square stood a video screen showing wind turbines and industry factoids ("Wind power jobs grew by 70 percent from 50,000 to 85,000 jobs in 2008"). Nearby, at 42nd Street and Seventh Avenue, 16 45-foot cylindrical wind turbines were spinning away, powering the 47-foot Ricoh billboard: the first wind-powered outdoor board in the world. (It apparently saves the Japanese photocopier company as much as $15,000 a month on electricity bills.) And on the afternoon that the Dow closed above 10,000 for the first time in a year, AWEA president Denise Bode and Broadwind Energy CEO J. Cameron Drecoll rang the NASDAQ closing bell. That benchmark put an exclamation point on a day full of good omens and ceremonial gestures, and set a bullish tone for wind energy in the American portfolio.