By Kari Williamson
“AWEA salutes this year’s award winners, who are bright spots in an industry that continues to produce American jobs in a challenging economic climate,” says AWEA CEO Denise Bode.
“These champions of wind have led the way to help propel what has become one of the nation’s most exciting industries—that is, an industry that taps into two historical American pillars of strength: innovation and manufacturing.”
The recipients of the 2011 AWEA Awards are:
Britt Theismann Wind Energy Person of the Year Award: Britt Theismann, AWEA
The wind energy world bid farewell to an industry icon in AWEA COO and Senior Vice President Britt Theismann, who passed away in August. Theismann, who joined the AWEA team in 2005, was a driving force behind the creation of the Wind Energy Foundation.
In his Membership Director post, he led the recruitment of hundreds of supply chain companies into the U.S. industry and AWEA membership. As COO, he spearheaded the effort to reorganise AWEA and develop its human resources to make it the strong vital organisation it has become. Britt was a staunch advocate of wind energy in America, and this inaugural award will be presented each year in his memory.
Outstanding Technical Contribution to the Wind Industry Award: William Erdman, BEW Engineering, Inc.
Dr. William L. Erdman, former President of BEW Engineering, is now Department Head of DNV Cleaner Energy and a technical pioneer in the application of power electronics for variable speed wind turbine technology in North America. He is a named inventor on over 30 US and international patents related to wind technology, and the intellectual property contained in these patents has been commercially implemented in wind turbines manufactured over the last two decades by leading turbine producers.
He is also a highly valued contributor to wind energy research programmes sponsored by the US Department of Energy and managed through the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Andrew Linehan Award for Environmental Excellence: John Calaway, Pattern Energy
John Calaway is a leader in using advanced technologies to minimise the environmental impact of wind energy projects, as well as in proper site selection and design. He pioneered the use of radar technology to monitor migratory birds at the Gulf Wind project site, and this practice has been adopted at a number of other projects. John has also implemented use of the latest high resolution three-dimensional radar and infrared technology to monitor bat flying patterns.
At Gulf Wind, John also led the effort to reduce cut-in speeds during bat migrations, which resulted in a 60% reduction in bat mortality. Throughout his career, he has been one of the most successful pioneers in reducing the impact of wind projects on the environment.
Achievement in Operations Award: Alex George, Invenergy LLC
Alex George leads the operations and asset management of Invenergy’s growing portfolio of more than 4800 MW of wind and thermal power plants. He has over 28 years of broad experience in the power industry including engineering, construction, project development, commissioning, operations and asset management in a variety of fuel sources such as wind, natural gas, oil, coal, biomass and nuclear.
As one of Invenergy’s original core team members, Alex George was responsible for the start-up of Invenergy’s O&M affiliate, Invenergy Services. Initially a one-man shop, George recruited and hired all plant O&M personnel, prepared and developed the company’s first operating plans and budgets, and was the hands-on asset manager for several of Invenergy’s earliest operating projects. Since 2003, he has overseen the growth of Invenergy Services to a staff of more than 220 team members.
Outstanding Commercial Achievement Award: Joe Fahrendorf, enXco
Throughout his career, whether with the Merchant Marines, General Electric, or in the biomass and geothermal industries, Joe Fahrendorf has made good things happen through a combination of hard work, creative problem solving, and building long-term relationships. Joe has spent the past 20 years in the wind industry, joining enXco in 2000, when the company was primarily an operations and maintenance service provider that owned legacy projects in California.
Under his stewardship, enXco has built a multi-regional greenfield development team and pipeline in the US and Canada that is among the most productive and respected in the industry. Joe’s contributions to enXco and to the industry as a whole have set the example of how to develop wind projects in multiple regions at a rapidly expanding scale, while at the same time achieving commercial success and taking shareholder concerns into account.
Wind Energy Advocacy Award: Vestas Wind Systems
In 2011, the WindMade™ label was introduced to the public, ushering in a new era of environmentally friendly production and manufacturing. As a founding partner of WindMade™, Vestas is empowering citizens to choose companies and products that are made using wind energy.
Wind Energy Advocacy Award: TPI Composites, Inc./General Electric
Beginning in August at the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa, TPI Composites, Inc., and General Electric set out to showcase the power of wind by displaying a 130 ft TPI wind turbine at selected events. In Ames, the wind turbine was signed by presidential candidates Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, and many other state and local government leaders. It continues to travel across the country as a symbol of wind’s immense economic potential and environmental benefits.