Windpower 2011 took place this week at Anaheim, California. There were all the people related with wind: developers look for investment opportunities, turbin manufacturers trying to sell their wind mills to developers, component suppliers trying to sell to turbine manufactures, economic develop. agencies looking for developers and some crazy inventors with the most incredible gadgets in wind power generation.
We exploited the occasion for improving our knowledge about US market and networking with the best. The most interesting meeting was with Oklahoma folks. We had the opportunity to know the Governor, Mary Fallin and chat with her and with her team. From the Spanish side, they were Dan Foley (CEO of Acciona), Martin Mugica (CEO of Iberdrola Renewables), Alfred Ritcher (Director at Gamesa), Javier San Miguel (Director at Cener), Aitor Sotes (CEO of Ingeteam) and my good friend Aitor Eizmendi (Business Developer of Sisener).
Oklahoma is supposed to be one the most interesting states to develop wind power. Its wind resource is very high (it is in the wind belt) and belongs to the eastern grid connection, (unlike the independat Texas, who belong to ERCOT). This is because Acciona has built a wind farm there and the rest of the companies are interested in it. However, they had the same problem that many other states in the US: a low inside consumption due to the low population and a lack of capacity in transmission lines to export the electricity to great places of consumption. We explained to the gently Governor the solution we made for dealing with the same problem in Spain. We showed the changes we did in order to deregulate the sector (not socialize the cost, ;-)) and to establish the new Red Electrica de España (REE) as the independent owner of the transmission lines and the system operator. I hope they appreciated our knowledge in the matter and we had opened a new way to solve the endemic trouble.
We also arranged a meeting with Kansas, Arkansas and Missouri, to explore the same business opportunities in wind power generation. The four states are neighbours and I imagine they want to follow the sucess way of Texas (with the 26% of wind power capacity in the US). Nevertheless, it is important to take into account thet the electricity regulation in Texas is totally different from the rest of the US. They have a liberalized market and a high consumption. It is important to transmit the message to Governors, regulators and economic development folks that without the correct regulation, it is very difficult to develop the sweet renewables.
Apart of this, the exhibition had few people that the prior year and the sense of the market is that is a bit stopped and probably will continue like in the short run, due to the fall out of cash grants at the end of the year, as everybody expect about.