The California Wind Energy Collaborative (CWEC) is committed to supporting the development of safe, reliable, cost effective, and environmentally responsible wind power in California. To meet that goal, we perform the following:
Manage a focused program of scientific and engineering research
California has been both a national and global leader in wind power since the introduction of wind turbines for utility-scale electricity generation. It continues this tradition with the country’s most aggressive Renewables Portfolio Standard, requiring that 20% of the state’s energy be provided by renewable energy resources by 2010. Successfully achieving this goal requires in-depth understanding of current issues constraining the expansion of wind power and imminent issues that may arise without appropriate planning for the targeted penetration levels. CWEC has performed and participated in a variety of studies investigating such issues, including analyses of the inherent variability of wind power generation, the economics of energy storage systems, and the mechanisms driving wind plant setback and obstruction lighting requirements. Other research efforts include anemometer studies, performance evaluation of small wind turbines, and wind resource assessment in urban environments. We accomplish this work through the expertise of our in-house staff and extensive relationships with industry consultants and government lab researchers.
Coordinate efforts to address issues and interests in California
Effectively addressing wind power’s issues in California requires a coordinated effort tailored to our state’s specific wind resources, policies, grid, technology portfolio, and public interests. A broad set of parties are engaged in wind power development and research, from international companies to regional interest groups. They include industry, national labs, state agencies, county offices, trade organizations, private consultants, academia, and more. CWEC collaborates with all of these groups to ensure that the specific interests of California are met. Additionally, we host an annual symposium, the California Wind Energy Collaborative Forum, to further encourage open dialogue among these parties.
Provide and promote education, training, and outreach
Wind power in the future cannot succeed without education today, yet there is a troubling lack of learning and training opportunities. CWEC is committed to filling this gap, from higher education to vocational training to public outreach. We develop and teach university level engineering curriculum. In cooperation with wind plant operators, we created a Wind Energy for Technicians short course, which covers the science and engineering of modern utility-scale wind power. The technical detail and comprehensiveness of this course has attracted not only technicians, but also engineers, investors, and business office personnel. To the general public, we offer a Small Wind Energy Systems one-day course covering the science, economics, and ownership of a small wind turbine. Finally, we speak to groups about modern wind power to dispel misperceptions and inform the public about the current state of wind.
CWEC is a partnership of the University of California and the California Energy Commission. We were established in 2002 to provide a centralized state-level forum for wind power issues, unbound by the traditional constraints of existing government and industry bodies. We are housed on the University of California, Davis campus, leveraging UC Davis’ longstanding history of wind power-related efforts and the experience and expertise of its diverse faculty and students. We work in close cooperation with the California Energy Commission Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program.