A new series featuring the who is who in Wind Power by Colin Houghton. Part 1: Paul Gipe
Paul Gipe is not a CEO of a multi-million dollar wind turbine company, or a politician, but anyone who is interested in wind power and renewable energies should have heard of him because he is hugely influential: Google “Wind Guru” and his name is likely to be on that first page! He is an author, advocate, and renewable energy industry analyst. His experience with the technology runs the gamut from measuring wind resources to installing residential wind turbines. He has spent a long career working to advance renewable energy solutions.
Paul’s interest in wind energy grew out of his wish to limit the environmental effects of conventional energy sources, particularly those of coal and nuclear power. He has worked with wind energy since 1976 and is best known for his advocacy of wind energy and for his many articles and books on the subject. He has lectured widely on wind energy and how to minimize its impact on the environment and the communities of which it is a part. Through his writing and public speaking, Paul has sought to popularize the use of wind energy worldwide. For his efforts, Paul has received numerous awards.
He was at Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana, United States from September 1971 to May 1973 obtaining a B.S. in Natural Resources. He was elected as the Natural Resources Department’s Outstanding Student for 1972-73. While a student at Ball State University, Paul contributed to a citizens’ group that successfully petitioned the Indiana Legislature to ban the sale of phosphate detergents. He graduated with an interdisciplinary degree in Natural Resources.
Gipe started Paul Gipe & Associates in 1976 to provide technical services including technical writing, alternative energy development and environmental impact analysis. His company also provided turnkey installation of wind turbines. From 1986 to 1994, Paul represented the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) on the West Coast of the United States. In 1988 the American Wind Energy Association named him as the industry’s “person of the year”. He was the executive director of the Kern Wind Energy Association from 1987 to 1995. He also served on AWEA’s board of directors from 1996 to 1998. Paul has interests in many aspects of wind power: From 1999 to 2003 h measured the performance and noise emissions from small wind turbines at his Wulf Test Field in the Tehachapi Pass, in the US (photo below).
In 2004, Paul served as the acting executive director of the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association where he created, managed, and implemented a provincial campaign for Advanced Renewable Tariffs. The campaign has grown into a continent-wide grassroots movement that has put renewable energy feed-in tariffs on the political agenda in Canada and the US.
During his career, Paul Gipe has received numerous awards for his work. In 1998 the World Renewable Energy Congress honored him as a “pioneer” in renewable energy. In 2008 the World Wind Energy Association presented him with their World Wind Energy Award. The Canadian Wind Energy Association gave him its Individual Leadership Award in 2009 for his work on Ontario’s groundbreaking system of Advanced Renewable Tariffs.
Paul Gipe has published many books, all very readable and knowledgeable. They include Wind Energy: How To Use It-1983, Wind Power for Home & Business -1993, and Wind Energy Comes of Age (Wiley Series in Sustainable Design)
His most recent book is Wind Energy Basics: A Guide to Home- and Community-scale Wind Energy Systems
We’ll leave the final word to Paul himself:
“Since 1981, following a trip to Denmark, I’ve stressed the theme that wind energy does indeed work, makes economic and environmental sense, and is here to stay. Even then Denmark was a model of how successful wind energy could become–when given the opportunity. In North America at the time, there were few wind turbines and only a few of those operated well. Most simply didn’t work. My slogan was as much a statement of what could be as it was a statement of fact. Today, wind turbines are commonplace throughout the world and “wind works”, once a bold statement, now elicits a “What? Of course it does. Everyone knows that.” And that’s the way it should be.”