The CEC’s annual Wind Industry Forum in March has become one of the must-attend events for the people who design, plan, build and operate Australia’s wind farms.

We spoke with Alicia Webb, the CEC’s Policy Manager and the program convenor for the forum:

The Wind Industry Forum is aimed at the wide group of people who contribute to building wind farms. It’s for engineers, planners, acousticians, environmental consultants, lawyers, and more.

Attendees will be treated to a smorgasbord of technical content, from the latest in noise and acoustics, to developments in planning and environmental assessments, and new and interesting ways to maintain wind turbines.

There’s also a session on wind measurement; one on generation and markets; a look at some of the challenges we’ll face in constructing a large number of wind farms over the next few years; and two packed sessions on grid integration – which is a pretty important topic at the moment.

My favourite thing about the Wind Industry Forum is the opportunity to get together with the whole Australian wind industry in one place at one time. I’m looking forward to hearing the optimistic buzz about the 2016 construction ramp-up and about teams expanding instead of shrinking, in a reversal of the last couple of years.

The Wind Industry Forum is aimed at technical staff and complements the Australian Clean Energy Summit in July, which is aimed at executives and policymakers. While the summit involves high-level discussions and presentations on policy, finance and other issues, those discussions aren’t necessarily relevant to someone who is designing a wind farm layout or trying to interpret a complex planning regime. The Wind Industry Forum brings technical minds together to learn from each other how to design and build best practice facilities.

In 2016, we’re going to be hard at work building new wind farms. We’ve had a couple of difficult years in this industry waiting for policy certainty from the Federal Government with the Renewable Energy Target review.

With that now settled, we’re going to roll up our sleeves and get construction underway, so there’s never been a better time to brush up on your technical knowledge.