Utility Wind Integration Group Announces Scope Expansion, Name Change

Reston, Va. – October 26, 2011 – The Utility Wind Integration Group (UWIG) announced today that it is expanding its focus to include solar generation. The UWIG Board of Directors voted to formally enact this expansion at its Board meeting October 12, also voting to change the name of the organization to the Utility Variable Generation Integration Group (UVIG).

In an announcement to attendees of UWIG’s Fall Technical Workshop in Lahaina, Hawaii as well as a letter sent to the membership, Board President Henry Durrwachter noted that the expansion is in response to requests from UWIG member organizations to explore solar integration topics as well as those relating to wind. "Wind and solar are both generation sources with variable output and many of our utility members are seeing significant amounts of both connecting to their systems. It makes sense for UWIG to undertake this expansion and for a name change that will reflect it. We feel that the term 'variable generation' addresses the themes of variability and uncertainty common to wind and solar energy, as well as emerging renewable technologies such as wave and hydrokinetic power. Incorporating it in our name will enable us to accommodate future expansion of our technical scope while retaining a good portion of the UWIG name and brand."

Durrwachter noted that UWIG had taken a significant step already in expanding its scope, establishing a solar integration user group and putting on its second solar integration workshop October 11 in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories.

According to UWIG Executive Director Charlie Smith, the target for complete changeover to the new name and organizational identity will be January 2013: "In addition to obvious needs such as a revamp of our web site and marketing materials, we recognize that we will need to undertake a concerted effort to educate our members and stakeholders in the utility, wind, and solar industries about our scope expansion and new name."

Smith noted that the change comes amid a tremendous amount of activity for the organization, including organizing a fourth special issue focusing on wind integration in the IEEE Power and Energy Society’s Power & Energy Magazine, organizing a special issue of the IEEE Transactions on Sustainable Energy devoted to wind power, conducting an annual workshop on integrating variable generation output forecasting into control centers, and operating a wind turbine/plant operations & maintenance users group. UWIG has expanded its membership footprint to include China, the country with the most installed wind capacity and an increasing amount of solar generation.

The Utility Wind Integration Group (UWIG) was established in 1989 to provide a forum for the critical analysis of wind technology for utility applications and to serve as a source of credible information on the status of wind technology and deployment. The group’s mission is to accelerate the development and application of good engineering and operational practices supporting the appropriate integration of wind and solar power for utility applications through the coordinated efforts and actions of its members, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy, its National Renewable Energy Laboratory and utility research organizations. UWIG is an international organization with over 170 members from the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia, including investor-owned, public power, and rural electric cooperative utilities; transmission system operators; and associate member corporate, government, and academic organizations.

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