Why I Have Chosen Not to Be on the Small Wind Certification Council

By Paul Gipe

I appreciate the vote of confidence in the Small Wind Certification Council’s board of directors in appointing me to the Council. It is an honor to be nominated to be part of the commercialization of the small wind turbine industry in North America. It would also have been a privilege to work alongside my peers who have labored many years to bring much-needed and long-overdue standards to the industry.

Nevertheless, I must decline the appointment.

For many years I’ve been an advocate of the responsible development of wind energy and a sometime critic of the industry. Thus, there would be an unavoidable conflict-of-interest should I accept the position.

As an author of books, articles, and web postings on the industry, I have and will continue to critique particular turbines and their manufacturers. These very same turbines will fall within the Small Wind Certification Council’s purview for certification and approval.

Further, I have been a long-time advocate of performance testing, standards, and certification and I will continue to do so. As I have done in the past, I fully expect to continue critiquing small wind turbine manufacturers for their failure to test their turbines to international standards or report their performance in a manner that informs rather than confuses consumers. This would be a clear conflict of interest with a role on the Certification Council that will charge for its services.

Again, the Small Wind Certification Council’s implementation of test procedures and reporting standards is long overdue. I heartily endorse the work of the Council and I hope that you begin your work as soon as possible. However, I will support the Council’s work from the outside as an observer and not as a councilor.

Paul Gipe