Windustry: #StickWindHere

Windustry: #StickWindHere

About the Project

Windustry's #StickWindHere campaign was all about engaging Main St. people to advocate for and build more community wind power. This campaign fit directly within their mission of nearly 20 years. Since then, they have been an independent voice acting in support of communities. They have worked through education, outreach and advocacy to advance broad community ownership of renewable energy. While small-scale and community wind have grown in demand and accessibility, it has been difficult for ordinary people in the US to participate in a wind project.

At the time of this project there wass only one major federal incentive for wind energy development, the production tax credit (PTC). The PTC was used almost exclusively by large multinational corporations. Because of this, the majority of projects are built to fit the Wall St. business model and there is no easy way for everyday citizens to participate, invest, or get involved in wind projects in the US—that’s where Windustry's work came in.

CMG connected with Windustry's Executive Director and founder Lisa Daniels when she attended the 2015 Catalyst Energy Workshops. While at the workshops, CMG paired Lisa with independent filmmaker Jordan Fein and UNH Sustainability Institute Climate Fellow Ravdeep Jaidka to create a Catalyst Capstone Project for Windustry. As a result, they developed a concept for the #StickWindHere campaign and video. The goal of #StickWindHere is to build conversation about how easily wind can be incorporated into a community, as well as to illustrate and highlight how it is already being used. Their concept video for the campaign included a fun and graphic image of a hand holding a cut-out wind turbine, showing placement of wind power in various places that anyone might be able to relate to having in their own town.

After the Catalyst Workshops, Lisa was provided with a CMG Action Grant to support the continuation of their Capstone Project so that they might bring their #StickWindHere campaign to life and finish work on the campaign video for distribution. CMG was excited to be able to fund this engaging campaign with $9,950 in matching funds to help catalyze action on the project.

The final campaign video included a call-to-action to collect signatures on a petition encouraging the White House Administration to create a national community wind partnership that fits with other Administration initiatives and the urgency of climate change. The proposed White House Administration Wind Partnership was an initiative to scale up wind access and cut energy bills in communities across America. Windustry established a goal of collecting 2500-3000 signatures from across the country by October 25, 2015. 

About the Grantee

Lisa Daniels is the Executive Director and founder of Windustry, which has been providing wind energy education and technical assistance to farmers, ranchers, elected officials, rural utilities and community groups since 1997. Lisa leads Windustry in contracts with the US Department of Energy and US Department of Agriculture and worked for more than a decade as a partner with National Renewable Energy Laboratory on the Wind Powering America initiative. Nationally, Lisa is a leading voice for distributed renewable energy development and served on the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) Community Wind Steering Committee. Lisa is also a founding member and on the Board of Directors for Women of Wind Energy (WoWE). She was recognized in 2004, 2005 and Windustry in 2012 by the US Dept of Energy Wind program, for demonstrating leadership and creativity in wind outreach work.

Lisa holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Bentley University and volunteered in the community with MEDA, a Minority-owned Business Consulting organization as an Advisory Council Member, 2010-2013. Lisa was recently re-appointed to the Minneapolis Citizens Environmental Advisory Commission. She loves to kayak and Nordic ski, and raises money and awareness by bicycling 300 miles over 5 days for the Climate Ride with her family.

Project Updates and Milestones

Windustry used a combination of in-person events and social media, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter for the distribution of their video. They used the #StickWindHere hashtag as branding for social media as well as in-person events.

The in-person events included: 9 days at the Minnesota State Fair; energy and wind industry conferences and meetings in Sacramento, California; Washington DC; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Grand Forks, North Dakota; and along the trail of the Climate Ride—Northeast: Bar Harbor to Boston.

Their primary call-to-action and measurement were petition signatures, serving as a show of support for creating a National Community Wind Partnership with the White House Administration. At the end of the MN State Fair they had 678 signatures on paper petitions. By the end of 2015, through written and online signatures, they had collected 1,004. As a result of the petition Lisa had positive in-person talks with a congressional member, Senator Amy Klobuchar, who is willing to work toward a White House Administration Partnership. While there was not time to accomplish this in 2015, there is good interest for moving it forward in January 2016.

A primary achievement of this campaign was that it's given the Windustry team a new perspective on how they communicate and how they will move forward. While they used to rely solely on large national conferences with many expert speakers, guidebooks, newsletters and webinars, they've added more tools and approaches for communication that is streamlined, effective and engaging. Though they had already been incorporating images into their outreach materials, they now plan to build on more effectively using media in their campaigns. Through this project, they've come to better understand the value and impact of using video.

photo credit(s): Lisa Daniels, Jordan Fein

#stickwindhere