CDA Sustainability Expert Presents at Leading Technology Conferences
29 Jun 2015
By Zolaikha Strong
Part of my role as director of sustainable energy for the Copper Development Association is to present and speak at conferences across the United States. These opportunities allow me to advocate the importance and necessity of copper in electrical systems, from motors and batteries to renewable energy technologies. No matter the electrical application, copper’s superior conductivity and reliability are vital.
Over the past two months I have been invited to provide a poster presentation at two leading renewable technology conferences: The American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) WINDPOWER 2015 Conference, and the TechConnect World Innovation Conference.
The focus of my presentation at WINDPOWER 2015 was copper’s role in wind generation. The poster was in the form of an infographic, which can be viewed here. A 1.5-MW wind turbine relies on approximately 4,000 pounds of copper, found in the generator, step-up transformer and connecting cables. Depending on the design of a wind farm, it can have anywhere from 4 to 15 million pounds of copper. Needless to say, there can be no wind energy without copper.
At the more technology-focused TechConnect, I presented another infographic poster on how grid energy storage systems rely on copper, which can be accessed here. Between 0.3 to 4 tons per MW of copper are used in these installations, and these technologies will only become more prevalent as the world transitions to renewable energy. Industry analysts predict that $240 billion will be invested in U.S. grid storage applications through 2020.
Despite the diverse topics and audiences I found at these conferences, I was repeatedly asked the same question: Why was I there? It is a good question, considering no other metals industry attends these events. So why is copper involved? The answer is simple: we understand our importance. Copper’s unique properties make it an efficient, durable and reliable part of sustainable energy technologies. As these technologies continue to grow, so will copper’s role. My goal is to spread this message to as many audiences as possible as the world moves closer to energy efficiency.