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May 19, 2010
Wyoming – Opportunities Blowing in the Wind
Speakers for this event:
  • Richard Walje, President, Rocky Mountain Power, PacifiCorp Learn More
  • Dr. Jonathan Naughton, Director, University of Wyoming Wind Research Center  Learn More
  • Steve Ellenbecker, Executive Director, Wyoming Infrastructure Authority  Learn More

  • Moderated by:
  • Robert Jensen, CEO, Wyoming Business Council  Learn More
  • Wyoming – Opportunities Blowing in the Wind

    Wyoming is known as the “Energy State,” and for good reason. With an abundance of natural resources, Wyoming consistently ranks high in traditional, and now emerging, energy sources. Including wind. Wyoming was ranked by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) as seventh highest state for wind potential capacity in the United States.

    Located at the cross-roads of the West. With 10 commercial airports, three major interstates highway and two Class I rail lines cross the state, Wyoming is a prime location for market access.

    With a tax climate extraordinarily favorable for business, higher education programs to develop a workforce skilled in wind energy technology, and wind resources consistent with utility-scale production, Wyoming is poised to be a leader in the wind power industry.


    Wind power companies worldwide including UK and Europe, interested learning more about Wyoming as a strategic location.


    Richard Walje, President, Rocky Mountain Power, PacifiCorp

    A. Richard Walje is president of Rocky Mountain Power at PacifiCorp. He was appointed to this position in March 2006. Walje has executive management responsibility for the company’s strategy, operations, community relations, regulatory affairs and customer service in Utah, Idaho and Wyoming.

    Since 1972, Mr. Walje has worked in the electric utility industry, starting as a journeyman lineman. As an electrical engineer, he worked for General Electric’s power engineering business and focused on high-voltage equipment applications. During this time he was a member of IEEE’s Power Engineering Society. Walje joined Utah Power & Light in 1984 as a substation design and applications engineer. His area of emphasis was substation transformer protection.

    With Rocky Mountain Power, he has held senior management positions in transmission and distribution network operations, community relations, customer services and information technology. In 2000, Walje was named ScottishPower’s chief information officer.

    Walje serves on Utah Governor Gary Herbert’s Utah Energy Policy Group, University of Utah’s Business School National Advisory Committee, the Wyoming Business Council Board of Directors, and is vice chairman of the Economic Development Corporation of Utah. He is chairman of the PacifiCorp Foundation Board of Directors.

    Walje received a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering in 1984 and a master’s degree in business administration in 1991, both from the University of Utah. He is a member of the Tau Beta Pi and Eta Kappa Nu honor societies and was recognized as an outstanding alumnus of the University of Utah’s electrical engineering school in 2008.

    Dr. Jonathan Naughton, Director, University of Wyoming Wind Research Center  

    Jonathan W. Naughton has been a faculty member in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Wyoming since 1997 and is currently an Associate Professor and Director of the Wind Energy Research Center. Dr. Naughton obtained his B.S. from Cornell University and his Ph.D. from the Pennsylvania State University in the area of compressible fluid dynamics. Prior to joining the UW faculty, Dr. Naughton worked at NASA-Ames Research Center for four years. During the 2004-2005 academic year, Dr. Naughton was a visiting faculty at Chalmers Technical University in Gothenberg, Sweden where he worked with the turbulence research group. Dr. Naughton's current research includes the development of skin-friction measurement techniques and turbulent flow modeling and control with applications to jet mixing, base drag reduction, unsteady blade aerodynamics, and atmospheric boundary layer modeling. As the Wind Energy Research Center has grown, Dr. Naughton spends an increasing amount of time interacting with industry, government labs, and other academic institutions involved in developing the technology necessary for expanding the penetration of wind energy into the electricity market.

    Dr. Naughton is an active member of the American Physical Society and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. In the latter society, Dr. Naughton is an Associate Fellow and serves as the Chair of the Aerodynamic Measurement Technology Technical Committee. He is married to Leann and has two sons, Kian and Evan. Dr. Naughton is also on the educational staff of the Professional Ski Instructors of America - Rocky Mountain Division.

    Steve Ellenbecker, Executive Director, Wyoming Infrastructure Authority  

    Steve Ellenbecker is the Executive Director of the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority. The statutory mission of the Infrastructure Authority is to diversify and expand Wyoming’s economy through improvements in the electric transmission system, and to facilitate the increased utilization of Wyoming energy resources.

    The Infrastructure Authority is currently focused on facilitating the success of six major transmission projects proposed to originate in Wyoming to carry renewable resources to load centers. In total, these projects would have a transfer capacity of 10,000 to 15,000 Megawatts, depending on final project configurations.

    Steve is also Chair of the Western Interstate Energy Board (WIEB), the energy arm of the Western Governors’ Association.

    Since 2004, he has served as an energy policy advisor to Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal, and has been engaged in several regional initiatives to promote expansion of the electric grid in the Western Interconnection. He was co-chair of the steering committee overseeing the Rocky Mountain Area Transmission Study (RMATS), a feasibility study to evaluate the economic feasibility of strengthening the Intermountain grid combined with exports of power to the Southwest.

    Earlier in his career, Steve was a state public utility regulator in Wyoming, and was Chairman of the Wyoming Public Service Commission from 1991 – 2003.

    Robert Jensen, CEO, Wyoming Business Council

    Robert Jensen joined the staff of the Wyoming Business Council in March 2004. Prior to the Business Council, Jensen worked for 27 years with Fleischli Oil Co., a regional petroleum distribution company, the last five years of which he served as president.

    Jensen has helped coordinate the feasibility and planning process for Cheyenne’s Depot and Depot Square under the authority of the Cheyenne-Laramie County Economic Development Joint Powers Board, and the renovation of The Plains Hotel in downtown Cheyenne.

    Jensen, a Cheyenne native, is active in civic and economic development organizations and has served on numerous boards including Cheyenne Leads, Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce, The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Cheyenne Downtown Development Authority, Laramie County Library Board, University of Wyoming College of Business Advisory Council, and the Wyoming Chapter-National Multiple Sclerosis Society.


    The mission of the Wyoming Business Council is to facilitate the economic growth of Wyoming. The State of Wyoming created the Wyoming Business Council to focus public and private efforts to build a strong job creation base in the new economy with manufacturing and technology as core competencies while strengthening the existing business and industry groups under energy, agriculture, tourism and travel. WBC has a strong partnership with the University of Wyoming, including their School of Energy Resources as well as the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences Wind Research Center Through this partnership we foster entrepreneurial development as well as research and development in the target areas of new energy technologies and digital data driven industries among others.

    For information about the recorded archive for this event contact Xtalks at (416) 977-6555 ext 371, or email register@xtalks.com

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