The burgeoning wind power industry envisions the day it will make 20 percent of the nation\u2019s electricity\u2014perhaps more in California. Although wind energy now accounts for less than one percent of all the power made in the U.S., that optimistic view proved to be the buzz at Windpower 2007, the American Wind Energy Association\u2019s annual conference. The June 4-6 meeting in Los Angeles was the biggest the association has ever staged. AWEA and others began looking to see if they could reach a 20 percent target after President Bush raised the possibility in a speech last year, said Randall Swisher, the association\u2019s executive director. Wind energy has been growing fast. Last year the U.S. wind industry installed 2,454 MW of new generating capacity, raising the cumulative U.S-installed wind energy capacity by 27 percent, to 11,603 MW, according to a June 1 U.S. Department of Energy report, U.S. Wind Power Installation, Cost, and Performance Trends. The report also predicted U.S. wind capacity should grow another 26 percent this year. California, meanwhile, has 2,376 MW of wind power installed, with another 565 MW in the planning stages, according to AWEA. Yet industry leaders admitted that the 20 percent national goal for 2020 faces hurdles. They also said they are aware the industry faces even bigger expectations in California\u2014the nation\u2019s acknowledged leader in renewable energy\u2014including those under the state\u2019s 20 percent renewable energy portfolio standard. \u201cTwenty percent is the law, 30 percent is the vision,\u201d said Yakout Mansour, California Independent System Operator president and chief executive officer. \u201cWe\u2019re reasonably confident that we will make the 20 percent work.\u201d Sacramento Municipal Utility District general manager Jan Schori said her muni\u2019s goal was for renewable energy to account for 23 percent of all power by 2011. That goal, she said, is becoming closer to reality thanks to the addition of eight wind turbines last year. The 3 MW turbines, which are 415 feet tall, are what Schori called \u201cthe largest turbines in the West.\u201d They went into operation for SMUD in Solano County on June 1, 2006. Combined, they can produce enough power for more than 8,000 households. To help integrate wind power into its grid, SMUD has a proposal pending before federal regulators to add a 400 MW pumped storage project to its existing hydro facilities, the general manager said. It would \u201cstore\u201d wind power for use during times of peak demand. Water would be pumped uphill at night with excess wind power and flow downhill during the day to make electricity when demand is high. \u201cWe\u2019re really in this for the long haul,\u201d Schori said of SMUD\u2019s commitment to wind power. \u201cThe obligation we have is permanent.\u201d Yet wind power developers still face obstacles in California and throughout the nation. Mansour said the U.S. could alleviate the obstacles by learning from Europe\u2019s experience, where many nations are far ahead in developing wind and other forms of renewable power. \u201cEvery problem here we try to solve it by creating more layers and more rules,\u201d he said. \u201cBy adding layers and rules, you take [authority] away from markets.\u201d However, Western states may prove an exception, others thought. \u201cIn the West, there\u2019s a culture of anti-federalism,\u201d said former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chair Pat Wood. \u201cI think renewables will be the reason we get to organized markets in the West.\u201d He now chairs the North American advisory board of the renewable energy company Airtricity. According to the AWEA, 7,000 people attended Windpower 2007 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, an increase of 2,000 over last year\u2019s meeting in Pittsburgh. Representatives from 42 utilities attended, the most ever for the conference, said the association.