Along U.S. I-80 in western Iowa, and in many other parts of the country, there is an extraordinary sight: miles and miles of wind turbines as far as the eye can see. And it is impressive.

But it is also startling.  Many of the great expanses of the United States once consisted of miles and miles of soybean and wheat crops, interrupted only by clusters of trees along the horizon.  The only major physical features in most small, rural towns were grain elevators and windowless brick American Legion buildings.

Now, giants are in our midst.

Much of the controversy surrounding wind turbines and other energy infrastructure is due to their physical size—they are large, imposing creatures that change our visual landscape.

Are they simply eyesores, or are they a sight for sore eyes?  Could they be blank canvases?

What if a renewable energy source like a wind farm became an art exhibit, a bike park, a light show, or a picnic spot?  What if we were to climb a hillside to be rewarded with the chance to see a flash of harmonious color on a chain of anaerobic digesters? What if we found ways to interact with the spaces around clean energy projects and sustainable infrastructure differently?

That is how Iconic Energy Consulting was born: out of an interest in applying creative thinking to clean energy using best practices in public art through civic engagement.

Iconic Energy advocates for clean, safe, energy resources and iconic cultural landmarks reflective of the community in which they reside.  It’s a win-win.


haugh_jen_torso_24With more than 15 years of professional experience in the nonprofit and public sectors, Jennifer Haugh developed a passion for solving environmental problems through art while serving on the Minneapolis Arts Commission (including two years as chair), during which time she guided the development of the City’s first formal set of policies regarding art and artists.  She was also president of Encore Wind Ensemble and Coffee House Press.

After serving as a legislative aide for U.S. Congressman Bruce F. Vento in Washington, D.C., Haugh worked with Walker Art Center and Minnesota Citizens for the Arts, assisting with arts advocacy strategies on a statewide level in Minnesota.  She also led marketing, development, and strategic planning efforts for Minnesota Youth Symphonies and media relations and corporate communications for American Public Media, where she founded the Green Team and launched an award-nominated “Year of the Bike” initiative. In 2009, Haugh founded Haugh Communications, a full-service writing and editing shop for students and professionals.

A 2011 graduate of the mid-career Master in Public Administration program at Harvard Kennedy School, Haugh is also a 2014 graduate with distinction from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, earning a Master in Design Studies with a research focus on mitigating the aesthetics of wind energy.

In spring 2014, Iconic Energy Consulting was selected as a finalist with the Harvard-wide Deans’ Cultural Entrepreneurship Challenge, a competition initiated by cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Project.

Haugh has guest-lectured at the Harvard Graduate School of Design on U.S. recycling policies, and was a teaching assistant for a graduate-level urban planning course on qualitative research methods.  She is also a Rappaport Institute policy fellow and worked for the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources on energy efficiency programs for commonwealth-owned facilities. She is a senior fellow with Environmental Leadership Program and is currently board chair of MEDIAGIRLS®, where girls make over the media.

Haugh lives in Lincoln, Massachusetts.

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