The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), the trade association representing the global wind sector, has appointed Ben Backwell as its new chief executive officer (CEO). He replaces Steve Sawyer, who joined GWEC as its first secretary general in 2007. Sawyer will continue his work with GWEC as its senior policy advisor.
"We are delighted to have Ben join us as GWEC's new CEO," says Morten Dyrholm, GWEC chairman and group senior vice-president of marketing, communications & public Affairs for Vestas Wind Systems. "He will bring solid industry knowledge, commercial acumen and communication and public affairs expertise to the role."
He adds: "We are extremely grateful to Steve Sawyer, who has played a big part in the success of GWEC and the global wind sector over the past 11+ years. We are pleased that we will continue to be able to count on Steve's knowledge and network in his new role as senior policy advisor."
Ben Backwell joins GWEC from global advisory company FTI Consulting, where he was a managing director in its Clean Energy Practice. Backwell is a leading strategist in the renewable energy industry and has advised many of the leading technology companies, utilities, developers and IPPs and financial institutions active in the sector. He is a former journalist and analyst who has covered energy policy and markets in a number of geographies including Europe, the US and Latin America. He is the author of Wind Power, the struggle for control of a new global industry," (Routledge 2015, New Edition 2017) which has been described as the "definitive" story of the global wind industry.
"The wind industry has seen phenomenal growth over the last ten years, and is well placed to cement its position as one of the world's leading energy sources, providing clean, cost-effective power for the digital age" says Backwell.
"However, the wind sector will need to negotiate a series of market, regulatory, political and technological challenges over the coming period. Within this context, GWEC will need to play a central role in helping the sector and the organisation's members to achieve their objectives."
He adds: "During the period of Steve's tenure, global wind installations grew from 74GW to 539GW. I want to work with Steve and GWEC's members to ensure that the next decade sees even greater growth."