Global Wind Energy Council Names New CEO


The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), a trade association representing the global wind power sector, has appointed Ben Backwell its new CEO.

Backwell replaces Steve Sawyer, who first joined GWEC as secretary general in 2007. Sawyer will continue his work with GWEC as senior policy advisor.

“We are delighted to have Ben join us as GWEC’s new CEO,” says Morten Dyrholm, GWEC’s chairman, as well as Vestas’ group senior vice president of marketing, communications and public affairs. “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-plus years.”

Backwell joins GWEC from global advisory company FTI Consulting, where he was a managing director in its clean energy practice. Also a former journalist and analyst, he is the author of two books on the wind industry, as well as a number of reports and white papers on power markets and policy frameworks. Backwell also helped design the SolutionWind campaign for the European Wind Energy Association (now WindEurope) ahead of COP21 in 2015.

“The wind industry has seen phenomenal growth over the last 10 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 organization’s members to achieve their objectives.”

He adds, “During the period of Steve’s tenure, global wind installations grew from 74 GW to 539 GW. I want to work with Steve and GWEC’s members to ensure that the next decade sees even greater growth.”

GWEC is based in Brussels, Belgium, and has offices in Washington, D.C., and Beijing, China.

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