GWEC appoints Ben Backwell as its new CEO

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 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 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.”

About Ben Backwell

Ben Backwell is a leading commentator and strategist in the renewable energy sector. He worked as a journalist and analyst for 20 years, covering energy policy, markets and large energy companies in Europe, the US, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina and other countries. He helped design the SolutionWind campaign for the European Wind Energy Association (now WindEurope) ahead of COP21 in 2015, before joining FTI Consulting as a Managing Director.

At FTI, Ben has advised leading renewable energy companies on strategy, financial and corporate communications and government affairs, including work on a number of major M&A transactions. He has taken part in the work of a number of industry initiatives and organizations, including the board of GWEC. Ben 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. He holds an MSc in Political Science from the Institute of Latin American Studies, University of London. For full biography.


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