Since 1993, the prize has been awarded to individuals who have pioneered the development of wind power and have achieved exceptional results in the wind community. It was awarded to Stiesdal by EWEA Chief Executive Christian Kjaer.
"I am extremely pleased to be awarding the Poul la Cour prize to Henrik, whose commitment to and vision for the wind energy industry have been absolute ever since he built his first turbine out of scrap metal in the 1970s", said Kjaer. "From there, he became one of the founding fathers ofthe largest manufacturer of wind turbines in the world – Vestas – and today continues to guide wind energy technology in his role at Siemens Wind Power."
In 1978, Stiesdal met Karl Erik Jørgensen, who was to become his partner in wind turbine development. Their first 15 kilowatt prototype was inaugurated in June 1978 and the following year they delivered to their first customer. By 1979 series production had begun and the company was named Vestas. Between 1983 and 1986, Stiesdal helped design the first pitch-regulated wind turbine for Vestas. In March 1987, he was employed by wind turbine producer Bonus Energy and appointed technical director in 1988. When Siemens aquired Bonus Energy in 2004, this year’s winner of the Poul la Cour price was appointed Chief Technology Officer of Siemens Wind Power – a position he still holds.
"I am thrilled to be following such worthy previous winners by accepting the Poul la Cour prize today, in the midst of so many other industry players at the EWEA Annual Event 2011", commented Stiesdal. "Wind energy has always been my passion and I like to think I have played a part in the evolution of the technology from the very beginnings of the industry. I certainly think the technology will develop still further in the years to come, and I’m excited at the prospect!"
Previous winners of the Poul La Cour Prize:
2010: Ian Mays, RES – for his unparalleled contribution to the development of wind energy on the international stage
2009: Mechtild Rothe, Vice-President of the European Parliament – for her commitment to promoting renewable energy in Europe
2008: Jos Beurskens, Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) – for his outstanding achievements and many years’ service in the field of wind energy
2007: Erik Lundtang Petersen, Risø – in honour of outstanding achievements in wind energy and for his scientific integrity
2006: Andrew Garrad, Garrad Hassan – for outstanding personal achievement in wind energy
2004: Esteban Morras, EHN – for establishing EHN as one of the leading renewable energy developers in the world
2003: Wolfgang Palz, European Commission – for his work at the European Commission
2001: Ecotecnica – for their co-operative organisation structure
1999: Søren Krohn, Danish Wind Industry Association – for www.windpower.org
1995: Aloys Wobben – for the gearless ENERCON wind turbines
1993: Erik Grove – for pioneering blade design