On 1 July 2001, a group of wind energy supporters from around the world met in Copenhagen in order to prepare the 1st World Wind Energy Conference which was scheduled to take place one year later in Berlin. At that meeting, the participants from around the world voiced their support to create an international association dedicated to the promotion of wind power and connecting the wind energy community around the world.
Accordingly, eight organisations decided spontaneously to found the World Wind Energy Association and agreed on the five WWEA Working Principles which have guided WWEA’s work and still guide our operations today. Dr. Preben Maegaard was elected as the Founding President, and Stefan Gsänger was appointed as the Secretary of the newborn association. Dr. Hermann Scheer, Chairman of the World Council for Renewable Energy, attended the founding meeting and strongly welcomed the new organisation.
Within the following weeks and months, dozens of additional organisations decided to join WWEA. Today, WWEA has more than 600 members in over 100 countries, and including national associations, smaller and larger enterprises, as well as scientific organisations.
Since the founding day, WWEA has been promoting wind power as a pillar of a renewable energy world, and has been able to contribute many achievements to the success story of renewables, on the global level as well as in many countries. The annual World Wind Energy Conferences have become a pillar of WWEA’s work and they took place on all continents, every year in a different country – with the exception of the pandemic year 2020 and 2021 when there will be a virtual WWEC2021.
Within three years after its creation, WWEA became one of the initiators of the successful REN Alliance, with the slogan of “Renewables working together”. WWEA co-founded REN21 and was represented in the drafting Committee and afterwards with long term service on the Bureau. With ISES and IHA and later the IGA and the WBA the WWEA also became a strong proponent of the initiative to create the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and contributed to overcome some of the major initial barriers.
Later on, WWEA, together with other organisations, created the Global 100% Renewable Energy Platform which brought the topic of a 100% renewable energy supply on the global agenda – this new paradigm has been adopted as of today as the official goal of an increasing number of countries.
Another core area of WWEA’s work has been on supporting a decentralised, participatory approach in the rollover to renewable energy, in which small and medium enterprises play an important role. Accordingly, WWEA has initiated and is chairing the community energy working group at the IRENA Coalition for Action.
Many organisations and individuals from around the world have become part of the WWEA family and have contributed to its success story, after all its voluntary board members, and its Presidents:
- Dr. Preben Maegaard served for four years and laid the basis for WWEA’s broad membership network. His advice was crucial for WWEA’s success also in the following years.
- Between 2005 and 2011, Dr. Anil Kane, one of the early pioneers of wind power in India, was WWEA President, and under his guidance, WWEA established strong ties with many more countries.
- He Dexin, at that time Chairman of the Chinese Wind Energy Association, lead WWEA from 2011 to 2015. He has been one of the key persons behind the impressive rise of the Chinese wind sector in the past 20 years and on the global level he underlined the importance of mutual friendship and of the spirit of collaboration.
- Since 2015, the Hon. Peter Rae AO from Australia has been WWEA’s President, with a special focus on working not only for wind power but also on cooperating closely with the other members of the renewable energy family in order to emphasise the benefits and synergies of renewables working together.
WWEA has been working with many organisations and people from all over our planet. On the occasion of WWEA’s 20th anniversary, many of WWEA’s partners have been invited to join the virtual celebrations by providing a message they wish to convey to WWEA20.
Please join us and visit the WWEA20 website where you find messages from around the world – from many different sectors, branches, communities: www.wwea20.org