Wind industry awards prestigious prize

Siemens Wind Power’s Chief Technology Officer, Henrik Stiesdal, has received the 2011 Poul la Cour Prize during the European Wind Energy Association’s annual conference and trade fair. Elsewhere, the Spanish Wind Energy Association has announced the first edition of a new wind power innovation award.
Wind industry awards prestigious prize

Described by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) as “the wind energy sector's most prestigious award”, the Poul la Cour Prize, was presented to Henrik Stiesdal at the opening session of EWEA 2011 in Brussels (Belgium) on 13 March. Stiesdal was one of the pioneers of modern wind energy technology and has helped guide its development ever since.

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 of the 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 include Erik Grove in 1993 for pioneering blade design, Esteban Morras for establishing EHN as one of the leading renewable energy developers in the world, and, last year, Ian Mays from RES for his unparalleled contribution to the development of wind energy on the international stage.

New wind innovation prize

Over in Spain, the Spanish Wind Energy Association (AEE) has launched a new prize for wind innovation. The AEE is currently accepting projects for the competition, the closing date of which is 29 April.

The AEE says the Premio Eolo de Innovación is open to anyone who has published theses, studies, analysis or other projects that “contribute demonstrable innovation to spur the development of the sector” and can be applied in the near to medium term.

The €3,000 prize is sponsored by Enel Green Power España, and will be presented during a sector dinner as part of the Wind Convention on 7 and 8 June. Results of the competition will however be announced on 20 May.

“Innovation is fundamental to the wind sector,” says the AEE, highlighting that Spain boasts the fourth largest number of wind power patents (behind the US; Denmark and Germany). In 2009 alone, the sector invested €156 million in R&D.

The AEE’s new prize joins three others it awards each year: the Eolo de Periodismo for journalism, the Eolo de Fotografía for photography, and the Annual Distinction Award for the individual or entity that has stood out during the year for the support given to the wind energy sector.

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