Evaluating Industry Influence: Top 100 Power People in Wind

Ranking people is a tricky task. Anybody who has had the responsibility of gauging the influence of any group of individuals — from TIME to Forbes magazine — will tell you that it’s an inherently subjective procedure, regardless of how strict a methodology is imposed and how many criteria are employed in the process.

What’s more, no matter how pleased you are with the final results, somebody will inevitably tell you that you are wrong and outline in no uncertain terms the reasons why they or somebody they know should be number one on your list. 

So it is always with a certain degree of apprehension that the A Word About Wind editorial team approaches the momentous task of compiling the annual Top 100 Power People in Wind report, the definitive “who’s who” of senior figures in the wind energy sector.

However any initial feelings of dread are soon eclipsed by excitement as we embark on a permanently fascinating process that helps us track and assess not only the fortunes of the key individuals and businesses driving the growth of the industry, but also the wider market trends and dynamics of the past year.

The speed of change and the movement of individuals within the sector never fails to stagger, while on a broader scale the industry is slowly but surely migrating. In last year’s Top 100 we started to see indications of a subtle shift in influence from the stalwarts of established markets towards the pioneering individuals driving growth in emerging sectors around the globe.

So what have we learned from the 2014 Top 100?

Firstly, it’s clear to see that this migratory trend has continued, and it’s fair to say that this year’s rankings have a more international flavor than ever before. 

While the report continues to be dominated by professionals working in the traditional market hubs of Europe, North America and Asia, where the power still resides, it is inspiring to see greater representation from those working in emerging markets.

In particular, our new entrants this year feature individuals with interests in a diverse range of territories around the globe including Chile, Peru, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Thailand. As changing support mechanisms at home slow down the rate of new construction many investors, developers and manufacturers are putting domestic plans on hold and heading overseas.

Others, meanwhile, are seeking collaboration with international partners to pursue joint ventures that will help them weather turbulent times in the coming years.

And this period of rapid evolution has been reflected in numerous changes to the status quo at the very top.

Last year’s top five of DONG’s Henrik Poulsen, Henrik Stiesdal of Siemens, Torben Möger Pedersen of PensionDanmark , Eddie O’Connor of Mainstream and Christian Rynning-Tønnesen of Statkraft have slipped a total of 73 places between them.

Ignacio Martin of Gamesa is this year’s biggest riser, moving a whopping 47 places up our list as the global presence of the Spanish manufacturer and developer continues to grow.

And forty-four of this year’s Top 100 are completely new to the list, including three of our top five Power People.

Wind is a dynamic business, and this influx illustrates its ongoing capacity for attracting and retaining talented individuals from other sectors.

Yet, despite this readily available pool of talent, it’s evident that the industry needs to do more to attract and retain women in its senior roles. Last year just six women featured in the report, and only eight of this year’s top 100 are women — one of whom makes the top five.

Men continue to occupy the majority of the top positions and if wind really wants to differentiate itself from other sectors as a progressive industry, it needs to take steps towards addressing this gender imbalance.

Ultimately, however, let’s not forget the outstanding work that wind energy professionals throughout the supply chain are doing in the drive towards energy sustainability.

The global political and regulatory landscape continues to change and it’s testament to the superb efforts of these 100 individuals and their industry colleagues that wind energy continues to expand and remains both an exciting investment proposition and a viable part of the global energy mix.

If you’d like to read the full Top 100 Power People in Wind 2014 report, visit www.awordaboutwind.com and sign up for a free one-month trial. The first ten people to sign up then email the team on membership@awordaboutwind.com will receive a copy of the report.

Lead image: Wind turbines via Shutterstock

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I am editor of A Word About Wind, which is a specialist renewable energy intelligence service, targeted at senior finance and energy professionals and published three times a week. Previously, I was assistant editor at commercial property magazine Property Week; and research manager at Sunday Times Fast Track.

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