WindEurope has named Nordex CEO José Luis Blanco as its new chair, with the Spaniard saying that newly pledged EU support for the struggling wind sector “cannot come soon enough.”
Blanco will serve an 18-month term as WindEurope chair alongside Alfredo Parres, renewables chief at Hitachi Energy, who the industry group's board has elected as its new vice-chair.
The duo will replace current WindEurope chair Sven Utermöhlen, CEO of offshore wind at Germany’s RWE; and vice chair Kresten Ørnbjerg, head of global public affairs at Vestas.
Their election comes one week after European Commission President von der Leyen announced a new “Wind Power Package” to support Europe’s struggling wind energy supply chain.
Blanco said WindEurope welcomes von der Leyen’s “repeated commitment to supporting a Green Deal ‘made in Europe.’”
“Wind energy is a European success story," he said. “It is set to provide jobs to 450,000 Europeans by 2030. But Europe’s wind turbine manufacturers and their suppliers are under pressure.”
“The EU’s ‘Wind Power Package’ must further accelerate permitting, get the auction design for wind energy right and strengthen and expand EU manufacturing and supply chains,” he added. “Otherwise, the EU will not be able to de-risk and increase the resilience of its energy supply and economy.”
“The announced measures cannot come soon enough.”
Blanco, 53, previously spent over a decade working at Spanish wind turbine manufacturer Gamesa before its merger with Germany’s Siemens. He later headed up the wind power division at Spain’s Acciona, which was bought by Nordex in 2016. He was made CEO of the German manufacturer a year later.
Parres previously spent two decades at Swedish-Swiss multinational ABB, where he worked on integrating renewables into the grid. He joined Hitachi Energy in 2020 and became its renewables chief the following year.
Parres said that “grids are the backbone of Europe’s decarbonised future energy system” and the continent must double its annual investment in them to “deliver a seamless integration of renewable energy in line with the EU 2030 targets.”
He called on the EU to strengthen and expand its current grid supply chain to “avoid bottlenecks,” adding that, to achieve this, it must “radically simplify grid planning processes and clarify rules on grid connection and curtailment.”