“Well-designed tenders can play an important role”

Interviewed by Jörg-Rainer Zimmermann, 19 Oct 15
Giles Dickson, who was appointed CEO of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) in September 2015, discusses the challenges facing the wind sector in areas such as governance and market design.

new energy: You spent a long time working for the British government, and later for Alstom. How did you end up in the energy sector?

Giles Dickson: I was a British civil servant for 16 years in all, mostly in the Foreign Office. Most recently I served as Counsellor for Environment and Social Policy at the UK Permanent Representation to the EU in Brussels. That was where I came into contact with energy issues for the fist time, and I was fascinated. Then I moved to Alstom, and spent three years in Brussels as a lobbyist. I was subsequently appointed head of public affairs for the Alstom Group world wide. That was in late 2011. I moved to Paris, where I came into contact with government representatives from a large number of countries. In that time I learnt that the energy sector is of huge importance to the global economy. At the same time, it is essential that we succeed in making the transition to renewables. We also need to ensure affordability and security of supply. In general, I see huge growth potential for the renewables sector, and this includes job creation. We are currently seeing a worldwide boom, and I am excited to be a part of it.

ne: Could you briefly describe how working in an association is different to working in an industrial corporation?

Dickson: While I was at Alstom, I had a great deal of contact with associations such as the German Engineering Federation (VDMA) or the Federation of German Industries (BDI), as well as Business Europe in Brussels, where I am also vice-chairman of the Industrial Affairs Committee chaired by Peter Köhler von Weidmüller. My work there showed me how associations work. Furthermore, throughout my career I have had the opportunity to observe a wide range of positions and debates, and learn what it means to lobby and to be lobbied. This means I am wellprepared in general.

ne: The European wind industry is facing stiff competition worldwide. Where do the greatest challenges lie?

Dickson: Integrating wind power into the overall electricity market is a huge task. Even so, this year renewables enjoyed a 30-percent share in electricity generation in Germany. If we want to achieve the EU’s target of 49 percent then the electricity market needs a major overhaul. We need a reform of the electricity market.

This is an abridged version of the interview with Giles Dickson – the full text is available in new energy issue 5/2015. 


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