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Help our industry celebrate 40 years

2018 sees RenewableUK turn 40. As a trade body we’ve come a long way, but more importantly so have our members, our technologies and renewable energy overall.

For most of those 40 years we were the British Wind Energy Association. Since 2010 we have been RenewableUK in recognition of the work we do for wave and tidal as well as wind energy. Today, that also means our work supporting members across the electricity system, with smart power systems, batteries and storage also important for many of our members. To stay ahead in the power sector means moving from a single technology to a system focus, and that is what we have seen our members do.

The BWEA was established to help coordinate the different groups working on early stage wind projects, and to help amplify this effort and voice. Then the emphasis was on raising the profile of wind energy, and lobbying Government was part of our work from day one, and our first meeting took place on 17 November 1978, and was described in the first BWEA newsletter as follows:

On 17th November 1978, the inaugural meeting of the British Wind Energy Association was held at the Rutherford Laboratories, Chilton. The presentations covered a review of wind energy research and demonstration projects in Europe and the U.S.A. There was also considerable discussion of the present research strategy within this field in the UK. Discussions continued while a visit was made to the 6m diameter variable geometry vertical axis wind turbine, constructed at the Rutherford Laboratories. Future research in the UK was discussed during the afternoon. It was clear from the personal opinions expressed that wind energy was being considered most seriously by the government through the Wind Energy Steering Committee at the Department of Energy.


Thanks to the efforts of these founding members and their successors across the last 40 years our association and our industry has grown and is now a part of the energy mainstream. Over the next twelve months we will be looking to celebrate our sector’s growth, and some of the people working in our industry, from those early days to today. We want to look back at our achievements and look forward to where we go next. We’ll be building up to formally marking our 40th birthday on 22 November with our founders, members, stakeholders and staff past and present. Some people say that life only starts to get interesting at 40. Based on where our sector is today and all that we have learnt and achieved, that feels about right to us here at RenewableUK. We’ve enjoyed the first 40 years, and we are certainly looking forward to the next 40.

Watch this space for regular updates, interviews and snippets from our archive as we celebrate in style.

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