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Cornell joins Global Wind Energy Council

Cornell has become one of the first U.S. universities to partner with the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), becoming an official academic member.

The council is the international trade association for the wind power industry, communicating the benefits of wind power to policymakers and providing industry research in more than 80 countries around the world, among other priorities.

In partnering with GWEC, Cornell joins more than 1,500 member companies, organizations and institutions. The partnership is led by Rebecca Barthelmie, professor in the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, who said GWEC is an important organization that provides outstanding resources for its members.

“Joining GWEC means we partner with a like-minded organization focused on delivering top-quality research and analysis to provide transparent information, and collaborate to contribute in the provision of clean energy,” said Barthelmie, also a fellow of the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability. “I’m really excited about exploring and developing all the potential benefits on both sides, including for our students, and to learn more and promote wind energy through this new partnership.”

Barthelmie directs the Wind Energy Research Lab at Cornell, combining expertise in mechanical engineering, atmospheric sciences and data analysis to study wind turbine wakes and create resources to help wind farms and developers optimize operations.

GWEC CEO Ben Backwell said labs like Barthelmie’s and others at Cornell are vital to the wind power sector’s commitment to making renewable energy more affordable and efficient.

“Academic institutions have played an important role in getting wind power to where it is today, and will continue to play an essential role in educating the next generation on the key solutions the world needs to achieve net zero by the middle of this century to avoid a climate emergency,” Backwell said. “We are thrilled to now have Cornell join our global community of the world’s leading wind power companies, investors, policymakers and international institutions to support our vision of accelerating the deployment of wind power worldwide to reduce carbon emissions, create massive socioeconomic benefits, and ensure the future of our planet and people.”

Backwell added that the partnership with Cornell comes at a crucial time, with the U.S. reaffirming its commitments to global climate action through the Paris Agreement. He noted that the U.S. is the world’s second-largest onshore wind market, and New York state is home to the country’s largest offshore wind program, having committed to producing 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind energy by 2035.

“We need all hands on deck to achieve the growth levels required to achieve both the U.S.’ and the world’s climate goals,” Backwell said, “and we hope that this partnership can inspire the students and faculty of Cornell, along with the members of GWEC, to work together to achieve those goals.”

Syl Kacapyr is public relations and content manager for the College of Engineering.

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