Why Aloys Wobben can inspire us all

“To contribute to the preservation of creation with my abilities, is my mission, so that our planet remains habitable.”

Richard Heap
August 12, 2021
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This content is from our archive. Some formatting or links may be broken.
Why Aloys Wobben can inspire us all

Aloys Wobben has been described as “the true king of wind energy”.

“To contribute to the preservation of creation with my abilities, is my mission, so that our planet remains habitable.”

That was the life’s mission of Enercon founder Dr. Aloys Wobben, who died on 3rd August after a long illness. He was 69.

His death was announced by Enercon and the Aloys Wobben Foundation, and their statement sparked a host of tributes. These include praise for his vision of the role that wind could play and his tenacity to make it happen.

While Wobben stepped back from active management of the business in 2012 due to his health, his status as one of wind’s forefathers is unarguable. There are few people who have shaped wind’s role in the energy transition in the same way. That is why one of the tributes on our LinkedIn story about Wobben's death called him “the true king of wind energy”.

In a week where we have seen the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warn about the devastating impacts of global warming in a landmark report, it feels very timely to reflect on Wobben’s contribution. If the IPCC report shows us anything it is that the world must catch up to his vision – and Wobben’s work shows us that success may not come easily.

Growing Enercon

Dr. Aloys Wobben started out by studying electrical engineering, where he focused his research on wind energy and other renewables.

In 1975, he created his first wind turbine – a 22kW machine – with his friend Meinhard Remmers. Nine years later, in 1984, Wobben set up Enercon with a few employees to develop bigger turbines, and the company’s first platform was the 55kW E-15/16. That is tiny in today’s terms.

The company was not an immediate success, but Wobben didn't give up. You can see some tributes from his colleagues in those early years in this post.

In 1992, Enercon made its major technological breakthrough when it launched its E-40/500kW, which was the first gearless wind turbine. Gearless technology has remained the basis of Enercon machines, and it is this commitment to innovation that led to Wobben winning many awards in his career.

He has also gained many heartfelt tributes in the last week to his intelligence, his kindness, and his commitment to wind in those early days: “A pioneer and an inspiration,” says one. “[He] was decades ahead of his time,” says another.

By 2010, the company had grown its product range to include 3MW machines, with Wobben stepping down from active management at Enercon in 2012. His interests were transferred to the Aloys Wobben Foundation that year, and the foundation remains the sole shareholder in Enercon.

As one comment on our LinkedIn post put it: “It is tragic that fate did not give him a retirement in health and that he left us so early. He gave us so much.”

It is Wobben’s work over decades and his vision of “energy for the world” that paved the way for where Enercon is now. It has 20,000 employees globally and has installed over 50GW. The business had a 2% market share of onshore wind installations globally in 2020, 12% in Europe and 32% in Germany, which is still its core market.

That isn’t to say growth has been simple for Enercon. The company has been hit by Germany’s wind downturn in recent years and, like other turbine firms, has faced a squeeze on its profits. But it has responded with innovations such as getting more into development and setting up an institutional fund platform. Despite his illness, Wobben remained a guiding light for Enercon until the end.

Hope and despair

This is where the IPCC report comes in. Wobben’s goal was to make sure the planet stays habitable. The IPCC warns that it isn’t.

Human activity is changing the planet in unprecedented ways and many of the worst effects of climate change are inevitable. The report calls for fundamental changes in every aspect of how we live.

This could be cause for despair. It’s a monumental task that must galvanise all of us – businesses, politicians, and the public – before this year’s COP26 talks.

But it is easier for us to make the changes that we need to because of the hard work that Wobben and other pioneers did in growing wind to where it is now. We are fortunate that he have that strong platform of work to build on.

As another of those tributes put it, his work was "a real success story for the planet and a foundation for generations".

Wobben’s story can inspire us – and it must, given that his goal of keeping Earth habitable seems further away than ever. His mission is now ours.

“To contribute to the preservation of creation with my abilities, is my mission, so that our planet remains habitable.”

That was the life’s mission of Enercon founder Dr. Aloys Wobben, who died on 3rd August after a long illness. He was 69.

His death was announced by Enercon and the Aloys Wobben Foundation, and their statement sparked a host of tributes. These include praise for his vision of the role that wind could play and his tenacity to make it happen.

While Wobben stepped back from active management of the business in 2012 due to his health, his status as one of wind’s forefathers is unarguable. There are few people who have shaped wind’s role in the energy transition in the same way. That is why one of the tributes on our LinkedIn story about Wobben's death called him “the true king of wind energy”.

In a week where we have seen the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warn about the devastating impacts of global warming in a landmark report, it feels very timely to reflect on Wobben’s contribution. If the IPCC report shows us anything it is that the world must catch up to his vision – and Wobben’s work shows us that success may not come easily.

Growing Enercon

Dr. Aloys Wobben started out by studying electrical engineering, where he focused his research on wind energy and other renewables.

In 1975, he created his first wind turbine – a 22kW machine – with his friend Meinhard Remmers. Nine years later, in 1984, Wobben set up Enercon with a few employees to develop bigger turbines, and the company’s first platform was the 55kW E-15/16. That is tiny in today’s terms.

The company was not an immediate success, but Wobben didn't give up. You can see some tributes from his colleagues in those early years in this post.

In 1992, Enercon made its major technological breakthrough when it launched its E-40/500kW, which was the first gearless wind turbine. Gearless technology has remained the basis of Enercon machines, and it is this commitment to innovation that led to Wobben winning many awards in his career.

He has also gained many heartfelt tributes in the last week to his intelligence, his kindness, and his commitment to wind in those early days: “A pioneer and an inspiration,” says one. “[He] was decades ahead of his time,” says another.

By 2010, the company had grown its product range to include 3MW machines, with Wobben stepping down from active management at Enercon in 2012. His interests were transferred to the Aloys Wobben Foundation that year, and the foundation remains the sole shareholder in Enercon.

As one comment on our LinkedIn post put it: “It is tragic that fate did not give him a retirement in health and that he left us so early. He gave us so much.”

It is Wobben’s work over decades and his vision of “energy for the world” that paved the way for where Enercon is now. It has 20,000 employees globally and has installed over 50GW. The business had a 2% market share of onshore wind installations globally in 2020, 12% in Europe and 32% in Germany, which is still its core market.

That isn’t to say growth has been simple for Enercon. The company has been hit by Germany’s wind downturn in recent years and, like other turbine firms, has faced a squeeze on its profits. But it has responded with innovations such as getting more into development and setting up an institutional fund platform. Despite his illness, Wobben remained a guiding light for Enercon until the end.

Hope and despair

This is where the IPCC report comes in. Wobben’s goal was to make sure the planet stays habitable. The IPCC warns that it isn’t.

Human activity is changing the planet in unprecedented ways and many of the worst effects of climate change are inevitable. The report calls for fundamental changes in every aspect of how we live.

This could be cause for despair. It’s a monumental task that must galvanise all of us – businesses, politicians, and the public – before this year’s COP26 talks.

But it is easier for us to make the changes that we need to because of the hard work that Wobben and other pioneers did in growing wind to where it is now. We are fortunate that he have that strong platform of work to build on.

As another of those tributes put it, his work was "a real success story for the planet and a foundation for generations".

Wobben’s story can inspire us – and it must, given that his goal of keeping Earth habitable seems further away than ever. His mission is now ours.

“To contribute to the preservation of creation with my abilities, is my mission, so that our planet remains habitable.”

That was the life’s mission of Enercon founder Dr. Aloys Wobben, who died on 3rd August after a long illness. He was 69.

His death was announced by Enercon and the Aloys Wobben Foundation, and their statement sparked a host of tributes. These include praise for his vision of the role that wind could play and his tenacity to make it happen.

While Wobben stepped back from active management of the business in 2012 due to his health, his status as one of wind’s forefathers is unarguable. There are few people who have shaped wind’s role in the energy transition in the same way. That is why one of the tributes on our LinkedIn story about Wobben's death called him “the true king of wind energy”.

In a week where we have seen the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warn about the devastating impacts of global warming in a landmark report, it feels very timely to reflect on Wobben’s contribution. If the IPCC report shows us anything it is that the world must catch up to his vision – and Wobben’s work shows us that success may not come easily.

Growing Enercon

Dr. Aloys Wobben started out by studying electrical engineering, where he focused his research on wind energy and other renewables.

In 1975, he created his first wind turbine – a 22kW machine – with his friend Meinhard Remmers. Nine years later, in 1984, Wobben set up Enercon with a few employees to develop bigger turbines, and the company’s first platform was the 55kW E-15/16. That is tiny in today’s terms.

The company was not an immediate success, but Wobben didn't give up. You can see some tributes from his colleagues in those early years in this post.

In 1992, Enercon made its major technological breakthrough when it launched its E-40/500kW, which was the first gearless wind turbine. Gearless technology has remained the basis of Enercon machines, and it is this commitment to innovation that led to Wobben winning many awards in his career.

He has also gained many heartfelt tributes in the last week to his intelligence, his kindness, and his commitment to wind in those early days: “A pioneer and an inspiration,” says one. “[He] was decades ahead of his time,” says another.

By 2010, the company had grown its product range to include 3MW machines, with Wobben stepping down from active management at Enercon in 2012. His interests were transferred to the Aloys Wobben Foundation that year, and the foundation remains the sole shareholder in Enercon.

As one comment on our LinkedIn post put it: “It is tragic that fate did not give him a retirement in health and that he left us so early. He gave us so much.”

It is Wobben’s work over decades and his vision of “energy for the world” that paved the way for where Enercon is now. It has 20,000 employees globally and has installed over 50GW. The business had a 2% market share of onshore wind installations globally in 2020, 12% in Europe and 32% in Germany, which is still its core market.

That isn’t to say growth has been simple for Enercon. The company has been hit by Germany’s wind downturn in recent years and, like other turbine firms, has faced a squeeze on its profits. But it has responded with innovations such as getting more into development and setting up an institutional fund platform. Despite his illness, Wobben remained a guiding light for Enercon until the end.

Hope and despair

This is where the IPCC report comes in. Wobben’s goal was to make sure the planet stays habitable. The IPCC warns that it isn’t.

Human activity is changing the planet in unprecedented ways and many of the worst effects of climate change are inevitable. The report calls for fundamental changes in every aspect of how we live.

This could be cause for despair. It’s a monumental task that must galvanise all of us – businesses, politicians, and the public – before this year’s COP26 talks.

But it is easier for us to make the changes that we need to because of the hard work that Wobben and other pioneers did in growing wind to where it is now. We are fortunate that he have that strong platform of work to build on.

As another of those tributes put it, his work was "a real success story for the planet and a foundation for generations".

Wobben’s story can inspire us – and it must, given that his goal of keeping Earth habitable seems further away than ever. His mission is now ours.

“To contribute to the preservation of creation with my abilities, is my mission, so that our planet remains habitable.”

That was the life’s mission of Enercon founder Dr. Aloys Wobben, who died on 3rd August after a long illness. He was 69.

His death was announced by Enercon and the Aloys Wobben Foundation, and their statement sparked a host of tributes. These include praise for his vision of the role that wind could play and his tenacity to make it happen.

While Wobben stepped back from active management of the business in 2012 due to his health, his status as one of wind’s forefathers is unarguable. There are few people who have shaped wind’s role in the energy transition in the same way. That is why one of the tributes on our LinkedIn story about Wobben's death called him “the true king of wind energy”.

In a week where we have seen the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warn about the devastating impacts of global warming in a landmark report, it feels very timely to reflect on Wobben’s contribution. If the IPCC report shows us anything it is that the world must catch up to his vision – and Wobben’s work shows us that success may not come easily.

Growing Enercon

Dr. Aloys Wobben started out by studying electrical engineering, where he focused his research on wind energy and other renewables.

In 1975, he created his first wind turbine – a 22kW machine – with his friend Meinhard Remmers. Nine years later, in 1984, Wobben set up Enercon with a few employees to develop bigger turbines, and the company’s first platform was the 55kW E-15/16. That is tiny in today’s terms.

The company was not an immediate success, but Wobben didn't give up. You can see some tributes from his colleagues in those early years in this post.

In 1992, Enercon made its major technological breakthrough when it launched its E-40/500kW, which was the first gearless wind turbine. Gearless technology has remained the basis of Enercon machines, and it is this commitment to innovation that led to Wobben winning many awards in his career.

He has also gained many heartfelt tributes in the last week to his intelligence, his kindness, and his commitment to wind in those early days: “A pioneer and an inspiration,” says one. “[He] was decades ahead of his time,” says another.

By 2010, the company had grown its product range to include 3MW machines, with Wobben stepping down from active management at Enercon in 2012. His interests were transferred to the Aloys Wobben Foundation that year, and the foundation remains the sole shareholder in Enercon.

As one comment on our LinkedIn post put it: “It is tragic that fate did not give him a retirement in health and that he left us so early. He gave us so much.”

It is Wobben’s work over decades and his vision of “energy for the world” that paved the way for where Enercon is now. It has 20,000 employees globally and has installed over 50GW. The business had a 2% market share of onshore wind installations globally in 2020, 12% in Europe and 32% in Germany, which is still its core market.

That isn’t to say growth has been simple for Enercon. The company has been hit by Germany’s wind downturn in recent years and, like other turbine firms, has faced a squeeze on its profits. But it has responded with innovations such as getting more into development and setting up an institutional fund platform. Despite his illness, Wobben remained a guiding light for Enercon until the end.

Hope and despair

This is where the IPCC report comes in. Wobben’s goal was to make sure the planet stays habitable. The IPCC warns that it isn’t.

Human activity is changing the planet in unprecedented ways and many of the worst effects of climate change are inevitable. The report calls for fundamental changes in every aspect of how we live.

This could be cause for despair. It’s a monumental task that must galvanise all of us – businesses, politicians, and the public – before this year’s COP26 talks.

But it is easier for us to make the changes that we need to because of the hard work that Wobben and other pioneers did in growing wind to where it is now. We are fortunate that he have that strong platform of work to build on.

As another of those tributes put it, his work was "a real success story for the planet and a foundation for generations".

Wobben’s story can inspire us – and it must, given that his goal of keeping Earth habitable seems further away than ever. His mission is now ours.

“To contribute to the preservation of creation with my abilities, is my mission, so that our planet remains habitable.”

That was the life’s mission of Enercon founder Dr. Aloys Wobben, who died on 3rd August after a long illness. He was 69.

His death was announced by Enercon and the Aloys Wobben Foundation, and their statement sparked a host of tributes. These include praise for his vision of the role that wind could play and his tenacity to make it happen.

While Wobben stepped back from active management of the business in 2012 due to his health, his status as one of wind’s forefathers is unarguable. There are few people who have shaped wind’s role in the energy transition in the same way. That is why one of the tributes on our LinkedIn story about Wobben's death called him “the true king of wind energy”.

In a week where we have seen the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warn about the devastating impacts of global warming in a landmark report, it feels very timely to reflect on Wobben’s contribution. If the IPCC report shows us anything it is that the world must catch up to his vision – and Wobben’s work shows us that success may not come easily.

Growing Enercon

Dr. Aloys Wobben started out by studying electrical engineering, where he focused his research on wind energy and other renewables.

In 1975, he created his first wind turbine – a 22kW machine – with his friend Meinhard Remmers. Nine years later, in 1984, Wobben set up Enercon with a few employees to develop bigger turbines, and the company’s first platform was the 55kW E-15/16. That is tiny in today’s terms.

The company was not an immediate success, but Wobben didn't give up. You can see some tributes from his colleagues in those early years in this post.

In 1992, Enercon made its major technological breakthrough when it launched its E-40/500kW, which was the first gearless wind turbine. Gearless technology has remained the basis of Enercon machines, and it is this commitment to innovation that led to Wobben winning many awards in his career.

He has also gained many heartfelt tributes in the last week to his intelligence, his kindness, and his commitment to wind in those early days: “A pioneer and an inspiration,” says one. “[He] was decades ahead of his time,” says another.

By 2010, the company had grown its product range to include 3MW machines, with Wobben stepping down from active management at Enercon in 2012. His interests were transferred to the Aloys Wobben Foundation that year, and the foundation remains the sole shareholder in Enercon.

As one comment on our LinkedIn post put it: “It is tragic that fate did not give him a retirement in health and that he left us so early. He gave us so much.”

It is Wobben’s work over decades and his vision of “energy for the world” that paved the way for where Enercon is now. It has 20,000 employees globally and has installed over 50GW. The business had a 2% market share of onshore wind installations globally in 2020, 12% in Europe and 32% in Germany, which is still its core market.

That isn’t to say growth has been simple for Enercon. The company has been hit by Germany’s wind downturn in recent years and, like other turbine firms, has faced a squeeze on its profits. But it has responded with innovations such as getting more into development and setting up an institutional fund platform. Despite his illness, Wobben remained a guiding light for Enercon until the end.

Hope and despair

This is where the IPCC report comes in. Wobben’s goal was to make sure the planet stays habitable. The IPCC warns that it isn’t.

Human activity is changing the planet in unprecedented ways and many of the worst effects of climate change are inevitable. The report calls for fundamental changes in every aspect of how we live.

This could be cause for despair. It’s a monumental task that must galvanise all of us – businesses, politicians, and the public – before this year’s COP26 talks.

But it is easier for us to make the changes that we need to because of the hard work that Wobben and other pioneers did in growing wind to where it is now. We are fortunate that he have that strong platform of work to build on.

As another of those tributes put it, his work was "a real success story for the planet and a foundation for generations".

Wobben’s story can inspire us – and it must, given that his goal of keeping Earth habitable seems further away than ever. His mission is now ours.

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Not a member yet?

Become a member of the 6,500-strong A Word About Wind community today, and gain access to our premium content, exclusive lead generation and investment opportunities.