• SolarPower Europe has announced the appointment of Walburga Hemetsberger as the new CEO to lead the organization
  • She will join the agency from February 2019 onward when she will replace current CEO James Watson
  • Hemetsberger is currently the head of EU Representation Office for Austrian utility Verbund AG

SolarPower Europe has appointed Walburga Hemetsberger as the European solar sector lobby association’s new CEO. She will assume the new position in February 2019. She will replace current CEO James Watson, who will join the European gas sector’s association Eurogas as its new CEO in January.

Hemetsberger has been working as Head of EU Representation Office for Austrian electricity company Verbund AG, which mostly operates hydropower plants.

SolarPower Europe President Christian Westermeier said her appointment was approved by the board unanimously, and that her knowledge of renewable energies and competition policy is a huge asset that will help the organization.

“It is a huge honour to come and work for SolarPower Europe, an association that is widely recognised as leading the energy transition. I am looking forward to making sure that we have the right policy and business frameworks in place, to ensure that solar is the leading energy source in Europe in the near future,” said Hemetsberger. “I am pleased to have the opportunity to build on the success of my predecessor, James Watson, and work in this innovative clean energy sector, which is at the forefront of building a new low carbon economy in Europe.”

Under Watson’s over 4 year tenure, SolarPower Europe rebranded (earlier the association was called European PV Industry Association EPIA), moved beyond solar into battery storage and mobility, and more than doubled its membership to over 200 members after it took a position against solar trade barriers. SolarPower Europe was the first association demanding to increase the European Commission’s proposed 27% 2030 renewables target to 35%, which finally resulted in 32%. SolarPower Europe was also instrumental in lobbying for the expiry of the minimum import tariffs in September, which has given developers in Europe access to low cost modules from Asia.