Influential and interesting in 2018 -- Danielle Merfeld

Chief technology officer, GE Renewable Energy

Overseeing the launch of class-leading turbines onshore and offshore

GE Renewable Energy is well-established as one of the big three global turbine OEMs, alongside Vestas and Siemens Gamesa, but it has never been seen as a leader in the field of wind-power technology.

The multinational conglomeration has traditionally preferred to buy in its expertise and hardware — its acquisition of Alstom Power in late 2015 a typical case in point, providing GE with a foothold in the offshore wind sector through the French company’s 6MW Haliade turbine.

That policy appears to be under revision though. GE is raising its game in the wind-energy technology field with the development of the 4.8-5.3MW "Cypress" onshore turbine, and a 12MW offshore machine.

Trained as an electrical engineer, Merfeld joined GE in 1999, rapidly rising to a vice-presidency and general manager of the 2,000-strong Global Research campus in Niskayuna, New York.

In 2015, she moved to GE’s renewable energy division as chief technology officer with a brief to oversee the division’s four departments (onshore and offshore wind, hydro, and turbine blades), and "see the larger picture".