An acquisition

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Only on rare occasions does Windpower Monthly appropriate the magazine's comment column to indulge in talking about itself, but this month we find there is some justification for disturbing readers with a few minutes of navel-gazing narrative. While good journalism is about reporting the news, not making it, there is always the exception that proves the rule. Last month Windpower Monthly became the subject of a press release, rather than the mere recipient of one, when it gained a powerful new owner, Haymarket Media Group, an international magazine publisher operating out of London.

Haymarket has bought the entire Windpower Monthly business, with all staff in place, as a going concern, along with WindStats Newsletter, our quarterly journal of wind power production data and technology information. To quote from the press release, "Windpower Monthly has established an excellent reputation and we intend to build on this success by investing in new products and services for the sector. Haymarket's existing operations in the US, Asia and Germany give us a strong foundation for growth in some of the largest existing wind energy markets."

The decision by Windpower Monthly's three founding owners, Danish journalist Torgny Møller, British journalist Lyn Harrison and American national Bill Canter, to approach Haymarket was a well considered one. Much of Windpower Monthly's reporting has been taken up with the changing shape of a maturing wind energy sector, successfully managing its breakneck speed of growth through healthy consolidation. We have witnessed the best assets taken aboard by the strongest players best poised to grow and succeed. The time had come for Windpower Monthly to move on too.

What we sought was a publisher eager to share our passion for good journalism and continue the magazine's tradition for fiercely independent and professional reporting. That company had to be of sufficient size to build out a full range of media services, not only to better provide for the wind sector's needs, but also to improve access to the stored knowledge in the business. Haymarket is our choice. The group describes itself as "avowedly independent" and "dedicated to producing magazines, websites and events that are the best," while a founding principle is to "know what you are talking about and create something great." We could not have put it better ourselves. As Haymarket chairman, Michael Heseltine, says in the press release: "The wind energy sector has exciting growth potential and Windpower Monthly is a perfect fit for our business, giving us an important foothold in the renewable energy sector."

It is not by accident that Windpower Monthly turned its back on becoming yet another title in the traditional energy publishing business, a branch that tends towards mass ownership and governed by a long history serving the needs of the nuclear, coal, oil and gas sectors. By retaining a great deal of autonomy within the mainstream electricity business, the wind sector has clearly benefited. So too have consumers. The electricity generating monoliths of the world have had it their own way for far too long. An independent wind power magazine has a role to play beyond its immediate sphere of interest.

Windpower Monthly is being sold at a time of momentous achievement. The 100 GW milestone for wind capacity has just been passed, years ahead of predictions. Never has the industry been in better health and its potential more widely understood. As Windpower Monthly approaches its 25th anniversary, it is not without pride that we look back on our own achievements over the past quarter century.

By sheer good luck

Torgny Møller founded Windpower Monthly in 1985, having stumbled across an environmentally conscious American and then a British journalist who quite separately had settled in Denmark several miles either side of a windy headland their boss still calls home. Nine years before he had erected a wind turbine on that headland and browbeaten a utility into connecting it to the grid. At the time he was the only private person anywhere to have won that battle. The turbine was the first in an unbroken series of four and marked the beginning of a lifelong mission to devote his skills as a journalist to the cause of wind energy. In an odd coincidence of timing, in the same week that Windpower Monthly was sold, the designer and manufacturer of that first 22 kW turbine, Christian Riisager, died, aged 78. Honoured be his memory.

Few industries have had the sheer good luck to be closely tracked from the start by a feisty, informed and above all, independent magazine, worrying at the heels of its members and raising the alarm should they stray from the path of responsible behaviour. While many a cowboy equipment supplier has cursed the existence of Windpower Monthly, readers have also blessed our dogged pursuit of the truth, whether reporting the sorry tale of a component series failure or revealing the underhand methods of a transmission wires operator determined to keep wind off its system. Together with our new owner, we promise business as usual. Windpower Monthly has won the respect of an entire industry -- and many outside it -- for knowledgeable, fair, accurate and cutting edge journalism. That legacy we now pass on to Haymarket Media Group. Long may it be guarded.

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