The College of Engineering and the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department are privileged to honor MIE Professor James Manwell on the occasion of his retirement. He has done groundbreaking work in the area of renewable energy, especially wind energy, for over 40 years and has received numerous significant grants and contracts from many state and national funding agencies.

In particular, Manwell was the founding director of the UMass Amherst Wind Energy Center, the national leader in wind energy education, academic research, and government and industry services. He also coauthored a famous, state-of-the-art textbook, Wind Energy Explained: Theory, Design, and Application (Wiley, 2009).

As MIE Department Head Sundar Krishnamurty so nicely summed up Manwell’s career: “Professor Manwell is an internationally recognized leader in the field of wind energy. During his illustrious career here at UMass, Professor Manwell has been the director of the UMass Wind Energy Center, PI or co-PI on numerous research grants, advisor for hundreds of graduate students, member of many high-profile international committees, speaker at approximately 100 public lectures and presentations, and author or coauthor of six books, three encyclopedia articles, and nearly 200 journal articles and conference papers.”

Manwell earned his bachelor’s degree in biophysics from Amherst College and a master’s degree and doctorate from UMass Amherst. His areas of research and expertise are in offshore wind energy system design and analysis, remote sensing techniques applied to wind resource assessment, and hybrid power and battery storage.

Among many other honors, Manwell has received the Distinguished Research Outreach Award from UMass Amherst in 2007; the American Wind Energy Association Academic Achievement Award in 1994 and 2006; the Western Reserve Academy’s Edward W. Morley Science Medal in 2005; the U.S. Department of Energy Wind Energy Regional Advocacy Award in 2004; and the U.S. Department of Energy Wind/Diesel Systems Pioneer Award in 2002.

More recently, Manwell was honored with the European Academy of Wind Energy (EAWE) 2019 EAWE Scientific Award. As the EAWE said when presenting Manwell with that last award, “Jim has distinguished himself not only for his lifelong commitment to wind energy, but also for his educational activities. We all have in our offices his famous book Wind Energy Explained (coauthored with Jon McGowan and Anthony Rogers), which has contributed to the education of countless wind energy professionals.”

In making that award, the EAWE also noted that Manwell has served on the International Electrotechnical Commission and the International Council for Science Panel on Renewable Energies. Beyond that, “He is a founding member and one of the main forces behind the North American Wind Energy Academy.”

According to Manwell’s bio posted by the Wind Energy Center in 2021, he also worked with the International Energy Agency’s wind energy R&D activity, Annex VII, which dealt with autonomous wind systems, and in conjunction with that activity was a contributing author to the book, Wind-Diesel Systems: A Guide to the Technology and its Implementation. In addition, he wrote a section titled “Offshore Wind Energy: Technology Trends, Challenges, and Risks,” in the Encyclopedia of Sustainability Science and Technology as well as numerous other publications on various aspects of wind energy.

For example, Manwell was the coauthor of two recent pivotal papers: “Grand challenges in the science of wind energy” in Science; and “Grand challenges in the design, manufacture, and operation of future wind turbine systems” in the journal Wind Energy Science.

In one autobiographical excerpt, Manwell, in effect, recapped his career in typically modest and understated fashion: “This whole endeavor has had many twists and turns over the last 30 years, but it has resulted in opportunities for many students to learn about wind energy and to undertake research that had real significance.”

According to Manwell, during his retirement, he intends to finish the third edition of Wind Energy Explained this year, to work internationally on the advancement and implementation of wind energy science, particularly offshore, and to continue teaching part time. (January 2023)

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