Tap into Canada’s Growth Potential: What’s next?
We interviewed Lauren La Marche, Director of Marketing & Communications at Goldwind Americas, to discuss the biggest hurdles and opportunities in Renewable Energy.
Wind, solar and energy storage technologies have tremendous synergy, and by working together, these technologies provide more comprehensive solutions for customers. Rapid technological innovation, COVID-19, and transportation hurdles have made it challenging to capitalize on opportunities in renewable energy.
Goldwind Americas is the North American subsidiary of Goldwind Science and Technology Co., Ltd. With more than 73+ gigawatts and 40,000 turbines installed globally, Goldwind is one of the world’s largest suppliers of wind turbines. We spoke with Lauren La Marche, Director of Marketing & Communications for Goldwind Americas, about today’s biggest challenges and opportunities in the wind energy industry.
Q: What are you excited to see at Electricity Transformation Canada?
The Goldwind team is looking forward to once again being face-to-face – socially distanced, of course – with our customers and reconnecting with them in a personalized and meaningful way. The Canadian wind market is steadfast in its growth potential with countless wind projects yet to be developed, so we are equally interested in seeing what is up next for the market in terms of new RFPs, government support, corporate buyers, integration of multi-technology and hybrid projects, and other development opportunities.
On the advocacy side, we are particularly interested in sessions and discussions where we can glean more insight into how we, as a unified cohort for renewables, use our deep knowledge and expertise to drive broader support for wind, solar and battery storage adoption and development.
Q: What made Goldwind Americas decide to attend Electricity Transformation Canada?
Goldwind Americas has been a strong supporter of the Canadian Renewable Energy Association’s conferences and exhibitions for nearly ten years (previously Canadian Wind Energy Association). As a result, it was a natural choice for us to continue our presence at ETC 2021. As a company, we look forward to reconnecting our customers and colleagues in the industry, introducing Goldwind Americas to those who don’t know us and showcasing our technology and services. While this past year and a half has brought many challenges, and we’ve tried to meet folks halfway with digital options, nothing replaces in-person connections.
Q: What can attendees expect to see from Goldwind Americas as an exhibitor?
Goldwind likes to look at our conference and exhibition events through the lens of our customers and how they wish to connect with us. As such, our approach to these events is slightly different; we have our trade show booth set up like a lounge. We'd love guests to come and sit down, – safely and socially distanced – to enjoy the space, reconnect with our team, and learn about Goldwind’s latest products and services. We’ll also have a meeting space off the show floor that we’ve 100% curated ourselves so we can have conversations and connections in a comfortable and quiet environment.
In terms of Goldwind projects and services, attendees can expect to see Goldwind’s latest wind turbine, the GW 165/5.2 and 5.6, as our featured wind turbine for the market. In addition, we’ll have one of our EFarm LIDAR units set up – a LIDAR Assisted Control Technology that measures the speed and direction of the wind ahead of the plane of the wind turbine rotor. The LiDAR sensor is installed on top of the nacelle probes and analyzes the incoming flow in front of the rotor with more precision than the classic anemometer-wind vane system.
We look forward to showcasing these projects and so much more to attendees at ETC 2021 in November.
Q: What are the biggest challenges wind energy is currently facing?
First and foremost, the renewable energy industry, and specifically the wind industry, has experienced considerable growth over the last few years, and we don’t see that slowing down. At the same time, the industry is experiencing growth; we are also collectively facing challenges in the form of higher prices and supply constraints for raw materials like steel, copper, and resin. However, Goldwind aims to work alongside customers to source the best materials at the best prices – but not at the expense of safety, quality, and performance. In addition, Goldwind has a nearly 30% market share in China, we are the largest, so we can bring our strategic relationships to bear when locking in prices for materials.
The wind industry, and specifically Goldwind, are delivering larger turbines – four to five megawatts in nameplate capacity with over 76-meter-long (~250 feet) blades and hundreds of smaller components. Not only does this result in an increase in logistics costs due to the sheer size of the components, but specialized equipment is also needed for these turbines once they arrive at a port, so transportation trucks and other equipment is also experiencing a shortage as they catch up to the size of these machines. With that said, Goldwind works very closely with logistics contractors and transportation companies to optimize turbines and vehicles to lessen the burden to the bottom line.
Q: With rapid changes within the energy sector, how has wind technology adapted?
The wind industry, alongside solar panels and battery storage, has made leaps and bounds in terms of innovation over the last 20 years. And now, we are starting to see the first-generation turbines coming down to repower projects with newer, smarter, and significantly larger turbines. Just in the last 5-7 years, the industry has jumped in the rated power of wind turbines from 1.5 and 2.5-megawatts to four and five plus for new projects in diverse and complex locations.
In addition, the smart digital technology that accompanies every machine and every wind farm has significantly improved overall performance. While it is difficult to place an exact percentage on the LCOE reduction, there is no doubt that digitalization will enhance the industry’s ability to drive down costs and increase performance over the lifetime of the turbine. To that end, using digital technologies to increase value on either the Capex or Opex end of the project is a key part of any owner/operator strategy to squeeze out every megawatt-hour possible – and we aim to do that with our newest products.
The industry is moving at such a rapid pace, namely because innovation and the desire to address the climate crisis is there. The energy transition is happening, and now, more than ever, it makes economic sense to use wind energy and other clean sources for power production.
*This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Join us November 17-19, 2021
Electricity Transformation Canada, an exciting new national conference and exhibition, will be at the centre of Canada’s transformation to a more affordable, flexible, reliable and sustainable energy system.
Launching November 17-19, 2021, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Electricity Transformation Canada is the premier national industry event for businesses, experts and other influencers in wind, solar and other related renewable energy technologies.
For more information
Why attend? Electricity Transformation Canada? If you’re on the fence, read this.
Why exhibit? It’s the perfect place to build your brand, establish relationships, grow your business and showcase products and services