Anders Vedel, CTO of Vestas Wind Systems, is keynote speaker at this year’s WIND ENERGY DENMARK that merges technology, science, and product development within the wind industry. Danish Wind Industry Association met him for a talk about some of the central challenges facing the industry today and in the coming years – and how he sees the potential for the Danish wind industry to stay ahead in the fierce, global competition.
Competition continuously increases and the pressure on the industry to find smarter, cheaper and more sustainable solutions and technologies equally increases. One approach is through industrialization and standardization, which can pave the way for reductions in Levelized Cost of Energy (LCoE). Where and why do you see a crucial need for further standardization in the industry?
Although we have seen improvements over the past years, there is an opportunity and need for a much greater level of standardization across the value chain, streamlining supply chains and component design to achieve the economies of scale that we see in more mature industries.
Megavind, the Danish national partnership for wind energy, is tasked with identifying areas of strategic importance where industry and research must join forces to develop new technologies and new methods. How do you view the cooperation between industry and research – are the ties close enough or do industry and research live separate lives?
Bringing together OEMs, research institutions and suppliers both in wind and from adjacent industries is crucial to continuing to drive down LCoE. It is a very important part of Vestas’ strategy to create R&D partnerships and to work closely with research institutes and universities. Doing this is part of ensuring we can stay in the forefront with our product development. So, an absolute necessity to succeed.
And how do we ensure that the entire value chain is activated in strategic research cooperation?
Next generation technologies will be one of the main focus areas of WIND ENERGY DENMARK, and in particularly we will look at the opportunities and challenges with upscaling. Through some time now, the industry has talked about multi megawatt wind turbines, but when will we see them?
Increased power rating and larger rotors will continue to be a key driver for lower cost of energy. There is, however, often a limit to the size of the turbines, and this is often due to legislation rather than technical capabilities of the industry. For offshore turbines, I believe we will continue to see a fast development in power rating and size to limit or optimize the very high installation and maintenance costs.
Is the industry at all geared to handle turbines and components of such a scale?
WIND ENERGY DENAMRK also zooms in on digitalization and the opportunities which the increased application of data creates. What are the largest potentials that digitalization creates for the industry and what does the industry stand to win through increased focus on digitalization?
Over the past decade, we have made significant investments in supercomputing analytics capabilities, most recently by integrating a very powerful new supercomputer. This has been the foundation for creating the highly data-driven business Vestas is today. We leverage on our data collection across our business, including development of new technologies and solutions, in value chain simulation and in optimizing our operations and maintenance performance. All elements that are contributing to driving down LCoE.
Denmark is known for its excellent R&D and testing facilities. Will we also see Denmark in the absolute forefront in the R&D area in the future?
Denmark has a unique position due to the capabilities in wind and the fact that we have development, test facilities and production in close proximity. To keep our position, however, will require improving the framework for the industry, as many other countries are investing in attracting and developing wind power hubs.
For instance, we still see a need to further upgrade and expand the test facilities available to the industry. Market needs for a greater diversity of products, more complex technological solutions and intense pressure to reduce time to market means the current level of planned facilities will not be sufficient.
Vestas tops the list as a world leading wind turbine OEM in terms of market share, but there is an increased competition from e.g. Chinese and American OEMs. What are your thoughts on the future competition and how can Denmark stay ahead as a world leading wind power nation?
Vestas Wind Systems is strongly represented at the event, both as a main sponsor and exhibitor. This year, the “theme” of their exhibition stand is to stay ahead – both as an industry and as a company. The stand will showcase innovative solutions and products that will help drive down the cost of energy.
Vestas will showcasing how far they have come onshore: They have just recently introduced their upgraded 4MW platform, which is visible in all of Vestas’ visual communication at WED, and we encourage people to stop by their stand and learn more about this new innovative platform.
Vestas has also teamed up with MHI Vestas to showcase how far they have have come offshore through a Virtual Reality (VR) experience: VR technology enables Vestas to show the big scale of their projects and at the same time explain in an exciting way how it is to work on wind turbines.
The VR setup showcases the completion of the Burbo Bank Extension project, future projects and a small introduction to the uprated V164-9.5 MW. The mobile VR set-up enables Vestas to bring the VR experience around to the different exhibitions and conferences and thereby makes the experience more accessible to a wider audience.
Meet Vestas in Hall F, stand F46 in MCH Messecenter Herning on 2-3 October and get an up-close look at the world leading OEM’s latest technology and product development. See more on windenergydenmark.dk.