TotalWind is an international supplier of turnkey solutions for wind turbine manufacturers and owners, operating in both on- and offshore wind sectors.
Having heard many voices across Poland’s renewable energy sector, it seems that everybody has learned to accept the volatile nature of the market. What do you think are the lows and highs in the market a result of?
Surely it is connected to the taxes and saving the money in the company as long as possible. Therefore the buyer of the turbines or wind parts wants to pay as late as possible to postpone the costs of the turbine , but still before the end of the to be able deduct the tax. Other thing that have influence on wind turbines market is winter period, which is not the best time to install them. Very often first quarter of the yesr is the lowest sezon.
It seems that there is much to look forward to in the coming years in Poland?
Overall, there are many ongoing projects with several still awaiting various permits. However, the policies in Poland have changed a lot since last year, the market started to open again, so we expect more stable work in Poland in the future.
There is no doubt there are many companies in the market, which creates a very big competition. So of course an impact like we had in Poland, which was closed for wind turbines for some time, can force some companies to leave the market.
Do you notice any tendency towards consolidation to address this issue?
It will come, there is no doubt about it. Otherwise, small companies will not be able to survive.
So what do you do to stay competitive in the industry?
First of all, we are trying to get good reputation through our cooperation with clients, and we have a very good crew here. We are also trying to grow at a stready, responsible pace and take decisions wisely, so its pay off afterwards.
Is it difficult to find the right kind and sufficient talent in Poland as far as the wind industry is concerned?
For sure today is much more difficult than in the past. A couple of years back it was easy to find very good people, but many have moved on to other shores. Workers are usually choosing the company that can offer them the highest salary. Given that they are for the most part self-employed, they can move between companies very easy. Also, not many are willing to travel for 6-8 weeks at a time, which is required when working on wind farm projects. People prefer for instance, traveling for up to two weeks and then spend the next two weeks at home, and we are doing our best to compromise and meet expectations.
While Poland is clearly the hot bed for wind energy during this period, Total Wind also has an international reach – what drives your choices here?
We do work in Scandinavia, Germany, and France. We generally follow what is going on and follow the producer. We can see the market on East is opening, and it will be a big market. At the moment, Poland is indeed the most exciting market, the same like Sweden or Germany.
What would you say are other challenges for a company like yours in the current business environment in Poland?
There are several still. Our industry needs to finally be accepted, and that is the biggest challenge. The Polish government needs to be somehow more open and supportive of RES. Everybody knows we need to go together in that direction but nobody wants to truly accept it as a present reality.
The market had closed down for the past three years and now has opened again – but for how long? The business needs a stable and reliable framework.
Based on the opportunities that you are noticing in the market, what critical objectives do you want to pursue in the coming 2-3 years?
Surely I would like the company to grow anywhere between 5-8% and then amplify that number for a medium to longer term perspective. I want to keep the growth at a stable rate though. Growth is essential to survive, and then thrive.
In light of the recent COVID-19 outbreak how has your business been affected and what do you expect the longer term repercussions to be?
Without a doubt the epidemic will postpone many onshore wind projects that were lined up for Poland, potentially for as late as next year. Nevertheless, we are talking about a delay, not a cancellation.
On the down side, businesses such as ours have already spent resources training people, buying equipment and so on, and if business slows down many will face challenges, or even bankruptcy. It is truly a matter of surviving the next three to four months. On the plus side, all current projects are ongoing and we are working as usual, though taking extra distancing precautions. And on a grander scale, wind energy is likely to keep strong, we are noticing a newfound appreciation for nature, for breathing cleaner air, for the safety we should all be prioritizing in our lives, for ourselves and our loved ones. Renewable energy is likely to be even further prioritized.
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