Deutsche Windtechnik is a specialist in the maintenance and repair of wind turbines on land and at sea. The company was established in 2007 in Germany and developed into the biggest independent service provider in Europe, servicing more than 6 GW of wind assets (approximately 5000 turbines).
Deutsche Windtechnik has been servicing wind turbines for almost 15 years now - how wide has your international footprint become after all this time?
We are present in most of the countries in Europe starting from Spain and the UK in the West and ending up in Sweden and Poland in the East. We also have offices in the US and developing offshore competencies in Taiwan. Technology wise, we service most of the platforms available on the market including Vestas, Gamesa, Siemens, Nordex, Senvion, and Enercon.
Poland was actually the first international market we ventured into, back in 2013. We started out by servicing 24 Vestas turbines and we have since established ourselves as a leading independent service provider in the country. Our portfolio covers approximately 150 MW of wind assets.
How come you chose Poland as the first international market to establish a presence?
It was a matter of circumstances. In 2012 we received a request from a Customer to establish an office in Poland and provide services to their wind project as they were not satisfied with the service quality of the manufacturer. It was quite a surprise for the company to see such a big demand and sudden growth, it made a lot of sense to carry on.
What are your thoughts on the current Polish market, where do you see most opportunity for your business?
The market has been in a bad shape for quite a few years as the development of new projects was limited by the 10h rule and other restrictions from government. But things are moving in a good direction now, new investment is coming in and the number of projects is growing.
This means ample opportunity for us, especially since customers are searching for options to attain better quality services. The passing of the PIB in 2020 will also allow for new projects to come online which means more work for us as well.
Wind turbine technology is evolving at an incredible pace. How do you keep up with these continuous changes and ensure you hold the appropriate knowledge to service new technologies?
Changing technologies require a significant amount of internal development and we thus have strong R&D and offshore departments to keep up to date. We are manufacturing our own electronics for older projects and make it a priority to continuously develop competencies for newer technologies.
We started with very old technologies (less than 1 MW) some years ago but now we are servicing even 6 MW turbines offshore with full scope.
In many countries the market tends to be dominated by manufacturers when it comes to servicing. Is this the case in Poland as well?
Yes, I would say it is somewhat true for Poland. Many customers will stick with manufacturers out of convenience and comfort. But over the past 5 to 10 years, we managed to prove that we are a worthy competitor - our goal is not to dominate the market, rather to provide a real, high quality alternative to what manufacturers bring to the table.
Why would a customer contract a company like yours, rather than work with the manufacturer directly?
Precisely because we are not the manufacturer we can openly tell customers if there are issues with a turbine - in other words we are unbiased and transparent. Besides, manufacturers tend to be focused on delivering the turbine, but not as much on providing flexible services to the customer. When we are talking about minimizing the production cost of energy, flexibility is key.
Do you already have a sense of how the COVID-19 outbreak will impact your business and the wider sector?
The main concern relates to the supply of spare parts and components. However, this is not an issue for the time being because we have a good stock pile since before the crisis started. Some of our suppliers are from China and Italy and we see limitations in the collaboration with them, but we already have alternatives in place.
Our business continues just with new safety measures in place: employees that are able to work from home do so, and technicians that need to be on the field work in small two person teams.
What is your outlook for the renewable energy sector moving forward and what objectives does Deutsche Windtechnik have?
My view of the market is quite optimistic, and we aim to always remain positive even through tough times. Wind technology is developing fast and can provide stable energy for Poland. Our objectives moving forward depend significantly on customer needs, but we see a lot of potential to grow our business in the Polish market.
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