Adapting Is the First Step to Renewables SuccessMon, 02/25/2019 - 15:47
Mexico’s renewable energy resources are often found in inaccessible regions with rugged climatic environments. From initial feasibility studies to O&M activities, foreign companies are often faced with the challenge of adapting their resources to these conditions, while also dealing with language and culture issues. Gus Gruner, Territory Manager for the Americas of NRG Systems, says that decades’ worth of field experience across the globe and technologies that have been designed for maximum flexibility are the keys to the company's success in demanding locations. “Our technologies have been put to the test in various markets around the world. This has helped us refine our solutions so that they work effectively across different languages, time zones and climates,” he says. “Another benefit of using equipment that is very quick to install and easy to use is lower overall supply chain costs, which is always a plus.” Gruner adds that NRG Systems leaves no stone unturned in testing and engineering its products to ensure they can withstand Mexico’s tough conditions and circumstances, including security. “We are used to working in very challenging locations with complicated terrain. Security is another important factor we consider for each project and we put great care into ensuring that our customers’ equipment and data is protected from animals and theft,” he says.
NRG Systems is a technology provider that develops, manufactures and engineers measurement solutions for wind and solar. It has operations in over 170 countries, with more than 35 years in the international market. The company also has an established foothold in the Mexican renewable energy industry, having been introduced to Mexico by Climatik, its technical and distribution partner. Climatik is a Mexican company focused on meteorological measurement campaigns. Gruner says this partnership enables NRG Systems to remain close to its clients in this region with on-the-ground service. “Our technical support team can provide real-time support through a step-by-step process. This allows our customers to get their measurement campaigns up and running in a timely manner.”
While Gruner says Climatik is NRG Systems’ most important partner in Mexico, the company is also open to forming new alliances. “We are always open to growing our network of partners or suppliers. If new clients want to contact us directly, we are open to working with them,” he says.
NRG Systems recently added two new products to its portfolio. The first relies on the intellectual property acquisition of the Spidar technology developed by Pentalum Technologies. This vertical wind profiler uses Pulsed Direct Detect Lidar to measure wind with high reliability and accuracy at the heights that wind farms require and at a significantly lower cost than conventional Doppler Lidar technologies. “For 2019, one of our main goals is to integrate the Spidar platform into the NRG Systems portfolio,” Gruner says.
The second product is a patent pending Bat Deterrent System that was developed to help the wind industry lessen its impact on wildlife. While it is well researched that wind turbines increase bat mortality, successful minimization methods have been implemented. Currently, the most effective techniques involve curtailment. “When turbines present a danger to the surrounding environment and ecological balance, often operators must stop generating power,” Gruner says. NRG Systems’ technology is based on nacelle-mounted ultrasonic devices that minimize bat take by keeping bats out of a turbine’s rotor-swept area. This means that operators will be able to produce more renewable energy longer while keeping bats out of harm’s way. NRG Systems plans to launch their Bat Deterrent System in 2019.
Despite the political and trade uncertainty that marked 2018, Gruner is hopeful that the future will be smoother sailing. He is a strong supporter of keeping the market’s opening on track in the face of a new federal government and believes that energy projects will not only benefit from the long-term electricity auctions, but also through PPA schemes. Collaboration, he says, will be essential, particularly among the North American bloc countries. “It is important to nurture the partnership between Mexico, Canada and the US. I know there is a great deal of ambiguity surrounding the USMCA, but we really hope the deal keeps trade flowing for the long run to achieve mutual success,” says Gruner.