Wind Solutions Highlight Sustainability Commitment to MexicoBy Cas Biekmann | Thu, 03/19/2020 - 11:20
Q: How has changing your strategy for the Mexican market allowed you to gain a more competitive position in the wind industry?
A: As a wind solutions provider, Vestas has to be where good wind conditions exist and Mexico has great wind conditions. Vestas believes in Mexico and in the Latin American market in general. Therefore, Vestas has re-oriented its strategy. Starting in 2022 Vestas Latin America will be an independent unit, reporting directly to the company’s global CEO. We see a huge potential for growth in this environment, building further on the development we have achieved in recent years.
Regarding Vestas’ competitiveness, we see competition as beneficial. It allows us to best cater to the customer and find ways to ensure the lowest levelized cost of energy (LCOE). At the end of the day, when examining a power purchase agreement (PPA) or total cost of ownership (TCO) analysis for periods of over 20 years, the LCOE is considered integral to this calculation. Vestas wants to provide the best solution; this does not always mean the largest turbine but one that is competitive enough to deliver great returns and ensure the customer’s profitability. Vestas wants to structure the new organization so that we can operate quickly and with simplicity, benefiting the client. This year will be crucial in that regard.
Q: How does the company assess opportunities in the Mexican market ?
A: Vestas was a pioneer in the Mexican market, having entered in 1994. We established our operations center in 2010. Vestas also has a blade factory in the country, so it is clear that Vestas believes in Mexico. Our commitment is for the long run, not just for the next five to 10 years. However, the company will have to adjust its business size depending on the circumstances of the market, where there are highs and lows. Nevertheless, Vestas understands Mexico and sees its potential. Given our competitiveness, our commitment remains unchanged even if the wind sector is not experiencing a boom at the moment. We have a few projects in the pipeline and believe that it is a good time to enter Mexico.
Q: How is Vestas applying technology to make its projects more sustainable?
A: Sustainability is part of Vestas’ DNA. We take the matter seriously and it shows in all aspects of the company. This includes efforts to minimize carbon emissions in our manufacturing, and our commitment to zero-waste, recyclable wind turbines, workplace safety, attention toward the supply chain as well as to diversity and inclusion. We always have sustainability in mind. Wind power is growing rapidly worldwide and we have the opportunity to introduce benefits to countries that are just starting to explore their wind potential. We know that our solutions can contribute to a cleaner environment going forward, so we want to contribute to this even further. Vestas also has a strong community approach, both of our own accord and in collaboration with other companies.
Q: How does Vestas invest in innovation to stay ahead of the technological curve?
A: Vestas invests a large part of its revenue in research and development. Vestas recently acquired Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI)’s stake in our offshore wind joint venture, which now employs 3,000 people. Vestas has the ideal portfolio for both onshore and offshore solutions.
Green hydrogen is a further focal point for investment. Europe is making a big push for hydrogen, much of which will come from other countries. This means that Latin America has a good opportunity here. I believe that exporting hydrogen to Europe from Latin America has a great future. Aerospace companies have developed aircraft that run on green hydrogen as well. The fact that industrial players are aligned with sustainability goals will have a big future impact. Vestas is not only investing in research, but also in having its solutions ready to help boost hydrogen and other sustainability efforts. In this regard, Vestas is ready to join these innovative projects.
Q: How do you see offshore wind potential developing in Latin America?
A: I think there is good potential in Latin America but it will take more time to develop as opposed to other parts of the world. Vestas is planning projects for 2025 and onward. For offshore development, companies must think a few years further ahead than with onshore development. From a 10-year perspective, Vestas has a good pipeline. In regard to Latin America, I predict offshore will become more popular during the second wave of development. Currently, there is a great deal of space with good conditions available onshore. For offshore, regulations need to align first. Latin America is still behind Europe’s developments in this regard. We need to work on the basics first but offshore’s potential after 2025 looks promising.