On the heels of finalizing a turbine-supply contract in Quebec – where it will deliver, install and commission 150 turbines – Germany-based manufacturer REpower Systems AG will turn its attention to Ontario, says CEO Andreas Nauen.
Nauen recently told NAW that REpower will seek to leverage an external supply chain with supply-chain partners in Ontario using the same strategy the turbine manufacturer used in Quebec. For REpower, such a strategy reduces its risk as well as operational costs.
‘Quebec was clearly our starting point in Canada, and we now look beyond, setting our sights in Ontario,’ Nauen says, adding REpower is currently engaged in pre-screening activities and that partnering with Ontario-based suppliers will help comply with Ontario's domestic-content requirements.
‘It starts with having an office in Canada and being able to speak with developer partners on the ground in Canada,’ Nauen explains. ‘Nevertheless, each province requires specific solutions, but having the experience in Quebec will make things in Ontario a bit easier.’
REpower will have a year to line up supply-chain partners before Ontario's local content requirements double in 2012. The local content provision, which mandates that wind projects must be derived from sources locally, jumps to 50% next year, up from 25% this year.
Nauen envisions REpower expanding into other Canadian provinces, but characterizes such activities as ‘down the road.’
The company manufacturers 5 MW and 6.15 MW offshore wind turbines; however, Nauen is hesitant as to whether REpower will try to tap the nascent offshore wind industry in North America.
‘I tend to admit the U.S. [offshore market] is in the observation stage,’ he says. ‘We are not yet there.’
Citing the near-decade-long approval process endured by Cape Wind Associates, Nauen says that ‘most developers don't have the endurance and the money to go [on] for such a long time.’
Nauen explains that successful project development in the offshore space needs certainty and speed of approvals.
‘Until that happens, nothing will ever move,’ he says.
Nauen says REpower is focusing its offshore efforts in European countries such as Germany and Belgium. For example, REpower will install 30 5 MW turbines at Ormonde, an offshore wind project located in the Irish Sea, as well as 48 6.15 MW turbines with RWE Innogy off the German coast. The company will also install 48 6.15 MW turbines for the second and third phases of Belgium's Thornton Bank offshore wind project.
‘We're really focusing and proving that we are managing these projects very well,’ he says.
As for onshore projects, the U.S. is ‘an important contributor,’ Nauen says, adding that the company will continue to stay active. In 2011, the company will install 304 MW at four projects across three states. REpower currently has 492 MW installed and operating in five states.