Learning from “The Canadian Way” in wind energy
by Lance Marram, CEO North America, Senvion
I am looking forward to attending CanWEA’s annual conference and exhibition in Montreal this year and in the meantime, I’m reflecting on the continuing resilience and significance of the Canadian market in the global wind industry. It has been just over two months now since I took on my new role as the North American CEO for Senvion, and I have already spent a considerable amount of time meeting with key Canadian stakeholders in Montreal, Toronto and Edmonton.
Canada remains a strategic market for my company: Senvion has long-term service agreements for 90 per cent of our portfolio here. With 1.4 GW in Canada, Senvion has just over 10 per cent of the country’s total installed wind energy capacity.
The need for bigger, cost-effective turbines in Canada is increasing. We still need to be respectful of Canada’s communities though and apply our best technology accordingly. Senvion’s large turbines with their low-noise specs provide a valuable proposition for the public and the leaders within the wind power community. It benefits the industry as a whole when it comes to successful communication with opinion leaders and general publics who are concerned about the impact of wind power on their communities.
As an American, I feel well situated to complement “the Canadian way": combatting climate change has become a shared national imperative and therefore the commitment to renewable energy is becoming stronger. Canada is taking a lead in seizing this initiative. No surprise that the 46th session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) took place in Montreal last week.
If we want to effectively fight climate change, however, there is still a lot of work to be done. We have to fight marketplace inertia, misconceptions and short-term thinking. As you know, not everybody agrees that wind energy is the way to go, and our sector definitely has competition. This makes it even more important for us as an industry to be ambitious, to facilitate innovation and to speak with one voice.
Now I don’t pretend to have all the answers about the Canadian wind energy sector, but I’ve worked in the industry for over 15 years from the Americas to Europe and in emerging markets such as the Middle East and Africa, for example. I look forward to using my experience to help take the wind business in Canada to the next level.