Interview: Alberto Barcia

Alberto Barcia,
Commercial Director at Ingeteam Wind Energy

“We Expect Indian Market to Recover, Supported by Solid Regulations”

We expect the market to recover, supported by solid regulations that incentivize investment in new wind projects. Ingeteam, as well as other key players in the Indian market are seeking stability that can enable us to strengthen processes and relationships in order to optimize performance. From a manufacturing perspective, steps on this have already been taken by the Government with various incentive programs to foster the make in India strategy, shares Alberto Barcia, Commercial Director of Ingeteam Wind Energy, in an exclusive conversation with Manu Tayal, Associate Editor, Energetica India. Barcia also discussed about his company’s products offerings, industry challenges, 2021 outlook, expectations etc. Here’re the edited excerpts:

“Kindly tell Energetica India readers in brief about Ingeteam.”

Ingeteam is an international technological Group specialized in electric power conversion. Our state of the art developments in power and control electronics (inverters, frequency converters, controllers and protections), rotative electric machines (Indar motors, generators and submersible motor & pumps sets), systems (electromechanical engineering and automation projects), and services (operation & maintenance services), enable us to provide the best solutions in different sectors, namely: wind, solar PV, hydro and fossil fuel power generation; metal and mineral processing; mining; marine; rail traction; waters; e-vehicle charging and power grid automation, always achieving sustainable and efficient energy generation, transmission, distribution and consumption.
In the wind industry, the Group is a complete solution provider for wind OEMs. We design, develop, manufacture, and provide a comprehensive range of electrical components for wind turbines, and also O&M services for a complete range of wind turbines, offering a tailored solution to meet every project’s requirements. Ingeteam is the world’s #1 independent supplier of wind energy converters, with a delivered power of 52 GW. In addition, it is a leading ISP (Independent Service Provider), with 9.2 GW of maintained wind power, and is the O&M leader in LATAM and Spain. The wind division of Indar (Ingeteam Group) is leader in its segment and has provided 23,000 wind generators, equivalent to 40.5 GW power.
The company operates throughout the world, and is permanently based in 24 countries, with a headcount of 4,000.

“How do you see the impact of Covid-19 on the onshore and offshore wind energy market? What is your outlook for 2021?”

Covid-19 has been a challenge for everyone, including of course the wind energy market. However, we as a sector can confirm that we have been able to overcome the challenges and difficulties, keeping a steady growth.
Despite the pandemic, Ingeteam launched a new generation of wind energy converters developed for high power DFIG applications in the range of 6 to 8 MW adapted to the needs of the most stringent network codes. In total, the company delivered 3GW of electrical equipment to wind OEMs, confirming our market leadership position. For 2021, the continuous improvement of previously developed equipment, will facilitate our international manufacture and increase our performance and competitiveness, both from a technical as a cost point of view. In the manufacturing plants, we foresee a constant rhythm of activity that allows us to provide high-level service to our clients to satisfy local needs.

“What are your views on the trend of reducing LCoE for competitiveness? How OEM makers like you deal with the cost pressure? Does this affect the quality?”

Driving down the Levelized cost of energy (LCoE) of wind power is the biggest ongoing challenge facing the wind industry, technologically speaking. At Ingeteam, we have embraced it and integrated it as part of our daily routine. The cost optimization is in every aspect of the value chain, based on a product design that already considers the potential cost reductions in the entire life cycle.
Our agile and localized manufacturing strategy allows for the flexible supply of products and solutions, including the new generation of equipment in all technologies, from our cutting-edge manufacturing facilities in Europe, Asia, North and South America, to the highest quality standards in the market.
Innovation is at the core and can´t be achieved without continuous efforts in searching for improvements in performance, cost reduction, longer life cycles, etc.

“What kind of technological developments you have seen in the wind industry with the changing times? Which technologies will lead the future market?”

Since first launching our DFIG converters 25 years ago, this technology has become the standard for the onshore wind turbines. As mentioned before, 2020 saw the launch of Ingeteam’s latest generation of wind energy converters developed for high power DFIG converters, expanding the range from 5 MW to between 6 and 8 MW.
For offshore markets, LCoE optimization has typically been achieved through the development of ever larger wind turbines. Offshore wind turbines, with capacities of 10 MW and above, will move from prototype stage to commercial availability in the short-term. We are working closely with manufacturers to bring these huge machines to market, by developing a third-generation suite of medium voltage (MV) full converters, which offer a range of benefits to OEMs. Their compact and modular design provides flexibility to adapt to power upgrades and they are more easily installed within nacelles. MV converters are able to achieve optimized availability and reduce maintenance, both critical conditions for offshore wind farms.
New solutions have the potential to unlock more volume or, taking a more radical perspective, to even revolutionize the way of doing business (e.g., to develop projects) in the wind industry. A key driver behind this development is the ongoing digitalization. Technological advancement is increasing the annual energy output through better asset management and improved maintenance and therefore allows for better risk management. As a result, increased efficiency means increased value to the energy system. In connection with other elements (e.g., falling storage cost) further opportunities for integrated wind solutions will develop over the next years.
Ingeteam is fully committed to meeting the challenges of the rapidly expanding global wind power market; to promote the implementation of international quality standards as defined by the APQP4Wind manual for the development of wind products, and to optimize the LCoE. This is an evolutionary process, based on continuous improvement, to increase competitiveness and reduce costs to facilitate the transition to renewable energies around the world.

“How do you analyze the Indian wind market? What will be your expectations from a regulatory point of view?”

The regulatory changes in India have definitely created new challenges. However, we expect the market there to get back on its feet with solid regulations that incentivize investment in new wind projects.
In all markets, proper grid architecture and connection infrastructure is necessary to enable a smooth integration of additional wind energy capacity.
Like many emerging markets, India has abundant renewable energy resources and is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. We have to provide governments with guidance on the best regulatory and technical frameworks for attracting investment, help the different countries and markets to realize the potential and the opportunities of wind energy and benefit from the social and economic benefits that the wind industry can bring.

“How much percentage of your yearly revenue do you invest in R&D?”

Innovation is one of the pillars of Ingeteam activity and we could say that it is in our DNA from the very beginning. The role innovation plays within the Group is clearly evidenced by the scale of investment in it every year: it accounts for around 5% of turnover, and that focus on innovation gives rise to new products for use by our customers.
We have pioneering R&D labs at our facilities in Spain, in which we are able to put the latest power electronics, automation and rotating electric machines technologies to the test. They enable us to work with power and voltage levels comparable to those found in real-life applications, and thus to optimize our results.
The Ingeteam Group’s approach to Innovation is comprehensively coordinated by our business R&D unit, which was set up to be a benchmark innovation unit for power electronics, regulation, and control technologies with applications in renewable generation, power electronics applied to grids, industrial automation, and maritime and rail transport.
A proof of this commitment by Ingeteam to innovation in the wind sector is the high number of R&D projects we are involved in worldwide, with various H2020 European ones on the list. Besides, the introduction of new products and developments, such as the high power DFIG converters just launched recently are also a great example.

“What changes would you like to see in the wind energy market in India?”

We expect the market to recover, supported by solid regulations that incentivize investment in new wind projects. Ingeteam, as well as other key players in the Indian market, are seeking stability that can enable us to strengthen processes and relationships in order to optimize performance. From a manufacturing perspective, steps on this have already been taken by the Government with various incentive programs to foster the Make in India strategy.

“What will be Ingeteam’s next investment or expansion plans in the near term and key target markets? Any new plans for India?”

Our key markets are pretty much defined by the collaboration with our clients. We support them in every way we can globally, so we are present on every continent. It is true that our main activity, for now, is centered around our manufacturing facilities in Spain, the USA, Brazil, and India from which we serve the various regions, but we will go where our clients need us to be.
Ingeteam has a strong focus on emerging markets. We entered the wind energy industry in India early on, and are now the leading supplier of wind power converters in that market, creating new jobs and building a local supply chain. In India, we reached 1GW of production output within the first year of operations at our production facility.

Interview 01/04/2021 by Manu Tayal
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