Interview (Dana Olson)

Dana Olson,
Global Solar Segment Leader at DNV GL – Energy

“Please introduce our readers to DNV GL - Energy in India”

DNV GL is a global quality assurance and risk management company providing advisory, testing, inspection and certification services. In DNV GL - Energy we have more than 2,300 experts globally in the wind, solar, grids, storage and energy management sectors. We help various stakeholders across the energy value chain, including developers, financial institutions, manufacturers, investors, regulators, etc.

We started our Indian operations in 1996, providing services to Indian wind industry, and now we have expanded our service portfolio by providing services to solar industry too. Our services include energy assessments, technical due diligence, measurements, operational/performance analysis, failure investigations, training, certification, etc. We have supported more than 5,000 MW of solar projects and several times that capacity in wind sector. We have also been appointed as technical advisors for many M&A transactions.

Additionally, we also have started providing advisory services to the power transmission and distribution sector. To give an example, we are currently executing an assignment which involves providing consultancy for primary and secondary control reserves for grid balancing.

Our certification and advisory services are independent from each other.

“What are the different types of certifications offered by DNV GL?”

In the wind sector, we offer Component, Type and Project Certification for wind turbines and wind farms. However, our reach is not only limited to wind.

In 2015, we published the service specification, DNVGL-SE-0078 'Project certification of photovoltaic power plants', which is the world’s first, and currently only, global guideline for certifying solar PV projects. Last year in 2018 we issued the world’s first project certification of Solar PV plant to CLP India’s Veltoor 100 MW solar power project in Telangana.

For the energy storage sector, we have developed GRIDSTOR, a recommended practice guide for grid connected storage systems.

“According to you, what role will DNV GL play in government’s endeavor to achieve 100 GW of renewable generation target by 2022?”

: It is crucial for the solar industry to meet this demand while ensuring the quality of systems and components are not being compromised. DNV GL’s set of standards and certifications will help ensure the quality of modules, components and equipment manufactured locally. One of the important factors of solar PV plants is the durability and reliability of system for the design lifetime. With certification, DNV GL will provide assurance to stakeholders that risks associated have been addressed, mitigated and the assets will meet the energy demand for design life.

From an advisory and consulting perspective, we are committed to supporting lenders, developers and investors. Through our services and expertise, we can help stakeholders in the Indian energy sector to support government’s ambitious target.

“Please tell us about DNV GL’s On-site Solar Lab, latest mobile laboratory service for the on-site testing of PV modules in India?”

DNV GL has been providing on-site measurement services to our solar clients’ using portable I-V curve tracers. However, this portable equipment has certain limitations and challenges, because the measurements have to be performed under environmental conditions. This leads to a higher level of uncertainty in the results. We observed there was a need to address this issue and in order to do this; we launched the On-Site Solar Lab, a service whereby we can perform Flash Test (I-V curve measurement) and Electroluminescence (EL) imaging on modules at the project site. The measurements via On-site Solar Lab will have the same level of accuracy offered by an offsite stationary testing lab. The other objective is to overcome the challenges of transporting solar panels all the way to an offsite stationary lab and thus provide capabilities to the customers to perform critical inspections as part of their Quality Assurance, on-site.

“What potential does Indian Renewable Energy sector offers to DNV GL?”

In our 2018 Energy Transition Outlook (ETO) we predict electricity consumption in Indian subcontinent will increase five-fold by 2050. Solar PV will supply more than 50% of the region’s power needs, while onshore wind will be second at 20%. Power line capacity will increase by more than 3 times. India will also be a huge market for storage systems as well as for EVs. We see immense potential in India for our advisory, testing & inspection, and certification services.

“How does DNV GL plan to stay competitive in the sector?”

Competition will exist in any market or sector. The distinctive factor that separates DNV GL from rest of the competitors is our expert knowledge and experience in the renewable energy sector. We have more than 2,000 energy experts located across the globe, and invest 5% of our revenue in R&D to develop new services, tools, solutions and standards. We are able to tailor our services in order to meet customers’ unique requirements. We are also investing in digitization and the use of latest technologies to harness the power of data and maximize the value of our customers’ assets.

DNV GL is known for, and has consistently demonstrated our reliability as an independent and non-biased advisory and certification organization; this is a value that we will continue to uphold in the present and the future.

“What future do you see for certification segment in the Indian Renewable Energy sector?”

Standards are ever-evolving as technology improves. As a company, we will strive to keep up with the pace of evolution of the industry, and deliver updated standards and certifications for the sector in order to employ best of the systems installed in the field.

“Please tell us about the other business verticals of DNV GL– Energy in India”

We have several business units providing services that are supporting renewable energy projects at different stages of their life-cycles. The Project Development team delivers bankable wind resource assessments. The Project Engineering team acts as Independent Engineer and undertakes technical due diligence, technology reviews, foundation design review. The Measurements team undertakes power performance and other measurements. The Asset Operations and Management team undertakes SCADA based analysis for performance assessment. For solar projects, we have a separate team taking care of all the services mentioned above.

“What is DNV GL – Energy’s future plans in India’s energy sector? Which areas are you particularly interested in?”

We are committed to supporting India’s renewable generation target through our expertise in renewables + storage, digitalization, and grid integration.

Last year we launched our Global Operations & Analytics Centre, located in our Bangalore office. The centre offers 24/7 monitoring service and implements data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence to offer advanced performance and diagnostic features for the wind, solar and storage sectors. We hope to get more customers on board this platform, and educate them on how harnessing the power of data and digitalization can help to maximize the value of their assets.

With the intermittent nature of renewables, we hope to be able to offer a unique combination of energy storage advisory, certification and testing services to our local customers in order to ensure consistent power supply.

We would also like to grow our existing Power Systems Planning (PSP) team, whose advisory services for the transmission and distribution sector will be relevant in this time when it is crucial for grid integration to be done correctly.

Interview 16/03/2019 by Moulin
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