Sharing knowledge

IEC work helps build the trust needed to sell globally

By Claire Marchand

IEC Global Visions interviewed Gang Wu, Chairman and CEO of Goldwind, the largest manufacturer of wind turbines in China, and among the largest globally. In this interview, he explains how active participation in IEC work allowed his company to jump development hurdles and learn from the mistake of others. How this shared knowledge helped improve wind turbine design, performance and reliability and ultimately built the trust needed to sell globally. In 2006 Gang Wu received the World Wind Energy Award.

Better, faster market access

When Goldwind was established more than 15 years ago, its executives didn’t realize the importance of standards. They didn’t understand that the use of standards and active participation in standardization work would help them jump development hurdles, learning from the mistakes others had made before them.

That all changed about 10 years ago, says Wu. Talking to peers and initiating cooperation activities beyond national borders, Goldwind started to recognize that active participation in IEC work would allow them to benefit from shared knowledge, improve the design of their turbines, and consequently accelerate market access.

Startegic advantage

Wu explains that in the IEC Standards development process, various errors that occur during experiments or in different local climate conditions are collected. Through Goldwind’s active participation in the process and discussions with other participants, they are learning from failures and are able to take short cuts in research & development. They are also able to share their own knowledge and special conditions, thus making sure that all needs are reflected in the standard, which is ultimately the basis for all certification.

High-risk industry

The wind power industry is a high-risk industry where any breakdown can result in huge losses. Wu stresses that IEC Standards increase overall safety, reassuring buyers and regulators.

Since the whole industry is using these Standards for testing and certification, this also allows all stakeholders to directly compare the performance and resistance of all wind turbines in the market. To have a good product makes it that much easier to compete. Goldwind’s involvement and contribution in IEC standardization has a direct impact on the company’s financial results.

Future challenges

Wu believes that participating in IEC standardization work and using IEC Standards will help Goldwind faces challenges in the coming years. There is increasingly fierce market competition and wind turbines need to operate offshore, in low wind speeds and at high altitudes. Increasingly large equipment, more complicated designs as well as new materials all bring higher risks with them. IEC Standards allow Goldwind to mitigate this risk. On the IEC platform they can share and learn from their peers’ experiences and expertise. This helps overcome difficulties and improves risk management.

Need to cover wind power projects from start to end

Wu adds that with the increasing scale of the wind power industry, IEC work needs to penetrate the whole industrial chain of wind power, not only the manufacturing of the turbines, but also take into account transportation, installation, maintenance and safety considerations. He hopes that the IEC will systematically cover entire wind power projects, from start to end.

Wu concluded saying that participating in standardization and following IEC Standards can provide industry with a double advantage: reduce R&D risks and have a more direct path to better products that are easier to sell.

Gang Wu, CEO and Executive Director, Goldwind Gang Wu, CEO and Executive Director, Goldwind