Insight Interview - Retrofit 5th Anniversary
Back in 2012, Mita-Teknik entered the market with its Retrofit concept making the company a first-mover in the now popular Retrofit segment.
|Business Development Director, Kristian Kjærholm has been leading the Retrofit team since the beginning, and talks in this Insight Interview about the past five years and his take on the future of Retrofit.|
Q: Back in 2012, what triggered you to focus on the aftermarket segment?
The trigger was a growing number of requests from end customers, but also the outlook for the growing number of wind turbines all around the world nearing and/or even exceeding their expected lifetime. This scenario poses many challenges for the operator/owner, and Mita-Teknik saw Retrofit as a smart and cost-efficient way to extend the turbine lifetime by upgrading the main control components and thereby provide renewed access to spare parts and service.
Q: Looking back at the past five years with Mita-Teknik Retrofit, what do you think has been your team’s greatest achievements?
From the beginning our Retrofit team’s mission was to create value for our customers. To do that we interviewed OEMs, asset owners, and service teams all over the world. From these real life inputs, we created the needed solutions. As first-movers, we faced a lot of skepticism as no independent control provider before had upgraded the “brain” of the turbine.
Therefore, I think my team’s greatest achievement has been to implement that mission by creating Retrofit awareness in the market and prepare safe, easy serviceable, innovative solutions with positive business cases that brings value to our customers. Today, five years later there is less skepticism and we have secured strategic partnerships with leading wind industry OEMs such as Vestas and GE, as well as larger independent service providers such as Deutsche Windtechnik and Connected Wind Services.
Q: Looking forward, what do you expect from the aftermarket segment in the coming years?
The outlook for full service, retrofitting and life extension is immense and is expected to double each year going forward. As a reaction to this, the aftermarket segment will become increasingly more attractive and hence more competitive.
We already see OEMs, suppliers and service companies consolidating in the aftermarket segment due to this effect, and I believe the trend will continue.
When you consolidate and create larger setups that can handle full service for multi brand turbines, system access, control of main components and service management become very important factors. I believe Retrofit can make a true difference to these new large entities, ensuring effective and cost-optimized service going forward.
Picture: WP3000 MK ll Retrofit Solution.
By retrofitting, you can introduce a uniform control platform across your fleet and by doing so, simplify and optimize performance, training and service. A Retrofit solution from Mita-Teknik also ensures renewed access to spare parts for the duration of the wind turbine’s lifetime.
“No one had expected the lifetime of a wind turbine to surpass 20 years. However by retrofitting, we are looking into turbine lifetime easily exceeding 30 or maybe even 40 years” – Kristian Kjærholm.
Q: Are there any trends, markets etc. that will dominate the next couple of years?
Tax credit schemes in markets like the U.S., Italy and Germany has already acted as drivers for the Retrofit business cases, and we believe that incentives like these will continue to push Retrofit in the market as more and more realize the full potential of Retrofit to ensure cost-effective green power.
The U.S. will dominate due to the PTC (Production Tax Credit), where operators can have their investments reimbursed when implementing upgrades that extend the lifetime of their wind turbine assets.
In Europe, we will see decommissioning of wind turbines with relocation to sites in e.g. South America as well as demands for increased power quality and regulation for those turbines that stays. These assets will need upgrades that enable adaptation to new grid code standards and regulation interfaces.
In China, we also see emerging market enquire about retrofitting older wind turbines.
Q: How will Mita-Teknik contribute to this development?
Mita-Teknik’s specialized Retrofit team of experts knows the market and the variables necessary to optimize these old wind turbines, and we will continue to add market-ready solutions to our portfolio, which already include several popular turbine platforms from Vestas, Senvion, NEG Micon, Nordex, Fuhrländer etc.
Service and support functions will also play a huge role going forward, and Mita-Teknik will continue to provide the high level of support that enables our customers to succeed.