Sizing-up Risk in the New Era of Supersized Wind Turbine Technology
Recorded On: 05/28/2020
Turbine bankability is a critical driver for overall wind project financeability, and assessment of technology risk based on design, certification, and track record have long been integral to the financing process. The pace of innovation and introduction of new turbine models, however, are stressing the ability of traditional methodology to address this crucial component of wind project diligence. Turbine designs are now making revolutionary leaps in terms of rotor diameter, rated capacity, major component design and controls, diverging notably from proven technology. These new designs, including two-piece blades, medium speed drive train concept or super-tall towers — already entering or poised to enter the market in the near term as the industry seeks to maximize remaining horizon on the PTC — have not accrued significant operating track record. The confluence of these factors yields an acute conundrum for investors: how to invest in competitive projects which leverage the advantages of the newest technology, while taking a realistic view of technology risk and associated impacts within the financing structure?
This presentation will discuss the application of this methodology in this new era of turbine technology. The presenter will further relate this to financing risk in the current US wind industry, and discuss risk mitigation measures that may be implemented by turbine manufacturers, project proponents, and investors.
Principal Engineer and Team Lead, DNV GL
Mr. Brodeur has 12 years of experience in the wind industry. He leads the DNV GL turbine technology team in providing opinions on turbine technology for project financing. Mr. Brodeur’s team undertakes turbine technical reviews, site suitability assessments, wind turbine inspections of all make and models (he has personally completed over 200 inspections to date), manufacturing facilities’ visits, and failure investigations. His team has assessed all the major turbine technology platforms in the U.S., including new turbine models such as the GE Cypress platform and Vestas EnVentus platform. Mr. Brodeur has also been a speaker at multiple AWEA and CanWEA events, including the opening plenary at the 2019 CanWEA conference. In his previous role at DNV GL, he worked as an energy specialist and project manager, undertaking both field work (met tower, sodar, and lidar installation as well as power curve tests) and office work (wind farm layouts, energy calculations, etc.). Mr. Brodeur has a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering: Wind Energy, Numerical site calibration over complex terrain. Mr. Brodeur is also an APQP4Wind advocate and trainer.