Canada’s wind energy industry leaders have raised the bar in developing innovative approaches for improving operations and health and safety in the growing clean energy sector. Leading companies will be celebrated at the annual Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) Operations and Maintenance (O&M) Summit, to be held in Toronto on January 29 to 30.
More wind energy has been built in Canada over the last five years than any other form of electricity generation, with installed capacity growing by an average of 15% per year. In fact, wind energy is now the lowest-cost generating technology available across Canada, with the added benefit of being a carbon-free source for new electricity supply.
A healthy operations and maintenance industry has grown to support the industry, and is working to find and implement further cost reductions in the future.
The O&M Outstanding Achievement Award recognizes progressive approaches to the efficiency, profitability and reliability of wind farm operations in Canada. The companies competing for the award are each among the industry leaders in developing effective wind power facility operations and maintenance practices:
- Capstone Infrastructure initiated a Wind Performance Optimization program in 2017 to develop the necessary systems to monitor and improve the overall performance of its wind energy projects. These systems included the adoption of operations and maintenance best practices to increase revenues and reduce costs by improving the availability and output of its wind turbines. Since the inception of the program, Capstone has completed revenue enhancements totaling over $15 million in net present value, and identified additional opportunities worth $16.8 million, while avoiding over $2 million in operating costs through use of advanced analytics to avoid component failures.
- TECHÉOL inc. has served 70% of the wind farms in Canada since its founding in 2007, and has become an industry leader in electromechanical skills for major component repair and replacement, as well as best-in-class blade works. The company is experiencing sales growth of 20 to 25% annually with 200 wind technicians deployed over Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, and more than 300 blades repaired by its composite technicians in the past year. Among its innovations, it has partnered to develop an anti-icing coating for blades, a patented system for laser wind-vane alignment, and specific tools and work methods for different turbine models.
The Health and Safety Excellence Award honors progressive approaches to health and safety that directly improve the safety and well-being of wind power plant employees, contractors or the public. Each of the finalists for this award have made determined efforts to prioritize the health and safety of their employees and their host communities:
- Kruger Energy Port Alma & Chatham LP has achieved more than 10 years without a medical aid or lost time accident by any of its Wind Technicians. It has reached this impressive milestone through participation in specific risk reduction events, corporate initiatives, budget allocations targeted for health and safety, and ongoing health and safety meeting participation of all employees.
- The health and safety initiatives of Vestas Canadian Wind Technology since 2006 have resulted in a 40% year-over-year decrease in injuries and a 90% decrease in recordable incidents. Vestas recognizes that employees are unique with different roles, experiences and learning styles, so it invests to create an inclusive program featuring a mix of training, coaching, tools, competitions, campaigns, visual assets and communications tools.
The achievements of each of these wind energy leaders sets an example for other industry participants, and their willingness to share their learning and experience supports the broader wind energy community. It is truly a great honor to work in an industry that places such a high value on continuing to improve operations and maintenance practices and results, and the health and safety of employees and host communities.