A month for milestones


December 17, 2012

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December is always a month for milestones. And last week was no exception.

In the space of just 24 hours, the Czech energy utility, CEZ, announced the completion of the Fantanele wind farm in Romania. Shortly followed by news from the London Array that it has successfully installed the 175th (and final) turbine at its east UK coast site.

The milestones meant that in an instant, Fantanele became the world’s largest fully operational onshore wind farm, while the London Array team now lays claim to the largest offshore install base.

Naturally, the numbers behind each of the projects speak for themselves and are often a great way of giving a true sense of just how far each of the projects has come.

Particularly in such a relatively short space of time.

Fantanele, for instance, now has 240 2.5MW GE units fully hooked up and connected to the grid; with the final turbine plugged into the grid in November. Impressive stuff for the project that only received planning permission back in 2007, at a time when Romania had just 14MW of installed domestic capacity.

And it’s an equally notable story at the London Array. Here, the initial investment was only agreed in March 2009, with construction starting just two years later. Power from the 3.6MW Siemens turbines started shortly after.

And yet, there’s more to it than numbers alone. And with the constant bombardment of statistics, forecasts and trends, it can be easy to become a little numb to what all this really means.

Far better then, to think of it in terms of the achievements (collective and individual) of those people working directly on the projects – either on the coal face or at the top (and often), behind the scenes.

Viewed in this light, figures such as Mike Winkel, Chief Executive, E.ON Climate & Renewables (and ranked 27th in our report) proved instrumental in realising the aspirations of the London Array. As did Ron Heyselaar, Managing Director, Masdar, (ranked 28th) and of course, many of the key executives at this particular turbine manufacturer, including Dr Wolfgang Bischoff, Head of Structured Finance at Siemens Financial Services (ranked 21st).

And taking it one step further, perhaps it’s the success of these individuals and the teams that have been working with them, that these milestones really need to celebrate?

After all, in an age where public policy and government ambition around the world is littered with ifs, buts and maybes, perhaps the real certainty lies with the individual ambitions and aspirations of the people themselves.

I hope you enjoy reading our Top 100 Power People report. It’s intended to stir debate, so do let us know what you think.

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