28 August 2017
Interview with Gregory Erdmann, VP Global Sales, NRG Systems
Can you tell our readers a little about your organisation?
NRG Systems has been a part of the European wind market since the late 1980s.
During this time, we were mainly involved with the UK, France, Spain and Italy, but have since supplied wind measurement equipment to every European country (in addition to over 170 countries worldwide).
As the market matured, we evolved along with it. NRG began as a wind resource assessment equipment manufacturer, but today we are also a wind turbine control sensor manufacturer supplying many of the major industry OEMs with both heated and non-heated anemometers and vanes.
Over the course of 35 years, we have worked with about 90% of all turbine manufacturers to some degree and most of the continent’s wind developers.
What are the most exciting developments you have seen in the wind industry?
In terms of wind resource assessment, I think the development of remote sensing was a huge, yet slow change in the industry.
We aligned ourselves with Leosphere after determining that their Lidar technology was the most accurate and reliable remote sensing technology in the market – which it remains today.
The growing need for more accurate and complex wind resource assessment data has pushed companies like NRG to create data loggers that meet the requirements of a maturing industry.
It’s interesting to note that when cell phones came on the market for consumers, we were the first company to integrate that technology into our data loggers so that they could “call in” and deliver data flawlessly from remote sites, saving time and money in the data extraction.
Today, we offer data delivery from anywhere in the world via satellite in a cost-effective manner thanks to our SymphoniePRO data logger.
What changes would you like to see in the wind industry?
I have seen a lot change since 1990 when I entered the industry – from the old British Wind Energy Association meetings in college dorms to major events at the largest conference venues in Europe.
I think the natural progression of the industry has been impressive. For instance, wind plants used to feature many, smaller turbines. Today, they include fewer, larger capacity turbines with technologies that we never would have dreamed of 30 years ago. As we populate more and more natural areas with larger turbines, I believe that a certain amount of wildlife regulation paired with technologies that deter wildlife, such as bats, is imperative.
I would also love to see consistent change in the attitude toward wind energy. We have come a long way in 30 years and public acceptance has gotten better, but we still have a long way to go in terms of acceptability in communities that turn a blind eye to our climate problem.
How has WindEurope membership benefited your organisation?
Since we entered the European market over 35 years ago, we have been partnering with regional European wind organizations as well as the original EWEC.
WindEurope in its current form has enabled us to reach this important market and stay on top of the ever-changing dynamics in the European wind industry.
Of course, the annual trade events are a fantastic way to tell this market about our latest developments.
Going forward, what role do you see your organisation playing in the future development of wind energy?
A big one. We enable wind power. We are literally one of the very few companies left that has been around since the beginning of modern wind power and we intend to remain at the forefront of technology in this field.
We have major roles in wind organizations all over the world and contribute to their success. But in the end, our role is to provide developers and banks with accurate and dependable wind data so that they can create successful wind farms globally.
With some of our newer technologies, we intend to facilitate the creation of more wind farms in areas that were previously unable to obtain permits due to wildlife issues.
Our world-class development team is always working on exciting new technologies to satisfy the industry’s evolving needs.
If we look ten years ahead, what do you hope to have achieved?
I hope we will see the cessation or even reversal of global warming, with the data to back it up, in the next ten years or less.
Wind should play a big role in contributing to the retirement of fossil fuel plants and wind power production should increase thanks to larger and more effective turbines. As a company, I hope that NRG will still be doing what we have always done in terms of innovation as well as continuing to introduce products that benefit the growth of the industry.
22 years ago I was asked a similar question in the San Gorgonio Pass in California and my answer was bigger, more efficient, higher technology turbines with smart sensors and 5 megawatt or more output.
The interviewer laughed at such a high output and thought I was crazy. I may still be crazy, but I hope that in 10 years there are 20 megawatt turbines using NRG technology to ensure that they are operating smoothly and as efficiently as possible.
Find out more about NRG Systems