9 September 2019
Interview with Jan Vrins, Leader of Navigant’s Global Energy Practice
Can you tell our readers a little about your organisation?
Navigant is a professional services firm with the largest energy and sustainability consulting team in the industry. We have more than 600 consultants who collaborate with utilities and energy companies, government and NGOs, large corporations, investors, and other stakeholders to help them solve challenges and identify opportunities as they navigate the energy transition.
Offshore wind energy has been a focus area for Navigant for many years, and our staff has business, technical and regulatory experience supporting clients in initiating, developing, financing, constructing, and operating offshore wind farms worldwide.
Over the past few years, some of our key projects in this area include supporting the German government in the design of its offshore wind auction process and supporting clients with their bids in recent tenders in France and the Netherlands, as well as in North America. Our clients appreciate that we combine our global offshore wind expertise with local knowledge and insights into different energy markets, energy policies, regulatory requirements, and procurement processes.
In addition to our consulting team, we also work closely with our Navigant Research team. This team has strong industry relationships, extensive data, and a deep knowledge of the global onshore and offshore wind energy industry that informs our project approach.
What are the most exciting developments you have seen in the wind industry?
Over the past three decades, nearly all offshore wind development has occurred in Europe, particularly in and around the North Sea region. With a current installed capacity of 13 GW and a rollout pathway of approximately 70 GW toward 2030, there are exciting times ahead. This includes the first ever zero-subsidy wind farm planned for commissioning in the Netherlands in 2022.
At the same time, we see that the offshore wind industry is growing into a global business, with deployments occurring in North America and Asia. For Navigant, this is exciting because of the significant presence we have globally and our existing relationships with North American energy markets, the renewables developer market, as well as our experience with regulation and policy.
What changes would you like to see in the wind industry?
The wind industry has experienced significant cost reductions in the recent years. We are close to price parity, as evidenced by the large interest in subsidy-free development rights. This industry will play a vital role in realizing the energy transition throughout the world.
The next challenge, though, is integrating these new wind assets into the larger evolving energy system. This means looking beyond the current business cases and strengthening cooperation with other stakeholders such as TSOs, DSOs, and industrial consumers. Offshore wind in particular can play an important role through facilitating country-to-country interconnection, and can provide the electricity required for power-to-hydrogen conversion (or to other low carbon gasses).
Furthermore, the wind industry should continue to intensify its initiatives to improve its impact on the environment. Space, including offshore, is limited and reaching the targets of the Paris Agreement will only be feasible if we carefully consider wind’s environmental footprint.
Going forward, what role do you see your organisation playing in the future development of wind energy?
Navigant combines an in-depth understanding of energy policy, regulation, markets, and systems, with wind energy experience and a detailed knowledge of the energy transition.
This unique combination will continue to allow us to provide clients in the wind sector with forward-looking solutions that will help them move into a highly distributed, intelligent, and low carbon future.
How has WindEurope membership benefited your organisation?
WindEurope has been a great source for sharing and receiving industry updates, and we’ve enjoyed contributing on topics related to wind resource and system integration. The knowledge exchanged through events, presentations, and working groups has allowed us to really expand our network and stay at the forefront of new developments.
If we look ten years ahead, what do you hope to have achieved?
As a company, we want to play a key role in helping our clients with new opportunities as the energy transition accelerates. We care about the world we live in and our environment.
Contributing to a low carbon future is what drives us each day. We have a strong team and are passionate about what we do. We partner with our clients, and we bring unique skillsets.
10 years from now, I hope we can say that we helped accelerate the energy transition globally and the development of renewable wind energy, which will be a key part of the future zero carbon energy system.
Find out more about Navigant’s Global Energy Practice