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Members' interviews

Interview with Mike Wöbbeking, Director and Service Area Leader, Renewables Certification, DNV GL – Energy

Mike-Woebbeking

Can you tell our readers a little about your organisation?

Driven by our purpose of safeguarding life, property and the environment, DNV GL enables organizations to advance the safety and sustainability of their business. We provide classification and technical assurance along with software and independent expert advisory services to the maritime, oil and gas, and energy industries. We also provide certification services to customers across a wide range of industries. Operating in more than 100 countries, our professionals are dedicated to helping our customers make the world safer, smarter and greener.

In DNV GL Renewables Certification we provide certification services such as component, type and project certification worldwide. Our history in Europe lasts back to the 1970s with activities in early wind markets like The Netherlands, Germany and Denmark. Today, we are operating in nearly all European countries and as an accredited certification body in Denmark, UK and Germany.

Based on our independent approach and proven technical expertise, we help all players in the renewable industries to qualify new technologies and build trust towards their stakeholders. Our independent certificates are accepted and renowned around the world and help demonstrate the value of investment based on the recognised quality and long-term performance of the products, processes or services.

Our certification services play an important role in minimising the number of design errors and creating confidence in the industry among manufacturers, developers, owners, finance and insurance companies as well as regulatory authorities. We have worked with these customers and assisted the evolution of technology from the very beginning. But most notably, we write and define new standards rather than just following them; we have published more than 40 service specifications, standards and guidelines which cover offshore wind, onshore wind, wave & tidal and solar/PV.

What are the most exciting developments you have seen in the wind industry?

I started in wind more than 15 years ago, and my interest in this technology goes back more than 20 years. What has always excited me has been the big steps in developments such as kW-range to MW-range and later multi-MW. These steps have always required major technological leaps in e.g. rotor blade design and production, hub heights and tower designs. Even today after 40 years of modern wind energy there is much room for improvement and the perfect design has not been found yet. We will see great developments in the years to come.

What changes would you like to see in the wind industry?

I would love to see more positive and bold statements. Wind (and other renewables) are the only option for our future – in Germany, in Europe and worldwide. What is better than energy for free? What is greater than seeing a 150m rotor operating in the wind? There are, of course, challenges and concerns, but compared to any other form of energy, we can be lucky to be at the forefront.

Going forward, what role do you see your organisation playing in the future development of wind energy?

As an accredited certification body we can help the industry move forward in the right direction. Our certification services span across the entire project lifecycle: from conceptual design to lifetime extension and beyond, supporting all project development phases throughout. The whole industry – and thus all of us, via our electricity bill – benefits from our services in certification of training system suppliers, operation and maintenance, as well as the corresponding service documents. We recently certified and commissioned new wind turbines installed in the harbour of Hamburg. Living in Hamburg I enjoy a supplier of electric energy ensuring that at least 50% of electricity is produced by turbines I can see from my home or office. This is great and fun!

How has WindEurope membership benefited your organisation?

Mike-Woebbeking-EWEA-2013

We make sure not to miss any of the yearly conferences and fairs of WindEurope. My roots go back to EWEA (now WindEurope) and EWEC events and I always enjoyed the mix of good presentations with a professional exhibition. While I had the pleasure to present at several of these events, I will always remember the certificate hand-overs and fruitful customer meetings we did in Athens, Vienna, Hamburg, Paris, Milano, Marseille, Copenhagen or Brussels. But most outstanding was the event in Warsaw – nobody who made it there will ever forget it (it took place during the eruption of volcano Eyjafjallajökull and nobody was able to fly in most regions of Europe!). We had a very long car drive and great talks at the event – everybody was relaxed and found enough time due to the fact that not all had been able to get to Warsaw. Not sure if this was a good business case for WindEurope, but I would love to attend such personal event again!

If we look ten years ahead, what do you hope to have achieved?

In ten years we will have certified a 20 MW gearbox. The Type Certificate of a 25 MW wind turbine with 40 years’ lifetime will have been handed over at the WindEurope event of 2027 and project certification of onshore and offshore wind farms will have become the major key to successful, bankable and cost-efficient projects. With 40% electricity from wind on a worldwide level we will have stopped climate change and increased our focus to close the remaining gap to 100% renewables.


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