Shared knowledge – Increasing trust
Gang Wu, Chairman & CEO, Goldwind*
Gang Wu, is the Chairman & CEO of Goldwind, the largest manufacturer of wind turbines in China, and among the largest globally. In this IEC Global Visions interview he explains how active participation in IEC work allowed his company to jump development hurdles, learning from the mistake of others. How this shared knowledge helped improve wind turbine design, performance and reliability and ultimately built the trust needed to sell globally. In 2006 Gang Wu received the World Wind Energy Award.
* May 2013
Gang Wu, Chairman & CEO, Goldwind
How and why did your company start to actively participate in IEC standardization work?
Wu: Goldwind has been in business for more than 15 years. At the beginning we didn’t realize the importance of standards. We didn’t understand then that the use of standards and active participation would allow us to jump development hurdles, learning from the mistakes others had made before us. Approximately 10 years ago, talking to peers and initiating cooperation activities beyond national borders, we started to recognize that active participation in IEC work would allow us to benefit from shared knowledge and help us improve the design of our turbines, accelerating market access.
Why do you consider active participation in standardization as a strategic advantage for your company?
Wu: In the IEC Standards creation process various errors that occur during experiments or in different local climate conditions are collected. Through our active participation in this process and discussions with other participants, we are learning from failures and are able to take short cuts in research & development. We are also able to contribute our own knowledge and special conditions. This way we make certain that all needs are reflected in the standard, which is ultimately the basis for all certification.
The wind power industry is a high-risk industry. Any breakdown can result in huge losses. IEC Standards increase overall safety, reassuring buyers and regulators; ultimately this helps the industry to grow.
Since the whole industry is using these Standards for testing and certification, this also allows all stakeholders to directly compare the performance and resistance of all wind turbines in the market. If you have a good product, it makes it that much easier to compete; a big part of your sales arguments are easy to understand by all. Our involvement and contribution in IEC standardization has a direct impact on our financial results.
What challenges do you see on the horizon?
Wu: There is increasingly fierce market competition and wind turbines need to operate offshore, in low wind speeds and at high altitudes. Increasingly large equipment, more complicated designs as well as new materials all bring higher risks with them. IEC Standards allow us to mitigate this risk. On the IEC platform we can share experiences and expertise from many countries. This helps overcome difficulties and improves risk management.
What else could the IEC do to help the wind industry?
Wu: With the increasing scale of the wind power industry, IEC work needs to penetrate the whole industrial chain of wind power, not only the manufacturing of the turbines, but also transportation, installation, maintenance and safety considerations. We hope that the IEC will systematically cover entire wind power projects, from start to end.
What would be your message to CEOs of start-ups and technology companies?
Wu: Participating in standardization and following IEC Standards can provide you with a double advantage: you reduce R&D risks and you have a more direct path to better products that are easier to sell.