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18.03.2019 The service market needs the competition - increasing creativity at lower costs

Planet energy GmbH, a 100% subsidiary of Greenpeace Energy eG, develops, builds and operates clean power plants – especially in the field of wind energy. We asked Tobias Reinecke, Technical Operations Manager, what the deciding factors for service are.

Mr Reinecke, what is the service strategy of Planet energy?

When we build a new wind farm, one of our first steps is to sign a service contract with the turbine manufacturer for the two year warranty period. This is usually followed by basic maintenance contracts with terms of three to five years, whereby we are open to all service providers in the market. During operation, we closely monitor potential damage accumulation, actual availabilities, performance and the service market. This can lead to the wind farm remaining in a basic maintenance contract until the end of its service life. It can also prove to be a good idea to switch to a full maintenance contract because, for example, damage begins to occur more often and the prices for full maintenance contracts happen to be falling at that point in time.

How do you work with ISPs?

In the vast majority of cases, we do not differentiate between manufacturers and ISPs. In our view, they are equal providers in the market. Especially when it comes to expensive damage to large components in wind farms, we select the provider who makes the best offer.

The new service study has shown that competition from ISPs leads to price reductions and improved performance. What are your experiences in this regard?

It is true that competition has led to price reductions, but the market has also consolidated, especially in recent years. The price reductions in recent years are more likely to be due to the changes in the German Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), which forces everyone involved in the wind industry to work more cost-efficiently. From our perspective, having a large number of providers in the market is desirable, not only because of the effect on service prices, but also because independent providers often find new and creative solutions. For example, an ISP was able to help us retrofit a new type of ice sensor system that is not supported by the turbine manufacturer. At two other wind farms, a blade bearing monitoring system that was integrated by an ISP saves us the quarterly inspection specified by the manufacturer.