The wind power business has experienced difficulties over the years in different continents. In 2009, the financial crisis squeezed money from the European market. In 2010, the US market slowed down. And most recently, China cooled in 2011.
We have been able to navigate in this turbulent environment, even though The Switch, too, has experienced challenges. Many potential projects have not turned into the planned volume production. Many of our customers have experienced challenges to enter the market, changed ownership or have given up on the wind turbine business.
We have analyzed our success factors – and come to the conclusion that we embrace certain rights, giving The Switch the freedom and ability to excel even during hard times. These rights are the result of our strategy that was laid out over five years ago, but updated and adjusted annually. We have been able to create a great company that continues to meet our customer requirements. Our rights give us a solid platform and enable us to work with customers in a completely new way. The results are undeniable: our equipment now produces over 6.5 GW of power and our first large direct driven turbines were delivered already more than six years ago. Our converters are certified in turbines to latest the Low Voltage Ride-Through (LVRT) requirements in Europe and China. The five rights to the freedom of The Switch are as follows:
We have selected the right business. New energy is still one segment that is growing steadily. Even though there are obstacles along the way, there is wide international support to reduce emissions and a willingness to switch to a new energy world.
Our offering is to be a value-adding partner, allowing customers to focus their efforts on their core competencies. Vertical integration is reaching an end as turbine manufacturers suffer in fluctuating markets from having too large production facilities, in the wrong locations, and with specialists that have a hard time keeping up.
Lowering the cost of energy
Our business is based on technology now preferred by all the major players in the industry. We entered the business by providing a solution to the basic performance problems with existing DFIG drive trains. Now in China, for example, wind turbine operators are paying a high price to retrofit existing turbines to meet LVRT requirements. The Switch has the longest and widest experience with permanent magnet generators and is well positioned as an independent international player to develop and deliver our products.
We have the right organization that gives flexibility to production capacity and engineering. We have eight different production sites deployed with The Switch Model Factory concept and the capability to develop eight generators simultaneously. These are unparalleled achievements and guarantee our ability to survive under fluctuating conditions in a turbulent industry.
We have the right people willing to challenge the industry’s status quo. Our professionals selected The Switch based on what we represent, our business, how we work and our values. The Switch selected people eager to act and not too focused on corporate guidelines. We have fun doing what we do and put in the extra effort to satisfy our customers.
Jukka-Pekka Mäkinen, President and CEO