As many of you know, our fiscal year is not the calendar year. Instead, it runs from March 1 through the end of February, as is typical for many Japanese companies. The Japanese new year starts with the blossoming of cherry trees. And, similarly, our business has been flourishing, too, at Yaskawa Environmental Energy / The Switch. Our revenue has grown and our profitability improved during the past fiscal year.
Added to that, we have also been a member within Yaskawa Europe for the past year, during which cooperation between our organizations and within our various departments has increased. We’ve become more “blue” to signify our closer cooperation – and plan to further intensify our sales efforts throughout Europe with Yaskawa’s support.
Yet, The Switch will remain our product brand and continues to be our official company name. And we still refer to our special way of working closely with our customers and our passion to bring new technologies to the market to electrify the world with ultimate efficiency as “making the switch”.
The wind business globally has been enjoying good traction, thanks to the now evident fact that this is the cheapest way to build new electricity capacity. One strong proof is the number of new projects being implemented without any subsidies.
Europe has moved into the auction model, where the lowest bidder gets to build the new electricity generation capacity. And wind has been the consistent winner in these projects. Naturally, this puts more pressure on pushing up the unit powers of each wind turbine, which now easily need to reach the 5 to 6 MW range.
This is where our permanent magnet generators (PMGs) and full-power converters offer the best solution. In such competitive situation, only the fittest will survive. This is underlined by the reduced number of turbine manufacturers we’re currently seeing.
The greatest growth is in offshore wind, where wind parks will be so large that they can help to lower the price of electricity. Just recently, MHI Vestas Moray East offshore wind project enabled the UK government to supply electricity at GBP 57.50/MWh, a significant cost cut compared to other similar projects that are typically around GBP 140/MWh. And in another case, the Hinkley Point nuclear power plant has a guaranteed French state-owned EDF a 35-year-long feed-in tariff of GBP 92.5/MWh.
And, of course, we’re very proud to be part of this success! It means we see both a bright future and good opportunities for our offshore offering, as the offshore wind business shifts course and expands from Europe to Asia and the US.
In marine, we are at the forefront of making the seas blue again with our advanced electrical drive train solutions.
Our delivery to Teekay marked the next generation of shuttle tankers, thanks to the vision of the company to be the greenest shipowners/operators out there. Our largest order to date for 16 DC-Hubs and 32 frequency converters fits our mission of offering the latest technology to the industry very well. Together with Wärtsilä, we are implementing state-of-the-art solutions that enable vessels to reduce emissions and become more future-flexible – a crucial step in navigating the changing marine business environment.
To further this, our Electronic Bus Link (EBL), which connects a vessel’s DC-Hubs, offers a solid-state DC breaker that rapidly disconnects in 10 microseconds. Isolating potential faults and ensuring seamless operations, this technology is essential to enable DC distribution on vessels.
Our turbo/industry business has been our shining star over the last year. Looking at the increase in projects for new applications and other development ventures, it’s clear that word of our unique high-speed solid rotor technology is spreading throughout the industry.
In response to market requirements, we are developing a standard package of high-speed motors and drives. At the same time, we are pushing the limits in applications at powers beyond 1 MW and speeds of more than 12,000 rpm.
Although solid rotor technology in high-speed motors is still considered a niche application, we are confident that business will grow as the awareness of availability spreads. To promote our technology, we participated in the Yaskawa stand at the Hannover Fair from April 1–5.
We’re happy to be part of the bigger family to help promote our environmental energy technology that aims to electrify the world with ultimate efficiency.
With warm wishes for a beautifully blossoming spring!
President and CEO