Vestas, Singapore

Windmills have been around since the dawn of time – huge structures that aided farmers in milling and pumping water. Windmills were so huge that the phrase “tilting” at windmills was coined, to describe an act of futility. Modern windmills are no longer used purely for mechanical strength; Wind turbines now convert the motion of the blades into electrical energy, which serves as a viable source of small-scale electrical energy, as Danish company Vestas has demonstrated.

Our group visited the Vestas premises on the 9 May 2011, and was treated to a talk about Vestas and its products.

Vestas, established in 1898, is a manufacturer of wind turbines. Its beliefs are underlined in its company motto, “Wind – It means the world to us”, which highlights the importance of wind energy as a clean, renewable source of alternative energy. Its company motto is “Wind, Oil, Gas”, which refers to its aim of making wind power a viable source of energy on a similar standing to oil and gas generated power. Wind energy is reliable and increasingly cost effective, although consumers face the problem of not being able to store wind-generated electricity. However, unlike solar power, the wind does not stop blowing at night, and the turbines can spin 24 hours a day.

Believing firmly in research and development (R&D), Vestas commits much of its resources to developing cheaper, quieter and more efficient turbines. With better technology, the unit cost per turbine can be reduced. Quieter turbines help reduce the amount of noise pollution. More efficient turbines increase the amount of electricity generated, given a constant wind speed.

Vestas prides itself in upholding the highest regard for ethics and community development. Vestas employees undergo mandatory ethics training when they are hired, and will not partake in projects with corrupt practices, or harm the environment. Vestas also believes in improving standards of living through its wind farms. An example given was in India, where in the past, a single electricity generator gave a particular village just two hours of electricity per day, for small devices. Upon installing wind turbines nearby, the village now receives a constant supply of electricity, which is reliable and free. To do its part in recycling and social development, Vestas also designed the transport crates to be converted into furniture for the villagers, so that the wood is not wasted afterwards.

Such practices are not only environmentally friendly, but also demonstrate the effort Vesta puts into community development and the needs of their clients. Although there is increasing competition in this industry, Vesta believes in staying tops in wind turbine technology, as well as in business practices, be it building relationships or long term sustainability and development of its products. This will help Vestas reach its target of producing 10% of all electrical energy by 2020. Although wind power may never overtake oil, gas or even nuclear energy, it provides a clean alternative that reduces the impact of the other forms of energy on our planet; a small step towards a clean and green planet.

– Ho Bao Yuan

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