Nordex Group: digital transformation in energy

Nordex Group: digital transformation in energy

John McComas, Head of Project Management at Nordex North America, discusses the impact of digital transformation in the energy space amidst the launch o...

As one of the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturers, Nordex Group provides high-yield, cost-efficient wind turbines under the Acciona Windpower and Nordex brands. Nordex has production facilities in Germany, Spain, Brazil, the US, Argentina, Mexico and India and produces nacelles, hubs, rotor blades and concrete towers across its offices in 25 countries. Following its acquisition of Acciona Windpower in 2016, Nordex became a major player in the energy space. 

John McComas is Head of Project Management at Nordex North America. Having originally joined Acciona Windpower North America in August 2007 as a Supply Chain Analyst, McComas worked in several different positions before moving into his current role in May 2017. Having achieved considerable success over the past few years, McComas points to his company’s product line as a driving factor. “Our product line between the Nordex and Acciona turbines is flexible, cost effective, and client driven,” explains McComas. We’re not afraid of entering into markets where other organisations feel uncomfortable.”

A key area of priority to McComas is the company’s client approach. “We have an approach with our clients which is quite the opposite of ‘take it or leave it’,” he says. “It’s about trying to foster a relationship and learn what the constraints, challenges and economic model inputs are in order for the projects to be successful.” Having worked in several different markets, McComas acknowledges that every individual sector has its own unique challenges. “What makes us successful is our approach,” he explains. “We can’t have just one way of doing things across a diverse range of markets. It’s important that we adapt to what the requirements are.” 

Another important area of focus to McComas is the introduction of new technology. He understands the growing impact digitalisation is having on the energy industry and beyond. “Digital transformation is one of the biggest opportunities facing most markets at the moment,” says McComas. “We used to spend lots of time and effort collecting, analyzing and correcting information and data that came to us from paper-based sources. We’re flooded by the onset of tools, techniques, processes and data, so it’s important that we use it in the right way. With increased efficiency comes the opportunity to be safer, more quality centered, and strategic. 

Since its purchase of Acciona Windpower in 2016, there has been a noticeable shift in operations. “Acciona Windpower product technology was typically deployed in large wind farms cost of energy focused markets, in comparison to the Nordex technology which was deployed at smaller wind farms in Europe that had specific requirements,” says McComas. “Those requirements were prevalent primarily in Germany, Scandinavia and the UK and that technology was very successful in those markets. However, since the merge a few years ago, we have put in considerable effort to combine that technology into one platform.”

That platform is the Delta4000. The Nordex Group was the first company to launch a turbine platform with a flexible rating as part of its core design philosophy and operation strategy. The Delta4000 turbine adapts to the grid operators’ individual needs, local wind conditions as well as noise constraints. Through the platform, the Nordex Group relies on tried-and-tested series production technology. The primary aim is to reduce the cost of energy by designing turbines which provide much higher yields from any given site. Its Delta 4000 portfolio demonstrates the N155/4.5, N133/4.8, N149/5.Xand N163/5.X wind turbines. McComas believes that the new platform delivers a clear message to the marketplace. “What we set out to do was take the best parts from both the Nordex and Acciona platforms and merge them together to create a platform that best serves the needs of our clients,” explains McComas. “This product line is a signal to the marketplace that the merger between both organizations has been finalized and our recent commercial success with it proved that we are here to stay.”

McComas believes in the value of partnerships. Nordex has established key, strategic relationships with Appia Wind Services, DSV Air & Sea and ATS, in addition to collaborations with global energy leaders such as Engie, Enel, Duke, Acciona Energy, and others “We want to work hand in hand with our clients in order to generate collaborative solutions,” he says. “It’s important that we meet our commitments and ensure that we’re transparent and are working together in a collaborative manner to resolve issues. We understand that if we make a mistake then being open and honest is essential. We don’t try and hide; we strive to learn from our mistakes. Being open and honest with every partnership is essential and if we want to foster long-term growth, we understand we have to work collaboratively and transparently.”

With the future in mind, McComas has a vision of where he expects Nordex to be over the next few years. “We’ve almost doubled the growth of the overall organisation in just a few years and we aim to continue in that vein,” he says. “Moving forward, our plan is to focus on the execution of our commitments and make sure we deliver on the projects that we’re undertaking.” McComas also harbours ambitions of transforming The Nordex Group to being considered a leader in wind turbine supply construction and commissioning. “It’s a pivotal year for us,” summarises McComas. “We’ve already established ourselves as a top tier supplier globally for wind turbines and we want to continue to scale.”

John McComas