Peter Wells

Peter Wells

Peter Wells is a senior executive business leader with 27 years of global experience in renewable energy, energy technology, power projects, construction engineering and consulting. He was named Chief Executive Officer in September 2011, after serving as the company’s Chief Operating Officer. His demonstrated leadership, vision, and strategic thinking have been instrumental in fulfilling the overall corporate strategy of consistently providing customers a full-service offering at a lower cost per kilowatt hour.

Peter is focused on the continued growth and development of UpWind as the leading wind energy independent service provider (ISP) on utility scale wind power projects in North America. His commitment has been demonstrated through the development of an ISP that both sets the industry standard for O&M Excellence© but also continues to innovate how O&M providers can produce better results for wind farm owners.

Upwind Blog

I joined the Wind Industry in 2010 and quickly got accustomed to the divisions of a fiercely competitive services after-market.  Are you an OEM, ISP or Self-Performer? Are you a hybrid combination of owner and ISP?  All claiming to be the best at delivering wind turbine services for improved asset performance and customer value.

When selecting a service provider for your wind energy assets, you have tremendous choice. From the Original Equipment Manufacturer, to an Independent Service Provider, or the increasing number of owner operators offering pseudo independent services. There are certain fundamentals for great service that apply to all and these should be understood in depth in order to fully understand what you will and what you won’t be getting from a service provider.

Traditionally, original equipment manufacturer (OEM) focus has been on designing turbines that will last 20 years, perform reliably and produce as the nameplate describes. As turbine reliability increases, maintenance costs and downtime should decrease. However, significant unknowns remain for the turbine life cycle. This means OEMs, owners and independent service providers (ISPs) alike are all watching the installed base closely to learn how to offer better planned and unplanned maintenance solutions. To do so, they rely heavily on data and service innovation for improved production, lower operating expense and extended project life.

At the 7th Annual Wind Energy Operations & Maintenance Summit in Dallas, TX last week, UpWind Solutions was nominated for and awarded the “Best Example of O&M Excellence” 2015. Wind Energy Update identified 6 categories for their inaugural O&M Excellence awards and we were thrilled to be recognized as a finalist, and then honored to win the ‘Excellence’ category. There are three reasons that this award means so much to me. First, O&M Excellence is a foundational initiative for UpWind, it runs through everything we do. Second, any recognition feels good because it validates what you are doing but peer recognition and votes mean even more. Third, being part of these important awards in a maturing industry, supporting them and representing the industry in the best way we can is a philosophical commitment of ours.

The question of what a project life cycle looks like seems relatively easy to answer, often being broken down into four phases; development, warranty, post-warranty and end-of-life. The more interesting question around the life cycle is when should Operations & Maintenance (O&M) start? The easy answer is …at the beginning. From project inception through to end of life, O&M strategy and execution must be considered, developed, tested, refined, and continuously improved.

Peter Drucker once said “Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes.”

Knowledge comes from experience and data that can also be expressed as information for teaching or learning and for reference purposes. In the digital world we have created a new phenomenon, namely ‘Big Data’. If you look these words up on the internet, you might find a definition that goes something like this “Data sets, typically consisting of billions or trillions of records that are so vast and complex that they require new and powerful computational resources to process”.

About three years ago we decided to make our brand promise “A Higher Standard of Service™”. It wasn’t because we are arrogant, or believe we are better than others, but purely because we wanted to establish a bar for ourselves and an expectation for our customers. The question is, how do we measure or benchmark for this goal?

We measure customer satisfaction and drive continuous improvement through our quality program and while this is an important exercise, it does not benchmark our service level against the industry. We needed to find another approach, a true benchmark, with an acceptable unbiased method by which to measure it. So, in March this year we commissioned DNV GL to undertake an ‘O&M Capabilities Assessment’ of UpWind in order to gain insight to the critical questions, “how good are we” and “how do we compare to others”?