Wind Energy France: Keep them spinning during Covid-19
The Covid-19 pandemic strongly affected wind energy around the globe. Everyone had to stop all activities, including Endiprev and our customers. Despite the difficult times, we were able to return to our projects in France and help our customers get their schedules back on track.
Wind energy production was one of the areas affected by the consequences of Covid-19 around the world. When the WHO declared the virus as a pandemic, Endiprev prepared immediately a contingency plan to protect our teams. However, given the nature of our core activities, and the importance of wind energy for the environmental sustainability of the world economies, we had to carefully implement all risk assessments and strategies to help keep our teams safe from the Covid-19 pandemic while continuing work on some projects.
The impact of Covid-19 on wind energy in France
In 2019, France was the fourth in Europe to have installed more wind capacity, and seventh in the world. The country outlined a very ambitious energy transition for the next few years, with the Energy and Climate Change Law. Its goal is to attain carbon neutrality by 2050, being wind energy production an essential part of achieving that goal.
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, France suffered an enormous impact on wind farm construction sites. This year, France installed 494MW of onshore wind energy, 5% lower than in 2019, and 18% lower than in 2018. Despite this setback, the French industry has continued the development of already awarded projects. The Saint-Brieuc and the Fecamp Offshore Wind Farms, expected to come online in 2030, reached the final investment decisions in these past few months. However, the French government is creating measures to speed up the pace to meet the outlined goals.
Endiprev activity in France has increased exponentially over the years, which resulted in the opening of Endiprev France in January. As the pandemic outbreak created restrains to people mobility around the world, Endiprev had some difficulty maintaining our teams in France. However, we rapidly found a solution and started working on our projects again. That could only be possible with close collaboration with the four major OEMs in the country – GE, Nordex, SGRE, and Vestas -, and the exceptional commitment of our workforce.
The new way of working in wind farms
During these past few months, our Management and EHS team was daily communicating with our teams in France. We made sure that they had every information and the PPE necessary to feel safe while keeping the wind energy up and running in the country.
On-site, our teams immediately adopted preventive measures to reduce contact with other people to the bare minimum. They had to reduce the visits to the customers’ office, bringing all the necessary material to work. “This way, we can go by weeks without having contact with other people outside the team. We always use masks and disinfect our hands regularly. When for some reason, we are with other people, we disinfect every material they might have touched”, states António Zenóglio, one of our technicians on-site.
With these procedures, António and his team’s routine slightly changed to work with all the safety required. “This common enemy is dangerous wherever we are, and the slightest mistake can originate the worst consequence. Everyone understands that we are an active element to maintain the safety of the team”. Despite feeling safe and in constant communication with the EHS Department, the team is always vigilant and aware of the pandemic situation in France.
At this moment, we have around 50 technicians working in France. They are performing a wide scope of activities – O&M, preventive and corrective maintenance, major operations, and troubleshooting. The teams are committed and motivated to continue to deliver a high-quality service to our customers.