Read a new interview with René Cattin, CEO Meteotest AG, who’s been involved at Winterwind since 2008!
What’s your expectations for Winterwind 2020?
Well, I look forward again to this unique conference, to the great atmosphere, to meet a lot of friends too. It’s always great at Winterwind, especially now when it’s in Åre again which is a fantastic place.
From a topic point of view, we heard a lot about technical developements in the past years, there has been a big progress here. Now I hope and expect to hear more about operational experiences and especially about optimized operation based on all these new technologies, about how they can be used in a smart way. And hopefully, some maybe less meteorological or scientific presentations but presentations dealing with “Cold Climate 4.0” in the sense of big data, digitalization, smart algorithms, smart integration and similar things.
Last but not least, I wish that we will see much more female presenters on stage next year. Female representation is in my opinion still at a far too low level and therefore I encourage all women out there, who are working on cold climate solutions, to submit an abstract and to present their work at Winterwind 2020!
Has the focus been on operation and maintenance before?
It has always been a topic but it hasn’t been that much in focus I think. But it has moved a bit from technical solutions now more towards how to work with these solutions and how to make best benefits of them. How to lower the uncertainties, how to optimize the production, how to reduce the losses and downtimes. In short how to keep these turbines running also under nasty conditions as much as possible and produce as much energy as possible.
What makes the Winterwind conference so important and interesting?
Well, I believe if you’re working with wind energy in Cold Climate it’s kind of the one and only conference to go. The only conference that focuses on this topic. It’s a place where all the stakeholders active in this field gather together once a year to have some really very deep discussions, exchange of information and networking. I think it’s very unique from topic point of view and it’s always very informative – the presentations give you a good picture of what’s going on in the community, like “what are the latest developements?”. If you want to know the state of the art in this field it’s the place to go!
In February the 12th Winterwind will be arranged – how would you say the conference has developed through the years? You’ve been involved since the start?
In February, it will be my 11th participation actually! I haven’t participated in the very first event which was held only in Swedish. But the international ones I have so far attended every one of them. My first attendance was in 2008. And yeah, it has been quite a developement since then!
Actually I was asked the same question five or six years ago in a panel discussion at Winterwind and it resulted in a quote of which I think it still can be repeated: If I look back to 2008, it was a small group of people, I’d call them a “bunch of freaks”, many of them wearing lumberjack shirts, that gathered to discuss a very special topic at that time. Through-out the years, there are still a sort of freaks that gather at this conference, but there are now many more of them and actually most of them are wearing suits today. It has just become much bigger, much more professional, much more international. That’s the main developement – we are really a renowned community by now, people are looking at us and we have our own place in the whole wind energy business. We are not the special guys anymore, but it has become a business and that can be clearly felt in the conference.