Round and Round the Windmill

Energy Challenges

7. Affordable and Clean Energy 9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities 13. Climate Action 17. Partnerships for the Goals

Overview

By innovating and operating the maintenance of windmills, this company helps promote Goal #7, Affordable and Clean Energy. Windmills malfunction and have sporadic technical problems. Without companies like this, windmills would be out of commission for long periods of time. They not only help diagnose and repair the problem, they also look for ways to reduce costs, increase power output, and make windmills more efficient.

Author

Marcos Vivot-Cavanagh

Marcos Vivot-Cavanagh

School

Universidad de Navarra

Universidad de Navarra

Professor

Isabel Rodriguez Tejedo

Isabel Rodriguez Tejedo

Innovation

The company, Energy Challenges America, faces challenges within the windmill industry in the US, Spain, and Mexico. They focus on the innovation, maintenance, and operation of windmills. CEO Felix Morales has been a part of the windmill industry for over 25 years and is still as passionate about the industry as he was at the beginning. His company consists of 29 employees who address service, engineering, distribution, and quality Insurance. Each sector is critical to the company and has helped the team reach its current success.

In the windmill industry, time is extremely important and any delay can be very detrimental to the energy output. An average windmill in the Basque country of Spain can generate power for 1,500 residents. When a windmill’s mechanical components begin to malfunction, Morales is there on the scene to assess the problem. There are many solutions this company provides to better the world by helping windmills. One innovation was a more functional way to cool down internal mechanics when they caught fire. From there, an alarm goes off and they can see the windmill location, its problem and whether it can be resolved without human contact. They have also come up with a way to reduce the time and money spent to replace the turbine bearings. One of the biggest projects they are working on is that they have figured out how to increase power output with the same amount of energy.

These innovations and the other activities that ECA does are huge contributions to the windmill industry. Wind energy has helped the world cut C02 emissions by 50%. It has also become one of the most reliable and most used renewable energy. Because of their work, ECA has joined the UN Global Impact and has continued to help the world. Passionate companies such as ECA are helping communities slowly transition to a more sustainable future.

Round and Round the Windmill

Inspiration

The inspiration for starting this company came to Morales after he worked in the wind industry for 18 years. He felt he was knowledgeable and ready, so he partnered with some of his friends and family and went out to create his own company. Since he has always worked with windmills and was there when the market was in Its infancy, he saw an opportunity. Still, he was anxious when he started out. “Yes of course you will be nervous when you are the head of a new company and you are using your own resources. This was a choice/challenge we took and from there we couldn't look back," he explained. Now, they have become one of the top five innovators in their field with a bright future ahead for sustainability.

Overall impact

The impact of this company is huge for both the windmill industry and the future of sustainability worldwide. Wind energy is one of the best renewable energies. Besides being very reliant, it is also one of the few energy sources that has the least amount of negative effects on the environment. According to AWEA (American Wind Energy Association) "In 2018, the electricity generated from wind turbines avoided an estimated 200 million tons of carbon pollution. This reduction is equal to roughly 43 million cars’ worth of CO2 emissions.". By helping such a noble renewable source, ECA has been a huge factor in increasing wind energy usage and reliability.

Morales noted that "It is not only my work. It is the work of everyone in the industry. But we all have of course helped with the effects of wind energy. Wind energy is the biggest form of renewable energy, and because of the work we have done, there has been a huge shift in focus on renewable energy." This is shown with an increase of wind energy used all around the globe: 41% in Denmark, 28% in Ireland, 24% in Portugal, 21% in Germany in 2018 and 19% in Spain and 8% in the USA. Wind energy is on its way to being the future of renewable energy, and people such as Morales are continually innovating and furthering this campaign.

Business benefit

Innovation is defined as introducing new ideas and solutions. ECA is the incubator for innovation because it attracts passionate and motivated individuals who love what they do. Morales said "In this job environment, you are constantly in the field, constantly seeing what can be improved. You are rarely in the office. Because of the nature of the job, we have people of all types; we have rock climbers, swimmers, bikers, etc." A job that is this interactive can only be done by people who want to be there.

The innovation is the core of the company itself, in which they help themselves through innovating and servicing windmills. Their four sectors, service, engineering, distribution and quality insurance, allow the company to improve and expand. Their future plans include adding service to more countries, coming up with more solutions, and continuing to offer the exemplary professional service. Through continued innovation, they have cultivated a culture of self improvement and motivation to keep doing what they do best.

Social and environmental benefit

The future of sustainability lies with companies that are willing to dedicate their resources into making a cleaner future for the Earth. While sustainable communities are essential to making the Earth cleaner, the first step is the transition. The transition is of course extremely difficult as many people don't want to change what’s working. But by making renewable energy more accessible and reliant, cities can begin to take the first step into becoming sustainable.

ECA has a huge and clear benefit for both society and the environment. By providing solutions and services, they help promote UN's SDG's, specifically Sustainable Energy. Many people work as lawyers, doctors, and their professions are known by all. People in Morales’s profession are not as mainstream yet they have a huge part of the future of sustainability. They increase effectiveness, reliability, and quality of renewable energy. Morales noted that he has “always been environmentally conscious and have always wanted to do something that could help the environment." Companies like ECA have one of the biggest contributions to society and the environment.

Interviews

Felix Morales, CEO

n/a, n/a

Keep this story going! Share below!

Energy Challenges

Energy Challenges

Mequon, Wisconsin, US

Business Website: https://energychallengesamerica.com/

Year Founded: 2013

Number of Employees: 11 to 50

The business focuses on the maintenance and innovation of the windmill. They have various operations throughout the world where they go into the field and manage and oversee the windmills. They also work on the windmills to make them better and more efficient.