President & CEO, Northland Power
Executive Vice President, Development, Northland Power
Northland Power has been a developer and owner of clean and green power facilities since 1987. Under the leadership of President and Chief Executive Officer, Mike Crawley, Northland has gained international recognition for its commitment to delivering strong results and a more sustainable future. With Executive Vice President of Development David Povall guiding development efforts globally, Northland Power is set to expand its more than 10 billion dollars of high quality power generating assets both in Canada and internationally.
Mediaplanet: How has Northland Power achieved its leadership position in wind, solar, and thermal energy?
Mike Crawley (MC): We’ve always had a very entrepreneurial culture and are constantly looking at what’s next in terms of global energy supply needs and investment opportunities, both in terms of the sector and the market. That’s how we’ve gone from investing in small biomass-fired projects in Northern Canada to investing in large combined-cycle plants in Western Canada to building out a portfolio of wind and solar projects to, most recently, becoming a developer, owner, and operator of large-scale, off-shore wind projects in Europe and soon in Asia.
David Povall (DP): A key to our success has been having people in place who know the markets we’re serving. This is important in terms of understanding specific market trends and finding investment opportunities, but also in enabling us to move quicker than larger, but slower, competitors to seize those opportunities. Being agile has enabled us to consistently punch above our weight.
What can Canada do to regain our leadership reputation on climate change and meet our Paris Agreement targets?
MC: Canada needs more global players in the cleantech and renewable generation sector in general. There have been a number of companies that have been successful within Canada. There’s a much smaller number, Northland included, who have managed to transfer that success in, and knowledge of, renewables to the world stage.
DP: The opportunity for Canadian companies that know how to develop renewable power projects is really looking into these new markets that still have very carbon intensive electricity grids. And that’s what Northland is focused on in Asia, Europe, and Latin America.
What’s the largest and most innovative project Northland is currently involved in internationally?
DP: We’re currently developing the Hai Long offshore wind project in Taiwan. It’s about a gigawatt in total size and is a good example of a project where we’ve successfully partnered with a local company. We have largely completed the development phase and have found the Taiwanese government to be a huge backer of the project, as they’re looking to substantially increase the number of renewable energy projects in the country.
MC: All of our international expansion projects have two things in common. They need to have boots on the ground who know the market and stand-alone teams that are empowered to acquire, develop, and finance projects.
Looking forward, how does Northland plan to continue to bring increased value to its stakeholders while also contributing to a sustainable future on a global level?
DP: We’ll continue to focus on renewables and plan to have a number of off shore wind projects at various stages of development and operation in key markets globally — in Europe and Asia, for example, and in new, emerging offshore wind markets like Poland. It’s the fastest-growing type of renewable power right now and we have a very strong position in that sector, and therefore we should be able to grow rapidly.
MC: We’ll also continue to leverage our entrepreneurial streak and will look to find new and innovative renewable power sources or associated investments. We’ve always been looking toward what’s next and will continue to do so, leveraging our strength and experience in analyzing future market trends and needs to stay ahead of the curve.