Relying on third-party certification

RWE’s Simon Pansart tells e-tech about how IECRE (IEC System for Certification to Standards Relating to Equipment for Use in Renewable Energy Applications) creates value for his company at a moment when hurricanes around the world are putting wind energy systems under pressure. Testing and certifying systems against the IEC 61400 Standards developed by IEC Technical Committee 88 is more indispensable than ever.

An engineer sitting on top of a wind turbine

What is your role at RWE?

I am a wind turbine engineer at RWE, one of the world's leading renewable energy players and the number two in offshore wind. In RWE’s Turbine Systems Engineering Division, we contribute to the development and construction of our future wind farms. Amongst many other aspects, this includes everything related to certification. Furthermore, I have frequently been involved in solving technical problems during the operation of wind turbines, so I am conscious of the technical reliability issues that a meaningful certification scheme should address.

How does RWE view the IECRE conformity assessment scheme? How beneficial is it to the company?

The IECRE certification scheme, along with the technical IEC Standards, is one of the fundamental pillars in this regard. We heavily rely on the assessment quality provided by certification bodies and test laboratories, because in most cases we, as end users, will not have access to relevant technical details that are needed to conduct a meaningful evaluation of the design, manufacturing and testing of a wind turbine. Especially for type certification, this creates real value for our company.

What RWE systems are tested within the scheme?

For many of our offshore wind farms, RWE is directly applying for project certification according to IECRE OD-502. And for all of our wind farms, onshore and offshore, we will require our suppliers to provide turbines that are type-certified according to IECRE OD-501.

Which testing labs/facilities are used?

RWE has been contracting several accepted IECRE certification bodies (ed: the full list of IECRE certification bodies can be found here).

What improvements to the scheme, if any, would RWE suggest?

We will welcome any measures that aim at improving the quality, rigour, consistency and transparency of the evaluation work carried out by the test laboratories and certification bodies. For example, more concrete guidance or rules about how certification bodies report their conclusions, and how these could be made available to end users, will improve transparency, as well as the value provided by certification.

How did RWE become involved with the scheme in the first place?

RWE is a long-standing end user of IEC-certified products and has participated in the scheme since its implementation. RWE is also actively contributing to IECRE’s various working groups and stakeholder groups.


Photo of Simon Pansart
Simon Pansart is a wind turbine engineer at RWE.