Hector O. Ponce
W-G: Can you explain the new era for Mitsubishi Power Systems?
HP: The new era of our company is one of expanded globalization. We are making investments and contacts worldwide to make ourselves more available to our customers everywhere. Mitsubishi is the oldest and biggest industrial company in Japan. Power generation equipment, ships and aircraft are among the world recognized products, systems and services provided by Mitsubishi. It's one of the leading companies in the Japanese space program. The biggest core business in the company is power generation which has positioned Mitsubishi as the leading power generation supplier in Japan and one of the world's leading suppliers of fossil and nuclear generation.
W-G: What is the basic challenge facing Mitsubishi?
HP: The basic challenge facing Mitsubishi is how to achieve total globalization. The strategy includes the decision to build our presence more directly in the United States and throughout the Americas. We've had alliances with US companies in the past but we weren't directly supporting customers in the power generation business. Now, with the establishment of Mitsubishi Power Systems, our US subsidiary and "A New Power Source for the Americas, in the Americas" ... we're truly a half-world closer to our customers. This allows us to support them not only in their activities in the Americas, but in their worldwide investments as well.
W-G: Do you consider yourself a turnkey supplier?
HP: If "turnkey" means that we build and construct, the answer is yes. Mitsubishi is one of the leading turnkey suppliers in the world. We have more capacity than most other OEM's because Mitsubishi, in addition to leading edge design and manufacturing of all key generation equipment, has plant engineering, civil and construction deportments. Other companies who take on turnkey jobs may not be able to supply all of the equipment, and they might hire construction sub-contractors using contract labor. In Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East, Mitsubishi normally builds power stations on a turnkey basis.
W-G: But don't you partner in the US?
HP: In the United States, as part of our strategic positioning in the Americas, we choose to work with partners like Shaw/Stone & Webster, Bechtel, the Washington Group and others. These companies know how to develop projects here, and it works better for us to partner with them while we bring key technologies developed from Japan ... such as :
-the turbine generators. The balance of the power station equipment is usually procured from our US partners, even though we have the capability to make all the pieces in our factories.
- Mitsubishi wants to localize and use as much labor in the United States as possible. We want to work with strategic partners to leverage the best way to approach and complete projects.
W-G: Is Mitsubishi advancing turbine designs to harvest more wind?
HP: The promise of wind generation is obvious. For two decades, Mitsubishi has led the industry in groundbreaking wind turbine designs featuring advanced blades, gear assemblies, generators and controls. We continue to push the envelope of versatility, sitability and performance through ongoing R&D aimed at making it more commercially attractive than ever to convert renewable energy into reliable power. One hundred and eleven Mitsubishi wind turbines are currently in operation at the Mountain View Project installation located near Palm Springs, CA. With nearly 1400 units in the field worldwide, our 250kW, 300kW, 500kW, 600kW and 1000kW turbines already generate nearly 600MW of combined output, with even larger and more efficient turbine configurations in development now.
W-G: How do you build next-generation performance?
HP: At Mitsubishi we're melding proven concepts and advanced technologies to create a best-of-breed gas turbines that combines today's reliability with tomorrow's output and efficiency. In the case of our gas turbines, the long running reliability of our F-Series was the cornerstone of the G and H-Series development and full-scale verification investments. Similar development and verification processes are the foundation of our steam, wind, boiler and other product lines.
Innovation can be a double-edged sword. Risks often balance rewards, the perils go hand-in-hand with paybacks. That's why we believe that "evolution" is better than "revolution". And that's why our design philosophy has always been to integrate the most promising technologies of tomorrow with the most proven technologies of today.
W-G: How do you capture superior performance for any gas or steam turbine, regardless of the nameplate?
HP: At Mitsubishi, the answer is dedicated, world-class factory repair and field services, combined with a knowledge base that spans the full spectrum of turbine technologies. Every high performance turbine depends on qualified repair, maintenance and remanufacturing services to sustain rated output and efficiency over the long haul. And now, every gas or steam turbine, no matter what the nameplate, can reap the performance-boosting benefits of OEM-quality parts and service available through our new state-of-the-art Orlando Service Center. Clearly, this service center is a significant investment, but we feel that complete, responsive service best demonstrates our commitment in the Americas.
W-G: How do you deal with the end of the US energy boom and changing market?
HP: The boom the United States experienced was coincidental with the end of our alliances and the need for MHI to grow into the next era independently. This is a good window for Mitsubishi to establish operations here with investments in buildings, factories and people. We have done this and we are doing our best to show our customers the real strength of Mitsubishi. We already have a lot of MHI equipment operating in the United States including steam turbines, gas turbines, wind turbines, and boilers. In many cases, customers don't even know where the equipment came from, but Mitsubishi is in the process of reeducating customers that we are a new power source for all of the Americas. As the US market evolves, we will strive to provide the best in technology and the most responsive service to our customers so that they choose Mitsubishi both in the US and abroad.