Winston KutteChief Operations Officer
An alumnus of Clemson University (BS Mechanical Engineering) coupled with an MBA from Southern Methodist University (Dallas, TX), Winston is currently pursuing the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation, having completed Levels I and II.
Winston comes to Barber Wind Turbines having just completed an exciting and dynamic time at, most recently, GE Gas Turbine, and prior to that, at NextEra Energy Resources, the largest wind farm developer and owner/operator in the United States.
At NextEra Energy Resources (Juno Beach, FL), Winston managed the P&L for over 640 MW of wind energy generation, including four domestic sites and three Canadian sites, totaling $800+ million in investment, $70 million in annual revenue, and thirteen separate Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), (some sites having multiple contracts/PPAs). As Senior Business Manager, oversight included commercial administration of the PPAs (delivering the power to the proper point of title transfer, collection of payments, and tracking other contractual obligations, such as Availability), knowledge of state and federal regulations, and management of obligations as outlined in other contractual agreements such as Interconnect Agreements, transmission upgrade agreements, and regional transmission operator, operating agreements. Additional duties included managing over $440 million in bank financings, including the delivering of quarterly and annual operating reports, making interest and principle payments, calculating debt-service coverage ratios, and forwarding transfer certificates to request funding for operational expenses via the financing waterfall.
Winston’s time at NextEra was marked by several notable achievements, among them two successive promotions, which served as book-ends to receiving the NextEra Energy President’s Cup Award. The award was for delivering the highest NPV, six-sigma greenbelt project in a two-year period. The $20 million NPV–project was focused on recouping a portion of lost revenues from wind sites whose interconnect agreements had been delayed, thus delaying connectivity to the grid and delaying delivery of energy (revenue).
Continued success materialized when Google executed one of its first renewable energy PPAs with a newly developed site under Winston’s management. The physical start-up of the 150 MW site coupled with the simultaneous start-up of administering the first Google PPA were closely watched in the organization up through to the CEO of Nextera Energy (consolidated company). The management of the site start-up and the on-going administration of the PPA was so well received by Google that they requested Winston be assigned to manage another NextEra site where Google was executing a second PPA, even though the site was not in the region in which Winston reported organizationally.
The list of “firsts” continued with the creation of the first curtailment calculation model, the basis for additional revenue capture and the basis of subsequent greenbelt projects; the wisdom and experience gained through tracking curtailments led to the development of a plc-system to modulate/maximize the output of two separate sites that interconnected to the grid at the same point but with different energy injection priorities.
As NextEra’s wind business was growing rapidly between 2006 and 2008, the experience Winston gained in managing newly developed sites solidified an intellectual asset that is difficult to recreate. Several of these sites (in Iowa) were located in transmission constrained areas resulting in unique challenges while the sites in Canada were challenged by weather in the winter months.
Exposure to the energy business continued at GE Gas Turbines (Greenville, SC) when family obligations strongly required a return to Greenville, which is home. The GE role, Senior Finance Manager over gas turbine engineering, was one rarely offered to GE “outsiders” upon first entry into the company and included oversight of a $400+ million annual engineering budget. At GE, as at NextEra, it was clear and was noted by management, that Winston was the strongest member of the team and being groomed to take over his manager’s role; assuming the responsibility of a combined ~$1B turbine engineering and services budget.
Winston thrives in and welcomes entrepreneurial roles. Prior to NextEra, he re-started a stranded/shut-down food packing company (for a group of investors), grew it, and helped facilitate its sale in Greenville, SC. At NextEra, the rapid growth of the wind portfolio at the time made for few subject matter experts in the ranks, yielding an entrepreneurial atmosphere and facilitating his success there as well.
In June 2010, via a mutual acquaintance, Jerry and Winston met in Florida while Winston was still at NextEra and Jerry was visiting family in Tampa. Jerry revealed the plans for his wind turbine design at that meeting. The meeting was brief. A chance phone call to Jerry three years later, in 2013, revealed that Jerry was in production with a prototype and needed an experienced wind professional to, amongst other things, get the unit connected to the grid. The call could not have been timed any better; Jerry needed the wind site experience Winston possessed and Winston, having managed wind sites using traditionally-designed wind-turbines, became impassioned by production reality of the revolutionary-designed BWT turbine and its business model implications/benefits.
They and the team are poised to re-write the wind turbine business.
Winston lives in Greenville with his wife and two kids where the balance of the extended family, on both sides, also resides.