Roark Lanning has a keen sense of which way the wind is blowing in the U.S. when it comes to renewable energy resources.
“Wind energy has been in the spotlight for many years,” Lanning said. “The industry is committed to developing more efficient and cost effective systems that will provide lower cost of energy projects to the market.”
As a result, wind energy facilities continue to draw investors and owners in the U.S. to an alternative for power generation that produces no greenhouse gas emissions and consumes no water during operations.
Lanning was recently named director of wind energy for WSP. He will lead engineering services in the U.S. onshore wind energy market. One of his goals is to establish the firm as a preferred vendor for engineering services among the most reputable owners and operators in the wind and renewable energy industries.
“Wind energy is a growth area in the U.S. for WSP,” he said. “Companies are now in position to leverage engineering expertise already available and expand the U.S. into one of the largest wind markets in the world.”
WSP serves as the engineer of record on wind projects. The firm’s contributions include geotechnical services and the design of roads and crane pads, foundations, a collection system, substations, transmission lines and communications/control systems. Services also include engineering on other renewable energy projects like solar, energy storage and offshore wind.
“WSP is well positioned to add value to wind energy projects,” Lanning said. “Many services that are currently available in the company can be offered to new clients in wind and renewable energy, creating increased opportunities for internal expertise and additional depth of capabilities for clients.”
Based in Boulder and Denver, Lanning provides project management and oversight for engineering design and related studies. He supports other renewable energy activities, including services to developers and owners working on offshore wind projects. Additionally, he participates in activities such as solar energy design engineering and independent engineering/due diligence.
He brings 15 years of experience in engineering and management for complex utility and industrial projects to the firm. For the past eight years, he worked as an engineering leader for a Colorado-based renewable energy company, serving as director of mechanical engineering.
“I worked on renewable energy projects that produce more than five gigawatts of power now, incorporating wind turbines, mobile cranes, communications and controls into the balance of plant engineering and construction plans,” Lanning said.
Originally from Telluride, Colorado, Lanning earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of California, Santa Cruz and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from California Polytechnic State University. He is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Society of Civil Engineers.
He developed an interest in renewable energy shortly after graduating from college, while working as a combustion engineer on industrial and energy facilities for a leading burner company.
“I felt good about what I was doing, since the final product reduced emissions by up to 95 percent. I was intrigued by the energy industry from this role,” he said. “My next position took me from ski lifts and automated people movers to wind turbines through a direct-drive generator design. This design made it possible for me to focus on energy and learn about renewable energy. That was 10 years ago, and I have remained in renewable energy since then.”
He was inspired to continue his career with WSP because of the firm’s “depth of talent” in engineering and its desire to dedicate that talent to the expansion of wind power generation in the U.S.
“I appreciate the firm’s commitment to renewable energy with a U.S. presence in wind energy,” Lanning said. “I enjoy working with different offices and different disciplines across the company to provide our clients with high-quality projects.”