Helping Power Communities, Sustainably

We asked Sommer Johnson, district manager – original equipment sales, what it means to be part of a global movement toward greater wind and renewable energy production. Here are her thoughts.


Sommer Johnson, district manager – original equipment sales, The Timken Company

Sommer, total wind turbine capacity reached 650 GW last year – enough to cover more than 6 percent of global electricity demand. What trends do you see contributing to ongoing growth in wind energy?

“The world has reached the point where two main motivators are converging: the urgent need to produce clean energy for a sustainable future and the financial viability of renewable technologies that make it possible. When these come together as they have in the last five years, real progress can be made. Today we see more companies setting targets for net-zero carbon emissions. Traditional energy companies are becoming wind farm operators. Government actions are driving new investments, especially as many eye wind energy as a source of global economic recovery post-pandemic. It’s a perfect storm creating a situation where renewables like wind, solar and hydro will eventually overtake traditional energy sources. Just last year, 72% of net energy capacity expansion came from renewables.”

How does Timken expertise advance the adoption of wind and other renewables in communities around the world?

“We are an “ingredient” brand. That means we provide one or multiple solutions within a much larger system. Yet our solutions are extremely critical. In wind, our influence over the last 20 years has led to a shift in main shaft bearing design to accommodate larger turbines with greater capacity. Greater capacity onshore and offshore means you can generate more power in a smaller wind farm footprint, which is better for the environment and better for communities. In solar, our worm gear technology has helped improve the efficiency of converting sun into energy with similar results. So the more we do to improve system reliability and performance, the more viable those systems become—and the more likely they are to be more broadly implemented in every region of the world.”

What gets you excited about coming to work every day?

“As an engineer I get excited about influencing the design evolution of wind turbines. As a parent, I get excited about playing a role in producing cleaner energy that is going to have a positive impact for future generations. Not locally or regionally, but globally. Timken recently transitioned from design to production on two very large wind bearing orders despite current challenges with the health crisis and economy. I think this speaks to the commitment and urgency of wind and renewable energy companies to forge ahead for the good of our planet.

I’m proud to be involved in it through Timken, because in our own way, we are helping to create a more responsible way of generating one of the most valuable commodities on earth: electricity. It’s something everyone uses all day, every day, to power their businesses, their homes, and really every aspect of their lives. Now we have the technology, resources and motivations to do it on a global scale. And Timken is ready.”

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