At AWEA Windpower, we raised an issue that is affecting the wind sector and will play an ever increasingly role in this market.
As the wind industry matures, it needs to have a clear policy of key areas that will affect its visibility and transparency. That topic is data access. As all wind energy processes will be increasingly digitised, it is important to look at the long-term value data will develop for asset owners and operators.
We all realise that digitalisation and the use of data will have an increasing role to play in the reliable operation of wind assets.
Approximately 65% of all costs are associated with operations and maintenance (O&M). Of those costs, 60% are related to unplanned maintenance. This illustrates the size of the opportunity open to operators if they can better plan maintenance. It is possible to reduce O&M costs significantly, and in turn, reduce LCOE and increase returns to owners and operators.
In wind energy, data analytics are being used more and more extensively. It has been argued that a revolution is driven by three changes. Now three technological changes are enabling the performance of better predictive maintenance:
I. More Data
Critical machines are now usually supplied with numerous sensors already fitted, which can monitor vibration, oil condition or temperature.
II. Enhanced Computer Power
The industry now has access to faster and cheaper computing power.
Otherwise known as Machine Learning or Artificial Intelligence, these are computer programmes that can process data very effectively and identify patterns far faster than humans.
Applying these new tools to increasing amounts of data allows us to process it quickly and accurately to predict component life, and optimise maintenance cycles in wind turbines and other industrial machines.
Despite the clear benefits of more data, access to data remains an issue for many owners and operators. There are various restrictions on data access such as displayed in this table.
Original equipment manufacturers restrict data through three primary methods:
The data is pre-processed (i.e. not raw data) preventing accurate analysis and obscuring materially important events.
Access to data is allowed but is licensed at a cost to the data owner.
The data is not shared at all, it isn’t collected, or sensors cannot be accessed to retrieve the data.
Ultimately, the wind industry will not meet its targets without open access to data. Furthermore, the industry needs a data access road map for all asset owners and investors.
Finally, we believe that all operations and maintenance data should be open to asset owners.
How do we realise this change?
The ONYX InSight Data Access Working Group is looking at ways to move forwards on how data is restricted, what data is needed, the financial impact of data access and better data access in supply agreements.