The Onyx Insight report, entitled “Data Access And Ownership: How the wind industry can lease knowledge from rail, aviation and shipping,” looked at data access and ownership in the wind industry and found that the wind energy industry was changing data sharing practices in other industries, such as aviation, if they are to compete with fossil fuels and play a fundamental role in the energy transition.
It concluded that the wind industry can learn the most from aviation, where data belongs to the asset owners and all parties are involved in its fair use. This collaboration has enabled the development of tools that can predict when maintenance is required, which have helped lower operating costs and increase aircraft availability, thereby reducing disruptions.
While the wind industry has been quick to adopt digitization and predictive maintenance practices, the lack of access to data is preventing them from taking full advantage of this technology. Missing data has the potential to give operators deeper insights, which enables better asset management, long-term O&M planning, and improved strategic maintenance. An unexpected turbine failure contributes 58 percent of the OPEX costs. The majority of this is reactive, unplanned maintenance that could have been avoided.
Specifically, improved data exchange could lead to new analysis methods such as the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to improve turbine performance. The vast potential of AI is recognized across the industry, but these methods have so far been hampered by the lack of clean, cross-platform and normalized data. Improved data exchange has the potential to fully unleash AI and lead to a significant reduction in LCoE (Levelized Cost of Energy) across the entire renewable energy sector.
The report also noted that turbine owners need to make better use of their position in contract negotiations to ensure that data sharing becomes a contractual requirement and that these negotiations will only be suspended after the contract is signed if bargaining power is lost.
Currently, most OEMs in the wind energy sector can restrict access to data. Among the top 12 Condition Monitoring System (CMS) hardware providers, who account for over 80 percent of the market share, only one of turbine owners and operators offers full CMS data access. Four CMS providers offer restricted access and seven offer no access at all, which limits the maintenance and service options of the owners.
“With the LCoE falling rapidly, solar power is gaining market share,” said Bruce Hall, CEO of Onyx Insight. “The wind sector must constantly look for ways to increase its competitiveness and increase its efficiency in order to fulfill its crucial role in the energy transition. This will ensure that our future energy mix is diverse and takes full advantage of the technologies available to promote decarbonization. Data access collaboration is a key example of how the wind industry can do this.
Our report shows that there is no one-size-fits-all or standardized approach to data exchange, but wind should follow the example of aviation in empowering owners and operators. To be clear, OEMs shouldn’t be given the ability to provide intellectual property related to design – this data is theirs. However, operational data is different; Open access to operational data is critical as it helps owners get the most out of their assets.
The technological advances and increased reliability that could result from better data sharing are critical to accelerating the green agenda and play a major role in lowering energy costs to make wind turbines more competitive. “
For more information:
“Data Access and Ownership: How the Wind Industry Can Use Knowledge from Rail, Aviation and Shipping”