New value, new prospects for onshore wind operators
Onshore wind is now among the world’s most competitive energy sources. Onshore wind growth has largely been driven by governments’ commitments to achieving a low-carbon future, a rapid evolution of onshore wind technology and the implementation of leading practices in project development.
But new technologies are needed to repower, retrofit and extend the life of current assets. There is a significant opportunity for onshore wind operators to enhance asset value by improving their operations and maintenance (O&M).
Whether a large global portfolio player, a large player with single-country operations or a medium-size independent power producer, all onshore wind operators share a common opportunity: to make significant O&M improvements.
This study builds on primary and secondary research, including insights from leading operators to better understand the current O&M approaches, chokepoints and opportunities for further improvement. The study also draws on lessons from other industries with similar processes, to bring to life some of the opportunities captured by those other sectors.
Our research revealed five key themes, each with its own opportunities for each type of operators. The importance of digital technologies and enablers such as big data and analytics is a common thread to truly enhance O&M.
Digital critical for wind O&M enhancements
The largest opportunity to improve O&M performance sits with digital technologies and enablers. The integration of various data sets from turbine SCADA systems, external market and weather forecasts, work management and the supply chain is key to drive value realization from most of the themes covered in this report.
Often already advanced, large global portfolio players could take integration to uncover additional value through increased use of collaboration tools, analytics and through greater integration across all systems. Large, single-country wind operators could pool resources to facilitate an infrastructure investment. Medium-size independent power producers have a potentially bigger challenge, and could look for co-investment opportunities, such as building a shared platform.
All view big data and analytics as a big opportunity, but the extent to which this has been leveraged varies tremendously. Larger players can take it to the next level. Smaller ones will need to find a way to obtaining visibility into their entire wind portfolios. This will be the key to shifting O&M from merely a cost center to becoming a true value driver, providing real competitive advantage to onshore wind operators.