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The Benefit of “When” in Wind Energy

By Nayan Shetty
22-02-2021 | 6 min read

Wind energy is one of the more unpredictable power sources, yet this renewable energy source can offer many benefits.

Implementing digital asset performance management (APM) technology offers the insights operators need to improve productivity, asset longevity, and the business bottom line while taking advantage of clean energy sources such as wind.

My two previous articles covered all of this in greater detail: Powering wind operators' bottom line with APM and The Benefits of Achieving Wind Power Stability. In this article, I’d like to discuss the power of prognostics.

APM enables wind turbine operators to take a more intelligent risk-based approach to maintaining their assets. Implementing such a management framework into the company structure can help reduce the cost of energy and thus the overall levelized cost of energy (LCOE). Minimizing unplanned downtime can help onshore and offshore wind farms:

  • Reduce lost revenue
  • Reduce operations and maintenance (O&M) costs through leveraging synergies between urgent repair jobs and such which will prevent upcoming failures, reducing repair time, number of repair tours and human resources
  • Avoid penalties from unmet dispatch commitments
  • Enjoy more efficient maintenance - unplanned maintenance typically means six or seven days of outage versus one or two days with planned maintenance

With original equipment manufacturer (OEM) time-based or energy-based availability warranties as part of popular full-service maintenance contracts expiring at many aging wind farms, classically after 2, 5, 10 or 15 years, the advantage of reducing maintenance challenges and expenses with APM insights is obvious.

Now, what happens when we bring together APM with a prognostics application for existing condition and process data from assets? Production, maintenance, or commercial operations can all benefit from forecasting not only “what if” but also “when.”

Wind Power Prognostics

Through this series of articles, we have seen how wind farm operators can weigh risks and schedule maintenance intervention at low prices.

Adopting software that can provide health and performance insights can prevent critical asset failures while optimizing asset lifecycle cost.

Hitachi Energy’ APM prognostics solution covers all critical wind turbine components and wind farm assets – among them rotor bearings, shaft, gear box, mechanical brakes, generator windings and converters.

In addition to these assets, the solution covers the single most critical asset leading to 100% downtime of complete wind parks if not maintained properly: Wind park substations.

The solution can help wind farmers perform:

  • Systematic Maintenance – Time based or scheduled intervention
  • Condition-Based Maintenance – Present state parameter based intervention
  • Forecast Maintenance – Parameter prevision-based intervention
  • Proactive maintenance – Condition based intervention

With Hitachi Energy’ APM technology, operators can effectively analyze “what if” scenarios to determine the best course of action, based on an asset’s data. Perhaps reducing the speed of the turbine by 20 percent will defer risk by an additional two to three months.

A producer may only be getting an 80 percent production level, but will have longer use of the asset during local high-wind or high-price periods. That asset can then be taken out of commission during a lower price season or when a maintenance crew will already be in the area with the appropriate repair inventory available, allowing the producer to reduce repair costs, thus maximize overall profits.

Prognostic APM technology lets wind operators also see that a risk is emerging at a certain point in time. Knowing the “when” wind operators can switch from corrective and preventive maintenance programs to proactive O&M strategies.

This delivers savings in maintenance time and materials, and increases turbine uptime. The lower costs help reduce LCOE.

Advanced APM algorithms in the cloud platform or on-premises can increase energy yield and reduce repair, thus wind energy costs by offering greater predictability.

Digitalization with Hitachi Energy also provides the next level of prognostics and scenario simulation. Equipping your operator with the knowledge of both “what if” and “when” supports tremendous flexibility and agility in maintenance and operation planning.

Do you know enough about the future of your wind assets?

You will learn:

  • How the next level of prognostics and scenario simulations provide knowledge of “when” and “what if” for asset failures
  • Ways to optimise scheduling and scoping of maintenance based on market condition forecasts or prescheduled outages
  • How to benefit from asset performance management with prognostics capabilities
  • Case studies and industry challenges


APM with prognostics capabilities opens up a new dimension for industrial asset management

Prognostics provide explicit foresight into the future time dimension, beyond early warnings.

Hitachi Energy

Controlling risk in wind power

Asset performance analytics combined with prognostics capability for wind turbine uses data to extend condition monitoring and predictive diagnostic functions and compute risk profiles over a significant future time horizon. This brings unparalleled gains in short-term and long-term insight and identification of risk previously not known or clearly quantifiable.

Enabling highly targeted maintenance actions before any problems occur goes beyond diagnostics.

Typically, predictive tools say “this might go wrong” but not at what particular point in time.

With prognostic APM, the operator can weigh “what if’s” to moderate the load on any asset and defer risk by knowing “when” the asset or its component will reach a critical point. This prognostic capability offers wind farm operators better availability and peace of mind regarding energy reliability and asset investments.

This next level of situational awareness can help everyone in the organization from market participants, system operators, and maintenance crews. Advanced APM is a key part of an overall collaborative strategy to break down the silos at the energy producers.

Digitalization of industry knowledge integrated with algorithms and the best practice and learning from related industries also helps decrease dependence on OEM-led analytics and recommendations.

Ultimately, LCOE is everything to wind power owners and operators. Why risk unexpected failures and unplanned downtime? APM technology with prognostic capabilities lets you maximize reliability to improve business success.

Hitachi Energy’ expertise in the wind industry helps ensure products designed for long life cycles and changing industry regulations. We have been involved in the commercialization of wind power since its inception.

I would love to talk to you more about any of the ideas I have discussed in these blogs or my videos. Let’s better understand your maintenance cost now and the outcomes you can achieve with APM prognostics.

    Nayan Shetty
    Solutions Consultant APAC
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    Nayan Shetty is a Solutions Consultant for Enterprise Software Solutions based in Singapore. In his current role, his focus is on value-based selling and providing measurable business values a product or service will bring to the customer. In his previous role as Innovation Catalyst, he was spearheading some of the digital transformation initiatives for clients in Africa, Middle East and Asia. He has a strong technology background and tackles the challenges faced by companies in the Asset Performance Management and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) domain. You can connect with him at LinkedIn.

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