Wind Industry Must Rethink the way it Measures Power in Order to Remain Profitable: Report

As key markets increasingly move towards a merchant environment, successful renewable energy operators will need to be responsive to pricing mechanisms and tailor their operations to improve profitability.

October 01, 2021. By News Bureau

As key markets increasingly move towards a merchant environment, successful renewable energy operators will need to be responsive to pricing mechanisms and tailor their operations to improve profitability. This is according to a new report from ONYX Insight, a leading provider of data analytics and engineering expertise to the global wind industry, published today.
 
The report, ‘Decoding Wind’s Future,’ identifies three steps that owners and operators must take to ensure continued success, in the short and long term:
 
  1. Eliminate Silos
  2. Optimise complex, diverse portfolios
  3. Move away from ‘magic bullet’ digital tools
 
Step 1. Eliminate Silos
 
The biggest obstacle to the wind industry achieving operational excellence is siloed data. According to the report, 62% of wind industry stakeholders consider data integration a significant barrier to digital advancement.
 
To overcome this obstacle, owners and operators should consider an asset as a single power plant and make operational decisions that optimise output across the whole plant, not just individual turbines or modules. According to the report, this will boost profitability on an asset level while unlocking sustainable competitiveness, greater investor confidence and further industry growth.
 
Step 2. Optimise complex, diverse portfolios
 
Traditional approaches to O&M are trailing the new reality of mixed technology portfolios. ONYX Insight’s research predicts that the total installed capacity in 2030 will encompass 902GW solar, 1114GW wind, and 87GW storage.
 
This means that a single tool to manage a single aspect of operation will not be sufficient for owners and operators - a platform for hybrid assets, which incorporates deep sector knowledge for each asset type, will be critical.
 
Step 3: Move away from ‘magic bullet’ digital tools
 
Keeping assets running, maximising power production and a focus on MWh has been the default strategy for many to date.
 
Within this report, ONYX Insight make the case for moving away from MWh financial models to capital profitability models using metrics such as $/MWh, Climbs/WTG, MW/tech and MTTR (Mean time to respond) and the adoption of flexible operating strategies, underpinned by market pricing, where turbines can be uprated or derated to maximise the value of energy sold.
 
Bruce Hall, CEO, ONYX InSight, says, “This is a pivotal time for renewable energy. As the sector scales up and prepares to be at the heart of global energy production, it must maintain a sharp focus on profitability.”
 
“Make no mistake, building the centralised software platforms of the future is not a trivial task. It requires deep multidisciplinary expertise, combining analytics and data management as well as the latest engineering and operational knowledge.”
 
Evgenia Golysheva, Head of Engineering, ONYX InSight, says, “Industry stakeholders will benefit from being open-minded – but not naïve – about technology and data. Using these powerful tools to become more agile in response to a changing landscape, both on a macro and micro level, will open the door to continued success, in the short-term, and in the decades to come.”
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