Wind power is one of the fastest growing renewable energy sources in the world. But it is not without its challenges. Predicting forecasts to generate enough power, keeping costs low enough to be competitive and ensuring that turbines remain operational is a management migraine. But by incorporating IoT analytics that can draw on dozens of data sources and use machine learnings to provide informed real-time insights, wind farm managers can make their farms more efficient and more effective.
3 Ways You can Use IoT Analytics to Improve Wind Farm Management
1. Optimize Work Crew Schedules
Scheduling work crews is one of the most significant challenges facing wind farms today. Sites can be hundreds of miles apart, climb times are long and unavoidable, and the weather can be unpredictable. Add a potential shortage in repair skills amongst crews, and it’s easy to see how optimizing work schedules can be difficult.
An IoT analytics system helps by combining data from multiple sources to create the most efficient schedule possible. IoT analytics can include information on weather forecasts, crew ability, turbine operations, and energy demand. Analytics systems use machine learning to process these data sets, providing insights and recommendations that ensure the right teams get to where they need to be as quickly as possible.
2. Extend Asset Life with Predictive Maintenance
As wind farm operators know, replacement parts for turbines are often in short supply. This can make scheduling maintenance even harder. Not only do you have to ensure the crew can get to the turbine in time, but you also have to make sure the correct parts are available when needed.
With an IoT analytics system that draws on both part availability data and failure time predictions, maintenance work can become predictive rather than reactionary. You can perform maintenance before a problem presents itself, increasing the lifespan of assets. When parts do need to be replaced, the system will alert managers when parts will be needed by each turbine so shortages and wait times are reduced or eliminated.
3. Produce Affordable Energy with Cost-Effective Management
Wind farms compete with traditional power sources on a cost basis, making it essential that they produce efficient, affordable energy. That can be difficult when crew and part shortages lead to lengthy downtimes, and unpredictable weather forecasts lead to inefficient power generation.
Many wind farm managers are tackling the problem by using additional insights to make more cost-efficient decisions. They use the analytics and predictions made by analytics and intelligence software to reduce crew and parts shortages, optimize work schedules and avoid increasing overheads such as hiring unnecessary workers. These decisions help wind farms improve the profitability and cost-efficiency of their business. That means more competitive energy costs and more people turning to wind power.
Use Technology and Data to Improve Wind Farm Operations
Big data has been trending in a variety of industries, but it’s just starting to come into its own in the renewable energy sector. There are now specialized analytics systems designed for renewable energy and unique areas within renewable energy like wind farms. Look at large technology providers for IoT applications and software that’s built specifically for wind farms. The results could increase your efficiency and profitability.