1 in 5 Wind Farm Owners Opt for Advanced Cloud-Based Software to Run Predictive Maintenance

18 Oct 2019

New trends in software analytics are helping owners and operators to run more of their predictive maintenance monitoring in-house, according to ONYX InSight, the leading provider of predictive maintenance services to the wind energy industry. With the support of cloud-based monitoring systems fed by large data sets, wind farm owners and operators are able to collect, handle and analyze more turbine performance data than ever before. 

Across the 9GW of wind capacity that ONYX InSight monitors, 20% of wind farm owners are opting for a low cost 'do-it-yourself' model of predictive maintenance, fueled by the drive to reduce operational expenditure and the development of cloud-based solutions, which are lowering barriers to analysis. At the company's recent North American Technical Symposium, 51% of attendees confirmed their organization was planning to adopt artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to monitor wind turbines in the near term. 

Ashley Crowther, global VP of sales and engineering at ONYX InSight said: "Wind farms must be supported by the right digital operations and maintenance tools, and turbine monitoring technology if they are to be successful. Wind operation and maintenance (O&M) is moving towards networking all different performance measurement machines into cloud-based servers to deploy centralized monitoring software. This means that, when it comes to turbine health checks, it's a much smoother process for asset owners and operators as everything is interconnected in a cloud environment."

Cloud-based solutions are also enabling owner operators to combine their turbine health monitoring software onto one platform. In a recent poll at its Japanese Technical Symposium, ONYX InSight found that 45% of wind farm owners and operators would prefer to use one single platform which utilizes and connects all their turbine performance data.

"The availability of single, interconnected platforms for turbine monitoring means that it is simpler to conduct performance benchmarking and permits the analysis of SCADA data and operational data side by side, as all data sets are available in the same place. A cloud solution also allows our experts to see exactly the same data as the owner operator. In effect, businesses opting to take analytics in-house can do so on a sliding scale, able to call on support from a consultant as and when they need higher-level engineering expertise," said Noah Myrent, ONYX InSight's global head of monitoring.

The option to call on the support of engineering consultants is essential for companies adopting a self-perform approach, however, as failure to adopt the right cloud-based software could lead to missed warnings and suboptimal analysis. This can lead to either an overly cautious approach that results in lower than expected power production, or an overly risky approach that leads to unexpected failure and higher costs.

Old condition monitoring system (CMS)software often fails to identify faults as it may not allow the reprocessing of historical data. This means owner operators need to configure the system to find new faults and wait up to three months for the data to come in. With the right tools, owner operators should be able to create a new algorithm, reprocess historical data, and flag issues the same day.

Crowther continued: "It is critical for digital, cloud-based software to be capable, configurable, offer data flow integrity and optimum security. Cyber security is a worldwide concern and wind energy shouldn't shy away from it. When using cloud-based systems, data must be encrypted while being transferred from condition monitoring hardware to an analysis platform."

On 16-18 September, ONYX InSight hosted its annual North American Technical Symposium in Denver, Colorado where wind farm owners, operators, engineers, technicians and researchers came together to share insights in wind farm performance.

ONYX InSight | http://www.onyxinsight.com