- DNV’s 2021 “Energy Transition Outlook” report (ETO 2021) forecasts that by 2050, solar and wind will represent 69% of grid-connected power generation, and fossil power just 13%. Connectivity, storage and demand-response will be critical assets in the decarbonised power system. GreenPowerMonitor (GPM), a DNV company, is transitioning the energy landscape towards a fully renewable ecosystem to improve the world for future generations. Its aim is to provide digital tools to maximise the performance of renewable energy assets; optimise efficiency in the management of renewable energy portfolios; and contribute to having the greenest energy mix in the grid. Today we have the chance to chat with Juan Carlos Arévalo, CEO at GreenPowerMonitor, a DNV company and Executive Vice President at DNV Energy Systems, who sees a future where digitalisation will be a key factor to boost the energy transition.
What are the main challenges you see for the renewable energy industry in the coming years? And what role do you expect for GPM?
A dramatic increase in renewable energy generation capacity is forecast in the electricity sector in the coming years. According to DNV’s ETO 2021 wind and solar generation will comprise 65% of the energy mix by 2050. It is well known that these technologies’ integration into the grid has implicit challenges such as ensuring grid system strength, stability and maximising its reliability. It is GPM’s view that digitalisation is necessary to make this transition successful. It will help actors optimise this integration by enabling the use of computer technologies. Therefore, GPM aims to lead the green energy transition by providing intelligent tools to the energy industry, to ensure this transition takes place as fast and efficiently as possible.
Given that renewables are increasingly deployed globally, what are the current trends in the wind industry and the new technologies applied to the wind business for you?
In many energy markets throughout the world, wind farm assets are now seen as mature infrastructure investments, and because of this shift in perception, they have attracted significant financial interest. Furthermore, as technology matures year after year, owners are increasingly focused on asset operation well after the turbines’ 20-year design life, where the return on investment can be maximised.
Seasoned and adept wind farm owners and asset managers are no longer simply content with an operating asset; they want to rapidly find and fix any inefficiencies that could cause underperformance or shorten the turbine’s life. Real-time operational monitoring and big data are a must for achieving this. Owners are increasingly using secondary SCADA overlays like GPM Horizon to monitor the performance of a single asset or a portfolio of assets to guarantee the O&M provider is delivering a high-quality service.
Many electrical networks across the world are shortening their settlement times (e.g., Australia), therefore the conventional 10-minute wind data temporal resolution is no longer sufficient for real-time monitoring. With 20 years of experience linking facilities via common industrial communication protocols, GPM is a recognised industry leader in SCADA hardware as well as IoT technology for data acquisition and management. This in-depth domain expertise enables asset owners and operators to have real-time access to project data for high-frequency data visualisations.
The rise and availability of computational resources has seen performance analytics of operational wind farms mature from a niche offering a short time ago to a product defining feature for secondary SCADA systems.
What are the most common asset management software functionality requests from wind clients?
When talking to asset owners and managers, the most common functionality requests relate to real-time monitoring, underperformance, automated reporting and contractual compliance.
Real-time monitoring: Asset owners want to detect faults/issues in real time to minimise their effect on production. In addition, as electricity grids move to a higher proportion of renewable energy generation, electricity market rules are altering to reflect this. Wind farms increasingly need real-time monitoring to assure price-optimised bidding/dispatching (more projects compete in the merchant power market) and adherence to electricity market operator standards.
Data standardisation and validation: asset managers and operators expect the software to process data in a standardised way to optimise its usage in their workflows. These include data correction processes, manual additions of data, automation and usage of custom algorithm models. A central system to process the multitude of data streams also allows greater precision in operations.
Underperformance: As a result, owners and operators strive to get the most energy out of their assets and portfolio. It is no longer acceptable for a wind farm to merely be operational; the asset must now operate at 100% availability and efficiency. Every 1% increase in energy capture has a considerable influence on project and portfolio profitability.
Contractual compliance: Wind farms must adhere to severe environmental (noise, shadow flicker and avian) and contractual requirements (wind sector management). With the maturation of the wind sector, complicated turbine availability assurances, hedge contracts and insurance products for the electricity produced have emerged. Non-compliance with any of a wind farm’s numerous contractual agreements and result in significant liquidated damages.
Automated reporting: Processes such as performance, availability and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting are often time-consuming, highly manual and thus prone to error. Automating reporting processes adds confidence in results and allows time to be reallocated to more critical operational tasks.
How does GPM achieve efficient asset management for wind clients?
Through a domain-knowledge-driven range of completely customised visual and interactive dashboards for both realtime and historical data analysis, GPM satisfies and exceeds the above asset management software requirements for wind clients. At the device, asset and portfolio levels, audible, visual and email alerts provide immediate identification of faults, issues, underperformance and contractual deviations, allowing perceptive owners and operators to take remedial action with minimal delay.
The configurable nature of GPM’s solutions allows for asset monitoring based on its individual contract (OEM and IEC) and within a portfolio that may include other renewable energy technologies like solar and storage. GPM also recognises that wind farm assets interact with multiple data streams such as those from the electricity market, utility and third-party service providers. GPM can integrate these data sources seamlessly or export raw or processed wind farm operational data to clients’ existing IT systems.
How does GPM integrate data analytics in its wind products?
GPM is supported by a global team of over 4,000 engineers at DNV Energy Systems. This breadth and depth of wind domain knowledge is unsurpassed in the industry. This knowledge base has contributed to the development of GPM Horizon, the company’s multi-technology asset management platform. GPM has tasked a newly formed Domain-Knowledge Team (DKT) with bringing the next generation of analytics algorithms to life and to market. The DKT collaborates with DNV specialists as well as consumers to innovate in an agile way. WindGEMINI, DNV’s best-in-class digital twin analytics engine, has been incorporated into GPM Horizon.
WindGEMINI has five modules that identify performance and potential maintenance issues in near-real time: performance watchdog, pattern of production, structural integrity monitor, turbine life estimator, and energy production analysis. It also enables owners to make longer-term strategic decisions, such as extending the lifespan of wind farms.
Although analytics are not a silver bullet for optimising wind farm operations, they are another tool that asset operators and owners can use to help manage increasingly large renewable energy portfolios more efficiently.
Some final words on how GPM is contributing to the green energy transition?
GPM has a dedicated team of passionate engineers that are developing the next generation of asset management software tools to accelerate the green energy transition.
Our customer-centric mindset is key to developing cutting-edge monitoring solutions designed for current and future customer demands. A future in which digitalisation will be a key enabler for the effective performance of renewable assets.