Thursday, May 21, 2015

Why Wind Farms need Analytics?

Now, that you have a big wind farm, which is connected to the grid and is adding a few MWH at the end of every day to it. However, one of the challenges that the wind power company’s face is that it is not consistent; but intermittent. To generate power consistently, the power company needs to depend on a few external factors like analytics.
Wind farms across the world are productive as long as there is wind to rotate the turbine. By default, the SCADA system that is supplied along with the wind turbine helps to get more information about the functioning of the turbine, wind blade angle, etc., but does not provide information about under which weather conditions the wind is working. 

Along with knowing about the functioning of the equipment, if the company could also get information about weather and wind predictions, turbine and overall wind farm performance, and predictive maintenance data simultaneously, then it gets the big picture of what is happening, what factors are critical to maintain the consistency of the wind power generation, which wind turbines are beating the benchmark, which wind turbines are not functioning and need maintenance, etc.

Countries, where wind power is not that much great, companies make sure that they are one-step ahead in knowing about the wind movements so that they can align all their turbines in that direction beforehand to make advantage out of the wind flow. 

From power grid point of view, all the captive power generating units should make commitment to their respective grids regarding how much power they add to the grid at the end of the day or by a particular period. Now, if the wind is not consistent and the company could not generate enough power, then they are bound to pay penalties to the grid. In this case, analytics help companies to calculate correctly how much they could commit based on the real-time and historical sensor data that they gathered, so far.

Analytics data not only provides power generation [ex: based on weather and wind movements] inputs, but also avails asset maintenance [ex: turbine fitness] data.  In the current scenario, where renewable energy like wind is favored by all the public, governments, and corporates at all levels and purposes, analytics play a bigger role in achieving the benchmarks set by the wind power generation industry.

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