Tackling the biggest wind industry issues

Written By:

Gareth Brown

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Two years ago I left a brilliant company. For over ten years they had given me a life-changing opportunity to work on renewable energy projects all over the world from pre-construction all the way through to decommissioning. I can’t thank the company and people who I worked with enough for the incredible opportunity and experience.

You may wonder if it was such a great company why did I leave? During those ten years, it became very apparent that most, if not all, wind energy asset owners and operators do not understand the performance of their assets and our industry is not performing to its potential. I wanted to change this, so took a leap of faith and here I am two years later working with a team of experts from the renewables and software industries implementing change.

Tackling wind turbine performance is a difficult task and unique to wind energy where we face six key challenges:

  • It’s the only commercial turbine power generation source where we have highly variable unmeasured inflow conditions spread out over disparate generation locations.
  • The turbine design standards haven’t kept pace with the industry’s rate of growth and the real-world conditions that these turbines are deployed in.
  • An industry obsession with availability as the be all and end all of performance metrics in the industry and a data architecture not suited for wind farm performance management.
  • The conflict of interest that poorly structured O&M agreements create to disincentive performance management.
  • Limited resource to address these issues as most wind farms haven’t achieved their financing preconstruction energy yields.
  • Limited knowledge sharing across OEMs, consultants and operators which creates a lack of knowledge bringing all the performance.

We launched Clir at the beginning at 2017 to address these challenges. We created software that provides owners, or any renewable energy stakeholder, with information at their fingertips to understand asset performance, maximize output and protect assets from risk. The system analyses live data allowing for quicker responses to any issues that arise including daily error code reconciliation.

The first two years have flown by, and as with any start-up, it’s been a roller-coaster. We’ve only begun to scratch the surface of what’s possible when we apply deep renewables domain expertise with the latest computer and data science trends. Having over 2GW of assets on board, we are already seeing fantastic results of up to 5% AEP gains. I’m incredibly excited about what the next two years will bring.

About the Author: Gareth has over a decade of experience leading identification, development, construction, financing, and operation of renewable energy assets for a world leading renewable energy technical consultancy. He is an entrepreneur, chartered engineer with the IMechE, and has degrees in mathematics and mechanical engineering. Currently, he serves as the CEO for the Renewable Energy Software Startup, Clir Renewables.

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