Wind Plant Operators Need to Develop a Clear Plan to Address Ongoing O&M

Ahead of Optimizing Wind Power Performance 2011, GPC’s 3rd big USA Wind O&M event, Peter Wells, Chief Operating Officer of Upwind Solutions provided the 5th in the series of 60-second speaker interviews. Upwind Solutions joins a growning host of companies sponsoring the event like GE, Suzlon and S&C Electric Company.


How big a role do you see the manufacturers playing in ongoing maintenance the next 5-10 years?

Manufacturers, OEMs and ISPs will all play a major role in ongoing maintenance for the 5-10 years, and beyond. Many owners don’t have the scale to justify the cost of in-house maintenance. Even those with scale need to weigh the pros and cons of in-house vs. outsourced O&M. Then there are hybrid models such as in-house Planned Maintenance supplemented by outsourced major maintenance and parts.

The advantage of, say, as ISP, is that the organization can bring fleet knowledge as well as multiple technology platform knowledge to a single site and an owner. Providing the ability to leverage best practice, new technology and continuous improvement opportunities to an owner, where these options may not be seen by an in-house organization working in a single location on one technology.

How do you see the role of technology aiding plant operations in the next few years?
Technology will continue to evolve and provide more opportunities to plan, predict and optimize maintenance practices and solutions. Performance and Condition Monitoring capabilities and costs should improve, allowing more wide spread use. The key is to integrate the use of the new technologies into the day to day operations of the wind farms in order to become proactive in addressing performance and reliability issues instead of reactive.

What are the biggest short term challenges operators face?
Exiting warranty is typically the biggest near term challenge for most sites. During the warranty period it’s not always clear to the owner what has been happening with their asset … maintenance needs, parts usage, faults, performance analysis and trends, etc. Therefore, the operation of the site, in terms of costs and optimizing performance, when it comes out of warranty can be challenging (or surprising) for some sites.

It’s essential that independent End of Warranty inspections are completed and that owners develop a clear plan to address the ongoing operation and maintenance of their site(s) such that they are captive to the original technology provider. Operators need to develop options and deep understanding of their asset(s).

Other featured speakers include: Director of Construction at Acciona Energy, Director Technology & Operations at Exelon Wind Executive Director at Illinois Wind Energy Association, CEO at Juhl Wind, Vice President, COO at Akuo Energy, Operations at Wind Capital Group, Vice President Operations at E.ON Climate & Renewables North America, Director Technology & Operations at Exelon Wind, General Manager at GE Energy, Scientific Program Manager at National Center for Atmospheric Research, Program Manager at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Director Energy at Navigant Consulting, Director of Operations at Sexton Companies, Director of National Control at Iberdrola Renewable, Asset Management & Procurement at S&C  Electric Company, Senior Representative at Suzlon and many more…

Early bookers can get a $200 discount by booking before 16th August and if you want to book your team, we do exclusive 3-for-2 deals. Bookings can be made by clicking here.

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