There’s an equation that relates to the life extension of a wind asset and lower operating costs for higher revenue. The longer an asset lasts without replacement or costly correctives, the better the economics. Most asset managers know this equation and look closely at the ability to leverage their healthy assets for potential financing of new projects. “Unhealthy” assets do not present a good return on investment.
How do I tell the difference between a healthy and unhealthy asset? Better said, how can I keep my assets healthy, so I can leverage them.
The role of O&M teams is to keep assets working. Our limited experience with O&M teams tells us that they don’t know about or care about “Life Extension.” Rather, they care about asset watch lists and not getting surprised.
Who cares about Asset Life Extension and keeping assets healthy? It turns out – everyone except O&M teams. Asset managers are looking to leverage the fleet asset value to use for financing new projects. The risk manager wants to reduce LTSA and insurance costs. The inventory teams want to reduce inventory carry charges and outsourced maintenance contracts. Safety teams want less climbing, and so on.
It turns out executives are very interested in Life Extension for all the reasons above. If you want to be the low-cost provider and more competitive in the market, you need to lower your own operating costs. It turns out that the life extension of assets is the secret sauce.
But don’t ask O&M. They have wind assets to fix. They are short on resources and they’re a cost center. When turbines go down, for any reason, the O&M job is to get those turbines back on-line making money; and to do this within budget.
What’s very interesting to us at Sentient is that many of the wind techs we talk with are very aware that more could be done with “their” turbines to keep them healthy and lasting longer. Many techs tell us they are painfully aware that many recommendations they make are falling on deaf ears and that they’ll be back uptower in the same turbine within 6 months to repair what they already knew needed repairing.
So there’s a gap between the needs of the O&M team and the needs of other areas of the business – asset management, supply and inventory management, risk management, safety, etc. We did an analysis of the potential cost savings generated from asset life extension and we could only generate up to 2% savings in O&M from better failure predictions. But we found 11% savings in keep assets healthy – keeping them from needing down tower repairs or major correctives; doing more maintenance work up-tower; looking for batch problems with bearings and subcontractors; and using more reliable, longer lasting subcomponents.
11% savings is no laughing matter. On top of the 2% from O&M efficiencies, we’re looking at 13% savings from Life Extension strategies – a number of our customers are pursuing life extension strategies to help replace lost government scaffolding.
Prove it! We hear that again and again.
We’re ready. We will provide an open, free version of our flagship application called DigitalClone® Live for asset life extension, so you can play on virtual wind assets, extend their life and calculate the change in the net present value by making the asset last longer. We will allow you to use our materials science and data science simulators for the life extension of wind assets by applying whichever actions you would normally apply to fixing a wind turbine. Here’s the catch.
We’re making our product available to wind experts globally to compete against each other. The expert with the longest life extension strategy for their assets with the lowest possible cost – will win one of 5 prizes.
Top prize is a pit bike (small motocross bike). Other prizes include 3 drones and JBL speakers. Winners will be chosen at the WindEurope Hamburg Conference on September 26. Another challenge begins right after the show and prizes will be announced at the AWEA conference November 13. A final Wind Challenge will commence at the end of December in a grand wrap up of The Wind Challenge. We want folks to compete and to learn about digitalization and life extension.
We’re willing to bet that Life Extension is new to you, and we’re willing to do the math to show you the impact of the repairs and changes you’re making to your wind assets. What we want is help the thousands of wind experts out there, keep these wind assets healthy, invest a bit more in asset Life Extension and to understand how this can help save your job and your company.