Looking closer at how to extract value out of the raw materials of renewables and how to extract value out of the raw materials of IoT it becomes clear that sharing is a common driver to maximize value, in both cases.
The raw material of IoT
Google does not call every business, asking for their opening hours. They have an algorithm that has completely automated this entire process – from raw data to being presented as seen here.
Analysing manually pre-processed operational data is like calling around to businesses asking for their opening hours.
Analysing streaming, online data, will do the same job but with less human subjectivity, better continuity and scientifically assured reliability.
Finding good algorithms enables you to automate operational support processes, make more reliable analysis, eliminate human subjectivity, have better continuity in gathering data and improve operations by more effectively killing root causes.
Getting all the opening hours as Google does today was not possible in the past. There are two main enablers that made this possible: the huge amount of data and the cheap power to process data.
Translated into our deer renewable industry, the processing power is just as cheap but access to data is becoming more of an issue. Even the biggest owners have limited access to data, especially if they have a diversified portfolio with many different technology platforms.
If owners were able to share turbine sensor data in a common pool they could solve this issue.
The raw material of renewables
Once an asset owner has built or bought a renewable energy plant they can’t compete with other owners, trying to get more raw materials to go through their plants.
Pepsi and Coca-Cola can attract more clients to choose their wending machines but a renewable plant owner cannot attract the wind, sun, rain, thermal or tidal to come to their plant instead of going to the competition.
The core challenge is to harvest the energy found in the wind, sun, rain, thermal and/or tidal - raw material is free of charge.
Looking closer at the renewable industry, the assets are mainly serial produced plants or turbines with serially produced weaknesses. To have knowledge of a serial produced weakness would be of value for all owners of that specific technology platform. Could an asset owner then start sharing operational experiences with other owners?
Game theory applied to collaboration within wind farm operations
Most owners agree that they will gain more from collaborating, then not collaborating - in wind farm operations.
Sharing in wind farm operations - from a game theory perspective:
1. If nobody collaborates and you know more than everyone else – don’t collaborate.
2. If some players’ starts to collaborate, but you still know more than they – don’t collaborate.
3. If the most advanced players start to collaborate – collaborate.
And I would argue that this even applies to the fierce offshore auctions. As long as renewable plant owners don’t collaborate it’s all about getting the coziest spot in the lap of the OEM. While renewable plant owners collaborating means that margins are being transferred from the OEM’s to the renewable plant owner’s balance sheet.
Can we share our most holy asset - sensor data?
According to the top management at some of the biggest renewable plant owners in the world, this is possible and what they want to do. Yet another player among the top 5 biggest renewable plant owner in the world, has the following approach on sharing turbine sensor data: For my top management data is money. It would be like telling them that we spend 500 € and gain 2000 €.
One could instead take the other side. Why should an owner enter such a new field as big data analysis on their own? Why not share data and competence with other owners. The outcome is better for all: enriched data, more competence, shared costs and shared risks.
To finish off, we could also conclude that sensor data is not the holiest asset, once again, its the people operating these assets.
Just a thought, Kind Regards
Mårten Nilsson, Head of Collaboration at O2O WIND International