In the lead up to the Wind Operator Congress Europe, taking place this December in London, we spoke with Massimo Derchi, Managing Director, Erg Renew, Italy to get some more insights about the wind power operations industry.
What do you see as the biggest opportunity for wind power operators to increase productivity of assets without excessive capex?
For a small-mid size players, the shortest route to increase productivity is to open competition to ISP providers on O&M: most likely, they would achieve an increase in availability and a reduction in costs. For large size players, insourcing O&M and improving predictive maintenance (e.g. installing CMS on multi-MW turbines) would allow even greater benefits.
To what extent is the post-warranty period an opportunity for wind operations owners, and to what extent does it pose a challenge, why?
The opportunity is the one described above. If the route is ISP, the risks are limited and basically consist of contracting O&M to an ISP lacking of sufficient know-how to provide the same level of availability that a OEM would ensure. If the route is insourcing, the challenges are bigger : you have to redesign your organization, hire technicians with broad experience on your turbines, define stock levels on hundreds of spare parts, etc. If you fail, you will achieve an availability lower and spend more than you used to do with OEM’s .
What technological development or innovation do you believe promises to bring greatest benefit to wind power operations and why?
Predictive maintenance and life extensions are the answers. Improvements predictive maintenance (eg interpretation of CMS data, uptower repairs, etc.) would significantly reduce downtime and opex; life extension programmes at reasonable cost will enable to profitably run amortized assets up to 30 years.
How will the wind power industry in 10 years differ to that of today?
Long term forecasts are mostly wrong. If I have nonetheless to try to predict on a 10 years time span, I would bet on a deep change in the wind assets ownership pattern. Today, in most developed countries there is a full spectrum of owners, different in size (small – few tens of MW- ; medium – few hundreds; large > 1 GW) and nature (utilities, IPP’s . financial investors, etc.). In ten years, I would expect to find a plurality of small players (communities, individuals, etc.) and large strategic players (utilities, IPP’s, etc) backed by financial investors. In a very mature business, with thin margins and need to cover different geographies, hardly can I see room for mid players.
Lastly, what’s your one top tip for a wind power operator?
Relentlessly benchmark your performance with best players and strive to match them.
To find out more insights from the Wind Operator Congress Europe visit the website at http://europe.windoperatorcongress.com