Digitalization is already playing a major role in the growth of wind energy, but it can still drive further improvements in operational efficiency, decision-making and cost efficiency – if it can overcome concerns around data-sharing, says new report from DNV GL.
DNV GL’s report, “Digitalization and the Future of the Wind Energy Industry,” is based on a survey of almost 2,000 engineers and senior executives from across the energy sector. The report assesses the current progress of digitalization and identifies the top priorities for and barriers to further growth.
For wind in particular, the industry considers improving operational efficiency (identified by 52% of respondents), decision-making (42%) and cost efficiency (40%) as the top priorities for further digitalization.
However, the report also highlights that the benefits of digitalization could be threatened by issues over sharing data and limited willingness to provide more transparency. Such doubts are particularly felt in the offshore sector, where concerns over data-sharing (37% of respondents) and inability to access data (25%) were cited as the biggest barriers to further digitalization. Interestingly, barriers related to data were a greater concern in the wind industry than in other parts of the energy sector. Other potential barriers identified include digital skills gaps within the industry and organizations focusing on other priorities.
“The wind industry already uses vast amounts of data to improve performance – for example, exploiting wind farm SCADA data to enable a predictive approach by anticipating faults and planning maintenance in order to ensure greater uptime,” states Lucy Craig, vice president of technology and innovation at DNV GL – Energy. “However, this increased reliance on data brings new challenges, and the wind industry faces conflicting priorities when it comes to data-sharing. While the benefits to sharing are clear, there is also an essential requirement to protect competitive advantage and intellectual property. Finding the balance will allow the wind industry to unlock a bright digital future.”
The full “Digitalization and the Future of the Wind Energy Industry” report is available to download here.