Article - Greenbyte

Exciting times ahead for fast growing U.S. wind energy market

U.S. wind farm.

The U.S. now has more than 74GW of wind energy with another 10GW under construction. By the end of the year, nearly 50,000 wind turbines will be harnessing American winds. Many of them are located in one of the world’s greatest concentrations of dynamic energy: the vast windy belt from the Canadian Prairies to northern Mexico.

The U.S. now has more than 74GW of wind energy with another 10GW under construction. By the end of the year, nearly 50,000 wind turbines will be harnessing American winds. Many of them are located in one of the world’s greatest concentrations of dynamic energy: the vast windy belt from the Canadian Prairies to northern Mexico.

U.S. wind resource mapAll these wind turbines require active management to optimize production. Production optimization is based on data and data analysis. Wind turbines produce a lot of data. A typical wind turbine will generate many 100s of data signals at various time resolutions and many thousand status codes. Each turbine manufacturer has their own setup signals and status codes which makes it a challenge to interpret and harmonize information data for production optimization.

So why work with all this data? Wind owners and investors want to know if last year’s production budget shortfall was due to weaker winds, low availability and/or poor performance. Let’s break them down.

  1. The winds can be compared to the pre-construction estimates. If there are several years of lower than expected winds, the wind resource evaluation methods may need to be revised.
  2. Low availability. Each time a turbine stops an associated status code is recorded. By collecting and analyzing these codes, their frequency and severity, an owner can better understand the turbines. Most contracts have penalties for low availability so there is a financial incentive for the owner as well.
  3. Poor performance. This is often the most challenging area, but since subtle issues can cause lower energy production (and multiplied across all the turbines) an owner wants to monitor fleet performance continuously. Some examples are nacelle misalignment, blade wear and incorrect turbine controller settings.

Enter Breeze. The Breeze system collects, harmonizes and stores this data. Breeze provides user-friendly tools, dashboards and an app to manage, report and analyze. We started out in Europe where turbine types are more numerous. We’ve since built up a track record of 400 wind farms globally and a strong knowledge of the ins and outs of SCADA systems and the issues which keep wind farm owners awake at night. We have been pleased that partners from Africa to the Americas are choosing to work with us and we’re only getting started.

Since many wind owners are also developing solar, which is booming in the U.S., Bright for solar was launched this January and works smoothly with Breeze.

I am really looking forward to Windpower 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Ironically, it was the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 in which the U.S. acquired much of the vast windy belt. The price? 15 million dollars for 828,000 square miles. Not a bad deal.

See you in New Orleans!

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