An estimated 11,300 GWh of energy is lost across wind farms in Europe and America every year

An estimated 11,300 GWh/ year of critical energy is currently being lost across wind farms in Europe and the US – enough to power major cities for months. This is according to ONYX Insight, a digital and engineering solutions provider driving the future of renewable energy.

The volume of energy estimated to be lost could power New York for 80 days and London for 110.

In response, wind farm owners and operators must take steps to safeguard and maximise every megawatt (MW) of production, particularly as temperatures are expected to plummet across Europe and North America.

“This means running assets to their optimum – maximising production whenever you can – leaving no MW behind,” says Bruce Hall, CEO, ONYX Insight. 

It is thought 80% of lost energy from wind turbines is down to just 10 primary issues experienced daily by wind farm owners and operators, including temperature issues, imbalance or misalignment of parts within the turbine, erosion, or icing. 

However, by using sophisticated data analytics and looking at both the performance and reliability of a wind turbine, wind farm owners and operators can automate the detection of these common issues enabling necessary remedial steps to be actioned quickly, reducing the amount of energy lost.

Set against a backdrop of surging natural gas and coal prices, the industry must collaborate to solve the problems arising as the transition accelerates and adopt the necessary technology to resolve these issues.

“It is accepted that, as part of the energy transition from fossil fuels, we would need a ‘transition’ fuel. Natural gas has long been considered the main transition fuel that would balance the energy grid when renewable energy was not available. The assumption was that gas could be relied on to provide stability as the energy transition accelerates,” continues Bruce. “But this is not happening. Natural gas prices are surging, partly fuelled by political influences. Coal prices have also risen, while production has increased despite the plan to phase coal out. We now need to accept that we must be smarter and make effective fleet-wide changes to wind farms in order to support the realisation of net zero goals, and more immediately, energy shortages.” 

“The current situation with energy prices and constricted supplies is demonstrating a microcosm of the delicate balancing act we need to strike,” concludes Bruce. “This is going to happen every year for the coming 10 years and beyond. We need to take steps together to make wind and other renewable energy sources more efficient and resilient now.”

ONYX Insight provides software, services, advanced sensing and data analytics for gearboxes, drivetrains, bearings and rotating machinery with the global reach and know-how of bp.
The company’s products and services deliver increased production and reduced operations and maintenance costs through smart and unbiased predictive analytics underpinned by real-world engineering expertise for wind energy industry and beyond.

In 2021, ONYX Insight won two Queen’s Awards for Enterprise – the highest official UK awards for British companies – in the categories of Innovation and International Trade. The company also received official certification as a Great Place to Work® UK.

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