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Recent Trends in Wind Energy Asset Management in India

Perspectives
Typography

  Mr. Balram Mehta, Head Wind, Renew Power

Wikipedia defines asset management as -

“A systematic process of deploying, operating, maintaining, upgrading, and disposing of assets cost-effectively”

The definition covers the complete essence of asset management and complete life cycle of the asset. It starts when a project is conceived and ends when the asset is disposed of. Important over here is not to get asset management confused with operation and maintenance of the assets. O&M is sub set of asset management.

When a wind project is conceived along with the financial assumptions, we take certain assumption of few performance parameters like – machine life, operation cost, plant load factor (PLF), machine availability, grid availability etc. In current scenario of competitive tariff, these assumptions play a major role. A small deviation in plan v/s actual in any performance parameter (assumption) can make or break a company. Hence asset management has to play an important role in ensuring that project performs as per these pre construction project assumptions.

Most of the projects are now owned by IPPs. And with the large IPPs coming in the picture, the whole thought process of asset management has taken a different shape. Emphasis is on “PERFORMANCE”. For targeted performance, we need to have a Production Assurance Process (PAP) in place. The first step in the PAP is “Risk assessment or Reliability Profiling”of the assets. It is very important to assess the risk and then to have a process of risk mitigation in place. Risk can be anything ranging from – resourcerisk, technological risk, evacuation risk, machine availability risk, spare parts availability risk, machine life related (ageing) risk, the list is long. The next important step is to have mitigation of these identified risks in place. 

The current available Wind energy generators (wind mills) are very intelligent machines. They actually speak. They throw out hundreds of signals after every minute thorough the SCADA system. Important over here is to have a competent doctor and competent system which can read these online machine ECGs (Electro cardio graphs) and come out with some diagnostics. The data is huge and complex and its manually impossible to read and analyze this data. We need to have software which can analyze the trend and throw out the symptoms and outliers in a language understood by us so that some action plan can be planned around those findings.

Unplanned breakdowns are loss making events for O&M service providers as well as for the investors. Predictive diagnostic is always good. It is better to act before the event and the latest IT infrastructure coupled with latest user friendly software’s can be a boon for asset management.

And finally “ACTION” is very important. We require a team of data analysts, engineering team, and maintenance team who all can act in unison to ensure that findings thrown out by SCADA data or IT enables solution are properly analyzed, technical solution is obtained and its implemented in a time bound manner.

 

 

  Mr. George A John, Head O&M, Mytrah Energy

The purpose of Asset Management function is to extract the value out of physical wind assets. Maintenance after failure is costly. So, there is an increasing shift from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance to make AM costeffective.New technology and innovation is accelerating the push. We, at Mytrah, believe that the following ten themes are the recent trends in the asset management services and implementing the same. 

Real time remote monitoring of Assets on 24x7 basis

Wind turbines across the portfolio should be connected to a control centre that provides instant visibility of the assets. This effort will help the firm keep an eye on the machine availability on a regular basis.

Continuous analysis of big data to improve performance

Wind turbines generate huge chunks of data. Big data analysis is required to identify patterns to progress towards predictive maintenance. It very clearly gives the Long Term Trends and other performance patterns of the wind farms

Power curve and PN curve on a real-time basis to increase energy output

Plotting and reviewing of Power Curve ie, Power Vs Wind speed will reveal whether the WTGs are performing as per the designed parameters. Similarly, by plotting the Power vs Generator RPM also will provide a very clear picture on the performance of the WTG.

Reliability-centred monitoring

By Reliability-Centered monitoring process, all the predictive maintenance and condition monitoring tools are used in a combined way to reduce the future failures which can affect the WTG performance in a huge way. The alarms, warnings and errors are analysed continuously and real-time data like temperature, pressure, vibrations etc. are continuously compared with the respective park average and immediate corrective actions can be taken on a proactive way.

Condition Monitoring

With constantly changing loads and highly variable operating conditions, WTGs undergo high mechanical stress. This high degree of stress demands a high degree of monitoring and maintenance.Condition monitoring is done by fixing vibration sensors at different measuring points on the drive train and checking the vibrations on a real-time basis. This will ensure longer turbine life and improved output.

Turbine Health check-up to evaluate the physical condition of turbines

Physical health check-up of WTGs helps the asset owners to identify issues and prepare the WTGs for the high wind season/ completion of warranty obligations from the supplier. This will ensure that the physical conditions of the WTG are made available to the Asset owner. This includes physical inspection of each and every component of the WTG especially endoscopic inspection of Gear Box internals, Blade internals, inspection of outer surface of blades and tower with drones, thermal imaging of hotspots in the electrical panels, cables etc. 

Drones usage to inspect the condition of turbines

The scope for drones have increased with further technological updates. They can now travel to inaccessible areas and hence, with a high-resolution camera, it is currently being used for inspecting turbines.

Integration of sub-station to central control centre to analyse performance and minimize losses

Substation health plays an important role in the Grid availability. Sub-station SCADA should also be connected to the control centre and monitored real-time to help reduce the losses.

Thermal imaging of panels and cables to identify hotspots

The onus of monitoring cable lines and panel is with the wind asset owners. Thermal imaging aids in identifying areas of high temperature. Corrective actions lead to reduced line losses. 

Forecasting and data analysis on a real-time basis

Forecasting and scheduling of wind power helps in better planning of scheduled maintenance.

Mytrah Global Services, a business unit of Mytrah Energy, has been formed with a renewed focus on AM services for Mytrah’s wind asset and is now offering these services for other wind asset owners in the country and abroad.

 

   Mr. Narayan Kumar, Chief Development Officer, Acciona

If you see the recent trends in India the variety of wind turbines has been increasing dramatically in terms of capacity as well as the hub height and rotor diameter. Earlier, capacities used to be up to 1.5-1.6MW. Now we are in a position to have wind turbines as high as 3MW. With these increasing turbine capacities we are also seeing the hub height and rotor diameter increasing correspondingly. So we have 125 meter hub height with concrete tower and rotor diameter of 120 meters as one of the preferred combinations. Thus, complexity of the turbine and consequently the maintenance also is going up.

So when it comes to recent trends, there are a lot of international best practices which have already been adapted significantly in the Indian industry. What is happening now is that these new multi megawatt turbines need to have well trained manpower to manage these assets.  The degree of asset management is also improving. Earlier, availability which the OEM’s used to provide was between 96-97%, now the customers are demanding the availability as high as 98-99%. So to that extent, the spare parts policy and spare parts availability has to be geared up. The availability of skilled technicians to handle problems at the site itself has to be improved. And it is also being improved. If any blade related problems are  happening, they are also being addressed at the site to a very large extent. So these are some the recent trends that have happened.

 

Mr. Balram Mehta,

Head Wind,

Renew Power

 

Wikipedia defines asset management as -

 

“A systematic process of deploying, operating, maintaining, upgrading, and disposing of assets cost-effectively”

 

The definition covers the complete essence of asset management and complete life cycle of the asset. It starts when a project is conceived and ends when the asset is disposed of. Important over here is not to get asset management confused with operation and maintenance of the assets. O&M is sub set of asset management.

 

When a wind project is conceived along with the financial assumptions, we take certain assumption of few performance parameters like – machine life, operation cost, plant load factor (PLF), machine availability, grid availability etc. In current scenario of competitive tariff, these assumptions play a major role. A small deviation in plan v/s actual in any performance parameter (assumption) can make or break a company. Hence asset management has to play an important role in ensuring that project performs as per these pre construction project assumptions.

 

Most of the projects are now owned by IPPs. And with the large IPPs coming in the picture, the whole thought process of asset management has taken a different shape. Emphasis is on “PERFORMANCE”. For targeted performance, we need to have a Production Assurance Process (PAP) in place. The first step in the PAP is “Risk assessment or Reliability Profiling”of the assets. It is very important to assess the risk and then to have a process of risk mitigation in place. Risk can be anything ranging from – resourcerisk, technological risk, evacuation risk, machine availability risk, spare parts availability risk, machine life related (ageing) risk, the list is long. The next important step is to have mitigation of these identified risks in place.

 

The current available Wind energy generators (wind mills) are very intelligent machines. They actually speak. They throw out hundreds of signals after every minute thorough the SCADA system. Important over here is to have a competent doctor and competent system which can read these online machine ECGs (Electro cardio graphs) and come out with some diagnostics. The data is huge and complex and its manually impossible to read and analyze this data. We need to have software which can analyze the trend and throw out the symptoms and outliers in a language understood by us so that some action plan can be planned around those findings.

 

Unplanned breakdowns are loss making events for O&M service providers as well as for the investors. Predictive diagnostic is always good. It is better to act before the event and the latest IT infrastructure coupled with latest user friendly software’s can be a boon for asset management.

 

And finally “ACTION” is very important. We require a team of data analysts, engineering team, and maintenance team who all can act in unison to ensure that findings thrown out by SCADA data or IT enables solution are properly analyzed, technical solution is obtained and its implemented in a time bound manner.

 

 

Mr. George A John,

Head O&M,

Mytrah Energy

 

The purpose of Asset Management function is to extract the value out of physical wind assets. Maintenance after failure is costly. So, there is an increasing shift from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance to make AM costeffective.New technology and innovation is accelerating the push. We, at Mytrah, believe that the following ten themes are the recent trends in the asset management services and implementing the same.

Real time remote monitoring of Assets on 24x7 basis

Wind turbines across the portfolio should be connected to a control centre that provides instant visibility of the assets. This effort will help the firm keep an eye on the machine availability on a regular basis.

Continuous analysis of big data to improve performance

Wind turbines generate huge chunks of data. Big data analysis is required to identify patterns to progress towards predictive maintenance. It very clearly gives the Long Term Trends and other performance patterns of the wind farms

Power curve and PN curve on a real-time basis to increase energy output

Plotting and reviewing of Power Curve ie, Power Vs Wind speed will reveal whether the WTGs are performing as per the designed parameters. Similarly, by plotting the Power vs Generator RPM also will provide a very clear picture on the performance of the WTG.

Reliability-centred monitoring

By Reliability-Centered monitoring process, all the predictive maintenance and condition monitoring tools are used in a combined way to reduce the future failures which can affect the WTG performance in a huge way. The alarms, warnings and errors are analysed continuously and real-time data like temperature, pressure, vibrations etc. are continuously compared with the respective park average and immediate corrective actions can be taken on a proactive way.

Condition Monitoring

With constantly changing loads and highly variable operating conditions, WTGs undergo high mechanical stress. This high degree of stress demands a high degree of monitoring and maintenance.Condition monitoring is done by fixing vibration sensors at different measuring points on the drive train and checking the vibrations on a real-time basis. This will ensure longer turbine life and improved output.

Turbine Health check-up to evaluate the physical condition of turbines

Physical health check-up of WTGs helps the asset owners to identify issues and prepare the WTGs for the high wind season/ completion of warranty obligations from the supplier. This will ensure that the physical conditions of the WTG are made available to the Asset owner. This includes physical inspection of each and every component of the WTG especially endoscopic inspection of Gear Box internals, Blade internals, inspection of outer surface of blades and tower with drones, thermal imaging of hotspots in the electrical panels, cables etc.

Drones usage to inspect the condition of turbines

The scope for drones have increased with further technological updates. They can now travel to inaccessible areas and hence, with a high-resolution camera, it is currently being used for inspecting turbines.

Integration of sub-station to central control centre to analyse performance and minimize losses

Substation health plays an important role in the Grid availability. Sub-station SCADA should also be connected to the control centre and monitored real-time to help reduce the losses.

Thermal imaging of panels and cables to identify hotspots

The onus of monitoring cable lines and panel is with the wind asset owners. Thermal imaging aids in identifying areas of high temperature. Corrective actions lead to reduced line losses.

Forecasting and data analysis on a real-time basis

Forecasting and scheduling of wind power helps in better planning of scheduled maintenance.

Mytrah Global Services, a business unit of Mytrah Energy, has been formed with a renewed focus on AM services for Mytrah’s wind asset and is now offering these services for other wind asset owners in the country and abroad.

 

 

Mr. Narayan Kumar,

Chief Development Officer,

Acciona

 

If you see the recent trends in India the variety of wind turbines has been increasing dramatically in terms of capacity as well as the hub height and rotor diameter. Earlier, capacities used to be up to 1.5-1.6MW. Now we are in a position to have wind turbines as high as 3MW. With these increasing turbine capacities we are also seeing the hub height and rotor diameter increasing correspondingly. So we have 125 meter hub height with concrete tower and rotor diameter of 120 meters as one of the preferred combinations. Thus, complexity of the turbine and consequently the maintenance also is going up.

 

So when it comes to recent trends, there are a lot of international best practices which have already been adapted significantly in the Indian industry. What is happening now is that these new multi megawatt turbines need to have well trained manpower to manage these assets.  The degree of asset management is also improving. Earlier, availability which the OEM’s used to provide was between 96-97%, now the customers are demanding the availability as high as 98-99%. So to that extent, the spare parts policy and spare parts availability has to be geared up. The availability of skilled technicians to handle problems at the site itself has to be improved. And it is also being improved. If any blade related problems are  happening, they are also being addressed at the site to a very large extent. So these are some the recent trends that have happened.