Knowledge Centre

Floods of Data – Don’t get swept away in the data deluge

9th February 2023

With many onshore and offshore sites often in remote and unmanned locations, visits to the wind farm for maintenance or data gathering can be costly and time-consuming. Online transformer monitoring solutions with advanced communication and alarm capabilities can alert Asset Managers of any potential faults in their transformers before they become critical. Furthermore, monitoring enables collection and communication of data automatically to help drive a strategy that minimises the number of visits needed to site.

However, power transformers are highly specialised assets that require detailed knowledge to interpret and assess the data an online monitoring system provides. Without the integration of monitoring hardware and diagnostic software platforms to summarise and visualise the data into consumable information, asset managers risk being overwhelmed by the data that these solutions can generate. A coherent data strategy can provide the foundation for these capabilities.

Business efficiency and data management are inevitably interconnected. Collecting, analysing, and acting on real-time data can transform the way a business operates, and reduce environmental impact. Data provides the information and insight that enables improved capital allocation, enhanced operational performance, the achievement of performance incentives and increased return on investment. Every step towards operational excellence and efficiency is therefore a step towards greater sustainability.

Building these capabilities means introducing data from every level of your organisation, bringing along with it the ability to capture, store, tag and normalise data to transform it into actionable information.

For wind farm operators, the opportunity to improve data collection and analysis is vast. Recognising the need to monitor high value single points of failure on the windfarm is essential and realising the important role that a data strategy or lack thereof can play in success or failure. Installation of this kind of online monitoring capability provides the data foundation that will enable better ways to build, operate, and manage existing infrastructure.

In other areas of the energy industry the digitalisation agenda is developing at pace, to the point where this area has been worked into conditions of license for some market participants. The simple reason is that a coherent data strategy can lead to huge efficiencies in the way that any market participant operates, whether this is from the benefits of standardisation all the way through to providing simple and clear information to user personas within your organisation so they can make the right decisions, decisively.

This strategy can be broadly broken down into the following areas relevant for the wind sector and don’t just apply to an online monitoring strategy.

Digitalisation of the energy system

Transforming the energy system to make energy industry participants more efficient having a significant impact across the value chain that helps to enmesh the already established onshore and offshore wind sectors even closer to the wider energy system.

Maximising the value of data

Making data discoverable, searchable, and understandable where commercially appropriate, this means that data can be shared easily with partners and third-party service providers and help to drive innovation of new technology.

Visibility of data

Establishing common standards for data exchange making it easier for participants to interact within commercial frameworks, and also help to structure and organise your own data.

Visibility of infrastructure and assets

To allow for the effective planning, connection, and development of new projects

Digitalisation comes with a set of challenges primarily security, reorganisation of your working processes and training or acquiring the right staff that possess the requisite skills. Good practice around security is common in the industry and adoption of cyber secure practices are already widespread in many organisations. Undoubtedly the most daunting is the training or acquisition of the specialist roles required to support a digitalisation journey. To have a truly data-driven business, you need several specialist roles within your organisation. Addressing complex data science tasks, such as building and maintaining machine learning models, constructing data models and a host of other use cases, requires a dedicated department within your organisation that can supplement different business units and operate within their specific fields of analytical interest. This allows your business to experiment with the data you collect to find new and innovative solutions to business challenges. It enables the democratisation of data, revealing insights to your entire organisation; and allows any business to measure the impact of changes implemented within your organisation or on your network.

The types of roles that would normally fulfil these skill sets are data engineers, data scientists, machine learning engineers and software developers, all with experience of working within the utilities industry or capable of working in partnership with subject matter experts.

These roles are in high demand, especially for those who already have sector expertise. A viable alternative which may give an organisation time to build their own internal capability is to develop partnerships with external organisations and suppliers who can provide this kind of support.

At Kelvatek we work in close partnership with several organisations within the UK and Ireland to support them in adopting a condition-based maintenance approach to maintain their transformers and associated assets. We do this by providing our secure, online monitoring solution TOTUS along with support from our transformer expert group, our data scientists and data engineers and our wider team of engineers, physicists and software specialists. We are specifically partnering with organisations to support them to realise their digitalisation ambitions.

If you want support or help in:

  • Developing data practice
  • Supporting your workforce with experienced data led expertise
  • Developing an online monitoring strategy
  • Condition based monitoring
  • Protecting against equipment in-service failures

Get in touch with Kelvatek today to find out how to make the most of your data.

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