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Published: 4 June 2020 - Niamh Marriott

EDF Renewables North America, independent power producer and operations and maintenance services provider, and ONYX InSight, a predictive analytics and engineering firm in the wind energy industry, are partnering to deliver a lower cost of energy on more than 1,500 wind turbines in North America.

The cooperation aims to deliver increased accuracy in predicting mechanical issues with wind turbines and fewer false positives when forecasting failures. It is set to reduce turbine operational expenditure for EDFR and increase asset availability.

EDFR integrates siloed data streams from multiple turbine technologies, fitted with different condition monitoring system (CMS) hardware and other relevant data stream inputs. ONYX will combine these data streams into one CMS hardware agnostic platform – ‘fleetMONITOR’.  This cloud-based solution allows stakeholders in the business to monitor the health of wind turbines on a series of dashboards, enabling transparency and more streamlined processes.

As part of the technology rollout, several large wind farms will be fitted with ecoCMS, ONYX InSight’s advanced sensing technology. This is a disruptive technology which collects triaxial acceleration and temperature data via Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) sensors for expanded coverage of the turbine drivetrain. Given this enhanced sensor capability, these wind farms will also have rotor balance monitoring.

Qing Fang, VP Operations at EDF Renewable said: “We are very pleased with the cost effectiveness of ONYX InSight’s solutions as well as their track record of performance.  Stretching past the drivetrain to the rotor side is one example.  This adds a new area to the return of investment equation as we are getting more out of the same CMS installation. Their experience with reliability centred maintenance will be especially useful this season as we cope with COVID-19 related labour restrictions and the need to optimise our scheduled maintenance approach.” 

One challenge is implementation with no disruption of service. Noah Myrent, ONYX’s head of global monitoring, talks about how past experience makes this achievable. “As we are already working with most other CMS brands, we’re following a well-defined process to bring on the data streams. What’s very helpful is our ten-year development of intellectual property in analytics, which helped us catch 99% of failures in 2019[1].We can deploy this IP as fast as data can be reprocessed on the massive databanks of today’s cloud services; that’s extremely fast.” 

In a recent industry COVID-19 response survey of 50 global companies, ONYX InSight found overwhelming support for digital technology.  Noah summarises: “Companies that have already adopted digital solutions are better placed to ride through the upcoming labour and supply chain crunch and are facing less disruption.”

In parallel with the predictive maintenance implementation, the companies entered into an engineering services agreement whereby ONYX InSight will provide additional resources for improving turbine operations. 

Zhiwei Zhang, VP Engineering, of ONYX InSight said: “EDFR is a pioneer and an innovator in the wind industry and we are honoured to be a part of their efforts to use digital and analytics technology to improve renewable energy’s competitiveness”.

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