Data to play key role in unlocking renewable energy investment post-pandemic

Data to play key role in unlocking renewable energy investment post-pandemic

Performance validation will prove crucial to establishing renewable energy as the infrastructure investment of choice as fund managers look to stabilize portfolios

Investment in renewable energy infrastructure is forecast to accelerate substantially over the coming year as investors in traditional infrastructure seek long-term, stable returns to counteract ongoing economic turmoil. However, central to permanently establishing renewables as the investment of choice post-pandemic will be performance validation, as investors seek new clarity on selecting assets likely to generate the best returns.

This is, at least, according to Clir, the leading provider of performance assessment software for renewable energy, which is working with a number of major investment firms to quantify and analyze the performance of wind farms – both prior to acquisition and to optimize projects once acquired.

Demand for electricity has fallen sharply as industry and commercial premises shut down to tackle the spread of Covid-19, and, as costly-to-run fossil fuel power generators are shut off in response, renewables have taken an increasing share of the energy mix. As such, renewable energy assets continue to generate a strong return on investment even through lockdown measures – and investment firms are taking note.

“In recent years, investors have accelerated their commitment to green infrastructure and renewables in particular”, said Gareth Brown, Chief Executive Officer, Clir. “This is not simply in response to increasing shareholder preference for sustainable, green investments; it is becoming clear to many leading fund managers that renewable energy is a smart investment decision that will continue to weather wider market challenges.

“However, many new and prospective clean energy investors remain uncertain about the consistency and long-term performance of wind and solar investments owing to resource risk. This concern is exaggerated by poor technical understanding of the assets, and, I would argue, holding many great deals across the sector back.”

In order to understand the true performance potential of an asset prior to acquisition, Clir uses artificial intelligence to analyze SCADA data in the context of the surrounding environment. This facilitates the prospective investor’s understanding of whether an asset’s performance is being realized, and, if not, the actions required to optimize it. These insights result in an accurate prediction of future energy yield, guidance on potential improvements, and inform valuation.

Gareth continued: “The fluctuation in weather and its impact on asset performance is unavoidable and uncontrollable, but it often hides underlying technical performance issues that can be explained, understood and fixed with industry platforms like Clir. This issue holds up record investment in renewables due to a lack of understanding of the true causes of underperformance at the due diligence stage – the majority of which are fixable issues such as commissioning errors or poorly implemented curtailment strategies. This lack of understanding impacts the risk profile of an asset, resulting in poor valuation or unnecessary optimization costs post-acquisition.”

Discover how Clir can support your portfolio

Clir expands renewable energy expertise with new hire

Clir expands renewable energy expertise with new hire

Jacek Gromadzki joins Clir as Renewable Science Team Manager to advance innovative applications of optimization software

Clir Renewables, the leading provider of performance assessment software for wind energy, has announced the hire of Jacek Gromadzki, formerly of Schneider Electric, Azure Dynamics, and Solectria, as Renewable Science Team Leader to drive further development of applications for its optimization platform in addition to supporting Clir’s progression in the solar market.

Jacek brings a wealth of experience across different sectors of clean technology, and, prior to joining Clir, worked at Schneider Electric Solar Inverters for six years – most recently leading the development and management of predictive models and analytics for solar assets. Before joining Schneider Electric, Jacek held key roles in electric and hybrid vehicle design and simulation at Azure Dynamics and Solectria.

By harnessing Jacek’s experience to date, Clir aims to enhance the offering it provides to the wider renewable energy industry, further enabling clean energy investors and asset owners to ensure sustained returns in the longer term.

Clir’s software uses machine learning to analyze data from the asset in context of its environment, providing owners a detailed understanding of what is causing underperformance and avenues for optimization. By identifying and rectifying often-overlooked causes of underperformance, owners have been able to increase annual energy production by up to 5%.

Gareth Brown, CEO, Clir commented: “Across the industry, renewable asset owners routinely leave millions of dollars on the table due to completely fixable underperformance issues. We cannot accept business as usual if the industry wants to retain the level of investment it has seen in recent years.”

“As we look to expand the limits of what can be optimized in the renewables industry, we are delighted to announce Jacek is joining us, given his wide-ranging and in-depth expertise of driving innovation and efficiency across the solar sector.”

Commenting on his appointment, Jacek Gromadzki said: “Clir is at the forefront of giving not only the renewables industry, but their investors, a greater understanding of how their assets are performing, and what they can do about it.”

“Clir’s platform has already been instrumental in informing decisions around M&A, retrofitting, repowering, and lifetime extension across 6GW of onboarded assets. I look forward to driving new applications of the software to find solutions to what seem to be insurmountable challenges across the industry.”

Discover how Clir can support your portfolio

Clir optimizes performance of over 1 GW of European offshore wind

Clir optimizes performance of over 1 GW of European offshore wind

Offshore wind performance shortfall must be addressed through in-depth analysis

 

Clir Renewables, the leading provider of performance assessment software for wind energy, has announced that in excess of one gigawatt of Europe’s offshore wind assets have been onboarded onto its platform by the end of the first quarter of 2020. This milestone follows 2019’s mammoth year of offshore wind construction, with 3GW installed in Europe alone.

To date, however, the offshore wind industry has, in some cases, struggled to meet production expectations, resulting in lowered production forecasts and a drop in developer share prices. Notable instances have demonstrated there is still insufficient understanding of the effects of offshore turbines on one another, not to mention the harsh offshore conditions on new turbine technology. At present, this leaves owners reliant on off-the-shelf power estimations to define the performance potential of the latest super-sized offshore wind projects.

Conversely, in choosing Clir to monitor and optimize their assets, leading offshore project owners have taken the lead in addressing this performance shortfall. Clir’s artificial intelligence analyses turbine health and performance data in the context of their environment. This allows owners to develop a true understanding of the behavior of their assets; identifying not only when the turbine is underperforming, but the root cause of this underperformance.

Craig McCall, Chief Revenue Officer, Clir, commented: “Recent investment in offshore wind shows the enormous potential this technology has to power the clean energy transition. However, the long-term impacts of Covid-19 on the development of new projects remains uncertain.

“While much of 2020’s offshore capacity is in the late stages of construction, it is likely that there will be a drop in the number of new projects commissioned as the restrictions put in place on travel and working practices to control the spread of the Covid-19 virus impact the global supply chain. As such, it will be more important than ever for owners to make sure operational projects are producing as much energy as possible for as long as possible to meet ongoing energy demands.

Craig continued: “It’s great to see a number of large owners focusing on developing a greater understanding of their projects – this not only supports industry understanding of the true performance of offshore technology, but these asset owners will be in a great place to protect the lifetime of their assets and cut the likelihood of downtime. Investing in understanding the unknowns around asset performance in an offshore environment will be key to de-risking not only current operations, but future project financing.”

Collectively, Clir’s operational team has more than 5GW of experience working directly with offshore projects – including London Array, Beatrice, and East Anglia ONE wind farms.

 

Photo: Unsplash

Ready to see the improvements Clir can make for your business?

Didier Frávega to target underperforming wind assets in Latin America

Didier Frávega to target underperforming wind assets in Latin America

Clir expands AI-based asset performance optimization platform into growing markets with Argentina-based technical sales hire

Clir Renewables, the leading provider of performance assessment software for wind energy, has announced the recruitment of Didier Frávega, formerly of Senvion and GE, as the firm expands the reach of its wind optimization platform across Latin America.

Didier brings more than a decade of experience of working in the Latin American wind industry to Clir, with previous roles as Technical Sales Manager at Senvion, Business Development Manager at Coral Energía, and Wind Technical Leader for Latin America at GE.

Wind power in Latin America has seen significant growth in the last decade, with over $18 billion invested in renewables last year alone and major new wind projects under development in in Brazil, México, Chile, Uruguay and Argentina. However, a recent rollback in political support for renewables in the region has led project owners and investors to increase their focus on asset performance in order to secure greater certainty of the long-term financial viability of their projects.

Clir uses AI to power the in-depth analysis of data collected from more than 6 GW of wind assets globally, the environment surrounding each turbine, and the way in which these data sources interact to identify causes of underperformance and advise on actions to solve them. From Clir’s cloud-based platform, asset owners can access the information needed to optimize output across their portfolio and maximise financial returns.

Craig McCall, Chief Revenue Officer at Clir, commented: “There has been a massive boost in both investment and project development across Latin America over the past decade. However, in order to sustain profits in an increasingly uncertain market, project owners must optimize the performance of each of their assets.

“In order to better support project owners in understanding exactly what is holding their assets back, we are delighted to announce that Didier Frávega joined us this month. Didier has demonstrated his in-depth technical and industry expertise throughout his career, and his skill nurturing relationships with project owners across the Latin American wind industry will be invaluable to Clir’s outreach in the market.”

Commenting on his appointment, Didier said: “Clir has proved itself to be an industry cornerstone by working with asset owners across Europe and North America to overcome the financial challenges that come with uncertainty around political support for renewables.

“I am very much looking forward to supporting Clir in bringing the unparalleled insight into asset performance its AI-based platform provides to wind project owners in Latin America, where despite a boom in new project development, owners are seeing significantly lower returns than they should expect thanks to widespread asset underperformance.”

Discover how Clir can support your portfolio

‘Marginal Gains’ continue to elude wind owners

‘Marginal Gains’ continue to elude wind owners

Wind energy investors can greatly reduce operations and maintenance costs and increase power output with more active approaches to asset management.

Reactive operational strategies adopted by many wind asset owners are failing to provide increased performance and returns across European wind portfolios. Combined, turbine misalignment, poor yaw control, and incorrect pitch settings can add up to the significant detriment of wind farm outputs. Yet too often, the analysis required to discover these anomalies is conducted on an ad hoc basis or not completed at all. That at least, is according to Clir, the leading provider of digital asset performance technology for the wind industry.

As the European wind energy industry has matured post-subsidy, wind asset owners have increasingly looked at how to elongate turbine lifetimes, increase project returns by enhancing performance, and better understand how their assets work.

Yet, despite this driver, there is still a disconnect between the actions that many asset managers are taking in order to try and optimise performance. Too often, turbine asset management relies on reactive strategies, which, while ensuring failed equipment is swiftly repaired, do not provide owners with increases in performance and hence, returns.

But, by adopting more active approaches that would include monitoring the effectiveness of existing turbine yaw and pitch settings, and subsequently adjusting, operators can see gains of up to 5% across a portfolio.

“In isolation, these adjustments may seem too small to make a fundamental difference to project performance,” says Gareth Brown, Managing Director, Clir. “But while each represents a ‘marginal gain’, collectively we tend to see overall performance improvements of up to 5%.”

“The wind industry’s relatively short maturation over the last 25 years or so, coupled with a move to merchant operations, means that we’re constantly learning how to extract better performance from our assets,” he continued.

“But too often, current operations and maintenance strategies are reactive, and fail to realise the potential for performance gains from wind energy equipment.

“As the industry evolves, this will clearly have to change, particularly as projects see the expiration of subsidy, push for lifetime extension, or come out of manufacturer warranty. We know that investors are starting to look more closely at their returns, which will materially affect their decisions on which projects to acquire or hold.”

Discover how Clir can support your portfolio

Clir hits 6 GW milestone, tripling its global asset portfolio in a year

Clir hits 6 GW milestone, tripling its global asset portfolio in a year

Leading wind farm optimization and monitoring firm sees significant growth across 2019, onboarding a number of key global asset owners as investor focus moves to performance and revenue certainty 

New figures from Clir Renewables, the leading cloud-based AI platform that provides asset managers and owners with tools to maximize annual energy production, surpassed a total of 6 GW of assets on its platform in 2019, a three-fold increase from 2 GW at the end of 2018. With a number of asset owners currently progressing their portfolios through Clir’s full onboarding process following successful trial periods, this growth shows no sign of slowing.

Across the onshore and offshore wind industry, unexpected turbine downtime and underperformance can see energy production – and therefore revenue – significantly lower than forecast. This can have a substantial effect on the financing of wind projects, particularly as large investors move away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy. As such, improving turbine performance to maximize energy yield is vital to ensuring these investments remain profitable.

Clir uses artificial intelligence to analyze wind turbine data. The software identifies causes of underperformance, from blade icing to suboptimal derating plans, and provides asset owners and operators with strategies to improve performance and thereby increase annual energy production by up to 5%.

Identifying the true causes of underperformance from turbine data can be extremely difficult using typical methods of analysis. By using artificial intelligence to analyze turbine data, however, it is possible to generate a baseline of performance and recognize patterns that indicate not only when the turbine is performing sub-optimally, but why. This gives owners and operators the complete understanding of their asset necessary to take action on underperformance.

“As investors in renewables increasingly focus on asset performance and revenue certainty, we are able to use artificial intelligence to support wind farm owners in developing a complete understanding of their asset necessary to fix faults, maximize asset lifetime, and optimize for both performance and profit,” said Gareth Brown, CEO, Clir.

“Much of the information that owners need to fully optimize their assets is difficult to parse out from raw wind farm data. Typical analysis cannot provide an accurate understanding of whether energy is being lost due to wind resource or whether energy is lost as a result of asset underperformance. But by using AI, Clir can make those distinctions clear to owners, allowing them take informed actions to improve performance.

“2019 saw our biggest period of growth to date, hitting a new milestone of 6 GW, which we see is a clear indicator of the demand for wind investors to better understand their projects as the markets continue to evolve.”

Discover how Clir can support your portfolio

Image: Pexels