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Wind Energy Update

15 Nov 2011 09:11:19

Leading wind operators set to release long-term O&M strategy

The release or discussion of O&M cost data is still not discussed by leading operators, arguably out of a growing concern that public and policy enthusiasm for windpower would be dampened. As one large turbine fleet manager stated, "We have the data on O&M costs, but we won't even share it with the manufacturers. [Their data] is all wrong... the problems are way worse than they realise. If you keep a turbine long enough, it will fail" (Wind Energy Update’s Offshore O&M Report 2011).

Such reluctance to collaborate even with clients is seen to be behind the continued skyrocketing OPEX costs of wind installations. While wind energy is still seen as a profitable venture when combined with feed-in tariffs, to establish a solid base for long-term development is important not just from a commercial perspective but also from a public and policy standpoint. The key to long-term profitability is for the wind industry to minimize O&M risk, whether through superior designs, higher quality manufacturing, smarter component transportation techniques, and more strategic installation and field operations.

"Just a 1 percent improvement in O&M makes a huge difference on the bottom line," says one 30-year veteran of the wind industry. "Improved performance is not free, but you're still not paying for fuel. O&M is a much better use of capital." (Wind Power Trade Association 2009.)

As part of their continued effort to foster collaboration and cooperation throughout the wind industry, Wind Energy Update is coordinating the 4th Operations and Maintenance Operator Forum, a dedicated learning and networking event specifically for operators, OEMs and ISPs to discuss and collaborate on high level O&M strategy to achieve maximum output by refining O&M strategy to achieve target profits. With leading operators confirmed to participate such as Statoil, Vattenfall, Mainstream Renewable Power, SSE, EWE as well as leading OEMs including Vestas, Siemens and GE, the 4th O&M Forum is the number one forum for O&M learning and collaboration.

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