Caroline Mizael, Breeze
If wind-farm owners are to squeeze cost out of their operating and maintenance expenses, they will have to keep a sharp eye on the performance of each turbine. Several monitoring systems are available for that task but a recent version sports clever and customer-suggested features.
Sweden-based Breeze’s wind-farm management software (also called Breeze) comes as a service with the goal to assist wind-turbine owners and operators capture the full potential of their assets. Wind turbines remotely connect to the system regardless of model or brand, resulting in a single system to monitor, analyze, and optimize industry-scale, wind-energy portfolios. The software-as-service has become a valuable tool for many leading wind-farm owners and operators that require powerful monitoring and user-friendly functions.
The product was developed from the ground up in collaboration with experienced wind-farm owners across Europe. Most Breeze features are based on customer feedback. This customer-centric approach to product development has enabled the system to evolve with its users at a rapid rate.
A few of the more recently added features are examples of innovative ideas that came from collaborations with customers. For example:
- The Remote Operations Center (ROC) is built from the start with the environment and workflow of a wind-farm control room in mind. The ROC lets users monitor in real time, large and diverse wind-turbine portfolios in one single view. The ROC is well suited for control rooms where higher priority includes a clear overview and a short time to action. The Center makes it possible to monitor up to 800 turbines on a single screen with critical information such as energy production, data connections, turbine statuses, and more. Sudden turbine stops and warnings are highlighted as they occur. Multiple customized ROC views for different purposes can be set up throughout the control room.
- A recent Breeze Wind Farm Monitoring app for iOS and Android allows monitoring key metrics for a wind-turbine portfolio while on the go. Users can access live wind-power production data for their entire portfolio or see the status of each wind turbine. The app’s monitoring dashboards on wind farm and turbine levels lets users analyze specific assets to monitor performance in real time. A map makes use of a cell phone’s built-in positioning capabilities to render a geographical overview of turbines in relation to the user’s location.
- Artificial Neural Networks (ANN). With a downward spiral in electricity prices, wind-turbine owners and operators have started to focus more on methods to predict failures to reduce downtimes and reactive maintenance. The ANN models are trained on data that represent a healthy condition in the wind turbines. The experience of these models then detects deviations from the healthy state. Studies have shown that the ANN models can, in some cases, detect faults as early as three months in advance, leading to valuable insights and potential cost savings in predictive maintenance.
Time and cost saving features, such as the unified remote operations center, mobile access through apps, and Breeze ANN for predictive maintenance are becoming increasingly important to the wind energy industry. Such features are more important for the offshore industry, which must maintain turbines that are more difficult to access and carry a larger financial investment than onshore versions.