With more than 15 years of operating Invenergy projects, Invenergy Services recently expanded its offerings to serve third-party asset owners. The company offers a range of services, such as operations and maintenance (O&M), balance of plant, engineering and analytics, and energy management for wind, solar, and battery storage projects.
Brad Purtell, the director of Invenergy Services Business Development, recently shared insight with Windpower Engineering & Development about the importance of O&M and third-party management services for wind projects.
Q. Why is an established O&M plan important for wind operators?
A. Wind owners would like operators to maintain a high level of performance, which means managing reliable assets with production-weighted availability. An established O&M plan accounts for the wind resource and has the flexibility to work around peak wind periods. It allows for proactive detection of potential problems and prompt onsite response to address down turbines.
In addition, a good O&M plan incorporates a fast and reliable response to unscheduled maintenance events to ensure turbines have a quick return to service. For operators, continuous improvement of maintenance practices will lead to reduced downtime and improve the overall health of the turbine, enabling a longer asset lifecycle and increased project profitability.
Q. What are the major O&M problems facing the wind industry?
A. With a race to the lowest price point, service providers too-often focus cost-cutting efforts, which can lead to poor quality service or faulty equipment. Other cost-cutting measures may mean service providers perform only the bare minimum, managing to the letter of a contract term and availability. These practices can lead to compromised asset conditions at the end of the contract term.
When evaluating a wind farm’s potential operations and maintenance costs, it is important to consider how risks and cost elements are captured within contractual O&M commitments. For example, the impact of occurrences such as high wind, lightning strike, force majeure, and major maintenance related costs (such as crane pads and road and crop mitigation) are typically unaccounted for in contracts. Such oversights may lead to significant differences between contractual availability and actual production.
Q. How can operators best assess or evaluate condition monitoring for their fleet?
A. A strong team of engineers that can leverage and evaluate a broad range of fleet-wide data — and then recommend actions to address concerns — is key to maximizing condition-monitoring services. In addition, it is also important to stay up-to-date by properly recognizing and responding to trends across geographies and wind-turbine platforms.
By effectively leveraging condition-monitoring services, preventative measures can be taken to reduce the possibility of catastrophic turbine failures.
Q. What are the benefits of a reliable third-party O&M service?
A. Here are five important ones:
- Actionable insights (that ensure reliable, working components)
- Reduced operational costs
- Reduced contract risks
- Increased profitability
- Increased transparency
Learn more about Invenergy Services here.