The Energy Blog
Kristina Dotzauer 20/04/2017
On the western edge of the Great Plains, strings of turbines stretch across the horizon. The massive blades sit atop aerial towers, taking advantage of the stronger wind at higher altitudes. This is the North American wind corridor, home to some of the best sites for wind farms in the United States. A team of Siemens technicians stands at the base of Turbine 81. Three weeks ago, the experts at the Remote Diagnostic Center were alerted to a heat sensor that needed to be exchanged—a noncritical service order. The repair was entered into a diagnostic Monitoring Operations and Registration System (MORS) case and added to the upcoming scheduled routine maintenance visit. Almost simultaneously, through the MORS system, the farm’s site team received a report outlining the issue, the needed parts, and instructions for the task.
Now in the field, the technicians access the MORS report through an iPad application. They now have access to diagnostics, weather forecasts, data-driven solutions, and even a portal for real-time communication with the Remote Diagnostic Center. The technicians are able to complete the task without compromising the turbine’s availability, but the true work has just begun. Data used to complete this order will not only be used to teach technicians how to better service turbines, but also to teach turbines how to better service themselves - an intelligent approach to harnessing insight today for smarter wind power tomorrow.
Big data for digital insights
At the Remote Diagnostic Center, Siemens uses big data to add digital insight to intuition. Through the application of advanced analytics, turbines learn to operate smarter and more efficiently, and owners benefit from instantaneous performance optimization. The process is simple, but immensely effective. For every turbine event that occurs, whether reactive or proactive, a diagnostic Monitoring Operations and Registration System (MORS) case is recorded. Each case provides advice on remote immediate handing of the turbine by analyzing data from previous cases. It is also used for continuous tuning of diagnostic models for efficient troubleshooting across the global Siemens fleet. In July 2015, the Remote Diagnostic Center reached a milestone of two million MORS cases. This enables analysts and technicians to study what happened and be able to provide advice for trouble shooting even better next time. “If I detect a fault, I can look it up in the database and seek trouble shooting advice,” states Christopher Garlinghouse, a Siemens Service Site Lead. “With knowledge from two million cases, the MORS database is a massive knowledge bank. It is invaluable to our work.”
The MORS case handling database works in conjunction with the 24/7, 365 days a year monitoring completed by the Remote Diagnostic Center. Here, experts monitor turbines 24/7 365 days a year. With 300 million measurements received each week for 24 million parameters, with 3,200 individual values for over 10,000 turbines, Siemens has over 300TB (3 x 1014) of situational data. With a database this diverse, Siemens can resolve 85% of all alarms received within 10 minutes. “Being able to monitor a fleet of more than 10,000 turbines is truly amazing,” says Ulrik Henriksen, Head of Diagnostics at Siemens Wind Power. “We have so many talented employees who strive towards improving the way we operate every day. It is utterly fascinating to see the results of combining wind turbine domain experts with academic computer scientists. Together we create magic.”
Understanding data is key
Indeed, the magic of Siemens stems from their highly skilled personnel. Unlike other competitors who focus solely on data collection, Siemens leverages domain expertise as the Original Equipment Manufacturer to not just fix impending issues, but understand why they are occurring and prevent them from future development. “We have multiple specialist teams to ensure we make the right decisions and offer the best actions. The specialists span a variety of focuses, including turbine alarms, site security, user management, software updates, and SCADA configuration,” adds Henriksen.
The interface of human and technology intelligence is how Siemens gives wind customers a competitive advantage. MORS compiles service tickets, service history, instructional orders, part ordering, and early warnings of maintenance. “The system automatically notifies the analyst, the technician, and the customer. However, a human reviews the notification before everyone receives the notification,” states Henriksen. For example, if turbines are due for a gearbox oil-filter exchange, MORS notifies the site manager. Or, if a turbine stops because of a minor reason, such as a fleeting wind tunnel, the site manager receives an alarm notification through MORS explaining the issue and how it can be solved. Further, MORS enables plant managers to tend to the technical needs of the turbines at all times. “If I didn’t have MORS and the diagnostic team - resetting turbines overnight, resetting turbines on the weekends, and letting technicians know when a turbine fault hits - our availability would be much lower. In that aspect, MORS is really invaluable to the business and to keeping turbines up and running as long as can,” adds Garlinghouse.
The impact of Siemens remote monitoring and diagnostics will only be amplified as more data is collected and more insight derived. By focusing on smart data, instead of just big data, Siemens can “smartly” combine product know-how and process expertise with data analytics to help customers improve operational efficiency. And, going one step further than leveraging digital technologies to improve turbine performance, Siemens is using big data to develop new software and hardware products and construct business models to revolutionize the role of digitalization within the wind industry. With Siemens, wind turbines will operate smarter over longer periods of time to deliver cleaner, more efficient power for generations to come.
Find out about how big data helps harness powerful insight today and generate smarter wind power for tomorrow at the AWEA WINDPOWER event.
Kristina Dotzauer 28/03/2017
Along the rolling hillside of the Korat Province in Thailand, the Huay Bong wind farm is the first and largest of its kind in Southern Asia, boasting 90 SWT 2.3-101 Siemens turbines—the ideal turbine for moderate wind conditions. This is important because Thailand’s overall wind speed is quite low, with an average speed of 6.4 meters per second. Yet, Siemens, who manufactured, installed, and serviced the Huay Bong turbines, is able to wring 1GWh of annual power from the farm—producing a significant amount of energy from such a conservative site. The question then becomes, how is Siemens able to generate consistent power with less wind? And the answer is futuristic—relatively speaking.
There are actually two Huay Bong wind farms, except they are separated by time and space. Whereas one farm physically operates in real-time, the other operates digitally for days, weeks, months, even years, into the future. This is known as the digital twin. By constantly collecting big data - weather, component information, service reports and performance of similar models in the Siemens fleet - a predictive model is built and data turned into actionable insights. With the digital twin, the need to service turbines can be determined in advance. This predictive capability reduces unplanned maintenance, which cuts down costs; more importantly, however, it helps owners avoid extended periods of downtime, often adding weeks of productive operation that would have been lost. At the same time, an accurate diagnostic report tells the service crew exactly what to expect.
Feeding the digital twin
In the future, a wind farm’s success may hinge on how skillfully its digital twin has been designed, how successfully operational data can be fed into it, and how well the resulting data can forecast its future. At Huay Bong, data analysis and modeling maximized site-wide availability by predicting and preventing maintenance - just another example of how Siemens harnesses powerful insight today to generate smarter wind power tomorrow.
The first company to install condition-based monitoring systems in their turbines as standard equipment, Siemens has been collecting data since 1998 and maintains the industry’s largest amount of historical data - a database that grows daily with data collection from over 10,000 turbines worldwide. Inside each turbine, there are more than 300 sensors that continuously transmit data to the Remote Diagnostic Center in Brande, Denmark. Here, 100 analytic experts turn raw data into insights, using advanced data-processing methods and decades of experience to compile all that data, analyze it with intelligent models, and determine the best approach to service and maintenance. Based on historical as well as operational data, Siemens experts can tailor O&M for maximum efficiency and customer benefit.
Unique fingerprints for each turbine
One of the multiple proactive aspects is vibration diagnostics, where each turbine’s unique “vibration fingerprint” is compared with its actual vibration patterns to detect irregularities that can indicate the potential risk for fast- or slow-developing damage. More than 34,000 data analyses are currently performed each year that can predict more than 98 percent of all gear-tooth cracks as well as damage to the gearbox, generator, or main bearings, which are among the most prevalent serious component failures of a wind turbine that can lead to weeks of costly downtime.
The Remote Diagnostic Center also monitors turbine software configurations closely. Siemens’ unique position as the Original Equipment Manufacturer, extends a deep domain know-how that creates the right tools to deliver real added value. The newest analysis platform, Pythia, is inspired by the concept of the Big Data paradigm and has access to around 60 terabytes of vibrational data. Pythia allows Siemens experts to aggregate all of that data and apply a wide range of state-of-the-art machine learning and processing algorithms, which enables early and robust detection of failure modes. Any major alarms set off an immediate response, with notifications to both the customer and the site crew.
Recommendations and comments are fed into regular reports, which are accessible to customers through the Wind Dialogue customer portal, offering a complete picture of how Siemens evaluates the current state of the turbine in term of vibration irregularities. For fast-developing damage, such as a cracked gearwheel, which can cause serious harm within days, data and analytics help determine exactly when damage occurs so service technicians will have a clear picture of what needs to be done before arriving on site. This saves a tremendous amount of time and costs. In contrast, slow-developing damage leaves enough time to make a risk assessment on when the exchange of the defective part will become necessary. Thus, a turbine standstill while preparing for the exchange of the part can be prevented; service work may be postponed until the low-wind season. “Predictive analytics and diagnostics is where Siemens has a competitive advantage,” says Ulrik Henriksen, Head of Diagnostics at Siemens Wind Power. “We can detect a major failure four to six weeks out, saving downtime and parts. The advantage is in the savings and the planning. Parts can be ordered well in advance of the failure, so everything is ready.”
With increasing investments in wind farm development, preventive maintenance is vital in ensuring the reliability and cost-effectiveness of this energy business. A catastrophic failure of the turbine generator would lead to a complete shut down of the turbine for several days, or even weeks in high wind seasons, resulting in expensive repairs and lost revenue. Achieving maximum availability helps a company wring as much power - and dollars - as possible from its wind power assets.
The key to optimizing wind power lies in the future. At the Huay Bong wind farm, the next prediction has already been made: the government aims to use the wind farm to generate 1,200MW of power within eight years. And the solution quickly followed: Siemens will provide service and maintenance for an additional 13 years - the first long-term wind service extension in Thailand. The scale of the wind industry is now at the point where predictive maintenance is a reality, and Siemens is opening up new possibilities in the way wind farms are managed to deliver cleaner, more efficient power for generations to come.
Find out about how big data helps harness powerful insight today and generate smarter wind power for tomorrow at the AWEA WINDPOWER event.
Kristina Dotzauer 27/03/2017
Thirty-two kilometers off the coast of Sylt, Germany’s northern most island, the Butendiek Offshore Wind Farm operates in solitude. A site swept with extreme weather conditions, 80 towering turbines stand like sentinels over the rough white-cap waters of the North Sea. Yet, they are never alone. For inside each turbine, a dynamic team of Siemens technicians, digital scientists, engineers and business analysts are constantly connected, unlocking the opportunities of big data to harness powerful insight today and generate smarter wind power tomorrow.
A pioneer of wind energy for over 30 years, Siemens was the first company in the world to install data sensors in its offshore and onshore wind turbines as standard procedure. These sensors today deliver more than 200 gigabytes of data per day to Siemens’ state-of-the-art remote diagnostic center in Brande, Denmark, where advanced analytics and around-the-clock human monitoring ensure optimal performance of over 10,000 turbines worldwide. This means that in the age of digitalization, where data is the first-class ticket to action, Siemens provides a unique two-pronged advantage of combining the industry’s largest archive of operational data with their OEM domain know-how and experienced personnel.
Big data, big ideas
In today’s digital world, every action translates into a data footprint, fueling a vast expansion of metadata ripe for mining the meanings within. In fact, the digital universe is approaching the physical universe in its size and complexity. According to data storage vendor EMC, by 2020 there will be nearly as many digital bits in existence as there are stars in the universe, with the data we create and copy annually reaching 44 zettabytes, or 44 trillion gigabytes. And the wind industry is no different - perhaps even a hyper-example - because the sector’s stability and longevity depends on continuous digitalization.
Looking forward, the wind industry must drive down the cost of wind power while boosting efficiency. The digital transformation promises to do just that; however, the path to sustainable energy cannot be steered by technology alone. Data, on its own, is practically useless. It’s just a huge set of numbers with no context. Its potential is only realized when the right people convert it into value that matters. This is how Siemens is able to lower production costs and ramp up output of overall wind energy.
The experts at the Brande Remote Diagnostic Center convert raw data into smart data. Through the use of advanced analytics, Siemens’ experts are able to monitor turbine performance, fleet operations, weather conditions, and much more - and turn this information into meaningful insights. Big data is a great opportunity for both customers and for Siemens. With so much expertise in one place, Siemens is able to constantly redefine their service and produce bold new ways to secure their customer investments.
Whereas other companies focus on a purely IT-approach, Siemens uses the strength of its personnel and OEM experience to not just “see” what is happening, but understand why it is happening. This enables Siemens to predict and prevent unscheduled downtime, transition wind farms to condition-based monitoring service plans, and substantially extend the lifecycle of each turbine. These smart, forward-thinking applications are optimizing renewable energy and yielding hundreds of thousands of dollars in cost-savings.
Making wind energy more affordable
But the impacts don’t stop at the grid. Siemens is using smart data to develop new products, both digital and mechanical, to enhance wind turbine technology. This in turn will make wind energy more affordable, reaching wider economic markets and stabilizing the cost of power generation. Siemens is also using smart data to actualize visions, set strategies and deploy prescriptive practices to create revolutionary business models that capitalize on unforeseen ventures. Jobs will be created, entirely new fields will emerge, and companies will cultivate interconnected partnerships.
Yet, this is only the tip of the iceberg. The massive potential of digitalization and big data lies below the surface, where Siemens experts are harnessing more and more data everyday. From the turbine sensors in the North Sea to the analysts at the Remote Diagnostic Center to the millions of homes powered by wind energy, big data is transforming how renewable energy is produced and propagated. And Siemens is leading this journey of digitalization. In the articles to follow, you will learn how Siemens is utilizing big data to transform how the wind industry operates, optimizes, and unlock new opportunities - harnessing powerful insight today to generate smarter wind power for tomorrow.
Find out about how big data helps harness powerful insight today and generate smarter wind power for tomorrow at the AWEA WINDPOWER event.
Kristina Dotzauer 07/03/2017
For nearly two years now Siemens Wind Power has been utilizing three Service Operations Vessels (SOVs) to conduct and support service and maintenance operations at various offshore wind power plants in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. We were the first OEM to offer these so called ‘floating warehouses’ for far-from-shore wind farms. Now, after months of familiarizing this new concept within daily operations ideas and plans are being considered to further utilize these modern vessels through vessels sharing. Traditionally in the maritime industry vessel sharing is an agreement between various partners within a shipping consortium to operate a liner service along a specified route using a specified number of vessels. Even if wind service suppliers are not shipping lines they run a growing fleet of service vessels which could adapt the same concept. An internal project has therefore been initiated to determine how the fleet of SOVs can be shared with multiple offshore wind power plants to increase the vessel’s utilization.
Since the beginning of SOV operations two years ago the industry has seen that SOV performance has been higher than expected. So this means that the SOVs assigned to specific sites are not being fully utilized to their full potential. This finding opens new options to exhaust the benefit of these customized vessels to additional wind farms. Currently we are running a project to develop a roadmap to increase the utilization rate of SOVs. The idea is to offer a SOV charter to a minimal of 20 percent of the operation time. In addition the vessel sharing offers options to decrease the overall logistical costs per plant. Our project focusses on the development of a concept to share chartered SOVs between wind farms located off the coast of Sylt, Northern Germany, where a couple of projects are in operation using our technology. In layman's terms this project thus aims to increase SOV utilization to full potential, reduce costs associated with offshore logistics and increase SOV flexibility to promote a ‘multi-farm logistical set-up’.
Since SOVs in the past have been designed for designated offshore wind power plants we see smaller design changes to adopt the vessels to the demands of a multiple wind farm logistical set-up. Specific designs respect monopile heights, tidal heights and equipment with tools and spare parts for a specific series of wind turbines. The unique design and structure of these vessels needs to be modified to a more open approach. The possibility of relocating current vessels to others sites are quite limited. Future vessels will include variable elevators and gangways heights so the vessel can operate in waters with different tidal heights and projects equipped with monopiles or jackets of different heights.
However increased SOV utilization includes also risks: It may put pressure on resource allocation of service technicians and material since the vessels will be put to more use. Furthermore if current SOV utilization increases, room for further improvements may be difficult to achieve as the vessels are already at full capability. However it is the goal of the work streams within our development project to hinder the impact of these risks as much as possible.
Nevertheless the opportunities for SOV sharing are definitely there and very strong. Initiating a sharing model will allow us to increase operational flexibility of the SOVs as we will be able to reposition them across other projects. Additionally as a service provider, we were the first to deploy such as concept for offshore service and introducing this sharing model would help us further develop our experience in effectively utilizing these purpose built vessels for offshore wind service and maintenance. Something that can only be achieved through experience and understanding what works and what doesn’t.
By René Cornelis Wigmans, Head of Maritime and Aviation Solutions at Siemens Wind Power
Kristina Dotzauer 06/03/2017
The Egypt Megaproject has reached a major milestone on time, even achieving a surplus of 10 percent (or 400 megawatts) over the promised generation capacity to be available within 18 months of the signing of the contract: The first twelve SGT5-8000H gas turbines located at the combined cycle power plants in Beni Suef, Burullus and New Capital were fired up in November 2016 and are now generating a total of 4.8 gigawatts of electricity for Egypt. The generated amount would be sufficient to provide approximately 11 million Egyptians with stable electricity.
“These three power plants are smartly positioned to feed the neediest communities with clean and reliable energy,” points out Ahmed El Saadany, Learning Manager at Siemens Egypt. “Beni Suef to feed Upper Egypt to the south, Burullus to cover the north coast and Alexandria, and New Capital to fuel the future center of business and excellence alongside Cairo.” We caught up with Ahmed ahead of the ceremony celebrating this momentous achievement to talk about the human aspect of realizing such an endeavor.
“There were undeniable challenges in the area of human resources,” he explains. “Starting from the mobilization of thousands of local as well as global skilled workers throughout the ramp-up phase in an extremely tight timeframe and with tough execution conditions.” In addition to the 20,000 jobs created in civil, mechanical and electrical works, 600 further vacancies arose for the operation and maintenance of the three power plants. “These have been filled by young Egyptian engineers from the surrounding communities who will be sustainably employed.”
Together with his colleagues in Germany, and cooperating with the Egyptian Electricity Holding Company, Siemens Egypt’s learning manager succeeded in creating a tailored training program for 600 trainees, based on a combination of technical and non-technical modules, including language, communication, team psychology and leadership. “Our intention was to empower a new generation of local experts who can professionally run such technology in the future,” he says.
“Now already 300 of them are trained up to global standards in the operation and maintenance of power plants and are ready to take over the operations of the first open-cycle phase for each of the three power plants after a successful synchronization and first firing,” Ahmed relates proudly. They are for instance the turbine operators who were involved in preparing the first fire in November 2016 and thus helped to set up a new worldwide benchmark for the execution of fast-track power projects.
Finding the right personnel for the project, however, was not the only challenge in the last 18 months. To deliver a project on such a mega scale on time, the consortium of Siemens and its Egyptian partners Orascom Construction and El Sewedy Electric often had to think in completely new dimensions. “At the Beni Suef construction site, we managed to carry out the excavation and the removal of around 1,750,000 cubic meters of rock, which is the equivalent to the volume of Menkaure, the smallest Giza pyramid,” says Ahmed El Saadany. “And at the New Capital plant, we pioneered an ingenious, customized solution with air-cooled condenser technology to solve the lack of water resources in the desert.” Meanwhile in Burullus, the terrain and the weather proved harsher than expected – resulting in a further ramp-up of manpower to meet the deadline.
So what will be the outcome of this unprecedented effort? “Egyptians have long looked forward to a time of no more power cuts and blackouts,” says Ahmed El Saadany. “This will create a more attractive environment for future investments with abundant energy supply at reasonable cost, which will boost the country’s overall economic growth and prosperity.”
In terms of tangible results, the power plant construction projects have already impacted on the communities where they are located. “The three gigantic power plants brought life to their respective regions,” the learning manager comments. “We can expect to further witness unprecedented growth and development, leading to thousands of jobs that are already being created and will be created in the future on a sustainable basis.”
“Those communities are experiencing a real transformation on the level of infrastructure and human capital to lead Egypt’s future in energy and sustainable socioeconomic development,” says Ahmed Elsaadany. “We at Siemens believe we can deliver the latest technologies and innovations that a country can really rely on. Our solutions are breaking world records when it comes to efficiency and reliability – and are improving people’s lives.”
By Manu Abdo, journalist in Cairo.
Kristina Dotzauer 24/01/2017
On a warm Danish summer back in 1991, 11 small, newly installed wind turbines began their long life in producing renewable energy for Danish homes. This milestone marked the first offshore wind farm to supply energy to the Danish national grid generated from an offshore wind farm. This new wind farm began an exciting journey in contributing to the idea and rapid technological development of offshore renewable energy. But when these first offshore wind turbines were installed, one thing was clear from the very beginning: reliability and safety are paramount throughout the whole lifecycle of the project.
When Vindeby Offshore Wind Farm was first commissioned, constructing offshore wind farms was a very new vision for an evolving industry. Today we see much larger offshore wind farms, representing a steady growth and weighty advancements in technology for offshore wind energy - and for many reasons.
Growing demand for sustainable energy
Wind energy overall is set to become the backbone of the world’s future power system, with predictions by the International Energy Agency (IEA) stating that at least a quarter of Europe’s power demand will be produced through wind by 2030.
The offshore wind energy sector alone is significantly contributing to that growth and estimates say that renewable energy through offshore wind is on track to account for 20 percent of total energy consumption by 2020 in the European Union. According to Wind Europe, as of summer 2016, there are 3,344 offshore wind turbines spread across 82 wind farms in the seas of Europe with a combined capacity of 11,538 MW.
And this upward trend looks to continue with newer, more powerful technology.
Benefits of offshore wind
Offshore wind is a relatively new technology, with plenty of opportunities for development to help make offshore wind become more efficient and cost competitive. But technology advancements are already very visible with much larger, more powerful wind turbines dominating the horizons out at sea, enabling higher energy output per turbine. Furthermore the wind resource offshore is generally much greater compared to onshore thanks to stronger winds at sea, thus generating more energy from fewer wind turbines.
Challenges facing offshore installation
But despite the significant benefits of offshore wind, installing wind farms far-from-shore is a lot more risky and challenging compared to onshore and requires a much more complicated installation, and maintenance approach. With the ever increasing size of wind farms and wind turbines, the installation process of an offshore wind farm requires a sophisticated logistical setup – from construction at the factory, to transportation from the harbor to the wind farm, to installation.
In general logistical challenges are a greater task offshore, where power plants can sometimes be a 100 kilometers from shore and sometimes difficult to access due to bad weather. To add to this logistical challenge, wind turbine parts including rotor blades, nacelle, hub and tower keep increasing in size to help accommodate improved durability and greater demand for output.
One of the challenges in designing offshore wind turbines is the high cost and logistical difficulties involved in transporting and installing rotor blades. Over the last 30 years, blades have grown 15 times in size enabling them to produce more energy than ever. The first commercial wind turbine had a capacity of 30 kW with rotor blades measuring 5 m. In comparison rotor blades today are somewhat larger. During 2014, Siemens Wind Power introduced the new 6MW wind turbine platform, specially designed for offshore. This new wind turbine is unique in many ways, including the three B75 blades, measuring 75 meters in length with and a combined diameter of 154 m.
Installing a B75 blade 100 kilometers from shore
As one can imagine positioning a rotor blade measuring 75 meters to a hub 60-90 meters tall, in sometimes very hostile conditions, is not a task for the faint hearted. Due to the sheer size of these rotor blades, Siemens uses the “singular mounting process”, by means of a specially designed lifting yoke installed on the installation jack-up vessel located on the site. Unlike more traditional installation methods where the rotor blades and the hub are jointed together onshore, much larger blades are installed using a specially designed lifting yoke installed on the installation jack-up vessel located on site. This lifting yoke allows for rotor blades to be aligned and attached to the hub and nacelle individually.
A flexible giant
A key function of the lifting yoke is the automatic sling connection. This ensures that no technician is working at heights during the installation, and the entire process can be remotely controlled from the safety of the deck of the installation vessel by a highly-trained “yoke operator”.
“This specially designed lifting yoke allows the blade to be remotely adjusted in height, can be tilted, pitched, and yawed by several degrees to help get the perfect positioning when attaching the blade to the hub. This yaw feature will allow us to keep full tension in the taglines connected to the crane boom while we simultaneously instruct the crane operator to yaw the crane for positioning the blade to the hub. We can easily adjust the alignment between the hub and blade without needing to adjust tagline tension. This allows us to install blades more safely and efficiently,” states Allan Truedsson Jepsen, Head of Offshore Site Training, Siemens Wind Power.
But with all types of very large, complicated machinery, training individuals to perfect their task is essential. And offshore installation technicians are no different. To date, Siemens Wind Power has six so called ‘super user operators’ and ten operators on hand to operate a lifting yoke. But to make sure that they can operate safely and effectively in the field, all operators undertake thorough training before they become a qualified yoke operators or super users. And this sometimes takes time.
So to help meet the ever increasing demands of the offshore wind market, Siemens Wind Power Training is introducing a yoke simulator to help prepare future operators and super users before offshore training and operations begin.
Why is the simulator important in the overall context?
Training simulators have been used for many years in many different industries to help prepare individuals to perfect their task. Airline pilots are frequently put through hours of simulation flights to help prepare and perfect them in their very demanding task of transporting passengers from A to B safety. For example pilots are often put through scenarios such as a full stall recovery or an engine failure mid-flight to see how well they react.
The new yoke simulator will also provide the same benefits in preparing our installation technicians for any eventuality. Safety is paramount at Siemens and through augmented virtual training our future technicians will be able to prepare themselves for any potential faults or difficulties in a controlled but very realistic environment.
With this simulator we will also be able to meet the increase demand of efficient and competent technicians, who are ready to meet the increasing demands in future offshore wind farms, and help our existing super-users get the training they need to cope with this ever increasing demand.
You can find out more about how this simulator works in this video.
Kristina Dotzauer 18/01/2017
The participants at the 2016 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Marrakesh, Morocco announced some ambitious goals: The nations most endangered by climate change seek to cover 100 percent of their energy demand from renewable energy sources, and thereby reduce their carbon emissions. In addition, a program is to kick off in 2020 providing USD 100 billion annually to support measures by developing countries to combat climate change. Yet, will all that be enough to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius? Unfortunately not – to meet that target, national governments will have to set even more stringent greenhouse gas reduction goals. What's missing is a complete about-face in favor of carbon-neutral energy policy. Decarbonization will require us not only to expand the use of renewable energy and create adequate energy storage solutions, but also to push the phase-out of coal power and focus more closely on the building, transport and industrial sectors. By pursuing ambitious climate protection goals and environmentally friendly technologies, the world's industrial nations in particular can lead by good example.
While transforming energy systems on a global scale demands common efforts, differing approaches are also needed: Developing countries need, for example, low-cost environmental technologies to offer their citizens opportunities for social and economic development. In contrast, energy-hungry emerging countries such as China or Egypt must focus on modernizing and expanding their infrastructure to meet the demands of growing populations, while at the same time not losing sight of the need for low-carbon energy production. The task for industrialized nations, in turn, is to replace their existing systems with modern, environmentally friendly technologies, and to drive digitalization with an eye to holistically optimizing the complete energy system.
As global population expands and growing numbers of people move to cities, experts forecast that energy consumption will continue to rise annually by 2.5 percent right through to the year 2035. Yet, there remain countless regions around the world where electricity supply is either unreliable or, for lack of electrification, simply non-existent. The energy sector in these regions will see massive investment in the coming future – a circumstance that offers opportunities for implementing environmentally friendly technologies. Projections foresee EUR 32 billion of investment worldwide over the next 20 years to expand electrical power supply systems, which significantly increases the chances for expanding the share of renewable energy in the overall energy mix.
While we know that one quarter of all greenhouse gases are generated by electricity production processes, we need to wake up to the fact that one half of all CO2 emissions are attributable to buildings, transport and industry, for example to produce and process fuels (in refineries). These sectors offer countless opportunities for decarbonization, one of which is by increasing the efficiency of total energy use along the entire value chain, i.e. from the energy source right through to consumption. One prime example of such economizing is the combined-cycle cogeneration "Fortuna" unit at Lausward Power Station in Düsseldorf, Germany, which achieves an overall energy conversion efficiency rating that tops 85 percent. It's also vital that the capacities of energy storage technologies be increased so that converted energy can be stored and then used when demand arises. Another expedient measure is to electrify as many applications as possible so that excess energy from one system can be "forwarded" to the consumers of other systems.
It is indeed possible to achieve a carbon-neutral system that ensures power supply without adversely affecting competitiveness. Industry plays a major role in these efforts, as almost all technologies needed to transition to a low-carbon-emissions economy are already available. However, decarbonization within the power generation industry itself will not be the only decisive factor: efforts to electrify and digitalize the industrial, building and transport sectors will be equally important. The goal is for these industries to implement energy-efficient and renewable technologies in combination with innovative energy storage solutions.
Reforming emissions trading
How can decarbonization be accelerated? As efficient as state-of-the-art technologies may be, they won't win over the market without the right incentives and broad acceptance across society as a whole. The European system of emissions trading in CO2 certificates, for example, is not functioning today as it should, and needs reform. Investing in environmentally friendly technologies simply isn't worthwhile with the price per ton of CO2 at 7 euros, which translates into far less than what is needed to operate a power plant. A positive impact will first be felt at 25 euros per ton or higher, and investing in truly state-of-the-art facilities will only prove profitable at prices around 35 euros per ton. How would it be if the 193 Member States of the United Nations were to agree to a worldwide system of emissions trading that guaranties uniform pricing?
Further supportive measures for transforming the energy sector can be introduced by redesigning the market, leading to a more cost-efficient future development of the system. These can include auctions for renewable energy capacities as practiced in Brazil and South Africa, and now in Germany as of 2017. There are other marketplaces where auctions can be held, such as the European Energy Exchange, and a market for flexible capacities (such as for simple-cycle gas-fired power plants) would also be a useful innovation. Besides financing, there's need for a flanking legal framework geared to provide stakeholders with security of investment over the long term.
Carbon-neutral by 2030
“Successful decarbonization will primarily depend on securing a broad political and societal consensus in favor of greater sustainability. Truly sustainable energy transitions, however, can succeed only when a national economy can in fact afford the necessary changes or when less industrialized countries are supported in their efforts. We all must play a decisive role in working toward this goal!”, says Lisa Davis, Member of the Siemens Management Board
Seeking to lead the way by example, we at Siemens have undertaken to become a carbon-neutral company by 2030. Our program, which we launched in September 2015, is structured into three areas of activity: Firstly, we are implementing distributed energy systems at our production plants and office buildings to minimize energy costs. Secondly, we're successively converting our motor vehicle fleet by procuring vehicles with low CO2 emissions and integrating electromobility concepts. And thirdly, we will be making greater use of natural gas and wind power as alternative energy sources.
After just one year's efforts, we're delighted to be able to announce some very positive results: Our company succeeded in reducing its carbon footprint by over 20 percent.
While decarbonization of course poses major challenges, we're continuing to pursue this goal and hope that other stakeholders in industry, the political arena and society as a whole will follow. Whether we together succeed in reaching our goal is up to each and every one of us.
More Information about how we understand sustainable Energy at Siemens: http://www.siemens.com/global/en/home/company/topic-areas/sustainable-energy.html
Kristina Dotzauer 18/01/2017
A study by the World Energy Council concludes that, thanks to technological progress, higher energy efficiency and stricter political terms of reference, global per capita primary energy consumption will have peaked by 2030. That is the good news. So, can we now sit back and relax? Not really. Because what happens after that – let's say between 2030 and 2060? Not only has the World Energy Council been thinking about the energy system of the future, our experts have been, too.
According to the World Energy Council, one trend is already clear: demand for electricity is going to double, so it makes sense to step up investment in an intelligent infrastructure. The "phenomenal" growth of the renewable energy forms, says the forecast, is set to continue. Whereas solar and wind power accounted for 4% of power generation in 2014, their share will perhaps multiply tenfold by 40 years later.
That the renewables are experiencing such rapid growth is due to the steady decline in investment costs. In recent years, these have dropped by up to 75 percent. But still, fossil fuels will continue to occupy first place (with a 50% share) in the energy mix. Foremost among these are coal, oil and gas, and they will remain the mainstay of the power supply for some time to come, though coal will slowly decline in importance as countries such as China and India strive to modernize their energy production and supply systems.
“One thing is certain: In the future, energy developments will be driven by digitalization that opens up currently unimaginable possibilities for technical innovations, and by new business models and solutions that extend beyond the energy sector alone. However the energy system may look like in the future: Siemens has played a major role in its development over the past 150 years and continues to be the right partner – innovative and competent – when it comes to making energy systems fit for the 21st century!”, says Lisa Davis, Member of the Siemens Management Board
Three scenarios for 2060
How the power supply is going to develop will also depend on which strategies countries pursue. The World Energy Council has identified three scenarios for the year 2060: in the first, the future course is market-driven. In the second, governments steer the transformation of their energy systems by means of regulations and subsidies. The third scenario is called "Hard Rock," meaning that countries focus only on their own national interests.
What effects would each of the three strategies have on global energy consumption? If national interests prevail, the study predicts, it would rise by 46%. If the future is left to market forces, it would rise by 38%. The best prospects are achieved if governments intervene: then global energy consumption would increase by "only" 22%.
Stop climate change
But for all the forecasts and figures, we should not forget what it is all about: of course, the primary focus is on a reliable power supply. But just as strong is the motivation to limit global warming to a minimum. That will be possible only if CO2 emissions are reduced drastically. Of course, zero-emissions power generation would be ideal. The World Energy Council, a non-governmental organization, believes that the latter is set to become more important: while African nations will in future give priority to building hydroelectric power plants, Asia, and especially China, is aiming for distributed structures based on the renewables and new nuclear power plants. Which direction developments in that huge country are going to take is as yet undecided.
According to the findings of the captioned study, CO2 emissions will have passed their peak sometime between 2020 and 2040 and, in all probability, will then start to decline again. Here the World Energy Council's three scenarios come into play again: if individual countries insist on their own national systems, carbon dioxide emissions will be higher in 2060 than in 2014. If the world is left to the market forces, emissions will drop by 28%. If the governments responsible intervene by passing targeted legislation, emissions could drop by 61%.
Different energy transitions
But which energy system is actually the right one? Our experts think there is no universal paradigm. Countries and regions shape "their own" energy transition according to their own situation and capabilities. For example, as we see it
- Europe will stick to its current course, aiming to increase the share of the renewables to up to 50% by 2030. On the fossil side, priority will be given to promoting gas power plants as a versatile, environmentally-friendly way to generate electric power.
- Drastic changes are under way in the Chinese energy system in terms of the energy mix and regulation. Here efforts to build up new generation capacities are concentrating on wind and solar power. Alongside nuclear power, fossil fuels, especially gas, will continue to be promoted.
The ongoing trends in these regions will probably continue beyond the year 2030.
But not everything lends itself to prediction. Uncertainties include, for instance, disruptions in the development of key technologies and political decisions. For example, global taxation of CO2 emissions would have tremendous impacts on energy systems. We can also speculate at length about whether nuclear fusion will be able to make a major contribution to power generation by 2060. Or whether in 40 years it will be possible to stabilize wind turbines at sea so that offshore windfarms will be able to "float" over the entire surface of the oceans. Or whether by that time continents can be connected to each other by power lines. The future of the energy system will be definitely complex.
More Information about how we understand sustainable Energy at Siemens: http://www.siemens.com/global/en/home/company/topic-areas/sustainable-energy.html
Read the interesting interview with WEC CEO Christoph Frei about how to manage future energy systems within our Siemens Customer Magazine: https://www.siemens.com/customer-magazine/en/home/energy/renewable-energy/managing-energy-systems-in-the-future.html