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The Energy Blog

  • Kristina Dotzauer 10/07/2017

    Think Bigger: Transformer Connectivity

    Electrical energy is the indispensable foundation for a successful transition to IoT. To optimize their production, companies need a reliable and efficient power supply of best quality at the lowest possible cost. Smart energy management is becoming more and more important. Digitalization makes it possible to tap the full potential of energy management, in-house generation, and the new potential of the energy market.


    There are two major trends that change the face of today’s energy systems, and they amplify each other: decentralized power generation and digitalization. On the one hand there are micro grids, e-mobility, renewables and energy storage – on the other hand we talk about big data: analytics, load management and predictive maintenance. To cope with these changes and to make electricity grids fit for the future, a comprehensive approach for electrification going digital is needed.


    The benefits of digitalization in energy management are manifold, including optimized operation, increased availability, optimized maintenance schedules and increased energy efficiency. To reach this goal, we make use of big data. The basic requirements for the Internet of Things are to collect, transmit, save, manage, analyze and visualize data. That is where we step in at Siemens Transformers, adding a new dimension to our transformers: providing and exploiting digital information.


    Digitalization enables optimization


    As transformers are positioned basically at all nodes of an electrical grid, they can serve as “informational hubs”. Having real time access to data that is available in or on the transformer, can be a real game-changer for grid operators, industrial facilities and datacenters. This includes information about the condition of a grid, like voltages and direct currents. Processing and analyzing the data, for example in MindSphere® based cloud applications, allows for optimized load management – and thus for an improved operation of power networks and industrial plants . Obviously the more transformers get connected, the more precise the analysis of an operator gets – leveraging optimization possibilities.


    Follow our Twitter feed @Siemens_Energy and our LinkedIn showcase page to stay up to date on the latest energy-related developments and news.

  • Kristina Dotzauer 08/06/2017

    The biggest comes for last - Final steam turbine for the Egypt Megaproject leaves Muelheim

    482 days ago Siemens started the shipment of its first H-class gas turbine for the Egypt Megaproject. The first component for the first power train at the Beni Suef facility left cold Berlin and was installed in sunny Egypt. Much time has passed since then. In June 2017, Siemens is shipping the last components of the overall twelve power trains: The last generator headed for the construction site on the 1st of June, followed by the last gas turbine one day later. Today, the last heavyweight steam turbine for the New Capital facility leaves the Siemens site in Muelheim, Germany.


    Transporting the Eiffel Tower to Egypt


    It will be a long way for the steam turbine until it reaches its destination in New Capital, 45 km east of Cairo. To get from Muelheim to New Capital, you just need a few hours using the plane. But it takes several weeks to travel the approximately 7,000 kilometers by land and sea route. And the shipped steam turbine consists of more than 5,000 individual parts and weighs about 670 tons – it can’t be transported as hand luggage. The cargo is lifted with a heavy-duty crane from the Muelheim production hall onto a transport vessel standing by at the plant’s inland harbor facilities. The vessel will transport the SST-5000 steam turbine from Muelheim to the deep-water port of Antwerp where it will be loaded onto a heavy cargo ship and transported to Egypt.


    In just five months Siemens transported twelve steam turbines weighing 8,000 tons to Egypt. It sounds quite impressive to transport a cargo heavier than the steel construction of the Eiffel tower, but the twelve steam turbines just take a minor part compared to the 1,040,000 tons of materials used to erect the power plants in Beni Suef, New Capital and Burullus.


    Combined cycle for extra power


    Siemens together with its local partners is building three combined cycle power plants with an overall installed capacity of 14.4 gigawatts. The steam turbines will play a decisive role to generate this huge amount of electricity and optimize the fuel consumption of the plants. The steam turbines increase the overall efficiency of each power plant, which means simply that it needs the same amount of gas to generate more electricity. Statistically, a single H-class gas turbine can provide electricity for around 1.4 million Egyptians. Combined with a steam turbine, the gross power output is enough to provide electricity for more than 2.1 million people - assuming a baseload operation & average energy consumption of ca. 2,281 kWh/capita in Egypt in 2018.


    It won’t take another 482 days until the combined cycle power plants in Beni Suef, New Capital and Burullus will provide energy for up to 45 million Egyptians. The last steam turbine from Muelheim will arrive in a couple of weeks and by 2018, Siemens and Egypt will have advanced the history of the vibrant country.


    Follow our Twitter feed @Siemens_Energy and our LinkedIn showcase page to stay up to date on the latest energy-related developments and news.



    Author: Pit Trautner, Siemens Communications

  • Kristina Dotzauer 06/06/2017

    Overcoming a sea of challenges with integrated offshore service logistics

    Offshore wind power has come of age. The next-generation of wind power plants – larger, more complex, and further from shore – is now being installed. Markets and technologies are highly sophisticated and are constantly attracting more investment. But as offshore wind parks’ size and distance from shore increase, so do the challenges. Sophisticated projects demand sophisticated and flexible service and logistics to maintain performance. This includes a broad range of support vessels and well trained service technicians. With the chartered purpose built Jack-Up Vessel WIND SERVER from Ziton, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy is now the only company in the world with a permanently operating Jack-Up that is 100 percent dedicated to major component service work. Learn more about our enhanced service program for offshore wind power in this blog post.


    Technology is advancing at an ever quicker rate in the offshore wind power business. Turbines are getting bigger and more powerful. Less than three decades ago, we installed the world’s first offshore wind plant at Vindeby off the coast of Denmark – with a combined capacity of 4.95 megawatt (MW). Today single turbines can reach up to eight MW at sea. Some experts predict the first 10 MW turbines will be installed by the early 2020s.


    The European offshore wind industry attracted a record EUR 18.2 billion in new investments in 2016. This means an increase by 39 percent in 2015, WindEurope reports. After the record year 2015, 1.6 GW of new offshore wind power capacity was connected to the grid during 2016 in Europe alone.


    New challenges arise: How to ensure a reliable and cost effective service?


    Projects are being realized ever farther from shore in deep waters. In Europe, the average distance from shore lies above 43km. Most current new projects are in waters of about 35 to 40m deep. And some of them are starting to go even further offshore and into deeper water. This places new demands on us and our customers: How can we operate and maintain these highly-sophisticated wind power plants efficiently? How can we manage the rough weather conditions on high-sea? How can we ensure reliable wind turbine service and keep lowering costs? What kind of service concepts do we need to reduce travel times for far-distant wind power plants?


    Siemens Gamesa experts have worked on answers and the development of new ways to confront the ocean’s rigorous demands while keeping investment risks for customers low. From 2025 onward, Siemens Gamesa offshore projects will be capable of generating electricity at an LCoE (levelized cost of energy) level lower than 80 EUR per MWh – including the cost of accessing the grid.


    Sophisticated support vessels are needed


    An important part of the solution is to upgrade support vessels. As the industry expands, more vessels will be needed for turbine construction, installation work, and especially ongoing service and maintenance.


    As the global leader in offshore wind service, Siemens Gamesa takes great pride in bringing an innovative concept, designed specifically for far-from-shore locations, to fruition. With our highly flexible logistics approach, using site-specific customized combination of helicopters, crew transfer vessels (CTVs), service operations vessels (SOVs) and jack-up vessels, we are truly leading the way in advancing the efficiencies, safety, and cost-effectiveness of offshore wind service.


    Higher availability with customized SOVs

    SOVIn June 2015, a new era in offshore wind service began as we formally christened the Esvagt Faraday and Froude, the wind industry’s first purpose-built SOVs. The results are impressive: During its first year of operation, the SOVs’ safety record proved to be excellent: only a few minor incidents involving finger cuts and splinters were reported. Of central importance to the SOV safety concept on board is the vessel’s state-of-the-art, walk-to-work gangway system from Ampelmann. Indeed, in the course of this first year, more than 7,400 technician transfers were made via the gangway without incident. The gangway has extended service availability in the Baltic Sea and North Sea to significant wave heights as high as 2.5m. As a result, the SOV’s availability compared to that of a CTV was considerably higher during its first year: 337 operational days compared to 219.


    With warehouse and helicopter landing platform


    “The biggest advantage of the SOV for us is that you have everything in one place,” says Sarah Lindner, our Service Operations Manager for Baltic II. The service team and technicians are based offshore on the vessel so you have no additional travel hours to and from the wind plant. You have all the spare parts you need in the 420 m² warehouse below deck. “Conventional offshore service concepts can easily face 24 hours of turbine downtime when a component fails,” says Michael Boll, Managing Director of Baltic II operator, EnBW, “this is not the case on board Froude.”


    Siemens Gamesa charters the vessels according to our obligations and operational demand. We constantly manage a fleet of vessels supporting different wind power plants from the Baltic Sea to the Dutch North Sea.


    And what happens when the sea shows its roughest side? It is the addition of a helipad on the latest two vessels that shows how the SOV concept has evolved: the Windea La Cour and Windea Leibniz. With the added possibility of transferring technicians from a helicopter to turbines via hoisting operations, the SOV’s service availability can now be extended when it reaches its operational wave height limit of 2.5 m.


    Jack-up vessels are essential for service


    As mentioned above wind turbine technology is developing quickly, resulting in both plants and also their components getting bigger. When a technician is not able to carry or lift a heavy component to the turbine’s top, another type of service vessels comes into play: the jack-up. Apart from using them to install wind turbines, jack-up vessels are playing an ever more important role in a comprehensive service concept.


    Our B75 blade (75m length), for example, weighs about 25 tons – equivalent to the weight of four bull elephants. A huge loading crane is required to get one of these replaced. Only jack-ups are big enough to carry such constructions and enable a safe work environment for such tasks.


    Jack-up enables blade exchange in one work-shift


    In order to address major component exchange operations, we began a three-year charter agreement for Ziton’s new purpose built jack-up vessel, called Wind Server. Delivered in 2016, the vessel is purpose-built for maintenance and service operations and will be part of an initiative to service the rising number of large-scaled offshore wind power projects across Northern Europe. It allows us to keep the vessel ready for fast mobilization, reducing the required lead time for projects throughout the entire length of a service agreement.


    We can for example complete a single blade exchange in one shift in wind speeds up to 12m/s – within two weeks. Now we are the only company in the world with a permanently operating Jack-Up that is 100 percent dedicated to major component exchanges. Hereby we have utilized the opportunity to adjust and fine tune the vessel setup and the operation execution: Jacking operations planned well in advance can significantly reduce the chartering costs and lower downtime as turbines become operational again more quickly.


    What’s next?


    As wind plants continue to evolve let’s have a look into the future: We will be focusing on the concept of ‘multi-wind-farm SOVs.’ This means the vessels will be designed and built to cater to different wind farms with different tidal and turbine platform (TP) heights, which is quite common in UK & North Sea waters. To help us achieve this we are looking into gangway systems that can be adjusted in terms of height, opening up the opportunity for SOVs, CTVs and jack-ups to be shared between different offshore wind farms. With enhanced features and flexibility like this, it would appear that the next generation of Siemens Gamesa vessels is destined to take offshore service even further in the years ahead.


    This article was written by René Wigmans, Head of Maritime and Aviation Solutions at Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy.


    Follow our Twitter feed @Siemens_Energy and our LinkedIn showcase page to stay up to date on the latest energy-related developments and news.


    Sail away on an offshore journey and go on board of our service Jack-Up vessel – watch the video!



    Download the offshore service logistics infographic!

  • Kristina Dotzauer 26/05/2017

    Power to the people

    A steady supply of electricity seems simply normal in many parts of the world. But in other regions, its absence makes development nearly impossible. This can be changed.


    I have been working as a correspondent in China for 12 years – long enough for me to remember the years when power outages used to be a problem in the Pearl River Delta. Factories used to solve it by putting diesel engines in their yards in order to generate their own power when the grid was down. The Delta is now among the biggest centers of industrial production in the world – this is where iPhones and iPads are made – and a lack of electricity does not play a big role in the region anymore. But elsewhere it does, and in much more severe forms.


    A few months ago, I interviewed a group of businesspeople from Nigeria and Ghana who were in Guangzhou, one of the main cities in the Pearl River Delta. They had come to buy merchandise like shoes, textiles, and household items to sell back home. Some parts of the delta are specialized in this sort of trade with Africa. It goes to the point where political parties from Africa turn to shops in Guangzhou to have their election slogans printed on t-shirts, ball-pens, and banners — instead of having this done by local companies.


    The chicken and the egg


    The Nigerian businesspeople in China told me that one of the chief obstacles that make it so hard to build up domestic production in many places in Africa is that there is no stable electricity supply. What’s more, in remoter areas there may not even be proper roads that would allow the transport of parts and machinery necessary to build a power plant and thus supply electricity.


    This is a hard problem to tackle, rather like the question what came first — the chicken or the egg: On one hand, power has to be available for there to be development. On the other hand, there has to be a degree of development already, for instance in traffic infrastructure, before a power grid can be built. Where to start?


    It was just after talking with the African businesspeople in Guangzhou that I got to speak about fast power with Tilman Harig, Siemens’ Head of Proposals and Order Implementation, Distributed Generation. One of the recent developments for fast power is the mobile power plants. I was interested to know if the mobile power plants from Siemens might be something that could work in the countries of the African businessmen I had just met.


    Bringing power to remote places


    It turned out that it could, given the demand. Fast power is tailored to the needs of rapidly developing countries in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. “When we look at countries that are on the cusp of development, the demand for electricity very quickly exceeds local supply,” Harig said. “The task then is to develop the infrastructure very quickly.”


    But how do you bring a power plant to an area that lacks the infrastructure that would be necessary to do so? In order to make this possible, the plant needs to be easy to transport and install. This is why fast power is based on standardized, pre-tested units that are versatile, can be used in a flexible way, and can easily be enlarged if the need arises. Most importantly, the modular design allows for mobility and speed. The aim is to have the plant connected to the grid six months after the contract is concluded.


    Once installed on site, the Siemens mobile power plants use turbines that can run on both oil and gas. Initially, I had wondered why renewables are not an option for such plants. But renewables need to be supplemented by other sources of energy in order to run a reliable supply. As a sole source of energy they tend not be feasible. The next best thing in terms of ecological impact is gas, but this is sometimes not available in the remote regions for which the plants are made. So oil has to be an option too.


    Wide scope


    While initially I had the African businessmen in mind when I talked about fast power with Tilman Harig, it turned out that its scope is much wider. An especially promising area of application, he told me, was South East Asia, particularly the Indonesian archipelago and adjacent island chains.


    The benefit is obvious: Many of the islands lie far from the main centers of development, but should still benefit from that growth. Fast power is especially straightforward to use in a maritime environment – the next port is never far away.


    While in many parts of the world, a steady power supply is not yet commonplace, mobile power plants contribute to transforming it into something that eventually can be taken for granted. Once it is, and the plants are no longer needed at their original location, they can be transported away and used elsewhere - until in that new place, too, a steady power supply becomes the norm one day.


    Our author Justus Krüger is an independent journalist based in Hong Kong.



    Follow our Twitter feed @Siemens_Energy and our LinkedIn showcase page to stay up to date on the latest energy-related developments and news .


  • Kristina Dotzauer 16/05/2017

    Consulting the Oracles of Oil Prices

    With an ability to aggregate and then assess an almost infinite set of factors influencing oil prices, experts in the field get particular respect from Middle East correspondent Ward Pincus.


    Like most people, I used to think of oil as just this smelly flammable liquid that you pump into your gas tank. But then I read Daniel Yergin’s “The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power.” This book is rightfully regarded as the definitive history of hydrocarbons. Written in an engaging style full of anecdotes, “The Prize” helped me to see that oil is not just another commodity.


    Instead, it’s something that impacts - and is impacted by - almost everything in the modern world. From the economy to the environment, from politics to plastics, oil and its price plays a central role.


    In fact, my big takeaway from the book was that during World War II, Germany faced a significant strategic disadvantage – as compared to the United States – because within its own borders it didn’t have the oil resources it needed to fuel its military’s tanks, trucks and aircraft.


    As Dubai-based oil expert Robin Mills said when interviewing him for this article on what’s next for global oil prices, hydrocarbons are an extremely efficient fuel for transportation. He made this point while talking about how increased use of renewables would impact future oil and gas demand in areas such as electricity production. But he said that when it comes to powering cars, trucks and planes, renewables still have some ways to go.


    His point reinforces the notion that oil and gas touch almost every aspect of our world, and it highlights why interviewing oil industry experts is so interesting.


    The Oracles of Oil


    To only slightly exaggerate, you can think of such a specialist as a modern day Oracle of Delphi, standing over the oil wells, sniffing the vapors and telling us our future. Of course, one big difference – and why it’s such a boon to interview them – is that they not only tell you whether prices will rise or fall, but they also provide as much detailed explanation as you’d like to hear.


    Because of the interplay between oil and almost everything else, these experts tend to be fluent across a broad range of topics, since understand prices means understanding not only economics and politics, but also fields such as history, geology, engineering and psychology.


    Then, they have to consider each of these data points, weight how much it will impact the price in comparison to every other influencing factor, and then divine a price – or, more often, a price range.


    Time flies by


    This encyclopedic view of the world that they offer – as well as a graciousness in fully explaining each point – is my excuse for spending at least twice as long interviewing Paul Markwell, Vice President of Global Upstream Oil & Gas Research & Consulting at IHS Markit, for the oil price article as was scheduled.


    My other excuse? The Vice Chairman of IHS Markit is “The Prize” author Daniel Yergin. That interview is probably as close to this famous oracle as I’m likely to get.


    Ward Pincus, based in Dubai, is a Middle East expert on science, technology, health, and business issues for various publications in North America, Europe, and the Middle East. He has repeatedly written about the oil price and innovations in the industry.


    Follow our Twitter feed @Siemens_Energy and our LinkedIn showcase page to stay up to date on the latest energy-related developments and news .


  • Denis Imamovic 09/05/2017

    Mobile Factory: Efficient and fast laying of gas-insulated lines

    In this blog post we want to talk about our newest innovation - the Mobile Factory Concept. With the innovation of our so-called ‘Mobile Factory’ (MF) we target to implement a highly automated welding and laying installation process for gas-insulated lines (GIL). The new system will replace the previously required project-specific assembly tent and is thus a time and cost-saving solution, which makes the GIL more competitive in long distance underground transmission.


    Significant cost reduction for long distances:


    The longer the installation distance the more efficient the Mobile Factory concept. Through its faster laying and welding process, the GIL becomes more favorable and competitive for underground transmission. Several Mobile Factories can work in parallel on different sections of the same transmission line, to intensify the work and to handle very long distances.


    Flexible and autonomous working system:


    The MF can either lay the GIL directly buried in the ground or in tunnels. Through its modular design, consisting of a so-called technology module and the tube magazine with its associated welding unit, the MF could be moved to nearly any desired location. Driven by four hydraulic engines, it can move independently on its crawler track with a speed of 4 km/h to the next position on site. Thereby it can overcome a gradient of up to 8 %. The Mobile Factory has its own energy supply and is therefore completely self-sufficient.


    Operating principle for a direct buried GIL:


    After finishing the excavation works, the Mobile Factory is positioned on the desired place on site. Now the tube storage system will be loaded by crane with the pre-assembled GIL. The tubes are thereafter automatically handled in the magazine with a maximum capacity of 8 tubes. A special aligning wagon lifts the tubes from the magazine and brings them to the welding place. There the tubes are pressed and welded together. After welding, a winch can pull the tube into the trench.


    After laying the GIL, the trench is backfilled with soil. To install very long routes in a limited time, a large number of work operations can be conducted in parallel using several mobile factories. Time advantages can be leveraged using this modular, parallelized method of construction. 



    This article was written by Denis Imamovic, Director of Power Transmission Lines at Siemens. Take a look at his previous pieces here!


    Follow our Twitter feed @Siemens_Energy and our LinkedIn showcase page to stay up to date on the latest energy-related developments and news .


  • Kristina Dotzauer 03/05/2017

    Energy is becoming a business model

    Energy consumption, energy supply, energy efficiency – the topic of energy is relevant for nearly every industry. In an age of increasing digitalization, new energy technologies and systems are the key to achieving optimized production. Thus, energy is becoming an economic factor. To support our customers during this development, we presented a wide range of energy-related products and services at this year’s Hannover Messe. These were our highlights.


    “The throng of people showed just how important the topic of energy has become across industries.” Thomas Linack and his colleagues were in charge of the Energy for Industry showcase, and he looks back on a tiring but successful week. The showcase was certainly one of the highlights at Hannover Messe 2017. “After all, electrical energy is the most important requirement for digitalization,” explains Linack. For efficient production, companies need a reliable power supply with a consistent quality at affordable prices. “That makes energy a competitive factor,” affirms Linack. “After all, energy accounts for as much as 40 percent of the production costs, especially in energy-intensive industries such as the steel industry.”


    Linack reflects on the week: “Our visitors were particularly interested in the changes in the energy landscape that have occurred as a result of digitalization.” New technologies and resources are paving the way for higher efficiency, safety, and availability. At the same time, the development of renewable energy resources and decentralization are influencing the supply quality. In this regard, state-of-the-art control technology and storage technologies play key roles. They manage energy to ensure that changes in the supply will not lead to production problems.


    Solutions for every need


    Yet what is the most intelligent and efficient way to do this? “With our Totally Integrated Power (TIP) portfolio, we are pursuing a holistic approach,” explains marketing manager Ottmar Lehmann. “It is about tailoring the supply to meet the different individual requirements. That is what our visitors are interested in.”


    TIP products are modular and can be integrated into any system. This ensures a reliable, safe, and efficient power supply with software and hardware products and solutions for all voltage levels. In addition to transformers and switchgear, the portfolio includes turnkey high-voltage substations and low-voltage and medium-voltage switchgear. Furthermore, we supply safe and cost-effective solutions from a single source: from the process-oriented planning of power supply systems to system design to a comprehensive range of services and system operation. This facilitates an infrastructure that is energy-efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly.


    From consumers to prosumers


    The fundamental requirement for an optimal energy management and the monitoring of consumption costs is the energy system. A change is taking place, a shift to a prosumer system that permits energy flows in several directions. Energy is no longer linear and supplied under limited market conditions; instead, it is supplied in a variety of ways. “There is a strong demand for distributed energy solutions in particular,” says DES sales consultant Max Starke. “These solutions can be designed and coordinated in such a way that the customers can tailor local energy generation and consumption based on current prices. This is the most efficient way for customers to reduce overall energy costs and enables them to help achieve Germany’s climate targets.” At our booth at Hannover Messe, we used a microgrid table – an interactive trade fair model – to show how power grids change as a result of different players.


    This change in the energy systems is based on the new opportunities coming about through intelligent technologies, the growing share of renewable energy sources, and the political objectives of reducing emissions and improving access to energy. Not only industrial companies but also homeowners are becoming “prosumers” who do not just take energy from the grid but can also feed energy into it. One advantage of distributed energy systems (DES) is that they are extremely versatile and can therefore benefit several different applications.


    The comprehensive energy consultation service was topped off by expert presentations on new technologies, practical applications, and new trends such as electrification meets automation.


    In our blog, you will find further information about TIP in different industries.


    Follow our Twitter feed @Siemens_Energy and our LinkedIn showcase page to stay up to date on the latest developments.

  • Kristina Dotzauer 20/04/2017

    Powerful insight for smarter business models

    Sprawling across the mountainous Andean coast, the El Arrayán Wind Farm provides up to two hundred thousand homes with electricity. Chile’s largest wind farm with a total capacity of 115 MW, the Siemens-managed farm offsets approximately 320 million tons of CO2 emissions per year. The formerly sleepy pace of development in Chile’s wind power market is now teeming with potential. Siemens’ data-driven approach to maximizing turbine efficiency and availability enables farms to use big data to their advantage. This not only unlocks greater production at lower lifecycle costs, it opens the door to new opportunities for growth and competitive sustainability.


    Siemens is helping wind energy companies develop innovative business models specifically designed to create additional business value by extracting, refining and ultimately capitalizing on data. Data-driven businesses have been demonstrated to have an output and productivity that is five to six percent higher than similar organizations who are not utilizing data-driven processes. In the wind industry, these boosts could mean the difference of millions in recovered revenue. More importantly, big data empowers wind energy companies to produce secure and viable energy decades into the future. Through condition-based maintenance, more efficient resource deployment, and improved fleet management, Siemens is using big data to help customers transform wind into a profitable asset for a sustainable future—harnessing insight today to generate smarter wind power for tomorrow.


    The big data era ushers in the age of the customer. Business models are changing from static and reactive to dynamic and proactive. Siemens condition-based monitoring allows timely maintenance before failure occurs to avoid consequential failure escalation and prepare necessary resources, such as spare parts, cranes, and time slot. At the same time this means increased availability and reduced lifecycle costs. High availability is crucial for the economies of any wind farm. Each time a technician makes a site visit, the turbine must be stopped, thereby reducing availability and reducing output for that time, whether it’s for hours or, in case of major components exchanges, days, or even weeks. When it comes to placing a value on a wind turbine asset, there is a direct relationship between availability and financial performance, with the extent of the influence that availability has on the return on equity for a wind investment often being higher than many realize. In practical terms, any increase in availability represents a pure financial benefit.


    “The new business models are moving away from pay as you go. In the future, there will be no scheduled visits. Turbines are checked remotely and then data and customer input decide when service is needed,” says Elizabeth Salerno, Head of Strategy at Siemens Wind Power Service. Operation and maintenance (O&M) costs constitute a sizeable share of the total annual cost of a wind turbine. By implementing a business model that reduces maintenance while simultaneously improving performance, companies can optimize their return on investment.


    Siemens provides the foundation for digital transformation that consists of a flexible product and service portfolio and digital solutions that enable customers to adjust operations on a short- and long-term basis. By moving away from regularly scheduled service visits, customers can align maintenance to production schemes. For example, maintenance can be adjusted to periods of low wind, thereby keeping turbines spinning during high winds. On another level, this flexible portfolio positions both Siemens and customers to adapt and respond better to changing market demands.


    From vibration diagnostics to the case management application, Siemens uses interconnected digital technology to enhance its own workflows. “The most notable changes will be the massive decreases in costs from automation of physical and cognitive processes. Digitalization will change our business model in ways we have not foreseen yet,” says Allan Larsen, Project Manager at Siemens Wind Power. Already, Siemens is using more smart technologies, such as iPads in the field, to simplify technicians’ daily business. Before, maintenance could be held up by extensive paper traffic. Now every document is accessible online—and much easier to handle for technicians working in tight spaces. What’s more, various teams can document their work, email questions, troubleshoot, and give feedback from wherever they are, quickly, and directly—without losing precious time. By streamlining its own workflows, Siemens is able to offer higher quality services at better prices.


    Digital services have to be built upon domain expertise. Without the deep understanding of products and processes that characterizes Siemens’ approach, a purely IT-based focus on service wouldn’t be able to generate the added value that Siemens guarantees. If a customer’s market experiences an upsurge in power prices, he or she has the option of running turbines at maximum output with no downtime. Conversely, if a customer’s turbine needs maintenance, he or she can decide when and how the turbine is serviced, as it fits into the site-specific plan. “The flexibility in how we can deliver data will leapfrog our current models and allow us to partner with our customers in new ways. Digitalization will keep us ahead of the curve in what our customers expect in the future,” adds Larsen.


    The opportunity of big data is immeasurable to business growth within the wind industry. By collecting and analyzing nearly every factor of operation, from turbine sensor data to optimal maintenance time to product development, Siemens is creating unprecedented transparency of wind farm management. These advanced analytics can be used in the future to identify emerging markets, new sites and regions, and create plans tailored to individual site conditions and customer objects. Big data will revolutionize the wind industry’s business model.


    From the Butendiek Offshore Wind Farm in Germany to the Huay Bong Farm in central Thailand, from the massive turbines in the North American wind corridor to the coastal Santa Isabel wind farm in Puerto Rico, to the Chile’s largest wind farm, El Arrayán, Siemens is transforming the wind industry with the power of big data. Higher outputs, lower costs, and sustainable production define the future of wind energy, and Siemens is harnessing powerful insight today to generate smarter wind 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.


    Follow our Twitter channel @SiemensEnergy and our LinkedIn showcase page to keep up with the latest news and developments in the energy industry!


  • Kristina Dotzauer 20/04/2017

    Powerful insight for smarter wind turbine products

    In the heart of the picturesque Caribbean Sea, 44 Siemens turbines sit on a stretch of farmland along the southern coast of Puerto Rico. The Santa Isabel Wind Farm is the island’s first commercial-scale project. Installed in 2012, the farm was slated to produce 101MW of power. Today, without having to erect a single additional turbine, the facility now injects another 20MW, or an additional 15 percent, of clean energy into Puerto Rico’s power grid.


    The boost in Santa Isabel’s output is the result of an aftermarket add-on known as Siemens’ patented Power Curve Upgrade. Using turbine sensor data collected and analyzed at the Remote Diagnostic Center, Siemens’ Research and Development team designed a three-part package enabling turbines to better utilize the wind. These add-on components are strategically placed along the blade length to expand the blade profile near the root, improve the trailing edge flow characteristics, and improve the flow along the blade surface. The upgrade enables the turbine to get more energy out of the same infrastructure.


    Operational data senses opportunities


    Through data-driven engineering, Siemens creates innovative new products that respond to specific turbine and customer needs. At Santa Isabel, where steady coastal winds push in from the sea, operational data sensed an opportunity for higher turbine yield. Data analysts then modeled a digital twin to calculate the potential increase if the Power Curve upgrade was implemented, and the subsequent virtual boost in the annual energy production (AEP) led to its actual installation at the wind farm in 2014. This is just another way Siemens uses big data to deliver real value, harnessing insight today for smarter wind power tomorrow.


    Innovation in wind energy technologies is accelerating at an exponential pace. This is largely due to the sheer amount of big data being collected on a daily basis, affording greater transparency in operations and management. As part of their service portfolio, Siemens brings to the forefront some of the most advanced data-driven products in the industry. For example, Siemens High Wind Ride Through (HWRT) functionality, which is an intelligent solution for both onshore and offshore wind turbines that enables more stable energy production. When the wind speed is higher than 25 meters per second, wind turbines typically shut down to avoid overload. Equipped with the HWRT system, the wind turbine will moderate power output instead of shutting down completely. The wind turbine becomes more grid-compatible, wear and tear is reduced, and overall production increases. At the West Wind Farm in New Zealand, this upgrade was installed on all 62 wind turbines at the site, and has resulted in a marked improvement of two percent in annual energy generation and a reduction in high-wind speed losses of 80 percent.


    Similarly, the Siemens extreme cold weather product, called Operation With Ice (OWI), enables stable energy output in even the coldest environments when a shutdown would normally occur. With OWI, power is remotely and intentionally reduced through dynamic speed control and blade pitch strategies to maintain and optimize the turbine’s output. By doing so, OWI maximizes performance by minimizing the downtime due to ice buildup on the blades, thereby increasing availability and overall AEP in extremely cold climate conditions.


    Standalone data-driven products


    Yet, Siemens understands the impracticality of installing new turbines every time a significant upgrade is available. That is why 80% of all Siemens’ data-driven products are standalone. “Siemens Research and Development team wants to improve products—not sell products,” states Jimm Feldborg, the Head of Product Life Cycle Management. “Product development starts with customer value. It must provide a direct cost benefit or capacity/monetary benefit.”


    Still, these benefits can be offered on turbines that are as little as four or five years old, which was the case at the Santa Isabel Wind Farm. Through advanced data analysis, Siemens is able to know when it is best for customers to entertain the idea of implementing modernizations and upgrades. Feldborg explains it through an iceberg analogy: “A one percent production increase offsets a ten percent cost decrease, so Siemens considers both performance gains and cost reductions. But those are just the tip of the iceberg. The biggest value is the enormous opportunities that digitalization affords below the surface.” By installing data-driven upgrades, customers benefit from long-term optimization and lifecycle extension. As previously mentioned, with the right products and services, Siemens turbines can operate smarter and more efficiently.


    The bottom line is that no matter the product - Power Curve Upgrade, High Wind Ride Through, or the Operation With Ice de-icing system - Siemens works with customers to do anything they can to customize and optimize the turbines that are already installed in the field. When proven technologies meet industry-leading innovations, the entire energy value chain reaps the rewards. Siemens’ data-driven products ensure efficient and reliable wind turbine service and keep lowering costs. With over 200 gigabytes of new turbine data flooding the Remote Diagnostic Center every day, Siemens will continue to innovate unprecedented solutions for unprecedented challenges, harnessing powerful insight to generate smarter wind 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.


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