UL and Onyx Insight collaborate on expanded technologies for wind energy

Global safety science company UL, specialising in the technical development, evaluation and optimisation of renewable energy projects, has deepened its collaboration with provider of data analytics and engineering expertise to the global wind industry Onyx Insight.
UL and Onyx Insight collaborate on expanded technologies for wind energy
Courtesy of NREL.

The businesses are collaborating on an expanded life evaluation programme, using UL’s wind forecasting and structural assessment with Onyx Insight’s operations and maintenance expertise and predictive technology to help operators enhance performance — and clean energy generation — from their maturing assets.

More than 15 percent of wind projects will reach approximately two decades of operation in 2022. As assets age, they can become less reliable, leaving operators with three main choices to safeguard their investment: repowering, decommissioning or life extension. By removing uncertainty around crucial maintenance decisions, advanced analysis and monitoring technology are helping to transform the economics of life extension and deliver ongoing revenue for asset owners at an affordable cost.

Onyx Insight and UL’s collaboration includes a review of over 100 GW of assets globally. It also covers technical advisory services on acquisitions involving turbine technical review, evaluation of target sites and operational expenditure forecasts. The businesses have built on their collaboration with recent life evaluation projects involving hundreds of turbines across a range of makes and models. The expansion of the collaboration will enhance UL’s in-house structural analysis with drivetrain evaluation capabilities and structural health monitoring for turbines, towers and foundations through Onyx Insight’s advanced sensing solutions and analytics.

UL’s deep track record of life evaluation work includes structural assessment — including turbine, tower and foundation — to ascertain turbine capabilities and estimates of a turbine’s useful life. Operators need data on key structural components, including tower and foundation health, to calculate risk levels and projected maintenance costs, allowing them to assign budgets confidently and justify key choices to investors. Onyx Insight’s foundation monitoring hardware unlocks additional data streams for analysis, feeding into an informed predictive maintenance strategy and reducing operations and maintenance costs.

“When assets near the end of their original life cycles, operators will consider two key objectives: maintaining safety and profitability” said Jeremy Tchou, Director of UL’s Wind Advisory for North America. “We are proud to partner with Onyx Insight to help asset operators achieve these goals using in-house structural analysis and advanced monitoring technology, arming them with the data they need to deliver for their stakeholders. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with Onyx Insight as we drive to support the energy transition through innovative solutions.”

Dr. Ashley Crowther, Chief Commercial Officer, Onyx Insight, added that successfully extending the life of a project can mean reducing the cost of operations in the long-term as the project ages.

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