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Key takeaways from ACP OMS 2024 for operators and asset owners

ACP Operations, Maintenance & Safety 2024: The conference brought asset owners, service providers, industry experts, vendors and manufactures together once again.  As ACP continues to grow across renewables, the topics covered increasingly include solar, storage, and other technologies at a high level view. In this article I will describe the tone and setting of the OMS conference along with key aspects which highlight the themes I picked up throughout the three day conference.

Tone and Setting

Compared to past years, the floor and number of vendors were significantly decreased.  This created a more intimate setting for guests to engage on issues, solutions, and market trends and topics.  Owner-operators were able to easily find contractors/vendors and contractor/vendors were able to obtain long sought after meetings.  Excitement was a common theme at the conference, and it seemed many who attended were focused on the operation of wind assets, minimizing maintenance costs, and safe and quick execution of the work.

The common goal being: we are one industry and we are successful if we are all successful

Key Technical Themes

Climate Risk

Ever increasing events, caused by the effects of climate change (i.e., damaging hail, more frequent and intense hurricanes, record setting wildfires, etc.) have driven many asset owners to focus resources and investments on mitigation solutions. Solar farms in hail prone regions, for example, are particularly concerned with environmental trends. Frequent climate change related topics that were discussed include:  

  • Tracking of climate driven events,
  • Statistical analysis to understand the frequency of these events, and
  • Operational strategies to minimize the affects of an event on a solar, wind and/or BESS farm

Through renewable industries acknowledgement of human caused climate change, industry leaders are stepping up to problem solve events such as the Midway, TX hailstorm. This event resulted in the loss of approximately 400,000 panels in 2019. 

Wind turbine life extension and repower

Through diligent maintenance of operational wind assets, owners and operators are communicating they are ready to pivot to capture additional value from their wind farms while providing new life to others. Whether life extension or repower is being considered, the steps necessary in evaluating a wind farm are not always clear and are typically approached differently from one operator to the next (e.g., foundation assessment, energy assessment, product evaluation, component life, etc.). 

Though a universally accepted path is not defined for how to approach life extension and/or repower of wind farms, the need for such a path is clear. It was great to see discussion and development of simple approaches which can be delivered in a timely manner prior to investment of funds and resources in the project.

Are Blades the New Gearbox?

The wind industry continues to struggle with blade reliability. This is driving an increasing need for internal blade inspections and in an already resource constrained area. “Down time” of a wind turbine awaiting inspection and subsequent repairs or replacement expose owners and operators to a financial risk.  Continuing to create the space in technical forums to problem solve, trouble shoot and collaborate is essential in building toward a solution. 

Conclusion

ACP OMS has historically been a place where the wind and now solar and BESS industries come together to understand technical solutions, the latest in repair methods, meet knowledgeable vendors, and challenge each other to think differently with the common goal of seeing the success of an oversized impact on the energy transition occurs. 

The industry has and will continue to lean on ACP to lead the renewable industry in this space. By ensuring a forum where diversity and equity are modelled and exemplified, ACP will continue to amplify the focused theme of Operations, Maintenance and Safety needs.  I look forward to seeing how ACP tackles these challenges in ACP OMS 2025.

Stay healthy, stay aware, stay safe.

 

3/15/2024 4:50:00 PM

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Claire Haack

Claire Haack

Head of Department - Engineering & Environmental Permitting

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