• Canvass Updates

The Importance of AI as Wind Energy O&M Costs Are Set to Soar


As North America froze through the polar vortex, the 2019 Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) Operations and Maintenance (O&M) Summit was held in Mississauga, Ontario. With a recent projection that by 2021, operating expenditure (OPEX) for North American wind power plants will not only eclipse capital expenditure (CAPEX), but increase by 40% in the next decade - there was good reason for those in the industry to brave the weather and attend the conference.


"By 2021, operating expenditure (OPEX) for North American wind power plants will not only eclipse capital expenditure (CAPEX), but increase by 40% in the next decade."

According to IHS Markit, this critical turning point is being driven in part by more turbines being added, but it is the aging turbine fleet which is where O&M costs are expected to soar. It is estimated that by 2030, the average age of the North American wind turbine fleet will reach 14 years. With aging turbines comes a raft of issues, such as degradation of energy generated (it’s reported that a turbine will produce twice as much electricity in its first year in commission than when it is 15 years old) and an increase in major component failure, leading to unplanned downtime. This means today’s focus for wind facilities must be on how they can maximize performance, improve operational efficiencies and reduce unplanned downtime as their fleet matures.



Because of the variability of wind facilities, such as age, size and location, there is not a one-size-fits-all approach that can be applied to optimizing O&M strategies. This is where Artificial Intelligence (AI) is stepping up the plate as an essential capability to help today’s wind facility operators optimize their facility based on data that is generated directly from their fleet. With Canvass AI, operators are given direct visibility into the parameters that are important and the relationship between them that may impact performance, increase component wear and reduce power output.  AI is shepherding in a new era where wind energy facilities can move from situational/post-production awareness to comprehension and prediction​. So instead of looking to why something happened after the fact, you can use the data generated in the facilities to predict and control the desired outcomes. 


"With Canvass AI, operators are given direct visibility into the parameters that are important and the relationship between them that may impact performance, increase component wear and reduce power output."

For a wind facility, these insights can help you implement predictive maintenance strategies to maximize the lifespan of your assets, reduce repair and replacement costs, and experience less unplanned downtime. For one of Canvass’ customers, the ability to model the power curve helped them to accurately predict expected power output for energy supply forecasting.  The applications are limitless for an industry that is highly susceptible to its dynamic environment – something those of us experiencing the polar vortex can appreciate this very week. 


If you are interested in learning more about how Canvass AI can help you to maximize performance, improve operational efficiencies and reduce unplanned downtime contact us today.