Upwind Blog

San Diego - UpWind Solutions, Inc., the wind industry’s most comprehensive operations and maintenance (O&M) service provider, has installed Vortex Generator  (VG) technology at six of BP Wind Energy’s wholly-owned US wind farms:  Titan 1, in South Dakota; Edom Hills in California, Flat  Ridge 1 in Kansas; and Trinity Hills, Silver Star 1 and Sherbino 2 in Texas.  When several hundred VGs are installed on wind turbine blades, they can improve aerodynamic efficiency and can increase the power generated by the turbines.

Recently I was asked the question, why should owners inspect their wind turbines? It was a straight forward question from a colleague looking for an honest answer. Having been in the wind industry 10+ years the simplicity of the question caught me off guard.  The first thought that came to my mind was; why don’t owners inspect their assets more!

“Server virtualization is the masking of server resources, including the number and identity of individual physical servers, processors, and operating systems, from server users. The server administrator uses a software application to divide one physical server into multiple isolated virtual environments.” Source: TechTarget

A wind park typically has several OEM servers such as: Real-Time SCADA Server, Database Server, and Remote Access Server, all of which take up substantial space and require a lot of man power to ensure they run at peak performance. Most wind parks which have servers that have been running since COD are out of warranty (or soon to be), the parts needed to support are becoming harder and harder to find, and they are limited by legacy software restrictions. Often, in the event of failures, support staff are required to reach out to the OEM who in turn install their own proprietary applications costing tens of thousands of dollars.

UpWind brings Josh Crayton on board to help lead and innovate the team’s blade operations and maintenance (O&M) services. Josh brings nine years of wind turbine blade O&M experience. He is the new Business Manager of Blade Services and will be helping wind farm owners extend the life of their assets and improve production through blade upgrades and reliability-centered maintenance for blades.

Peter Drucker once said “Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes.”

Knowledge comes from experience and data that can also be expressed as information for teaching or learning and for reference purposes. In the digital world we have created a new phenomenon, namely ‘Big Data’. If you look these words up on the internet, you might find a definition that goes something like this “Data sets, typically consisting of billions or trillions of records that are so vast and complex that they require new and powerful computational resources to process”.

UpWind Solutions builds their performance engineering team by adding AnneMarie Graves who brings 11 years of experience assessing performance and reliability of wind projects. She is the new Director of Performance Engineering and will be directly involved in helping UpWind analyze their +3 GW fleet of O&M projects in order to reduce cost, increase production, and improve reliability over the lifetime of the asset.

About three years ago we decided to make our brand promise “A Higher Standard of Service™”. It wasn’t because we are arrogant, or believe we are better than others, but purely because we wanted to establish a bar for ourselves and an expectation for our customers. The question is, how do we measure or benchmark for this goal?

We measure customer satisfaction and drive continuous improvement through our quality program and while this is an important exercise, it does not benchmark our service level against the industry. We needed to find another approach, a true benchmark, with an acceptable unbiased method by which to measure it. So, in March this year we commissioned DNV GL to undertake an ‘O&M Capabilities Assessment’ of UpWind in order to gain insight to the critical questions, “how good are we” and “how do we compare to others”?