New research from the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult published today (Wednesday 22 May) is highlighting the advantages to the UK offshore wind sector of investing in in-house data expertise to realise the benefits of the fourth industrial revolution.
The recommendation has come from a report summarising the findings from ORE Catapult’s five Data Pilots projects, commissioned by The Crown Estate, in which the Catapult worked with industrial partners in the offshore wind sector to solve operational challenges by using modern digital techniques.
The aim was to build an evidence base underlining the importance of embracing data and digital innovations to help lower the cost of offshore wind energy and accelerate the transition to a low carbon economy.
Emerging as a central theme from each of the five projects was a lack of understanding about the raw data produced by assets, and how to translate and use this data effectively to enhance operations. Data sets from windfarms are often large and poorly formatted and experts are required to prepare and analyse this kind of information. Investing in hiring and training data engineers and scientists could help the industry improve efficiency in the design, operations and maintenance of offshore renewable energy plant.
Also, Machine Learning and AI, which both have huge potential to improve and streamline data processing and analysis, are not well understood in the offshore renewable energy sector and are not being used to their full potential.
Dr Conaill Soraghan, Data & Digitalisation Team Leader at ORE Catapult, said: “Through our Data Pilots programme, it has become clear that there is a significant need for companies to invest in data expertise as an in-house resource. The Data Pilots have highlighted the specific areas that companies should focus on developing skills in, such as machine learning, dashboarding and benchmarking.
“We also know that organisations are struggling with data processing. For example, we work with companies to help them bring their data to life by building digital dashboards which can add huge value to their operations.
“For global technology firms, data and technological innovation are the raw materials that drive their businesses. Offshore renewable organisations must follow their lead or risk being left behind in the fourth industrial revolution.”
Adrian Fox, Head of Offshore Assets at The Crown Estate, commented: “Together with the team at ORE Catapult, we’re working to help the UK offshore wind sector unlock the benefits of data analysis, visualisation and insight; exploring how some of today’s operational issues could be resolved faster and more accurately using state of the art techniques.
“The focus on driving value from data will no doubt bring real benefits to industry, helping maintain offshore winds’ leading position as the renewable energy solution of choice for the UK, and supporting UK talent to lead the fourth industrial revolution.”