The case for resiliency in the wind industry post pandemic

Urban resilience by Daan Snells

Life after the pandemic should indeed not be the same. We have all been put in house arrest, and as we come towards the end of this reflection period we have realised that we as a species are resilient. For those of us in the energy sector, wind has consistently proven to be a viable challenger to O&G. Wind energy has resulted in cost and carbon savings both as it reached 44 dollars per kilowatt hour in 2020. But is the wind industry as a sector resilient?

Europe has pledged to increase wind energy production through the European Green Deal by 5 times the current amount of 15% while pushing for digitisation as a means to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 simultaneously. Energy transition and digitisation are two of three pillars of the European Industrial Policy directive. Even in countries without political will; the wind industry shows no sign of stopping as the US became the second largest investor in wind assets in 2019. Therefore, the case for considering resiliency has never been more relevant.

For one, let us separate reliability and resilience. The argument for the O&G industry to continue Business-as-Usual is that it is always reliable 100% of the time. You do not rely on the temperament of the environment on any given day. However O&G has proven time and time again that it is not a resilient sector. Resiliency on the other hand, is the ability to survive and thrive when faced with shocks, the ability to adapt and adjust.

This is where wind energy production comes in. We can adjust the production levels to demand and the sector does not require heavy manpower to operate. Even in times of crisis like Covid-19, wind energy remains a top performer in markets. The roaring growth of wind energy can be sustained through investments that make it resilient. Through digitisation and by using technology, we have the ability to monitor wind assets remotely. Digitisation allows wind engineers to detect problems, whether their assets are onshore or offshore, at scale. It also allows them to increase their AEP if the demand requires it.

The need for reflection on the roadmap for our industry’s future is critical. This is a conversation for those who have invested in wind assets and want a resale value as much as it is for asset managers or wind engineers. A resilient wind sector means a win for all.

(Illustration Credit to Daan Snells on Dribble)

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