Published: 21 July 2021 21 July 2021
Gordon MAs the wind industry matures and a growing number of wind turbines reach obsolescence, the industry needs to work collaboratively to make assets more efficient, tackle new challenges and create sustainability in the O&M supply chain.
By Gordon Mina, Head of Sales, Renewable Parts, UK
The service industry is under pressure to cut costs, fuelled by the success of independent service providers (ISPs) and continued market liberalisation, inevitable in a maturing industry where knowledge disseminates over time and opportunities to step away from incumbent OEMs increase.
As owner/operators choose self-maintenance options across assets they face the same problems OEMs did five years ago, including cost pressures to maintain more megawatts with less headcount or managing a parts inventory across multiple storage locations.
The UK is coming to a peak of turbines reaching 10-year anniversaries, with more reaching this milestone in the next two years than in the previous six years combined. Of these, 20% are from OEMs that no longer exist and models that are no longer manufactured. Europe will also see a sharp increase in the proportion of installed capacity reaching the second half of its design life, resulting in a demand for more parts, often ones that are harder to source.
In this environment of increased cost pressures and ageing fleets, much of which is either obsolete or outdated, it can be hard to balance long-term availability of turbines against shorter-term operational decisions. The following aspects exacerbate the situation:
Collaboration with the Supply Chain
There is not just one solution to the challenges faced by the O&M sector but rather a toolkit of solutions which can be applied as required:
The O&M supply chain is evolving to meet demands, but the greatest improvements will come with increased collaboration. As with other mature industries, the make-or-buy decision will become more of a consideration and with it the opportunity exists for service providers to increase efficiency, innovate and become more sustainable.
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