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Digitalisation is already playing a major role in the growth of wind energy, but it can still drive further improvements in operational efficiency, decision making and cost efficiency – if it can overcome concerns around data sharing. This is the key finding of the report ‘Digitalisation and the Future of the Wind Energy Industry’ published by DNV GL.
 
Based on a survey of almost 2000 engineers and senior executives from across the energy sector, the report assesses the current progress of digitalisation and identifies the top priorities for and barriers to further growth.
 
DNV GL’s Energy Transition Outlook report forecasts a 15-fold escalation in wind-powered generation from 1.1 PWh in 2018 to 17 PWh in 2050. In terms of installed electricity generation capacity, the amount of wind energy will increase more than 8 times by 2050 to 5TW globally.
 
Digital technologies have been one of the key reasons behind wind power’s growth to date. The report reveals that digitalisation will also be vital in achieving the wind energy industry’s ambitious future growth targets. In particular, the industry considers improving operational efficiency (identified by 52% of respondents), decision making (42%) and cost efficiency (40%) as the top priorities for further digitalisation.
 
However, the report also highlights that the benefits of digitalisation could be threatened by issues over sharing data and limited willingness to provide more transparency. Such doubts are particularly felt in the offshore sector where concerns over data sharing (37% of respondents) and inability to access data (25%) were cited as the biggest barriers to further digitalisation. Interestingly, barriers related to data were a greater concern in the wind industry than in other parts of the energy sector. Other potential barriers identified include digital skills gaps within the industry and organisations focusing on other priorities.
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