>5000 TURBINES REMOTELY OPERATED
CO2 FREE ELECTRICITY WITH A SMALL WATER AND WASTE FOOTPRINT
As the operator of a global fleet of 8.5 GW, EDPR places great attention on effectively managing its assets. A cornerstone of this process is to ensure that operations and maintenance costs are kept to a minimum throughout the useful life of the wind farms.
In addition to its leading O&M strategy and remote operations infrastructure, EDPR continues to seek gains year after year in other areas such as improved warehouse logistics, better power forecasting and leaner operations. Minor improvements in any of these areas multiply into significant cost savings for the company and its shareholders.
IMPROVING POWER FORECASTING
During the day-to-day operation of a wind farm, forecasting plays a critical role as it allows EDPR to accurately predict the future energy generation. If wind farms are able to accurately forecast there energy production they can minimize imbalance costs and help improve the energy system as a whole. Energy imbalances happen when actual production or usage of energy is lower/higher that the scheduled amount. If a wind farm produces less energy that it forecasted it will have to pay the energy system authority for this deviation. To avoid such costs it is imperative that wind farm energy forecasts are as accurate as possible.
As with layout optimization, forecasting of energy production falls on EDPR’s energy assessment team. In this case state-of-the art physical and statistical modelling is used to predict the wind resource for all our wind farms on an hourly basis. The availability of on-site wind data and advances in meteorological modelling has significantly helped improve the forecasting ability over the last years. However certain challenges remain such as accounting for thermal winds, complex terrain, very high winds and the impact from icing.
To deal with some of these problems EDPR has implemented a successful program to identify and correct periods of curtailment or unavailability. Our teams periodically analyse the millions of data points collected to identify problems and implement corrections. This program has resulted in a 10% improvement in the forecasting of production from some critical wind farms throughout 2013.
EDPR’s top line revenues are the result of the product of two key factors, energy generated and selling price. As a result, selling the energy generated at attractive prices whilst reducing volatility is as important as maximizing production.
EDPR’s energy management team uses long-term power purchasing agreements signed with local off takers to stabilize the energy price received for as long as 20 years. Additionally, depending on the specificities of each contract, exposure to other market uncertainties is also reduced. 93% of EDPR’s capacity is covered either by the regulatory stability of country specific frameworks or long-term PPAs and the remaining 7% is exposed to the changes in energy spot markets. To further reduce its exposure to spot markets, following our low risk strategy, EDPR uses short-term hedging instruments to sell energy at fixed prices.
During 2013 EDPR signed 1,200 MW of long-term PPA in the US and contracted short-term hedges in at least 4 geographies.
M3 MAINTENANCE SYSTEM
During the first years of a wind farm’s life, operations and maintenance of the wind turbine generators is usually guaranteed by the turbine manufacturer. Once this period has finished, EDPR must decide on the optimal maintenance system that will reduce costs, whilst maintaining high levels of availability. To deal with this problem EDPR has implemented a successful O&M program called M3 (Modular Maintenance Model). Depending on the country, turbine type, historical performance and other technical aspects, our O&M teams will decide on the optimal balance between external contractors and in-house maintenance. Usually, EDPR keeps control of high value-added activities such as maintenance planning, logistics and remote operations while outsourcing, under direct supervision, people intensive tasks.
This strategy has resulted in high costs savings for the company. When compared with other post-warranty wind farms under full scope O&M contracts, the costs savings achieve 15% and reaches 20% when compared with wind farms under their initial warranty.
EDPR’S LEAN PROGRAM
Launched in 2011, EDPR’s Lean program focuses on optimizing process across the company’s business using the leansix sigma methodology. The objective is to leverage front-line personnel ideas and experience to improve the company’s revenues and costs, improve safety and reduce environmental impact.
Within this strategy EDPR has implemented two programs, “Daily Lean” and “Lean improvement”. The first applies continuous improvement to the day-to-day activities at our wind farms, with the objective of reducing repetitive and non-value added tasks. Improving the tracking of repaired components and warehouse layout are two examples of the results of this program.
The second program “Lean Improvement”, developed together between our performance engineers and our field personnel, identifies and solves issues that are common to a fleet of turbines or part of a fleet. This program implemented changes that help reduce the impact of lightning damage and reduce gearbox overheating among many others.
A GREEN ENERGY WITH A SMALL FOOTPRINT
EDPR is very conscious of the importance of proper management of environmental matters in the wind farms in operation, which is assured through the Environmental Management System (EMS). The system ensures compliance with legal requirements and focuses on relevant environmental aspects, while setting environmental objectives and targets to improve environmental performance at country and platform levels. In the US, EDPR has completed the implementation of an EMS for all of its operating wind farms and the platform is currently pursuing ISO 14001 certification.