Duke Energy invests in Sentient Science technology to reduce costs, improve wind-fleet operations
Duke Energy Renewables and Sentient Science have partnered in a digitalization strategy to continue to safely manage and reduce the cost of maintaining Duke Energy’s wind turbines.
Duke Energy Renewables owns or manages 4,000 MW of wind assets and has realized tremendous savings by shifting to in-house operations and maintenance (O&M) over the past few years.
“We have teams dedicated to understanding the ways emerging technologies like Sentient Science’s DigitalClone® Live can improve our operations,” said Jeff Wehner, vice president of Renewable Operations at Duke Energy. “By integrating this technology platform and data with our systems, we can continue to cut costs, provide our wind technicians with the right data to be more efficient, and produce more reliable wind energy.”
Duke Energy Renewables also provides operations and maintenance services to third-party wind-turbine owner-operators seeking to reduce their costs.
“We’ve estimated that these operators can save significant O&M costs by using an independent services provider,” Wehner said. “As wind fleets across the U.S. age and wear increases, emerging technologies will be important in driving future cost savings. Duke Energy Renewables is making investments now to ensure we have state-of-the-art tools for our technicians, replacement teams, and asset managers. After we have some experience in our own fleet, we expect to offer this enhanced service to other operators who contract with us.”
Duke Energy Renewables structured a pilot program with Sentient Science to evaluate how its materials science-based software DigitalClone Live predicts failure risk and forecasts gearbox health over a multi-year period. Sentient Science digitalized GE 1.5MW-rated machines within Duke Energy’s operational fleet and identified specific wind turbines with observable damage in the gearbox, which would eventually lead to failure. Duke Energy Renewable Services confirmed the software predictions and proactively scheduled uptower replacements.
“Together, we are transforming the operations and maintenance sector for wind,” said Ward Thomas, CEO and president of Sentient Science. “By investing in cutting-edge technologies like DigitalClone, Duke Energy Renewables is opening new business opportunities, cutting costs, and delivering reliable energy to their customers. The Internet of Things isn’t just for consumers. It’s changing the way utilities behave to reduce their levelized cost of energy, further helping renewables compete with traditional energy sources.”
Implementation on the multi-year digitalization and life extension contract is well underway. Duke Energy Renewables’ wind fleet has been added to Sentient Science’s network of 20,000 wind turbines. Sentient Science monitors 400,000 bearings and 100,000 gears in real time to extend asset life, mitigate early stage damage, and prevent failure.
Source: Sentient Science