Youwind Renewables integrates engineering and cost data to efficiently model key technical and financial indicators and assess the viability of offshore wind projects.

There’s no denying that constructing an offshore wind farm is a monumental undertaking. Thousands of parts are constantly in motion before a single turbine actually begins to spin.

Those early stages of offshore wind planning and development can make or break a project, so it’s important that the pre-planning phases are as accurate as possible.

Helping to ensure that success lies in the hands of Youwind Renewables.

“At Youwind, we have developed an IT platform in which we streamline and optimize the early phases of offshore wind development at a global scale; we have joined together engineering modeling with financial modeling and data,” said Anna Rivera, founder and CEO of Youwind Renewables. “We have this magic triangle to cover called ‘data-driven decision making’ in the early stages. Our comfort zone is the pre-construction years where we want to lower and minimize the cycle on that part of a lifetime of a project.”

Youwind covers the logistics sequence, optimization, and weather-downtime minimization of an offshore wind project. (Courtesy: Shutterstock)

Integrated IT platform

Youwind’s platform includes four, fully-integrated apps, according to Rivera.
“We have four apps that are fully integrated, and we answer the key questions in the first phase, starting from where the best place is to dedicate engineering resources to go deeper into the analysis,” she said. “We also look at what is the best configuration of a wind farm.

This can start with the setup of components, but it’s also how to place these offshore components. This layout optimization part has a greater role compared to onshore wind.”
Once Youwind knows where to build and what to build, the company also tackles the aspects of how to build, according to Rivera.

“We cover all the logistics sequence, optimization, and weather-downtime minimization,” she said. “All these wrap up into our mother calculator app Youwind model to always have an overview on your business case, no matter how many technical changes you do to your project.”

Youwind’s offshore web-based solution is designed with a usability mindset, according to Rivera.

“(Like others), we have also suffered using tools where you need to be highly expert in the field to be able to run one simulation, so this is something that we wanted to tackle at Youwind — it’s an IT platform made from experts,” she said. “But it is made for a wider range of users in the industry. We do have experts in our portfolio using it, but also new players coming in do not need to be that technically oriented to benefit from Youwind.”

Positive industry response

Youwind was incorporated in 2019, but the work that went into its creation began in 2017 according to Rivera, and so far, the response from the wind-industry sector has been positive.

“We are proud of saying that we do have some of the key players worldwide in our portfolio, so that’s been our, let’s say, acceptance stamp,” she said. “Our product is actually helping. We do have real experience on reducing the development time by 80 percent in the first phases. What do I mean by that? We have clients that, with the same team, managed to increase the number of markets they were screening from two markets to 10 markets. That is the way we’ve calculated this number.

But of course, when we discuss this with experts, we are an ally with them because the number of projects is increasing globally. Our tools help to do that scouting in a very fast way without losing that accuracy, so the experts can focus on what really matters in their scope, and the ones that are not so expert can get that whole overview.”

Being a software as a service (SaaS) company, Youwind’s first sales came more than two years ago, according to Rivera.

“We do have these clients repeating and renewing their annual subscriptions, so we are confident that we’re providing a service that matters to our clients and that’s what we continue to do,” she said.

Youwind Renewables has developed an IT platform in which it streamlines and optimizes the early phases of offshore wind development at a global scale. (Courtesy: Youwind Renewables)

Creating a trust with clients

With all the intricate parts that go into planning an offshore wind farm, Rivera said it is Youwind’s duty to work with its clients in order to create a trust.

“On one side, we have the authorities claiming what the deployment should be in order to have a proper green transition, and on the other side, we’re seeing the real deployment rate of offshore wind; there are a lot of challenges,” she said. “The supply chain, for instance — 2023 was an inflection year, but we want to help bridge that gap by being able to make decisions with all the data in an accurate, faster way.”

Being able to supply that information is what helps foment trust with clients, according to Rivera.

“We create that trust with our clients in the beginning of the value chain on a project, so that we’re working with them, not only on the very, very early stage, but as these projects evolve, our tools are also evolving with them to provide features the clients are actually asking for,” she said. “So, we make sure that the baseline has been very robust; that’s how we get the acceptance, but we are always continuing to provide the answers to the innovative questions and challenges that such a new industry has. We don’t settle.”

Evolving with the industry

That evolution of its product is essential in an industry that is also constantly evolving. Some of that evolution will involve working with the fledgling development of floating offshore wind, according to Rivera.

“We see floating wind as a part of the industry that will definitely grow; the wind that can be harvested thanks to having a mature floating industry is actually very promising, and we need to follow the trend on that,” she said.

Youwind is growing its competencies in the floating wind sector, and some of that involves what the company has already accomplished in the existing offshore wind sector, according to Rivera, which often means following a client’s needs.

“Our clients are actually very big companies, so we’re also supporting them in order to break that silo thinking with our tools, and that’s part of becoming the standard on offshore wind,” she said.

Once Youwind knows where to build and what to build, the company then tackles the aspects of how to build. (Courtesy: Youwind Renewables)

Vindicating challenges

When building a client’s project plans, Rivera said Youwind is always up to new challenges mainly because she remembers when everyone was saying having one IT solution for an offshore wind project was too complicated.

“The fact that we have been in the field for many years gives us a good temperament for accepting new challenges; we are very proud of the expert team we have, and that when a client comes with a challenge, we can provide a solution proposal for them, and if that’s exactly what they’re searching for, then we go and implement it,” she said. “If the client thinks that’s appropriate, then we insert it in our IT platform as a new feature. The customer has appreciated that agility. That’s where they also appreciate Youwind being a small company — that agility to treat the client as special.”

Being a fairly new company, Rivera said bringing in Youwind’s first customers was quite the milestone.

“As a SaaS company, the first clients are a memorable moment, meaning you create something from scratch, and a big company believes in what you created and decides to pay for it — that’s the key,” she said. “That was 2021. That was a big accomplishment.”

Industry achievements

To complement that achievement, Rivera also pointed out Youwind was named a best startup finalist at the Copenhagen Wind Europe Fair, as well as getting a couple of EU R&D projects funded.

“We have several R&D EU funded projects, very ambitious projects, in which we have been awarded with the funding, and we will be a part of a very renowned consortia in terms of universities,” she said. “We have projects that will give answers to future problems, so we are going to come up with the solutions as the problems come. This is thanks to working with the best research institutes globally like TU Delft and DTU.”

As Youwind continues to address and conquer the challenges presented in offshore development, Rivera reiterated that she expects floating wind to mature and grow quickly.

“Floating wind is going to take off,” she said. “It will still take time because the level of investments and the risks involved are still maturing. We do already have support on floating technology. We think that it’s going to be the standard due to the amount of wind to harness in areas where only floating wind is possible. It’s really promising. Offshore wind might not be the total solution to climate change, but I believe it’s a very relevant part of it. This organic growth that the industry has is going to materialize in real gigawatts feeding the needs at global scale.”

Youwind covers the pre-construction years where the goal is to lower and minimize the cycle on that part of a lifetime of a project. (Courtesy: Youwind Renewables)

What’s in a name?

That will be a win-win for the world, and a win for Youwind, whose name is a play on “you win,” according to Rivera.

“We said, ‘We want the client to win time.’ ‘Youwin’ was the initial name, and then my brother said, ‘Why don’t you add the D? You’re such geeks on wind.’ So, that’s how it was born; that’s how the name came about,” she said.

And with that philosophy, Youwind will endeavor to offer go-to software solutions that will continue to be customer oriented, according to Rivera.

“We want to be that boutique, highly qualified expert team, to serve our clients, to just go faster, and accelerate the decision making in offshore wind,” she said.

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