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article imageHow predictive analysis is helping the energy sector

By Karen Graham     Oct 4, 2017 in Technology
A few days after predictive analytics software began monitoring wind turbines in Iowa last March, an anomaly was spotted by a data-science model in a wind turbine’s gearbox. After a few hours of repairs, the wind farm owner avoided catastrophic failure.
The ability to spot and stop problems weeks or months before they become serious was once thought to be years away. As for the wind farm in Iowa? - A few hours of maintenance on that one wind turbine, costing $5,000, saved the owner from having a major disruption costing $250,000 and several days of downtime.
Thankfully, with specific advances in technology, low-cost sensors, and inexpensive cloud storage, we are able to gather a significant amount of data across the whole energy chain - From generation to transmission to consumption.
The basic parts of a wind turbine.
The basic parts of a wind turbine.
Arcadia Power
North American Wind Power notes the average cost per megabyte of wireless data dropped 99 percent between 2005 and 2013 and is continuing to drop, according to management consulting company BCG.
Predictive analytics at work
Predictive analytics is the branch of Analytics used to make predictions about unknown future events. Predictive analytics uses a number of techniques, including data mining, statistics, computer modeling, machine learning and artificial intelligence. Massive amounts of current data are analyzed to make predictions on future events.
The great thing about predictive analytics? It allows a company to be proactive and forward-looking. Knowing future possibilities based on data instead of assumptions is not only time-saving but cost-effective. In the energy sector, all sources of energy can benefit from predictive analytics, but none more than wind farms.
And for very large wind farms, the cost of installing the technology and software is a proactive way to increase energy generating capacity. According to the American Wind Energy Association, the U.S. has over 82 GW of wind energy, enough to power 25 million American homes. That's four times the amount we had a decade ago.
Uptake Technologies
Uptake Technologies turns data into action
Chicago-based Uptake Technologies was co-founded in 2014 by Brad Keywell, one of the people who started Groupon. The company's analytic software is used to predict and prevent failures and increase efficiencies across a broad range of industries, including railroads, health care, infrastructure, and energy.
Uptake Technologies' software analyzes data coming off sensors on industrial machinery and equipment. In the case of a wind turbine's gearbox, there can be as many as 100 sensors, and they generate a huge amount of data. And there are positive signs Uptake's technology is gaining traction.
In May, CNBC reported the company recently signed a deal with Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Energy, an $84 billion portfolio of companies mainly in the renewable-energy sector. Uptake Technologies software analytics platform will soon be used by nonprofits in Nepal focused on identifying people lost to human trafficking.
More about predictive analytics, Energy sector, Wind turbines, Uptake technologies, Database
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