Renewable Energy Management

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For several reasons, renewable energy is a growing alternative for businesses globally. In the United States, it is the fastest-growing energy source; seeing over forty percent growth from 2010 to 2020; a ninety percent jump from 2000. In 2020, almost twenty percent of the U.S. utility-scale electricity supply was managed from renewable sources, with wind power contributing 8.4%, hydropower 7.3%, and solar a little over 3%.

One reason for this considerable increase in the use of renewable energy is the massive reduction in the cost of accessing these sources and leveraging them for the industry. For instance, utility-scale solar photovoltaics cost 82% less onshore wind and 39% less in 2019 than in 2010.

Environmental concerns, depleting fossil fuels, and climate change are among the industry’s prominent themes today, causing a sharper focus on exploring green alternatives. Many businesses are even opting for their renewable energy facilities, such as solar plants and wind farms, and even procuring Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs).

Besides wind, solar, and hydropower, another emerging source is Biomass derived from sources like crops, landfill gas, wood, etc.; companies are also exploring geothermal energy, which essentially takes advantage of the earth’s natural heat in layers close to the surface.

Renewable Energy Audits

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) regulates the use of renewable energy at the national level. In addition, several other sectors and source-specific regulations and standards must be adhered to in sourcing, using, and distributing renewable power. Companies must also ensure that their equipment, real estate facilities, building infrastructure, and practices are optimized to generate power from alternate sources and conserve power consumption efficiently. This makes renewable energy audits very crucial. Among the many audits typically conducted, here are just a few.

Energy Audit

The purpose of such inspections is to review how effectively power is consumed in a particular facility. Things as basic as worker behavior patterns, such as leaving equipment on when not required, can cause substantial waste of power over a period. For example, certain facilities may use outdated tungsten light bulbs, and they could optimize energy consumption by replacing them with LED lights. Likewise, poorly maintained equipment can cause a Heating and Ventilation System to drain much more power than is needed. Energy inspectors review facilities to spot irregularities and suggest roadmaps to increase power consumption efficiency. Inspectors typically check lights, fans, air-conditioners, and heaters and review details like the age and condition of the equipment and whether they are of the correct make and model and are being used and maintained correctly. When facility owners implement the changes and improvements suggested by inspectors, they significantly lower power consumption, reduce costs, enhance equipment life and reduce carbon footprint. Similar audits are conducted in residences to help homeowners optimize power consumption and increase energy efficiency.

Hydropower Plant Inspections

The United States is the fourth-largest hydropower producer after China, Brazil, and Canada. Being part of this rapidly growing sector, hydropower plant operators come under strict regulations within the scope of government initiatives like the U.S. Department of Energy’s Water Power Program. They must also manage business parameters like cost, productivity, and ROI by ensuring these plants have the maximum lifespan and the lowest maintenance costs. With all these factors involved, inspections play a vital role in helping hydropower plant owners better manage their infrastructure and ensure they comply with regulatory requirements. Conducting these inspections can be tricky and sometimes involve aided inspections using sonar imaging technology, especially in areas where access and visibility are challenging. During these audits, inspectors assess the condition of the civil works, the generators to determine if they need rewinding, and electro-mechanical equipment like turbine runners. These detailed assessments include reviewing equipment such as intake structures, control systems, water conveyances, turbines, and the main transformer. Comprehensive inspections document details like the age and condition of the equipment as well as all technology installed. With regular inspections like these, operators can double the lifespan of their hydropower plants.

Wind Turbine Inspections

Wind Turbines help harness wind energy and involve delicate infrastructure and sophisticated design elements for efficiently harnessing wind energy. Like other crucial equipment in the renewable energy generation process, they require regular inspections and maintenance work to ensure they are in prime working condition and to avoid higher costs from significant repair work. In addition, blade damage can result in substantial performance gaps, and wear and tear are prevalent with turbines since they are constantly exposed to the elements. Inspections help address these concerns and the need for compliance and safety. During these turbine assessments, inspectors document observations on the structural strength of the tower, the condition of the generator, rotor, and blades, as well as all electrical and mechanical components. Safety aspects such as the climbing equipment, fire safety equipment, lightning protection, and earthing are also inspected.

Solar Plant Inspections

Solar plants are considered a significant source of green energy, whether used in residential properties or large industrial setups. Some property owners leverage these facilities to earn additional income through Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SERCs). And like other renewable energy infrastructure, the upkeep and maintenance of solar plants involve compliance with several industry norms. Inspections help ensure that solar plants are compliant, safe to use, and optimally functioning. Solar Photovoltaics (P.V.s) is a critical part of the more significant solar plant infrastructure. Inspectors check P.V. plans and drawings, assess the condition of the P.V. array and modules, inverter and electrical components, and inspect system labeling, wiring, mounting structures, etc., to check for the components of the correct specifications and review the functioning of each part.

Fielda – Empowering Clean Green Energy

Fielda is designed to support the entire inspection process, whatever the industry and type of renewable energy source, from scheduling to data gathering and collaboration. Whether it’s wind turbines, solar plants, or hydropower equipment, inspectors can create dynamic checklists to suit each type of inspection’s regulatory and technical requirements. Data collected can be reviewed instantly for repair, maintenance tasks, or any other follow-up work helping inspectors with visibility and control of the entire workflow. And real-time dashboards and reports help teams with insights from the field to optimize task allocation and workforce utilization for higher productivity.

Wind Turbine Inspection

Ensure safety, operational efficiency, and regulatory compliance with timely wind turbine inspections. Evaluate the physical fitness of the Wind Turbine through a detailed audit…

Case Study

Field Activity Management for an Renewable Energy

The field services resources had to follow heavy paperwork with printouts of excel sheets as they inspected systems. In addition, compliance with regulatory requirements was becoming a challenge.