Digitalization and The Future of Wind Energy

A bright future for wind energy

Global wind power capacity is expected to increase by 50% in the next five years as technology costs keep falling and emerging markets continue to grow, according to the Global Wind Energy Council’s annual report. In 2018 alone, 51.3 GW of new wind installations were added globally, taking cumulative capacity to 591 GW. 

By 2050 wind energy will grow rapidly to represent a 29% share of world electricity generation and around 16% of world primary energy supply, according to DNV GL’s own Energy Transition Outlook predictions. Onshore wind dominates this growth, but offshore wind’s contribution will also increase by mid-century, reaching about 20% of total wind production. 

Improving wind power with new technologies

Digitalization is an important part of the deployment of wind power. Nowadays different technologies are being implemented, e.g. data visualization, automation and digital workflow, advanced analytics, cloud computing, cybersecurity, drones and UAV's, augmented and virtual reality, and blockchain. 

From the 2,000 stakeholders interviewed by DNV-GL within the energy industry almost 45% of respondents in the offshore wind industry have digitalization as a core part of their strategy, while for onshore wind the figure is 42%. 

The digital transformation requires new skills and training

Investing in digital skills and training is considered very important by the stakeholders. 91% of respondents recognize that digital skills are critical for the organization and therefore short-term investments in this field should be a priority.

The wind industry prioritizes upskilling in the following domains:

  • Artificial intelligence 49%
  • Data science 43%
  • Big data analytics 38%
  • Blockchain 9%

Barriers for deployment of digitalization

Despite the focus on upskilling for the future, 41% of the wind industry says that the main barrier for digitalization is internal priorities.

When it comes to data sharing the wind industry is in an immature position. Offshore wind industry especially has concerned both about sharing data and the inability to access data, with 37% of respondents citing concerns about sharing data as a barrier to digitalization and 25% of respondents citing the inability to access data as a barrier.

By Maria Paula Ar…