10,000 Power Curves and Counting

What’s in a number? In his book Outliers the author Malcolm Gladwell claims that the key to achieving world-class expertise in any skill comes down to practising said skill for at least 10,000 hours. At i4SEE, we focus our skills on ultra-modern wind analytics and growing a business in a fast-paced industry. Our “100-year-old team” has well above 10,000 hours experience in the field of wind turbine data analytics, and we have learned a few important lessons.

In our view, current wind industry practice for analytics has little chance of scaling to manage the sheer number of turbines that we will need to assess in the future. Today, power curve analysis is typically a static or sporadic exercise, limited by:

  • inaccurate tools,
  • deviations from the IEC standard,
  • manual time-consuming processes,
  • long delays in report preparation,
  • results that drown in uncertainty.

Not only that, power curve analysis is often carried out far too late, after months, or, sadly, years of suboptimal performance and lost production, gone with the wind. In many cases, this results in the finger-pointing blame game. This state of affairs didn’t make sense to us.

So we set out to build a new tool from scratch. A tool that was high performance and combined knowledge from the consulting world with speed and automation from the software world. A tool so affordable at fleet-scale, it could be used every month whether the client was an owner, operator or technical manager. The result was our game-changing application i4SEE Performance™.

From the outset, we dreamed big, but we knew that the most scarce commodity would be time. We needed to build an entirely new way to assess power curves regularly and do it at scale, which meant running thousands of power curves every month with scores of new turbines added every month.

Our company is a month shy of our second birthday, but the reception of i4SEE Performance™ has been excellent, and our customers place great trust in the results. We use agile development philosophies at i4SEE and continuously improve our methods and software from one month to the next.

Nothing improves a product more than extensive use, and after a recent review, we’re proud to announce that i4SEE Performance™ has already been used to assess over 10,000 monthly turbine power curves. At the current rate of growth, there’ll be more exciting milestones ahead. Does anyone have advice on how to light 10,000 candles on a cake?