According to the US Energy Information Administration, oil, coal, and gas provide approximately 80% of our energy needs, with renewables providing roughly 12%. While renewable energy is growing fast, and 77% of Americans say it’s important to develop alternative energy sources, fossil fuels still clearly dominate the energy landscape. However, the worsening effects of climate change have created a mounting sense of urgency for governments, tech companies, and others to develop scalable renewable energy solutions and reverse these effects. Thanks to continuous advancement in technologies and increased funding, Allied Market Research suggests that the global renewable energy market is expected to surpass $1.5 trillion by 2025.
As a leading artificial intelligence (AI) company, we’ve long focused on applying AI to solve the world’s most pressing challenges, including sustainability for the energy sector. Ultimately, our vision is to collaborate with energy organizations to help them reduce environmental impact and create a better, smarter, and more sustainable world. To accelerate this vision and make it a reality, we’ve recently acquired Ensemble Energy, a leading provider of software products and services for the renewable energy industry. Through this acquisition, SparkCognition is offering the world’s first AI-enabled asset management platform for clean energy.
What Does This Acquisition Bring to the Table?
In their quest to produce clean energy for their customers, renewable energy project operators face challenges in managing and analyzing the large volumes of data generated by their assets. Manually analyzing all that data takes a lot of time and resources and can result in missed opportunities to optimize operations, identify and address underperforming assets, and prevent failures and downtime. By combining AI technology and deep domain expertise into one platform, SparkCognition and Ensemble Energy together will support the energy industry in its transition towards renewables by reducing costs and increasing energy production.
What Is the AI-Enabled Asset Management Platform?
As a cloud-based SaaS software, the Ensemble platform combines Ensemble Energy’s technology and domain expertise with SparkCognition’s AI expertise and extensive solution portfolio across various industries. With this platform, our customers can:
- Increase energy production and revenue
- Reduce the number of asset failures via anomaly detection and predictive analytics to ensure timely maintenance action
- Optimize personnel time so staff can spend more time developing and implementing solutions rather than manually managing the influx of data
- Increase visibility into future events to avoid unnecessary costs
For a real-world example, let’s examine how we’ve leveraged this platform to solve widespread challenges on wind farms — such as yaw misalignment, which occurs when a wind turbine is operating while not pointing directly into the world. When yaw misalignment occurs, the turbine produces less energy than it could, causing the wind farm to lose revenue. Additionally, the turbine is exposed to increased loads, which increases the likelihood of failure as well as higher operation and maintenance expenses. Light detection and ranging (LiDAR) measurement campaigns and physics-based methods are two common approaches for detecting this issue. However, LiDAR measurement campaigns are costly to implement, and physics-based methods require extensive historical data (typically one year’s worth) to detect when yaw misalignment is present.
SparkCognition’s AI-enabled asset management platform is a more cost-effective solution that can detect yaw misalignment with only two months of data. By training its machine learning models on the historical data as well as real-time operational data, the model can detect yaw misalignment of five degrees or more with 96% accuracy. One wind energy customer leveraged the platform to identify turbines with yaw misalignment. The customer was able to fix the turbine yaw offsets remotely, resolving the issue without a turbine climb. As a result, the corrected turbines produced as much as 2% additional Annual Energy Production (AEP) as well as an annual revenue increase of $45,000 at a single project.
In another real-world deployment on a wind farm, the AI-enabled asset management platform was able to predict pitch bearing failures, which are very costly to replace as a large crane is usually required. By using data from sensors on the turbine to assess pitch bearing health, failures can be predicted with over 90% accuracy up to six months in advance, saving upwards of $150,000 through optimized repair scheduling and minimizing the number of crane callouts required.
These are just a few examples of the impact SparkCognition and Ensemble Energy have already had on the renewable energy industry. By combining the strengths of both companies in a single offering, we’ll be able to make an even bigger impact at a greater scale to achieve our vision.
What Else Does the Platform Offer?
In addition to improving profitability by increasing energy production, reducing maintenance costs, and maximizing operational efficiency, the platform also offers energy providers a wide range of capabilities including prescriptive analytics, total asset monitoring and analysis, advanced industrial cybersecurity, automated model building and forecasting, and AI-based energy market trading, hedging, and real-time P&L management. These capabilities will help energy producers accelerate their digital transformations, no matter what stage of the journey they’re currently in nor the size of the operation.
Initially, we’ll focus on serving wind and solar energy customers with our comprehensive AI-enabled asset management platform. In the coming months and years, we will expand to support energy storage, hydropower, and green hydrogen. Learn more about our AI-enabled asset management platform and how we’re collaborating with organizations to help them reduce environmental impact creating a better, smarter, and more sustainable world.