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Change is here. Renewable energy is taking center stage as demand for energy rises. But the real, and often hidden, costs of energy generation are higher than expected, reducing ROI and impacting investors, asset owners and the end consumers. By automating visual inspections with computer vision, the energy sector is well placed to turn things around by saving costs, creating safer environments for workers and extend the life of assets.

McKinsey & Co research suggests that global fossil-fuel demand is projected to peak between 2023 and 2025. After 2050, renewable energy is set to make up more than 57 per cent of global energy supply. The International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2022 report shows the global energy crisis can be a historic turning point towards a cleaner and more secure future according to the International Energy Agency.

Mankind’s insatiable demand for energy rises every year. Across the globe policy responses vary, but in many instances they include determined efforts to accelerate clean energy investment. This means an even stronger push for renewables in the power sector and faster electrification of industrial processes, vehicles and heating – and therefore more infrastructure spending on assets in the renewable energy sector, including solar farms and wind turbines. However, these assets are costly and have a limited life expectancy which impact energy generation and the pockets of investors, energy enterprises and consumers.

The real costs of energy generation

More than 50 per cent of the lifetime cost of an energy asset is contained in its operation and maintenance. This means that the actual costs are double or triple those predicted only a few years ago, and as a result the ROI is 21 per cent lower across the lifetime of an asset. When looking at numbers as large as what a renewable energy asset inspections cost, something as “low” as 12 per cent isn’t very low at all. This is easily in the hundreds of thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the product.

You may wonder why the ROI of solar farms or wind turbines is so much lower than you would expect. It is most likely the result of one or a combination of three factors:

  1. Helicopters, rigging equipment, roping, and cherry pickers needed for inspections are costly.
  2. There are not enough experts to cover so many assets.
  3. Your company performs inspections manually and infrequently.

Because of these three challenges, the data capture necessary for maintenance and improvements is inconsistent at best.

Three key benefits of automating visual inspections with computer vision and A.I

1. Operational clarity

We enable organizations to measure reality by unleashing the power of visual data with real time analytics from our computer vision A.I. Apps and our digital platform. Having key insights into your operations, quickly and remotely is invaluable. Today’s technology ensures your team is able to fast track operations with remote inspections and collaboration.

You are able to meet your operational needs, whatever they are. Drones, smartphones, body-cams or fixed IP cameras can all be easily connected. After you set up your device and live stream to the secure cloud platform you’ll have access to all the asset data and immediate insights. This is perfect for experts in the office, contractors, suppliers, and the team on the ground.

2. Cost effective inspections

Many people fear automated and high-accuracy digital inspections must be incredibly expensive. Not so!

Putting off a smaller cost only to be faced with a much larger cost down the road is never a savvy financial decision to make. What would happen if you never got an oil change? You’ll be on the side of the road before you know it, facing a much larger repair bill than the cost of an oil change. The same financial principle applies to operating and maintaining your energy assets!

By using technology to remotely inspect your assets, you’ll be able to avoid costly repairs and reduce outages to critical infrastructure. For one thing, most of the costs have been stripped away by moving to a cloud service model, leveraging commercially widely available cameras and drones. Plus, you will have greater transparency on the work being conducted by remote in-field colleagues while connecting all into your asset maintenance workflow.

3. Targeted actions for better ESG, OH&S, and maintenance

The benefits of improving your operational and maintenance processes extend well beyond the financial. To identify risks and growth opportunities investors and regulators are increasingly applying Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG), Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S), and other non-financial factors as part of their analysis.

The main non-financial reasons to adopt a transparent, connected digital maintenance and operational process include improvements in:

  • Time and cost
  • Work site operations
  • Worker safety
  • Identifying risk
  • Documentation and collaboration
  • Decision quality

Learn how to maintain and extend the life of your energy assets with computer vision and a seamless digital workflow by reading our Mastering Remote Operations in the Energy Sector ebook. In this ebook, you’ll learn more about the following: 

Unleash Live

As a platform, Unleash live enables the development, and deployment of independent computer vision A.I. Apps for productivity gains, cost improvements and increased safety by delivering structured data for faster, more insights based decision making where previously workflow were based upon inconsistent, anecdotal or inefficient processes.

This sponsored editorial was brought to you by Unleash Live. To find out more about how Unleash Live can help you, contact them on getstarted@unleashlive.com or download the ebook here: https://unleashlive.com/mastering-remote-operations-in-the-energy-sector


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