The competitive advantage of outsourcing operations and asset management
By BayWa r.e. Wind, LLC
A wind farm is a commitment to the future, an investment in clean energy, and a strategic business choice. With U.S. wind power installations on track for a record year despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems that strong market fundamentals and consumer demand have created the perfect environment for this trend to continue.
The (multi-) million-dollar question is: How do you ensure that the challenges that go along with an operational wind farm are optimally managed while improving reliable returns long term?
It all comes down to the operations management of your investment. From the initial planning and development of your wind farm through the financing and construction stages, you are in the process of building. Yet once that building stage is complete, it's important to turn your attention to the wide array of ongoing management needs in order to add value at every stage of your project's life cycle. Any Asset Management (AM) team or Operations Management (OM) team will add enormous value to your wind farm and protect against unwelcome surprises-both of a technical and financial nature.
While the range of expertise required to ensure the smooth, profitable operation of your wind farm may seem complex and beyond the capabilities of your internal staff resources, the solution to protecting your investment is simple: outsource the operations management to an external company that can work right alongside you as an extension of your own business.
Rather than trying to cover all areas of expertise in-house, it is often more cost-effective to bring in a team with extensive experience across everything from regulatory compliance, contracts, technical engineering, to IT control. The planning and decision-making these companies can provide your operation will contribute to long term cost savings and help you avoid costly mistakes, while allowing for you to scale with confidence.
When choosing to outsource your AM and OM, it's important that you seek a team whose goals are aligned with yours-namely a focus on project profitability and production, while preserving asset life-and who are agile and flexible enough to quickly respond to the needs of your wind farm through 24/7 monitoring. Another consideration is the social responsibility aspect of operating a wind farm, so look to work with a company that believes in being a good neighbor and building strong relationships with your surrounding communities. By working with a team that possesses project life cycle expertise and deploys state-of-the-art maintenance techniques (think drones with infrared thermography that can identify and resolve faults quickly) you will keep production losses to an absolute minimum.
Moreover, transparency is key. When you outsource to an Asset Management team you should demand complete transparency of how they are ensuring the yield optimization of your plant, along with regular reporting.
Here are some of the areas of expertise your operation will benefit from by outsourcing your AM and OM to the right team:
- Financial/Administrative Services
- Financial reporting
- Invoicing and receivables
- Disbursements and payables
- Cash management and budgeting
- State and local sales and property tax preparation and administration
- Form 1099 administration
- Financial statement audit coordination
- Insurance process management
- Landowner communication
- Technical Services
- Service provider management and contract administration
- Remote operations monitoring
- Site operations
- Regulatory Compliance and reporting
- Monthly site performance reporting
- Service provider selection
- Scheduling Coordinator Management
- Insurance process support
- End of warranty
As a company who manages 8.5 GW globally, BayWa is acutely aware of how critical this service is to not only wind farm operations, but solar as well. We've seen the sustainable and reliable returns on our clients' investments, the peace-of-mind it renders, and the time it opens up for owners and their internal teams to spend on high value work. It's tough for wind operators-especially those of a smaller size-to have the kind of wide-ranging, entire-life-cycle expertise in-house that is needed to avoid costly mistakes of a wind power project. But the good news is, they don't have to!
By bringing in a team of experts who work alongside you with your goals as their North Star, you get to focus on your business while knowing you are providing a renewable and affordable form of energy to the communities around you.
Having already created a positive and sustainable impact on the planet, you can enjoy feeling the confidence of maximizing energy production, minimizing downtime, and keeping operating and maintenance costs to a minimum.
BayWa r.e has over 30 years of experience in the realization of wind and solar farms around the world. From initial planning and development, to financing and construction, and from operations management throughout the plant's life cycle to complete repowering, they are a leading partner in renewable energy