As the world slowly begins to emerge from the COVID-19 lockdowns, it’s a good time to reflect on the good work and dedication shown by essential services. Health workers have rightly had the public’s focus, but let’s not forget those that made sure the lights stayed on. Throughout the recent period, wind turbine O&M teams, asset managers and owners have kept turbines turning and renewable energy flowing.

Availability and lost energy statistics are not generally made public, but my experience is that asset availability has not been significantly impacted by COVID-19. O&M providers, in particular the ISPs and IPPs of this world, were quick to adapt their authorised working procedures (AWPs). This allowed essential fault finding, repair and maintenance to continue with limited impact to operations. Many immediate challenges, such as the cost and availability of PPE, were quickly overcome. We even had cases where ISPs even had technician pairs living in the same accommodation to form their own ‘COVID bubble’, enabling them to safely carry out work that required working in close-proximity.

Most organisations I’m aware of kept calm and worked collaboratively to keep turbines turning. It was disappointing to hear of some owners, asset managers and O&M teams who stood behind contractual agreements and pre-COVID KPIs, rather than finding new ways of working. I know which relationships will be getting best value post-COVID – it will be those who can flex when the storm hits and play catch-up when the sun shines!

I’d love to hear your views on how wind operations have coped or flourished in the last few months. Happy to catch up over a beer (socially distanced of course) or via video call.

Martin Elliott