Energy industry is driven by digitalization

Olten/Zurich (energate) - The energy industry is changing. Digitalization and new customer expectations are important drivers. But change also brings new companies - for example WinJi. The company promises to use artificial intelligence to increase the profitability of wind and solar parks.

The core of WinJi's AI solution is the software platform "True Power". This is designed to improve the effectiveness of the asset management of wind turbines and solar parks by evaluating data in a meaningful way and suggesting measures. "Today between five and 15 percent of production revenue is lost to solar and wind energy because data is not used intelligently," says CEO Bernhard Brodbeck.

Digital total solution replaces Excel files

WinJi has made it its business to minimize these losses. "We make the plants smart and improve the predictability of renewable energies," says Brodbeck. Among other things, the Artificial Intelligence developed in-house starts directly with the production of energy by determining target value recommendations for wind turbines or inverters of solar power plants. The software uses information from the plants together with weather data, signals from the grids, tariffs on electricity market and other data. According to the company, this not only reduces losses and switch-off times, but also increases at the same time also the amount of energy generated. The platform also saves time in asset management by providing owners and operators with a real-time overview. Here too, there is room for improvement: "The management of large commercial plants still involves the maintenance of Excel tables and a lot of manual intervention," says Brodbeck.

Customers on four continents​

The approach of WinJi consists of using a systematic plug'n'play approach to create management models that seem rather casual solution. With its offer, the start-up speaks to a worldwide clientele of operators, investors and energy suppliers. "Managing renewable energy portfolios is a global market," Brodbeck explains. "The Suppliers are divided into three areas: proprietary instruments for operational monitoring of large wind and solar OEMs, Tools for technical asset management and the area of WinJi, the solutions based on AI for optimization which provides services and asset management". The latter area today has a market penetration of less than two percent, and the trend is rising rapidly.

In the likewise growing market for the generation of solar and wind power, WinJi therefore still sees a lot of potential for own business model. According to its own information, the company currently serves 45 customers on four continents. The savings from WinJi solutions are estimated at 30 million euros per year.

"Digitalization is a must"

Demand for these savings is increasing as the cost pressure on plant operators and owners increases and the model of the feed-in tariff is nearing its end. This would force the operators and owners, among other things, to and predict movements on the energy market. In this respect, there is no way to create networked and intelligent solutions such as those from WinJi, says Brodbeck: "Digitization is a global trend and an absolute must. We offer the necessary tools and rely on video calls, for example, from the first meeting with customers to the final meeting".

WinJi is working on further developing the digital tools and services. The start-up company is concentrating on the use in power plants and network system services, predictive maintenance and the step towards an even more comprehensive solution for investors. According to Brodbeck, a key to the development of further algorithms is the Cooperation within the corporate ecosystem and with universities such as the ZHAW. Furthermore WinJi is part of the EU research program "Horizon 2020". As a result of this cooperation, Winji has, for example, developed a European patent can register, explains Brodbeck.

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