Q&A with Kaiserwetter: How AI Can Help Maximize Renewable Sector Investment and Address Integration Issues

Created by Acore |

ACORE member Kaiserwetter Energy Asset Management is a fast-growing global asset management and digital innovation technology company with a compelling story. Kaiserwetter has recently implemented a suite of cloud-based Internet-of-Things (IoT) platforms that use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to manage risk and optimize returns on renewable energy investments. ACORE staff interviewed Kaiserwetter’s Managing Director of North America, Claire Sharp, to learn more about their product capabilities and how they can help enhance renewable energy sector growth. This interview has been edited and compressed for clarity.

ACORE: Could you start by giving us an introduction about Kaiserwetter?

Kaiserwetter: Kaiserwetter is a global company that originated as an asset management company for renewables, mostly for solar and wind farms across Europe. About five years ago, our founder, Hanno Schoklitsch realized that, in order to meet
increasingly ambitious climate goals like ACORE’s $1T 2030 campaign, there will be a need for greater investment in the renewables sector. He saw that the data available to investors and owners of solar and wind assets were not being harnessed to its highest potential and there was a better way to optimize productivity.

To bridge this gap in the market and attract more investment into the sector, Kaiserwetter morphed into a digital technology company. As part of this transformation, we developed a product for C-level renewable energy executives called ARISTOTELES. It is a digital dashboard that allows investors, sponsors and asset owners to reap the benefits of predictive analytics and benchmarking to minimize risk, increase transparency and maximize their return on investment.

 

ACORE: Could you specify some ways in which the ARISTOTELES platform improves transparency, better conveys relevant information and maximizes returns for investors?

Kaiserwetter: With our digital analytics, we take the real-time and historical data from wind and solar assets as well as budget, financial data and microclimate data. We turn this all into real-time actionable intelligence for the investor or portfolio manager. We redefine the power capabilities of the assets through machine learning and historical data, thus creating higher targets and power curves. We can preempt the underperformance of assets by taking into account all their contractual and financial figures, as well as climate and technical data, and alert the portfolio manager of potential losses before they’re incurred. The portfolio and asset managers are now able to see what is happening on the ground and view their portfolio production data in real-time. ARISTOTELES also cuts out a significant portion of the reporting process while increasing transparency for all stakeholders, which allows asset managers to focus less on analyzing data while reducing risk and increasing ROI.

We use weather and technical asset data to identify an underperforming asset. We then alert the asset managers to check this information to make sure repairs are done in optimal conditions, such as when the wind is not blowing or when the sun is not shining.

You can also keep track of financial underperformance, see hidden transactions and identify a future breach of covenants three months before it happens.

 

ACORE: How do you decide what data is relevant to collect?

Kaiserwetter: We take all historical and actual, real-time SCADA data directly from the power assets. It can be from any asset class, including geothermal and biomass. We do all the analysis of technical, weather and financial data in our back office of experienced engineers and data scientists. The harmonized data is delivered in an easy-to-use dashboard with standard technical and financial key performance indicators (KPIs) integrated on the front end. These features are critical to asset managers, and there are additional KPIs that are custom to each client within the ARISTOTELES dashboard. Some clients want to see KPIs on financial transactions that reflect the power purchase agreements (PPAs) and stock market pricing. On the other hand, some investors want to drill down into granular, technical data of asset engine performance. Whenever there is a challenge to retrieving data, we are able to find a way using satellites and remote access. We also help C&I customers with retrieving data for various IoT functions such as behind-the-meter operations.

 

ACORE: What has been your experience so far with the products you have implemented? Do you find that they are performing to your expectations?

Kaiserwetter: The product is meeting and exceeding clients’ expectations while centralizing a lot of their work. The most valuable feedback has been that this is a highly cost-effective, easy-to-implement strategy to optimize productivity and manage risk in all departments while allowing investors to focus on their core business. Another bonus our customers have told us is that we react quickly to their changing needs and the marketplace. We update the ARISTOTELES platform monthly with new functions coming online frequently. We are about to launch ARISTOTELES 3.0 and will be incorporating battery storage into the platform so that companies can have their entire energy portfolio in one place

 

ACORE: Specifically thinking of the U.S., how do you think the data you collect could help regulate transmission gaps and integrate renewable technologies into our grid?

Kaiserwetter: There is a huge opportunity to use our expertise to address transmission and intermittency issues. We launched ARISTOTELES SKY at COP25 in Madrid last month. This is a version of ARISTOTELES that enables governments to use power production data and predictive analytics to establish the future needs of the grid and determine where governments need to be in terms of deployment of renewables. We are already working with some regional governments in the U.S. and speaking with different power authorities and utility companies in California, New York and elsewhere to look at ways to use this data.

We are also working with rating agencies to help them conduct analyses for mergers and acquisitions, repowering assets and refinancing assets. Our other product, IRIS, is used by the wind sector to evaluate the actual and potential production of the assets more cost-effectively, deeply and quickly than ever before.

 

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