The popular image people have of the wind industry is that it’s a small, niche market, run by a coterie of true believer eco-warriors, but with little economic significance for the American economy. That image couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s a vibrant industry, poised to become much larger. And a good part of the reason it’s poised for growth is its smart use of mobile energy apps.
First, let’s take a look at the market itself. There are currently more than 52,000 utility-scale wind turbines operating in the United States. Total employment for wind energy project planning, siting, development, construction, manufacturing and supply chain, and operations was more than 100,000 as of 2016, according to the U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Update — and in that year, the industry added jobs at nine times the rate of the overall economy. For a sense of perspective, the total number of people employed in iron and steel mills as of late 2017 was under 58,000, according to Bloomberg. And the wind industry counts among its members not just startups, but big energy and industrial behemoths like BP and General Electric.
The industry has been learning how to be safer and more effective based on the experiences of the oil and gas industry. And that includes the use of mobile technology, notes a Washington Post article, “Lessons From the Oil and Gas Industry Could Power Wind Energy’s Future.” The article reports that the wind division of BP has been using mobile safety apps in the same way they’re being used in the gas and oil industry. “A mobile app lets workers snap photos of any equipment that needs to be repaired, and log it into the system for attention,” the article notes. “These data points allow BP to get out in front of safety concerns before they become operational issues, a practice the company embraced in oil and gas development as well.”
The wind industry is ahead of the oil and gas industry when it comes to another mobile technology — the use of sensors to gather data to help everything operate more efficiently, the article notes.
There are plenty of other ways mobile is used by the wind industry, according to the blog post “5 Ways Mobile Technology is Empowering Leaders in Wind Energy,” including for on-site inspections, safety, maintenance, data collection, communications, analytics and more. In addition, mobile devices are being used to remotely monitor and control wind turbine farms, “down to the individual turbine,” according to the Automation World article, “Data Insight Helps Renewables Weather the Market.”
Alpha Anywhere is ideal for building maintenance, safety and field service apps for the wind industry, oil and gas industry and many others. Here’s a case study about how Alpha Anywhere helped one oil and gas company build a maintenance app for its offshore oil platforms very cost-effectively in just four days.