Big data for wind farms: Michael Waldner and his partners are building a benchmark platform for investors.
Wind power has become a huge business: around 50 billion dollars are invested in new turbines and installations worldwide every year. Energy companies have long since ceased to be the only financial backers: Private investors are also becoming increasingly involved. They determine a site and build a plant, leaving the technical and commercial operation to specialized service providers. “Since the primary energy, wind, is free, the return on investment results from the efficiency of the operation,” explains Michael Waldner, “and there is still a lot to be gained in this area.” This is why he is developing a portal which investors can use to compare their operating data anonymously and derive optimization potential. Waldner and his five partners are currently working on the income statements of some European wind farm investors. In early 2018, the platform will go online with a live date. Waldner wants to fund his service via usage fees. The 42-year-old ETHZ engineer with 14 years of professional experience in the energy sector does not doubt his business model: “We meet a real need.”