Yokogawa’s Wind Farm Solution: Driving Japan’s Offshore Energy Evolution

March 13, 2024 by Jake Hertz

Yokogawa's cutting-edge approach to wind farm monitoring and management is the realization of a decarbonized society.

Embracing renewable energy sources like wind holds immense promise for a greener, sustainable future. Yet wind’s inherent intermittency presents a significant obstacle to its reliable utilization for electricity generation. Realizing wind energy's full potential requires developing strategies for effectively managing and mitigating its variability. 

Yokogawa Solution Service Corporation, a Yokogawa Electric Corporation subsidiary, has installed an advanced monitoring/operating system for Japan's largest offshore wind farm, highlighting the complexities of renewable energy management and demonstrating Yokogawa’s plan for ensuring grid stability.


Offshore wind farm in Akita Port, Japan

Offshore wind farm in Akita Port, Japan. Image used courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


Wind Power Plant Challenges

Wind power plants utilize turbines to convert wind energy into electricity. Blades attached to a motor spin from wind force, generating rotational energy that transmits to a gearbox, which converts slow rotation to high-speed motion and drives a shaft to power an electrical generator. While onshore turbines were once common, advancements now support offshore wind farms, even in deep waters.

Onshore wind turbines are among the cheapest ways to harness energy from renewables. These wind farms typically feature clusters of towering turbines strategically positioned across terrestrial landscapes, harnessing the power of wind currents to generate electricity. In contrast, offshore wind farms involve expansive installations erected in marine environments and are often situated miles from the shoreline. These offshore arrays capitalize on stronger and more consistent winds over open water, contributing significantly to the renewable energy capacity of coastal regions.


The future potential of wind turbines

The future potential of wind turbines. Image used courtesy of Wiser et al.


However, the unpredictable nature of renewables still poses significant hurdles to achieving a stable and reliable energy supply. Moreover, another hurdle is ensuring the efficient operation and maintenance of wind turbines spread across diverse onshore and offshore locations. Together, they necessitate innovative solutions to balance supply and demand, adopt a predictive maintenance approach, ensure grid stability, and minimize disruptions to power distribution. 


Yokogawa's Green Vision

Recently, Yokogawa completed the design, supply, and commissioning of a remote monitoring and operating system for Japan’s Ishikari Bay New Port Offshore Wind Farm, equipped with 8,000 kW worth of wind turbines. 

Yokogawa’s cutting-edge system, built on the OpreX Collaborative Information Server, integrates advanced video monitoring capabilities with large-scale battery storage and sensor technology. The solution ensures optimal operation and predictive maintenance of wind power infrastructure by centralizing data management and enabling continuous real-time surveillance. Through strategic deployment of Yokogawa's proprietary Edge Gateway AG 10, the system offers comprehensive oversight of offshore and onshore assets, effectively managing the variability inherent in wind energy generation to enhance grid stability and maximize renewable energy utilization.


A remote control room.

A remote control room. Image courtesy of Yokogawa


Moreover, Yokogawa has expanded its reach beyond the initial project, securing contracts from Green Power Investment Corporation for systems to collect real-time data from wind farms across Japan and integrate it with cloud-based analysis tools. Collaborating with Green Power Investment, Yokogawa Solution Service has initiated trials using the DTSX3000 optical fiber temperature sensor to detect potential damage to submarine cables at the Ishikari Bay New Port Offshore Wind Farm.

Utilizing expertise to offer comprehensive solutions ranging from operations to overall system maintenance, Yokogawa aims to play a pivotal role in achieving a decarbonized society.


Transforming Industrial Landscapes

Beyond immediate gains, innovations like this pave the way for sustainable practices and increased competitiveness in the global market. As industries embrace these changes, they position themselves for long-term success, characterized by optimized processes, enhanced decision-making capabilities, and a more resilient future in an ever-evolving world.