I have spent much of the last 10 years working in Renewable Power Generation and of that over half leading Operations and Maintenance (O&M) Improvement Projects and Programmes – mostly employed for my knowledge and expertise in known methodologies such as Lean, Kaizen, Value Management and other iterations of process and product performance improvement.

During this time, I have witnessed a small number of attempts to shoehorn proprietary manufacturing based improvement programmes (such as Six Sigma) into Renewable Energy organisations that don’t always fit particularly well. I have also experienced countless case studies of how Lean and CI have been used to improve manufacturing performance – and they’re mostly good – but are they always directly transferable to what we do in Renewable Power Generation?

What I have observed, is that these programmes normally get confined to administration and managerial process improvement, which is fine, and they may well deliver effective new ways of working in the supporting functions. Somehow though, they often fail to get utilised on complex technical, design, engineering and operational problems which as we all know is where the big yield optimisation and cost reduction opportunities exist in renewable operating portfolio’s.

Nowadays, there are so many proprietary and bespoke asset performance and O&M diagnostic tools able to provide data to be analysed and inform us (and our bosses!) on how much more we could have got from our assets but if you’re the person who’s responsible for translating this information into a comprehensive programme of problem solving and asset performance improvement, then, life can be a bit more challenging.

Furthermore, with LCoE, Innovation, Yield Optimisation, Cost Reduction and Operational Excellence all at the top of our agenda we really need a comprehensive structured approach to help us identify, evaluate and secure the best possible improvement strategies for each unique set of circumstances such as technology mix and diversity of
portfolio.

The vast majority of Renewable employees are busy. To find time train in all of these things and then deliver them and keep the day job going is pretty tricky. However, in my humble opinion, you don’t need to wade through the multitude of books, publications and manuals on the subject and please don’t be persuaded that say a ‘full-on’ Lean, Six Sigma or Kaizen programme will be the panacea to all your problems – they’re great in context, but much of it really isn’t right for Renewables O&M.

I myself use over 100 problem-solving and improvement tools (25 regularly, which will be the subject of future blogs) – but that’s because that is what I do. For renewables operations experts wishing to choose an approach that’s right for their business, how should they prioritise what they learn, what technique is best in each situation, what’s going to give them the best return on the time they invest in themselves and their team?
What renewables companies really need is something designed specifically for renewables – something focused, something structured, something flexible, something relevant.

So, with the help of some of my renewables contemporaries, I have now brought together a collection of relevant concepts, tools, philosophies, methodologies and techniques into a single place that should make sense to people working in field of Renewable Power Generation – most specifically for Operations and Maintenance (O&M) but one can’t help than to overlap into other project life phases.

We’ve branded this approach as VIYOP which is a simple acronym for Value Improvement and Yield Optimisation Programme. My best attempt so far at summarising what it does (in no more than 25 words) is this:

VIYOP is an innovative approach focused on the realisation of yield optimisation, cost reduction and other value improvement potential for renewable assets already in operation.

In designing VIYOP, one observation/recurring theme, was that people who choose a career in renewables get it. They have the ability, they’re resolutely committed to the ‘green agenda’, and furthermore, many that are green are also intuitively dedicated to leaner, more efficient and frankly, better ways of doing things.

However, for many, embarking on a full ‘Value Improvement and Yield Optimisation Programme’ without knowing much about the approach or the people delivering it (us at TVC Renewables), would, understandably, be a step too far. These can be big programmes with substantial investments and although typically pay back 5 to 20 times, we understand that clients would like to get to know us first and, even better, see us in action.

So, we also designed Quikshot™ as a standalone, low investment, piece of work that ease’s people into the world of VIYOP. Here’s the 25 words that describes Quikshot:

Quikshot™ is an innovative approach focused on the identification of yield optimisation, cost reduction and other value improvement potential for renewable assets already in operation. We deliver Quikshot™ in two ways, either we undertake a Quikshot™ Study on your behalf or you can participate in our Quikshot™CPD certified training programme.

If you are responsible for the delivery of performance improvement and cost reduction during the Operations phase of any renewable power generating asset or portfolio of assets and you’re looking to add another string to your bow or would just like to learn a little more about the approach, let me know – I’d really welcome the opportunity to share.