Classification of Technical Operation Services for Renewable Energy Power Plants

Classification of Technical Operation Services for Renewable Energy Power Plants

Michael Sonnenberg (Institute Of Applied Computer Science E.V., University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany), Stefan Kühne (Faculty of Computer Science and Mathematics, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany) and Michael Becker (Faculty of Computer Science and Mathematics, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany)
DOI: 10.4018/jssmet.2013040107
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Abstract

In the rapidly growing market for renewable energy, a generally accepted classification of renewable energy services is still absent. In the context of this article, a classification for technical operation services is developed. Starting from a basic structuring of renewable energy services and a comprehensive evaluation of service portfolios of the providers, a classification scheme is derived. This scheme can generate added value for the industry for example in the area of portfolio presentation and structured development of services.
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Introduction

Energy sources which are inexhaustible by human time horizons are referred to as renewable energy (Kramer, 2010; Quaschning, 2011). The importance of renewable energy for the global energy supply increased significantly in recent years and will continue to do so. In Germany, the amount of renewable energy in the gross final energy consumption account for already 12.2 percent (BMU, 2013) and in the gross power consumption for about 17.1 percent in 2011. This amount is expected to double to 35 percent by 2020 and to increase by 80 percent in the long term (AEE, 2012). According to the growing importance of renewable energy, the demands of the industry increase. Issues such as security of supply, power system stability and decreasing feed-in tariff are to the fore.

The conversion of renewable energy sources into usable electrical, chemical or thermal energy is carried out by very different processes employing different technologies and services. The spectrum of renewable energy systems ranges from wind energy power plants (wind energy), geothermal heating plants (geothermal energy), tidal power plants (tidal energy), wave power plants (water) via photovoltaic power plants (solar) to bioenergy plants of different conversion processes (physical-chemical, thermo-chemical, bio-chemical) (Bührke & Wengenmayr, 2007; Watter, 2009). In addition to the underlying renewable energy power plants, the majority of the added value is provided in the context of services which are related to the planning, construction, commissioning, operation and maintenance of plants (Hirschl & Weiß, 2009). Here, a number of stakeholders like consultants, experts, component suppliers, manufacturers, operators and maintenance engineers cooperate. The interaction between these stakeholders with the energy suppliers, network operators and energy traders is regulated by extensive legal requirements such as the “Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz”, the “Biomasseverordnung” or the “Kraft-Wärme-Kopplungs-Gesetz”.

The renewable energy industry is a separate sector with high growth potential within the various environmental markets (e.g. for renewable energy technologies, feed-in tariff, balancing power, and trading certificates) both nationally and internationally. Within these markets, complex service bundles are provided. A major share of the added value is contributed by knowledge-intensive services like consultancy or planning and management of renewable energy power plants. In 2006, services were accounted for 27 to 32 percent of total sales in the German renewable energy sector (Hirschl & Weiß, 2009). Additionally, these services show a high potential for export.

Technical innovations, the international competition as well as regular legislative changes force the market players to continuously optimize and adjust their service portfolio. For example, the optimization of existing services or the introduction of product-related added value services may be required to differentiate themselves from international competitors ensuring economic competitiveness.

There are only few publications available on the subject renewable energy services (Hirschl & Weiß, 2009). Respective sources for renewable energy such as Bührke and Wengenmayr (2007), Geitmann (2010), Pelte (2010), Watter (2009), and Wesselak (2009) do not address the aspect of services, if at all, in the margins of involvement with environmental services (BMU, 2011; Hirschl, et al., 2009; Kramer, 2010; Lamberth & Meiren, 2012; Pramer, 2010).

So far, approaches for classification of technical operation services are absent. Providers in the market present their portfolios in different ways. From a customer’s point of view, comparability of providers is, therefore, hindered. For providers, methodological bases for a gradual development and improvement of the portfolios are missing and the competition between providers is hindered as well.

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