Last week, Dynamo, a technology start-up with a mission to simplify safety and enable zero-injury, attended its first conference in the renewables industry — the American Clean Power Association Operations & Maintenance safety conference.
As an early-stage start-up, we had an array of emotions in the run-up to our speaking slot at the conference — I would sum it as excitement, nervousness and confidence altogether. We were excited because we would meet so many like-minded individuals and companies with safety and operational excellence as their top agenda (music to our ears!). Nervous because we were going to talk about how digital innovation can change the game on safety and operational excellence with an audience with multiple decades of experience running their sites safely and efficiently, we weren’t quite sure how the Dynamo concept would land. We were confident because we would present a case-study on one of bp Wind’s largest wind farms, highlighting how digital innovation can drive safety and operational efficiency.
We came out of the conference feeling more energised and driven to make a significant contribution to safe and efficient operations for the clean power industry through digital innovation. The clean power industry has such a fundamental role in meeting the power needs of humanity and from what we saw and heard, it is set up well for success.
Here are our top observations from the conference:
Collaborative mindset for operational excellence– right from the top
The conference started with a panel discussion with top leadership at bp Wind, Leeward, RWE, ACP and Hannon Armstrong. They talked about the importance of working together to raise the bar on operational excellence in renewables. They recognised the importance of collaboration, especially in the safety and operational reliability space. It was refreshing to see the top-down recognition that when it comes to safety and reliable operations, there shouldn’t be competition — rather, we’ll all win if we work on this together as an industry. This will be necessary for our ways of working as an industry to give our teams, stakeholders, and investors confidence that we can supply clean energy safely and reliably.
Immense opportunities to improve safe and reliable operations
There were several sessions through the three days on common challenges the industry faces in remote operations, asset reliability, manual processes and ageing fleets. Some excellent examples of ongoing initiatives were shared, including process optimisation, digital work permitting and advanced analytics, which gave us confidence that the industry is on the right track to apply innovation to solve complex challenges and there are immense opportunities to do more. We also discussed that there are big learnings from other parts of the energy industry, such as Upstream and Downstream, that can be applied to fast track innovative problem solving for clean power.
Recruiting & retaining next-generation talent is critical
The clean power industry will generate millions of new jobs in the decades to come. Many of these roles will need to be filled with emerging younger and less experienced Gen Y & Z workforce that have a different mindset. Therefore, as an industry, we need to think of strategies for attracting and retaining this new generation workforce. Some common themes discussed were online presence, company brand, values, flexibility, competitive remuneration and an attractive career path. We also discussed the importance of giving workers the confidence that they are safe at work, especially when doning lone work in remote sites.
Author: Tehsheena Shams, Founder & CEO of Dynamo