Early returns from an online wind farm operations competition launched last week by the US’s Sentient Science point to huge future potential for digitally-driven cost reduction and field-life extension projects in the global onshore fleet.

The more than 1,000 players currently playing The Wind Challenge in countries around the world, including the US, Germany, Spain and China, have so far saved some €100m ($116m) by extending the productive lives of 2,336 assets by an additional 6,753 months, Sentient reports, noting too that the knock-on impact on supply and inventory, asset and risk management translated to a further reduction of €421m.

The game, in which players work with anonymised datasets for a fictional wind farm in Greenland to test out life-extension strategies using different turbine technologies, is being run with WindEurope, Tower Climbing Grease Monkeys and Recharge, with winners to be announced on 26 September in Hamburg at the Global Wind Summit.

“As more LifeX [life extensions] actions are taken on the turbines, the Wind Challenge is expected to demonstrate the potential financial and operational impact that would occur if every wind turbine in the industry became fully digitalised for life extension,” says Ed Wagner, Sentient Science’s chief marketing officer.

The game has been built around Sentient Science's materials science/data science digital wind turbine models of Vestas, GE and Siemens Gamesa wind turbines with “fictitious operational and loading conditions” to feed into gamers’ life extension and financial calculations.

Winners of the Wind Challenge will be announced at 1600 on 26 September at the Global Wind Summit at WindEurope’s stand, B1.0G.211.