WIND

Don’t Underestimate the Value of Data

ADAM BARBER

May 17, 2013

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Last week, confidential client information about users of financial data provider, Bloomberg, leaked onto the internet and into the public domain.

It was a curious debacle, sparked initially by accusations from investment bankers at Goldman Sachs, following revelations that Bloomberg reporters had had access to private Bloomberg terminal activity, including messaging and data.

As a result, the ubiquitous Bloomberg terminal is now in the eye of the storm – and faces a significant reputational issue.

And while its parent company – founded by the now New York Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, way back in the early eighties – tries to shore up confidence in the financial data giant, the ramifications of the fallout continue.

Now, this might seem a million miles away from the international energy markets – and wind energy in particular. However, this is a significant commercial development and there are in fact, lessons in this sorry saga, for us all.

Indeed, as many of the major players within the market lobby hard for manufacturers to unlock proprietary statistical analysis and information about turbines currently in use, it seems all the more relevant.

Sure, primary manufacturer monitoring and efficiency data might not at first glance seem to hold as much value as traditional data studied and analysed within the more established financial services market.

Nevertheless, it would be wrong to dismiss its value altogether. Or perhaps more precisely, to assume that the value placed on it was only of engineering and future research and developmental benefit.

For in an age where the production of energy has become an increasingly valuable – and a tradable – commodity, the power play within the sector has slowly has slowly begun to shift.

In the longer term, that means that for the energy generating markets, there’s an expectant swing in emphasis from raw unprocessed materials (such as oil and gas), towards the generators and distribution networks themselves.

All the more important then, to understand just how efficiently and effectively these generators are really performing. And it is exactly this future data bank and constant stream of information that will help to provide this clear and impartial view.

Two key lessons to take from this then.

First, don’t underestimate the value of the data that you and your industry counterparts are collecting. For its future market worth will only grow.

And second, and as wind energy increasingly becomes an asset class in its own right, let’s not underestimate the importance of establishing a clear and transparent market framework and data aggregator, to help benchmark this, right from the start.

Sure, the data is valuable. However, it’s only possible to truly understand and quantify its worth when it’s benchmarked and set against its peers.

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