SkySpecs: A New Horizon for Wind Energy

by: Ravi Anupindi, Lucy Scoles

Publication Date: July 15, 2021
Length: 32 pages
Product ID#: 1-816-287

Core Disciplines: Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Information - Technology & Management, Strategy & Management, Sustainability

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Teaching Note

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SkySpecs is a company that helps the wind energy industry optimize performance of wind farms to improve productivity and efficiency and minimize downtime. It has developed a proprietary drone system to automate the task of inspecting wind turbine blades. This core technology allows rapid turbine blade inspections and provides analytics capability.

The case first describes the stakeholders in a wind energy ecosystem and the challenges the industry faces. It then presents SkySpecs’ product strategy and explores how the company brings value to different stakeholders in the wind energy ecosystem. Looking to the future, SkySpecs is exploring two options for growth. These are broadly classified as pursuit of depth, offering a broader set of solutions within the wind energy industry, or pursuit of breadth, leveraging its expertise to offer similar solutions within other industries. Students will discuss the pros and cons of these two directions and make a recommendation.

Teaching Objectives

After reading and discussing the material, students should:

  • Recognize the role of wind energy in the renewable energy mix.
  • Describe wind energy business and operations.
  • Explain the important role of maintenance and repair in wind energy operations as well as current approaches and pain points.
  • Develop a basic understanding of drones, use cases, and constraints (e.g., regulation).
  • Explain how drones can be used for turbine blade inspections and identify the value proposition of using them.
  • Assess strategy, value proposition, and growth of a startup company in the wind energy maintenance industry.