How Casa dos Ventos leverages the cloud to drive wind power in Brazil

About Casa dos Ventos

Casa dos Ventos is one of the largest developers of renewable energy projects in Brazil. Apart from project development, the company also generates and sells clean energy.

Industries: Energy, Chemicals & Utilities
Location: Brazil

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After migrating to Google Cloud, the company obtained more agility to analyze and process data, accelerate customer response times, and focus on what is most important for the business.

Results

  • Reduced the time required to execute a wind power simulation from 15 days to only one
  • Moved 90% of processing workloads to Google Cloud
  • SAP S/4HANA being implemented with architecture fully based on Google Cloud
  • Enhanced collaboration and ease of use with Google Workspace
  • Now the team has more time to work on high-value-added tasks

20 years of data processed in under two hours

Wind power is the second largest source of power in the Brazilian energy matrix, according to the Brazilian Wind Power Association (ABEEólica) and the Brazilian Electricity Regulatory Agency (Aneel). While in 2011 the installed capacity of wind farms amounted to 1 GW, such capacity skyrocketed to 15 GW in 2019. As far as Casa dos Ventos—one of the largest developers and sellers of renewable energy in the country—is concerned, this number will keep rising.

The company was founded in 2007, identifying, purchasing, and leasing lots with adequate levels of wind for energy production, with a goal to develop projects and sell them to large companies in the energy industry. Over time, Casa dos Ventos expanded. In 2013, the company invested capital to build and operate its own plants, which allowed it to sell over 1 GW for the regulated electricity market. In 2015, it kicked off a portfolio of solar energy projects. Currently, the company works in the free market, that is, where organizations from other industries act.

Nowadays, large companies committed to the sustainability agenda by using competitive renewable power are among the main customers of Casa dos Ventos, as well as large generators and distributors that wish to provide renewable and competitive energy to their customers.

To maintain this growth rate, Casa dos Ventos is building a wind farm in Bahia and another one in Rio Grande do Norte—the latter is called Rio do Vento (Wind River), which can potentially expand to be one of the largest wind farms in the world. By 2023, the company expects to reach an operation of 1.5 GW in wind power. This is possible thanks to heavy investment in data and innovation, driven by the cloud in 2019.

“We always want to be ahead of others in terms of knowledge, innovation, and technology; our partnership with Google Cloud is part of that.”

Lucas Araripe, Head of Projects and New Business, Casa dos Ventos

Collaboration and advanced data operations in a cloud-first environment

The company first approached Google Cloud when it started to use Google Workspace. With two advanced R&D centers in São Paulo and Fortaleza, plus ten regional offices, Casa dos Ventos needed a solution to ease collaboration and communication among over 300 employees. Today, most internal documents rely on Google Workspace, and the teams use Google Meet for everyday communication, almost entirely replacing telephones.

“With Google Workspace, we have several people simultaneously working on the same item, whether it is a document, a presentation, or a spreadsheet, without worrying about versions, emails, or backups. They only focus on core issues, on the knowledge in the items, and don't have to worry about external problems,” says Roberto Oikawa, CIO of Casa dos Ventos.

Previous experiences with Google Cloud's customer service, plus other important factors, drove the company to migrate its infrastructure to the cloud. One of these factors was the execution of advanced data operations. In its projects, Casa dos Ventos works intensively with data analytics and processing. Some tasks, like studying wind behavior, controlling wind turbines, or preparing climate and power production forecasts, involve a complex orchestration of data, for which on-premises servers had already reached their highest capacity.

“We needed a platform capable of loading tons of data, with streamlined support for resources used to process this data, and allowing us to create prediction models and run machine learning processes, quickly and reliably delivering the results expected.”

Roberto Oikawa, CIO, Casa dos Ventos

The adoption of SAP S/4HANA as a business management system, to keep up with Casa dos Ventos' growth, was another important factor, which required a reliable, scalable, and flexible environment. The team decided to change to a hybrid environment focusing on a cloud-first strategy. Over 12 months, 90% of the processing workloads carried out by the company were moved to Google Cloud, either through the virtualization of servers or the adoption of serverless services. The SAP S/4HANA project was fully developed over Google Cloud's architecture, partnering with Meta. Nonetheless, the physical servers are still used for more simple and less time-sensitive tasks.

More time for high-value-added tasks

One of the most important benefits obtained was the extra time left for employees to invest in high-value-added activities. Before adopting Google Cloud, the IT team allocated a great deal of its time to the maintenance of servers and management of backups, databases, and operational systems. Now they have more time to work closer to engineering teams to solve business problems and improve the teams’ daily work.

Wind farm operations were optimized using Google Cloud solutions, such as BigQuery and AI Platform, regarding both automation and development of data analysis models. This also brought a great benefit to meet the demands of the business areas. “We reduced the time required by the wind engineering team to effectively perform all the calculations and obtain the final result to be submitted to certifying authorities or potential buyers. As a consequence, the teams are now more focused on business and are less worried about knowing whether the technology will work or not,” the CIO explains.

For example, a calculation aimed at anticipating the energy that will be produced by a specific project used to take 15 days to be completed. Besides, this process could be interrupted and postponed by more urgent demands. This is now processed using Google Cloud, and the response time was reduced to only one day.

The company also used to implement a manual weekly process to add new data to local files, which took hours to be completed. Thanks to the new cloud infrastructure and scalable services, Casa dos Ventos was able to process 20 years of data in less than two hours.

“When looking at the business side, Google Cloud improved our results in terms of timing, reliability, and innovation. Our new business unit, in charge of selling energy, was conceived as a digital unit from its inception, with strategies defined through the optimization of algorithms."

Roberto Oikawa, CIO, Casa dos Ventos

Customization to meet specific business needs

Casa dos Ventos also leverages Google Cloud solutions to perform PoCs with more agility and develop settings for specific requirements of the company. The IT team created a Google Data Studio dashboard, receiving insights on cloud costs from BigQuery. This way, it is possible to assess the costs of each project in each service for better planning.

The integration of Google Chat with local servers from the offices, which were virtualized in Google Cloud, was among the customizations incorporated. The uptime of these servers was automated, but employees can extend it with Chat whenever they need to.

In addition to continuing to centralize IT resources and integrate processes in Google Cloud, the team is now focusing on extending the security of their applications using BeyondCorp. Since the company also works with applications developed internally or by partners, the plan is to access this data using BeyondCorp as an authentication factor. Thus, all data intelligence that helps Casa dos Ventos promote wind energy in the country, whether or not through the cloud, will be tightly secured with Google Cloud technology.

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About Casa dos Ventos

Casa dos Ventos is one of the largest developers of renewable energy projects in Brazil. Apart from project development, the company also generates and sells clean energy.

Industries: Energy, Chemicals & Utilities
Location: Brazil