As wind energy gains ground in the United States, SkySpec uses drones and artificial intelligence to detect future equipment failures before grinding the giant turbine blades to a halt.
The company, which works with wind farms to monitor the health of turbine blades from above, has locked in a new $ 80 million Series D round led by Goldman Sachs to expand its “geographic footprint” and software tools.
SkySpecs builds its hardware and software internally and already claims to monitor the health of close to half of all wind turbine blades in North America (for reference, there are 71,666 turbines in the United States alone). Since its launch in 2012, the company says its drones have inspected more than 300,000 wings in dozens of countries. SkySpec’s larger goal is to “help displace fossil fuel production” by making renewable energy more efficient, according to a statement from the company.
SkySpecs is one of many drone companies to focus on critical infrastructure monitoring. Others include Nearthlab, which also specializes in wind farm monitoring, as well as generalist firms such as Skyqraft, Percepto and FPV Robotics.
Along with Goldman, investors in the new round include energy company NextEra, Düsseldorf-based VC Statkraft Ventures and Postmates supporter Huron River Ventures. Although Goldman aims to spend as much as $ 150 billion on climate technology, the financial giant also continues to support the expansion of fossil fuels.