Green Technology Spotlight: New Wind Turbine Technology

General Electric says it has received 1 gigawatt of wind turbine orders in the US in the past four months alone, which will power 330,000 homes.

The orders have flooded in since the production tax credit was temporarily extended on January 1. 

The company’s new wind turbine line, Brilliant, demonstrates new technologies being developed that will make wind production more reliable.

GE says its 2.5 megawatt (MW) Brilliant turbine is 25% more efficient than previous models. A 1.7 MW model I 6% more efficient and is specifically designed to capture more energy in lower wind conditions. 

Wind Turbine GE

The turbines have an integrated battery that automatically operates software, which analyzes thousands of data points per second – it communicates with nearby turbines and service technicians to optimize power production and to provide short term predictable power.

Integrating a battery into a wind turbine allows wind farm operators to benefit from energy storage without having to install expensive on-site batteries.

It also has the ability to self-monitor the turbine and alert technicians when there’s a maintenance issue, helping to keep the turbine running continuously while avoiding expensive repairs.

And a wireless connection to the Internet allows it to assimilate and adjust to detailed weather forecasts and supply-demand fluctuations on the grid.

The software focuses on either energy storage, predictable power or frequency regulation. Customers can buy one or more software applications depending on their situation.

Software applications:

Ramp Control: the battery captures excess energy that the grid can’t absorb if wind speeds pick up quickly. That energy can be sold later, increasing a developer’s return on investment.

Predictable Power: smooths out variability in wind production to provide consistent power to the grid.

Frequency Regulation: energy stored in the battery can be quickly and precisely released based on fluctuations in demand from the grid.

Electricity that’s stored can also be sold to grid operators to regulate frequency variations that can disrupt service.

Invenergy is the first developer to try out this data-driven technology at a wind farm in Texas that’s under construction,  Goldthwaite Wind Energy facility.

Want to see how much wind energy is installed in every state? Check out this map:

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