GE is billing its latest wind turbine design, the new 2.5-120, as the company’s “first brilliant wind turbine,” and while it’s no Einstein (Einstein was much shorter, for one thing) it is pretty darned smart. Aside from an integrated energy storage feature, the 2.5-120 includes a data-driven system that could help boost its efficiency 25 percent higher than GE’s current 2.5 megawatt wind turbine, and it also improves power output by 15 percent.
The first prototype of the new turbine is being installed in the Netherlands some time this month so it will be a little while before we see how closely expectations match performance, but in the meantime this is a good opportunity to check out that data-driven system, aka GE’s “Industrial Internet.
GE and the Industrial Internet
GE’s concept for the Industrial Internet is based on the progress of technological history, except that instead of moving out of the Industrial Age and into the Internet Age you add them together to get new systems and, more importantly, gain productivity.
That’s already occurring to one degree or another in the energy field (“smart grid” comes to mind), and GE aims to accelerate that trend while cementing itself in a position of global leadership.
Specifically, GE envisions the Industrial Internet as a seamlessly integrated network of “intelligent” machines, facilities vehicle fleets and shipping fleets combined with advanced analytics, which in the right hands (there’s always a catch, right?) could promote a better quality of life and improved working conditions.
Or, as GE puts it:
“The deeper meshing of the digital world with the world of machines
holds the potential to bring about profound transformation to global industry, and in turn to many aspects of daily life, including the way many of us do our jobs.”
GE’s Brilliant Wind Turbine
That brings us to the 2.5-120 wind turbine (120 refers to the 120-meter rotor).
The 2.5-120 is designed to achieve greater efficiency at low wind speed sites, enabling more regions to take advantage of local wind power.
A taller tower (maximum hub height of 139 meters) is credited with some of the improvement, but that’s only part of it.
The real meat is in the Industrial Internet, which the turbine harnesses through an advanced control system. In a conventional wind farm, units have to be stopped and restarted to smooth out energy generation spikes. GE’s software controls the output at each turbine, which in addition to achieving a more predictable stream of energy also helps to reduce maintenance, repair and replacement costs.
Here’s the description by GE’s vice president for renewable energy Vic Abate:
“Analyzing tens of thousands of data points every second, the 2.5-120 integrates energy storage and advanced forecasting algorithms while communicating seamlessly with neighboring turbines, service technicians and customers.”
Wind Power on the Rise
Concerns about the intermittent nature of wind are rapidly falling by the wayside as new energy storage solutions like the 2.5-120 come online.
Among other options (such as compressed air and pumped hydro), advanced battery-based wind energy storage has already reached utility-scale proportions as demonstrated by the Notrees Windpower wind farm in Texas and the Auwahi wind farm in Hawaii.
With the storage issue pretty much resolved, wind power has really taken off. In 2012 the U.S. wind industry installed more than 13 gigawatts of new capacity, accounting for 42 percent of total new U.S. energy capacity, more than any other resource including natural gas.
Actually there are too many assumptions about the availability of storage for your article to be of value. Batteries are miniature toxic chemical plants with a high carbon footprint, limited life and disposal problems and hydro and compressed air are impossible to use or not to be found in the vast majority of places. When the wind does not blow, (50%) of the time you need fossil fuel backup and the best turbines are about 30% efficient and require substantial maintenance. In short, without your tax dollars propping up the turbine installations they would not be viable at all just like ethanol, electric cars and all the other rubbish the politically connected lobbyists for the largest corporations push at us so they can make money on YOU!
It's mostly a joke and the American taxpayers have been suckered once again.