At the top of the wind world, GE combines wind and energy storage.
Herman K. Trabish: June 21, 2013
With the launch of the first three GE brilliant wind turbines approaching, the world’s leading turbine manufacturer invited media to its test center to see its machine in operation and take a look at the inner workings.
GE's (NYSE:GE) engineering continues to move competitively toward the same two broad objectives as leading international manufacturers like Vestas and Siemens: Achieving a better automated response by the turbine’s multiple onboard computer systems to data from its network of sensors, and allowing remote operations centers to wirelessly control variables the automated systems can’t manage, like wind changes, grid conditions and lightning strikes.
Three of GE’s 2.5-megawatt, 80-meter-tall brilliant turbines with 120-meter rotors will be installed by Invenergy at a Texas wind project by the end of this year. The new height, rotor length and data analytics will allow the turbine to achieve a 52 percent capacity factor in moderate, Class 3 winds of speeds of 7.5 meters per second, according to GE Wind Product General Manager Keith Longtin.
The brilliant turbine will also integrate 50 kilowatt-hours of battery storage, situated in a cabinet on a nearby ground pad, into the turbine’s intelligent operating system. Although a single turbine’s storage may not be a marketable quantity of electricity, Longtin acknowledged, a project’s combined storage could provide any one of three valuable functions, which GE calls “apps.”
The Invenergy turbines’ storage will be used for the first of the apps, labeled "predictable power" by GE. Stored, dispatchable electricity, Longtin explained, increases a wind project’s capability to meet contractual obligations. That makes it more competitive with other generation sources.
Second, stored electricity can be sold into grid operators’ frequency regulation markets to smooth the variat