The technology boosts a wind farm’s energy production by up to 20 percent and could help generate up to an estimated $50 billion of value for the wind industry.
The Digital Wind Farm uses interconnected digital technology — often referred to as the Industrial Internet — to address a long-standing need for greater flexibility in renewable power. The technology will help integrate renewable power into the existing power grid more effectively.
The Digital Wind Farm ecosystem begins with the production of the turbines themselves. With the next generation of Brilliant wind turbines, GE’s new 2 MW platform uses a digital twin modeling system to build up to 20 different turbine configurations at every unique pad location across a wind farm to generate power at peak efficiency based on the surrounding environment. Additionally, each turbine will be connected to advanced networks that can analyze turbine operations in real time and make adjustments to boost operating efficiencies.
Once the turbines are built, their embedded sensors are connected and the data gathered from them is analyzed in real time with GE’s Predix software, which allows operators to monitor performance from data across turbines, farms or even entire industry fleets. The data provides information on temperature, turbine misalignments or vibrations that can affect performance.
As more data is collected, the system actually learns over time, becoming more predictive and “future-proofing” wind farms by maintaining top performance and avoiding the maintenance issues that typically occur as turbines age. It also reduces costs by customizing maintenance schedules to ensure preventive maintenance is done only when needed.