South Dakota wind farm puts smart grid tech to work

Atlanta, July 27, 2009 — Homes and businesses receiving power from Basin Electric Power Cooperative’s South Dakota wind farm, scheduled to begin operation in 2010, will benefit from smart grid technologies on the farm’s 101 GE wind turbines.

Prolec GE’s amorphous transformers will reduce losses as electricity moves through the wind farm’s transformers, so that every spin of the turbine blade delivers more energy to consumers.

In addition to maximizing productivity of the electrical network, smart grid technologies also help improve productivity of renewable energy generation, making investments in green technology more attractive to developers.

Prolec GE’s high-efficiency transformers have amorphous metal cores, which reduce “no-load” losses of the transformer by 60-70 percent compared to traditional transformers with silicon steel cores. No-load losses take place when homes and other applications are not pulling power from the transformer.

Basin Electric’s South Dakota wind farm will begin providing power to customers in late 2010, according to Rebenitsch. Basin Electric is a recognized leader of wind energy development in the upper Midwest United States. Through joint projects and purchase power agreements, it has added approximately 136 MW of wind energy to the region’s energy portfolio since 2002. By 2011, Basin Electric will add another 314 MW of wind resources to its power supply family.

Widespread adoption of these transformers across all power generation technologies could have a substantial impact on the environment. In the United States and Mexico, electric utilities and end users install more than one million distribution transformers each year.

Prolec GE is a joint venture of GE and Xignux. It owns and operates one of the largest, most technologically advanced transformer production facilities in the world.

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