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Digital Wind Farm can enhance wind industry: GE



May 19, 2015 – GE has launched The Digital Wind Farm, a “wind energy ecosystem that pairs turbines with the digital infrastructure for the wind industry”. The technology boosts a farm’s energy production by up to 20%, GE claimed, and could help generate up to $50 billion of value for the wind industry.

The world’s first Digital Wind Farm, according to GE, uses interconnected digital technology—often referred to as the Industrial Internet—to address a need for greater flexibility in renewable power. The technology will help integrate renewable power into the existing power grid more effectively, GE explained.

The farm ecosystem begins with the production of the turbines themselves. GE’s new 2-megawatt platform utilizes a digital twin modeling system to build up to 20 different turbine configurations at every pad location across a wind farm, in order to generate power at peak efficiency based on the surrounding environment. Additionally, each turbine will be connected to 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 with GE’s Predix software. This allows operators to monitor performance from data across turbines, farms or even entire industry fleets, GE said. 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, GE said. It also reduces costs by customizing maintenance schedules to ensure preventive maintenance is done only when needed.