Electrical Business

Features Energy & Power Renewables
GE tackles wind farm efficiency with optimization service


April 29, 2015 – When planning a wind plant, collector cable systems play a critical role in how efficiently power can be delivered from the point of generation to the grid, says GE. An optimal collector system design can help minimize electrical losses, cable and trenching costs and substation configuration costs. This is where the new Wind Collector Optimization Service from GE’s Digital Energy business comes in.

The service uses grid intelligence to help utilities, developers and contractors better plan the layout of their wind farm by providing a “look at possible collector cable configurations and the benefits and drawbacks of each”, GE explained. With this information, system design can be optimized to reduce start-up costs and improve operational efficiency, the company added.

“With our new Wind Collector Optimization Service, we meet with customers early on in the process to establish what features and parameters are important to them and are required for their specific project,” said Bob Turko, general manager of GE’s High Voltage Solutions business. “From there, we utilize our leading, proprietary design tool—which includes multi-variable analysis—to design an optimized wind plant collector system, reducing the design cycle time and lowering the total cost of ownership for our customers.”

The service determines the optimal route between the turbines and the substation, providing a preliminary cable table with the ampacity of each collector circuit outlined in a mapping file that can be viewed using Google Earth. Also, the service includes trenching and cable cost estimates.

Using this optimization software, GE said it can reduce the cost of “rationally designed collector systems, providing potential savings of greater than 20% while also reducing design cycle times by 60%”.