Sunday, May 5, 2013

For Some Wind Turbines, Batteries Are Now Included!

We reported on GE’s “brilliant” wind turbine previously. The turbine integrates energy storage, and it also allows for a tremendous amount of data collection, prediction, and responsiveness. Below is a video of General Electric (GE) technicians discussing the company’s brilliant wind turbine in Tehachapi, California.

So, why are we coming back to this topic today? Because Invenergy, which is apparently America’s largest independent wind power generation company, has just announced that it has purchased three of these wind turbines for its Mills County, Texas wind farm.
The topic of backing up wind farms has been a hot one for years, and the fact that wind farms are being operated without energy storage has (incorrectly) led people to believe that wind farms are an unreliable source of energy that will cause power supply disruptions. The integrated battery component of GE’s new wind turbines will certainly help eliminate that reliability myth once and for all, and it has clear benefits for grid operators.
In an email to CleanTechnica, a GE representative noted the three main things this development enables wind turbines to do:
Predict: Power producers must be able to provide consistent and predictable power to the grid, but the variability of wind can make smooth grid integration challenging. The Predictable Power App allows the brilliant turbine to smooth out the short term peaks and valleys in wind power and make it predictable over periods of 15 to 60 minutes.
Capture: Today, when wind speed increases quickly, the grid cannot always absorb the extra wind power produced. GE’s Ramp Control App allows the brilliant turbine to capture “wasted” wind power and store it in the battery, meaning operators can capture revenue previously left on the table.
Respond: Power demand changes throughout the day and grid operators must keep up with its constant fluctuation. Grid operators look to power producers to respond rapidly to keep the grid balanced. The Frequency Regulation App allows wind farms to store energy in the battery and respond immediately to load changes with ultimate precision.