Brilliant Wind Turbines – with OnBoard Storage

July 18, 2013


GE made a big energy industry splash recently when it introduced its Brilliant 1.6-100 wind turbine and power management system at the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) WINDPOWER 2013 exhibition in Chicago in early May. One of the first utility-scale wind power systems to incorporate short-term, grid-scale battery storage, the GE Brilliant 1.6-100 addresses one of the criticisms (if not the biggest and most frequently cited criticism) of wind energy: its intermittent nature.

Already cost-competitive with thermal coal and natural gas power generation – not to mention its numerous other often ignored and unaccounted for social and ecological benefits and cost savings, which are substantial – GE’s looking to drive the cost of wind energy down further, pushing the envelope outward by incorporating “industrial Internet” capabilities and short-term, grid-scale power storage in the Brilliant 1.6-100 systems platform.

Enabling wind farm owners and operators to more efficiently and cost-effectively convert wind energy into electricity and supply it to power grids improves the economics of utility-scale wind power. One aspect of this is the capacity to generate additional revenue by selling electricity into the frequency regulation segments of regional grid power markets.

In the range of ~5% up to ~8.5% of annual energy captured is lost due to ramp rate curtailment, according to the US Dept of Energy “2011 Wind Technologies Market Report”, which was released in August 2012. “These losses stem from the fact that the grid isn’t as flexible as it could be and wind customers would benefit from recapturing some of that lost energy,” Theile explained.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s pay-for-performance regulation – FERC 755: “Frequency Regulation Compensation in the Organized Wholesale Power Markets” – requires grid operators to pay power suppliers accordingly (i.e. more for electricity that can be brought onto the grid faster in order to match load demand).

Given adequate wind, turbines can ramp up from a cold start to full capacity in a matter of minutes. This quick-start capability confers wind farms a decided advantage over thermal coal and natural gas–fired power plants when it comes to balancing electricity supply and demand.

On the other hand, it often means that wind farm operators have to spill wind – reduce the amount of wind energy they capture, convert to electricity, and feed into the grid – ramping up to full output more gradually than is possible in order to accommodate grid conditions, a situation that Longtin likened to “dollars flying by” in the wind.

Integrating short-term, grid-scale battery storage into the Brilliant 1.6-100 system platform enables wind farm operators to capture the energy that’s now blowing by in the wind. The system’s Ramp Control features enable this wasted wind energy to be harnessed, converted to electricity, then stored in battery banks as electrochemical energy. It can then be sold and fed into the grid later in the day at a moment’s notice.

Moreover, “by integrating short-term grid storage into the system, we can go real-time into a wind turbine converter’s DC (direct current) bus, eliminating a big chunk of the power electronics,” Longtin elaborated. Conversely, taking advantage of battery storage also confers benefits when ramping down a wind turbine, smoothing out the electrical flow into the grid by drawing on batteries to supply power to the grid more evenly.



33 Responses to “Brilliant Wind Turbines – with OnBoard Storage”

  1. @Roger Lambert – That’s basically saying the same thing, but anyway, which of my comments was a lie? Wind turbines are controversial, and there aren’t any in downtown Copenhagen.

    • daryan12 Says:

      You’re making a contrarian argument. While wind turbines might be considered visually intrusive (by some), what is the alternative if we want electricity? Coal, gas and nuclear plants all require cooling which means big cooling towers belching out vast clouds of steam, smoke stacks (for fossil fuel plants) spewing out smoke, shoot, C02 and god’s knows what else.

      If you’re position is that wind turbines are too visually intrusive to be considered, then clearly all other forms of power generation should be subject to similar restrictions…i.e. no more electricity!

      The stupidity of such arguments was demonstrated in Ireland a few years ago when it was proposed to swap Moneypoint, our largest FF power station, from coal to gas. The ESB realized that with the coal yard gone, there would be lots of empty space around the plant and resolved to throw up a few wind turbines on the land. Inevitably some anti-wind NIMBY objected. It would seem he had no objections to the vast piles of coal and ash, nor the 250m high smoke stack, but a few 60m high wind turbines was too much! go figure!

    • greenman3610 Says:

      fly to copenhagen.
      from the airport, get on the metro, take it to Islands Brygge station.
      walk up the stairs and out, face the street. look left.
      There’s a wind turbine there close enough to be seen spinning over the
      tops of buildings. If it’s not downtown, lets just say you can see it from there.
      No word of herpes epidemic in Copenhagen. I saw no ‘cars rocking” (
      Felt no sudden need to run to the bathroom.
      Wind turbine controversies are products of right wing media indoctrination, period.

    • petermogensen Says:


      “Wind turbines are controversial, and there aren’t any in downtown Copenhagen.”

      Just as powerplants are “controversial” and there aren’t any in “downtown” Copenhagen – but they are cleary very close and visible from downtown Copenhagen.

      You’re splitting hairs.
      Of course it should go without saying that Peter Sinclair didn’t mean to suggest that we’ve had planted a wind turbine on the central square. It’s simply not possible to put any structure like that (wind turbine or powerplant) in whats techincally “downtown” Copenhagen without destroying several old preserved buildings.
      But they are *visible* – not like “at the horizon”, but like a dominant feature of the harbour front from several places in downtown Copenhagen.

      Now, get over it and focus on the actual point being made.

  2. @daryan12 – You are arguing against an argument I never made.

    @greenman3610 – I’ve been to Copenhagen and seen those turbines already. By no stretch can they be considered “downtown”. Visibility is a whole other issue. I don’t think anyone has claimed that being able to *see* wind turbines gave them herpes.

    “Wind turbine controversies are products of right wing media indoctrination, period.”

    This comment goes overboard. Every technology has its drawbacks. The history of technology is full of unintended, unanticipated, unwanted consequences. It’s absurd to think that wind turbines are the one technology that will somehow only ever be good, and will somehow escape controversy.

    It’s early days for this technology, so we’ll find out a lot of things in the years ahead.

  3. […] Cooperative Corporation (AECC) has reached a long-term agreement to purchase 150 megawatts of wind energy from RES America Developments Inc., a subsidiary […]

  4. @petermogensen – “the actual point being made”? That this site is wind-industry propaganda? Otherwise, why all the hate over statements of known fact and geography?

    • MorinMoss Says:

      If all you want to do is rail against “wind-industry propaganda”, your time is better served bitching over at AWEA, BWEA or even

      Better still, since your concern is focused on Copenhagen would be to halt the nefarious designs of the Municipality who intend to install 100 wind turbines.

      And spend some time on the Windbagger sites and you’ll be quickly convinced of the lethality of infrasound, which doesn’t have to be seen, or even felt, to be “believed”.

    • petermogensen Says:


      The actual point being made is that most of the anti-wind propaganda seen in the US is non-existent in a Country like Denmark with a lot of wind turbines – even so close to central Copenhagen that they dominate the harbour front.

      Sure… no one lives right by the turbine Peter Sinclair saw from Islands Brygge Metro station … it’s right in the middle of the parking lot for one of the countries biggest conference centers (the one that held COP15) and sure people have asked what will happen if a wing breaks off. (a natural concern), and sure… no one wants to live right beneeth one, within noise range or having it block their view (if they got one), but we have plenty of wind turbines all over the country and in general they are not a problem.
      The only political debates in Denmark about wind turbines in the last few years are:
      * Whether or not they are price efficient enough to be a strategic choice. (Some politicians dream about a shale gas fairytale)
      * The government wanted to place a test center for wind turbines in a remote plantation and a lot of activist occupied the trees by climing them to prevent them being cut down.

      There’s no debate about health effects or other scare stories. Even with wind turbines very near central Copenhagen. Period.

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