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. Ok but you know that wind turbines are extremely controversial in the communities that actually have them, right?

    • greenman3610 Says:

      only when the anti-science crews come in and blame everything from herpes to rectal itch on wind turbines, —
      I just came from Copenhagen, where there are wind turbines in the downtown area. I was in Lubbock TX not long ago, same deal. Not aware of any epidemics of diarrhea or other nasties in those towns – in fact, people are moving in.
      It’s only in the Fox-News impaired low information areas where wind baggers have set up to spread poison that a “controversy” exists.
      Demographically, wind turbine anxiety plays well among the same crowd that is concerned with Sharia Law, Kenyan Birth certificates, and whether those WMDs are still out there.

  2. Exactly what part of downtown Copenhagen? I’m familiar with that city and I can’t see any downtown wind turbines on Google Maps.

  3. […] CleanTechnica: 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) WINDP…  […]

  4. Thanks Peter. I saw those when I was there. That really doesn’t count as “downtown” by any stretch. Not relevant to the discusion of impacts on local residents.

    • MorinMoss Says:

      You clearly have not spent any time on the anti-wind sites. They’ll quickly have you believe that wind farms can cause you illness if someone you know might have driven by a tower one or two decades before it was actually constructed.

      And the deadliest substance known to man is not botulinum or dioxin or even plutonium but wind-turbine infrasound.

    • andrewfez Says:

      I believe ‘downtown area’ was the term. They sit a couple of kilometers away from some of the apartments/flats. That way, they reduce the risk of onychomycosis, tinea pedis, and avian influenza. 😉 Besides, ain’t there been windmills there for hundreds of years?

  5. […] CleanTechnica: 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) WINDP…  […]

  6. Those Copenhagen turbines don’t prove or even suggest that living near turbines is OK, because they aren’t near anyone’s homes or workplaces. Danes who DO live near turbines have plenty of concerns about them.

    • I’m starting to have plenty of concerns about *you*.

    • greenman3610 Says:

      there are no empirical findings to back up these concerns. They are the product of right wing, fossil funded disinformation campaigns.
      there are Glenn Beck type hysterics in europe, just as here.

      • MorinMoss Says:

        I beg to differ.

        Research by Dr Mærkelige Kærlighed has clearly demonstrated a causal link between migraine headaches and infrasound and, worse still, a pronounced decline in male fertility, essentially depleting those who are within range of wind towers of their precious bodily fluids.

  7. kap55 Says:

    The important detail comes in part 2 of the series, here:

    … where we learn that the battery storage for this 1600 kW turbine is 25 to 50 kWh, or enough for about 1 or 2 minutes of full-capacity power. I’m not saying it’s not worth it — is certainly is, if it allows wind turbines to provide their own cycle regulation instead of taking it off the grid. But as a solution to intermittancy, it’s not.

  8. I have had a suggestion that may use the power that’s wasted at wind farms. It is to use the excess electricity in microwave ovens to roast biomass (in a process called torrefaction) to make it more palatable to thermal power plants. This process generates gasses which can be stored and used later.

    Could this work?

    If it could who should I tell?

    I have a little more detail here :

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