Digital Wind Farms Set to Make Wind Power 20% More Efficient
Electricity demands are predicted to rise by 50% over the next 20 years presenting a significant challenge, particularly considering the price volatility and finiteness of fossil fuel energy sources. However, advances are being made towards more resilient energy systems that can power a prosperous economy in the long-term. One concept currently being developed uses big data, software and the industrial internet (a digital network, which connects, collects and analyses machine data) is called Digital Wind Farms. The new internet-connected design could boost a wind farm’s energy production by as much as 20% creating over $100 million in extra value over the lifetime of a 100-megawatt farm.
Learning how existing wind farms interact with both the landscape and the wind, effectively a cloud based digital twin for each will be produced and used to design the most efficient turbine for each pad on the farm, thus optimising and improving performance.
The concept is delivered in two key parts, a modular 2-megawatt wind turbine, which is easily customised for specific locations, and the software required to monitor and optimise the farm’s electricity production. This model allows engineers to pick from as many as 20 different turbine configurations, which ensure they produce the most efficient “doppelganger”. The digital twin will give invaluable insights into the workings of the individual farms and will afford its controllers the power to avoid any potential noise pollution by changing the rotor speed depending on wind direction.
Technological developments in big data and the industrial internet continue to be a key enabler for the increased competitiveness of renewable energy. The transition from an economy powered by fossil fuels to one powered by renewables is an important principle for creating a more resilient and regenerative circular economy.