After Smart Phones, Smart Wind Turbines

Michael Graham Richard
February 7, 2013

Same Wind Conditions, More Productive Turbines

Wind and solar power are the two main pillars of our clean energy future (combined with hydro where it makes sense, deep rock geothermal when costs can be brought down, wave power, maybe someday thorium, some biomass/biofuels where they make sense, etc). If we take a closer look at wind power, huge progress has been made in past decades, and while some advances are obvious – wind turbines have been getting bigger all the time – some improvements are making a difference in more subtle ways.

Your Phone Isn’t the Only Thing Getting Smarter

A lot of progress has been made in making a wind turbine of a given size more productive, from better positioning individual wind turbines and whole wind farms thanks to better computer models to improving the efficiency of various components, from rotor blades to all of the mechanical parts inside the nacelle, all of this connected to sensors and clever software to optimize operations under a wider range of conditions. Improving reliability is also a big deal, as it lower overall operation costs and allows a turbine to capture more wind because of less maintenance downtime. All of this together makes enough difference that even turbines that have a capacity rating that is lower than older models actually end up producing more kWhs per year:

Read more: After Smart Phones, Smart Wind Turbines : TreeHugger.

Home           Top of page