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  • P E R S P E C T I V E

    46 Renewable Watch December 2014

    Much has been written about thecapabilities of big data and analyt-ics to transform industries fromretail to railroads and hospitality to healthcare. There are many prominent examplesat the consumer level, but the industrialsector is also catching up quickly.

    The consumer internet helped peopleacross the globe interact with each other

    in ways never imagined before, and thoseconnections created enormous amountsof data. In the same way, when billions ofmachines connect with each otherthrough the industrial internet, an analysisof the resulting data could unlock consid-erable value for industrial operations.

    Using data and analytics for wind powerThe industrial internet is transforming the

    way wind power is generated and dis-patched. Today, wind turbines generate asubstantial amount of data. For example,GE continuously monitors a fleet of morethan 19,000 turbines that generate approx-imately 1 petabyte of data every year. Theindustrial internet uses the power of dataand analytics to drive informed decisionsfor customer outcomes, including:z Better predictability: Through the con-

    tinuous monitoring of turbines from thesupervisory control and data acquisitionsystem and the remote operations cen-tre, along with advanced predictiveanalytics to warn of impending failuresmuch before the occurrence of a cata-strophic event.

    z Higher productivity: From effective dis-patch of service personnel, enabled bydigitised workflows, hand-held devices,and integrated asset and inventorymanagement systems; as well as cen-tralised analytics platforms that providea single-window view of multiple windfarm operations.

    z Improved compliance: In line with reg-ulatory requirements such as forecast-ing and scheduling for the RenewableRegulatory Fund in India, or other gridintegration requirements through inte-grated forecasting, wind farm controlsystems and energy storage solutions.

    The power of the industrial internet doesnot stop there. Using a combination ofsoftware applications and hardware modi-fications, it also drives turbine perform-ance upgrades that enhance project lifecycle economics.

    Performance upgrades for higher AEPWhile wind turbines are designed to suit aregions wind conditions, as technologies

    Harnessing the industrial internet for wind power

    Beyond Big DataBy MMilesh GGogad, SSenior PProduct MManager, GGE RRenewables

    GEs industrial iinternet vvision ffor wwind ppower

  • P E R S P E C T I V E

    December 2014 Renewable Watch 47

    evolve with time, the turbines in operationcan be tuned to generate the maximumenergy output on the basis of current windconditions at a specific farm site. Thesemodifications require an in-depth analysisof the operating parameters of the turbine,collected over a statistically relevant period, along with knowledge about theturbines design loads.

    The turbines performance can be im-proved through controller tuning, changingthe control strategy (such as increasing therated power and/or speed of the machine),adding hardware enhancements (such asvortex generators) to improve blade aero-dynamics, using real-time turbine data tomake smarter operating decisions, or acombination of these technologies. Bycombining one or more of these modifica-tions, operators can achieve an increase inthe annual energy production (AEP).

    As much as turbine performance up-grades help improve wind farm operatorbottom lines, a random change in the tur-bines control parameters or ratings couldbe counterproductive. After all, wind farmdevelopers have to operate the asset for20 years. The following is a short checklistof what to watch out for before signing upfor such performance upgrades:

    Native turbine technology: The controlparameters of a wind turbine are inter-related. Any tweak in one of the para-meters to improve performance has adirect impact on other parameters. Like-wise each turbine model has a differentdesign margin (for loads, for example)which it can withstand. A deep under-standing of the interrelationships betweenvarious parameters and the turbinesdesign limits is essential for safe opera-tion of the turbine over its life.

    Integration with farm systems: A tight inte-

    gration of the turbine hardware and itssubsystems with the software applica-tions referred to earlier ensures a seam-less, enriched user experience.

    Outcome-based commercial models: Theindustrial internet enables outcome-drivencommercial models in wind power, with lit-tle or no upfront investment from develop-ers. A financial model based on validat-ed performance gains helps reduce therisk for wind farm developers, becausethey work collaboratively with the manu-facturer and pay only after the added per-formance is verified.

    ConclusionAs the consumer and the industrialworlds converge, wind farm operatorsare increasingly demanding the samelevel of experience and outcomes thatthey receive from their personal comput-ing devices and applications. The indus-trial internet moves us closer to that goal,and helps turn productivity improve-ments into performance enhancements.Any improvements that can be gainedfrom big data and analytics are only asgood as the institutional knowledgebehind them. Operators must ensurethat their efforts are backed by a solidunderstanding of the native technologyof the turbine, a seamless integrationwith other systems, and outcome-basedcommercial models.

    GE offers a service platform called PowerUp that results in an AEP gain of up to 5 per cent,taking into account environmental conditions. It is helping increase the AEP of the fleets ofsome leading renewable power producers such as E.ON, EDP Renewables, First Wind,ENERTRAG AG and the Monsson Group.

    PowerUp services are a part of GEs Brilliant Wind Platform and Predictivity solutions,which utilise the industrial internet to analyse tens of thousands of data points on a wind farmevery second, driving higher output and tailoring the wind turbine to its wind site conditions.It adjusts performance dials such as speed, torque, pitch, aerodynamics and turbine con-trols, with the goal of maximising the power output of a wind farm. To ensure transparency,a GE software program performs a complete before and after PowerUp wind farm powerperformance analysis, validating the performance improvement.

    The service has secured more than 1,000 turbines under contract with a potential 194GWh of additional energy per year. E.ON Climate & Renewables, a leading wind energydeveloper with more than 10 GW of capacity, enrolled 283 of its 469 GE 1.5-77 wind turbinesin the PowerUp programme. The service achieved up to 4 per cent more power output, rep-resenting 40 GWh of additional energy production. Once all its 469 turbines are validated,E.ON could benefit from a projected increase of 87 GWh of additional energy productionacross all turbines or the equivalent of 19 additional GE wind turbines to its fleet, based onperformance extrapolations.

    GEs PowerUp service platform

    GEs PowerUp services to improve AEP by up to 5 per cent

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