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Published on March 29th, 2013 | by Tina Casey


GE’s “Brilliant” Wind Turbine Revs Up In Netherlands

March 29th, 2013 by  

The new GE wind turbine is billed as the “world’s most efficient high-output wind turbine,” so even though this item hasn’t gotten past the prototype stage we’ve been keeping up with the latest developments. If it lives up to its promise, the new 2.5-120, which GE prefers to call a “brilliant” wind turbine rather than just plain old smart, will result in a significant expansion of global wind power harvesting potential. It is specifically designed to draw cost-effective wind power out of low speed, less-than-ideal sites, and that could put more locally generated clean energy within reach of more communities.

GE brilliant wind turbine prototype in Netherlands

GE by Jeffery Turner via flickr.

The GE “Brilliant” Wind Turbine

GE has just announced that the 2.5-120 prototype is now up and running at a test facility in the Netherlands. Compared to GE’s current best effort in that class, the 2.5-120 is 25 percent more efficient and achieves a 15 percent increase in power output.

The trick is in a data collection and management platform that provides real time, second-by-second analysis of “tens of thousands” of data points, enabling the turbine to squeeze every available drop of energy out of variable winds.

Energy storage is also integrated into the new GE wind turbine system, as are forecasting algorithms and the ability to communicate and coordinate with other turbines.

The system also incorporates an element that is becoming more common in all kinds of hardware, and that is the capability to self-monitor and report service issues. That leads to maintenance and service efficiencies that can significantly reduce long term operating costs.

Overall, the 2.5-120 is designed the new turbine to integrate seamlessly into something it calls the “industrial internet,” which is basically a way of describing how new energy efficient “smart” software interacts with machinery.

A Solution To Wind Turbine Turbulence

One wind power issue that the “brilliant” approach helps to address is the loss of efficiency that results when a wind turbine creates turbulence, affecting other turbines downstream. That phenomenon is not only confined to individual wind farms, but it can also affect wind quality over greater distances.

One approach to the turbulence issue is simply to ensure that wind turbines, and wind farms, are spaced far apart enough to mitigate the effect, and that is already a central design element for wind farm developers. With the 2.5-120’s capability of inter-turbine communication, more turbines could be squeezed into smaller spaces without a significant loss of overall efficiency.

That solution could help alleviate the need to site new wind farms at increasingly greater distances away from existing transmission lines and major transmission corridors. That, in turn, could help keep the U.S. wind industry on its breakneck pace of building new wind farms.

Wind Power And Earthquakes

No major source of energy harvesting is impact-free, but considering the latest issue to emerge about the local impacts of fossil fuel harvesting, wind power is looking more and more like a walk in the park.

Last week, we noted a new study of a 5.7 Oklahoma earthquake by Columbia seismologists and the U.S. Geological Survey, which linked the strongest-ever earthquake in the state to wastewater from an oil drilling operation. As is common practice in the industry, chemical-laced brine had been injected into abandoned wells under high pressure. The researchers concluded that caused a well known but previously inactive fault nearby to “jump.”

The quake was no small potatoes. It destroyed 14 homes, resulted in two reported injuries and damaged a federal highway.

That’s far from the only example of earthquakes linked to oil and gas drilling wastewater injection. Add that to increasing local impacts on water resources in populated areas from natural gas fracking and mountaintop coal mining, and the impact of underground fires and destructive subsidence from underground coal mining, and you’ve got an emerging picture of the United States under siege from fossil fuel harvesting operations.

Not for nothing, but forget about global warming: we got a problem.

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About the Author

specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.

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  • What a bunch of spin!!!! Fossil fuel plants will still have to backup these newer machines or brownouts and blackouts will become the norm. What a waste of subsidies!!!!! We need real energy solutions, not one first brought to market in a major way by Enron, who saw wind energy as a way to double-dip when trading energy commodities. Thye new all to well that you can’t have one without the othere…wind and fossil fuel go hand in hand.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Gosh, Bill. I suppose no one thought to tell you that we now have to back up fossil fuel and nuclear generation as well. Nothing runs 24/365.

      Short term we will use natural gas to fill in for those times when the wind isn’t blowing and the Sun not shining. But it’s very likely that we will start installing more storage (we already have 21 GW) and cutting back on NG use. The rising price of NG will make that happen.

      Wind and fossil fuels are only short term sweethearts. They’ve got a big breakup coming in their future as renewables marry themselves to cheap storage.

  • wattleberry

    Sounds like a no briner to me.

  • Ross

    They probably got the name from people saying “That’s brilliant” when hearing about it.

  • linda518

    before I looked at the receipt 4 $5553, I accept …that…my sister was like they say really bringing in money part time at their laptop.. there moms best frend haz done this 4 less than a year and as of now paid the depts on there mini mansion and bought a brand new Lotus Elise. read more at, jump15.comCHECK IT OUT

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