GE Boosting Wind Turbine Output Up To 5% With PowerUp, Industrial Internet Technology

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GE this morning released an announcement regarding new wind turbine technology that can boost wind turbine technology by up to 5%, which equals a whopping 20% or so more profit per wind turbine. (Full disclosure: GE funded and organized my trip to Chicago in order to cover the GE Minds + Machines 2013 conference in which this was announced.)

PowerUp is the new “Industrial Internet” technology that makes this considerable output improvement possible. It is a customized software-enabled platform available for all of GE’s wind turbine models.

This announcement was actually one of 14 new industrial internet predictivity technologies launched by GE today, following up on the first 10 that it launched last year. As Chris Varrone wrote back in 2011, “GE wants to sell you everything.” In terms of revenue, GE is the 25th-largest company in the world. In the energy industry, it is involved in the use of nearly every type of energy resource, and some of the predictivity technologies announced today were for oil, some were for natural gas, and some were for wind power. Beyond energy, the technologies are for aviation, healthcare, and more. In the end, the goal for all of them is better efficiency and better economics.

Sticking to our beat, I’ll get back to the wind turbine announcement. As noted above, the new wind turbine predictive technology can boost output by up to 5% (initially). That is for GE’s 1.5-77 turbine. 5% may not sound huge to you, but that’s actually a very considerable increase, especially when you consider how many of these turbines are out there. GE writes:

“To put things in perspective, today our customers have more than 9,000 GE 1.5-77 turbines running in the United States. Even a 1 percent energy output increase on this installed base would generate more than 420,000 megawatt hours of additional energy each year, which would provide the equivalent power used by 33,000 average U.S. homes.” That’s just 1%! 5% would mean enough power for an additional 165,000 average homes, simply thanks to the output boost provided by this Industrial Internet technology. Following the lego-like GIF below, I’ll share more information on what exactly PowerUp does.


PowerUp adjusts, in real-time performance, wind turbine factors such as speed, torque, pitch, aerodynamics, and turbine controls. The GE software program also “performs a complete before-and-after wind farm power performance analysis, validating the performance improvement,” GE adds. And that’s a critical component of it all — analyzing the results (quickly), and using the data to improve technologies or business processes.

For more details on what PowerUp helps with, here’s a useful snapshot from a fact sheet GE sent me:

GE PowerUp


If there is one single message being presented today, it is the tremendous investment GE and partners are putting into developing an Industrial Internet that will transform not only future technologies but also every aspect of the businesses that use those technologies.

Interestingly, wind farm operators only need to pay for PowerUp if it really boosts performance. “PowerUp is a flexible, outcome-based, commercial offering (OPEX, CAPEX) that allows wind farm operators to pay only for validated performance improvements.”

Wind farm operators with PowerUp will continuously receive hardware and software updates. And, if you haven’t guessed it by now, PowerUp is now offered up as part of GE’s “Brilliant wind turbine” platform. We’ve covered the Brilliant wind turbine a few times, including some exclusive coverage, but GE offers a useful, quick summary of the platform if you need caught up on this: The GE Brilliant wind turbine “harnesses the power of the Industrial Internet to analyze tens of thousands of data points on a wind farm every second, driving higher power output and creating new revenue streams for customers,” GE notes. “It is an ecomagination qualified product.”

For more background on the GE Brilliant turbine, check out:

  1. How Smart Is GE’s “Brilliant” New Wind Turbine?
  2. GE’s Brilliant Wind Turbine — Wind Power Cheaper Than Coal Or Natural Gas (Part 1)
  3. GE’s Brilliant Wind Turbine — Wind Power Cheaper Than Coal Or Natural Gas (Part 2)
  4. GE’s Brilliant Wind Turbine — Wind Power Cheaper Than Coal Or Natural Gas (Part 3)
  5. Who’s Afraid Of The Big, Bad Production Tax Credit For Wind Power?
  6. GE’s “Brilliant” Wind Turbine Revs Up In Netherlands
  7. GE Brilliant Wind Turbines Heading Down Under As Part Of $350MM Boco Wind Farm Project

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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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