GE Promises More Wind Power Without New Turbines

GE this fall began pushing a new bit of software wizardry that it says will boost wind farm performance. Looks like E.On is biting.

GE said that the Germany-based energy giant would install PowerUp, described as a “customized software-enabled platform that increases a wind farm’s output by up to 5 percent,” at five wind farms. This adds up to 469 GE 1.5-77 wind turbines that E.On uses (through its Climate & Renewables division).

powerup ge

GE 1.5-77 turbines: Some 12,000 are in service round the world. (image via GE)

GE is suggesting that this is the equivalent of building as many as 19 new turbines of that size, but it’s going to have to prove that’s the case in order to make money off implementing PowerUp for E.On. That’s because this is an “outcomes-based” deal: The companies will measure the impact of PowerUp, and GE will get only a percentage of the gains the technology brings.

“The outcomes-based approach aligns well with our goals of providing cleaner, better energy at a more affordable price,” Steve Trenholm, chairman, E.ON North America, said in a statement. “Investment in wind energy has led to technological advancements like PowerUp that continue to make renewables more and more competitive with traditional forms of energy.”

GE is developing new, bigger and smarter turbines for new wind farms, like the 2.5-120 it announced in February this year, but the 1.5-77 is a workhorse around the world, with some 12,000 units installed. The company clearly sees possibilities in helping operators boost the output of those machines. Here’s what PowerUp does, according to GE:

When PowerUp is activated, a GE software program performs a complete before-and-after wind farm power performance analysis, validating the performance improvement. By adjusting performance dials that include speed, torque, pitch, aerodynamics and turbine controls, PowerUp helps maximize the power output of a wind farm.

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.

  • Nad Colors

    German wind tech on USA salt of the earth farms.? Tch Tch What about a more sensible approach to a wind generator like a vertcile shaft wind generator with the generator on the ground where it is supposed to be. I see my friends in Germany have forgotten Newtons law of gravity. and cant add. But I guess that’s ok seeing how nobody actually has to work in Germany seeing how all that old money is there.

    • Pete Danko

      It’s American tech – GE turbines, GE software.