Advanced Controls for Wind Turbines and Farms Boost Efficiencies, Profitability

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Advanced control technologies hold perhaps the greatest potential in the wind energy industry for improvements in individual turbine and entire wind farm efficiency. Using sophisticated, nimble controllers built on innovative principles could be the key to making wind more profitable, even in light of falling government subsidies and research support.

At $1 million per megawatt of power, wind turbines are big investments, and they’re expected to put out by generating huge sums of energy in order to stay competitive with cheap fuels like coal and natural gas. It’s no surprise, then, that wind turbine researchers and manufacturers are racing to budget bottom by looking for the next big technology that will boost turbine efficiency, increase reliability, and improve availability.

In many cases, the answers lie with innovations in the electric and electronic components of turbines and the grid. One of the biggest areas of interest in the wind industry today is that of advanced control systems using electric and electronic theories and components to get the maximum energy production out of both individual turbines and entire wind farms.

Advanced Control Technologies for Greater Turbine Efficiency

Advanced control systems and integrated sensors hold some of the greatest promise for increasing a turbine’s energy production and lowering capital costs for both onshore and offshore applications, especially when they’re married to floating substructures. Advanced control technologies, which rely on complex algorithms and sophisticated software, are used to optimize a turbine’s performance under varying conditions. Additionally, by reducing the load on turbines, advanced controls help to stabilize a turbine’s behavior as well.

There are many areas in which advanced controllers can improve the performance of a wind turbine. From pitch angle to wind modeling to transitions from one wind region to another, the impact of advanced controllers within the wind industry will surely be one of the most beneficial in the next few years.

Article by IQPC is a leading organizer of about 2,000 worldwide conferences, seminars, and related learning programs every year. The company is organizing the 2nd International Conference E/E Systems for Wind Turbines 21 – 23 May, 2012 at the Swissôtel Bremen, Germany. Free whitepapers, articles and podcasts on grid integration of offshore wind energy are available on the website.

About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.