US conglomerate General Electric (NYSE:GE) on Tuesday unveiled a new Digital Power Plant offering that can enable more flexible renewables integration and grid stability.
Building on the Internet of Things concept, the Digital Power Plant platform of GE combines hardware and software solutions to securely digitize complex power assets and systems.
"Digital Power Plant is more than connectivity and more than just one solution," GE said in a statement.
The platform could transform power generation from the very earliest stages, starting with the design and siting of power plants, GE says in a white paper accompanying Tuesday’s announcement.
GE’s research shows that current methods of siting for a new wind farm leave potential future revenue on the table.
At present, when building a new wind farm, the industry standard is to choose a single turbine model for all the pad mounts on the sites—even though given the wind patterns, some pads have greater output potential than others. Deploying a single turbine model across the whole farm, therefore, can maximize performance for only some of the pads, giving up the option of maximizing output for the farm as a whole, and leading to a lower energy output than could otherwise be obtained.
A Digital Wind Farm, instead of settling for the least common denominator model, will allow to customize every turbine to its unique location on the farm by integrating the advances in digital infrastructure with hardware technologies such as modular turbines that allow different configurations such as optimum hub height, blade length and generator rating.
Once the power plant is in operation, digital tools can further enhance its performance and profitability.
The "digital twin" plant can provide power producers with both “inside the fence” and system-wide views, enabling them to maximize the plant’s operational efficiency while responding optimally to changing conditions on the grid and in the overall power market.
On October 8, GE will have an online session where executives from GE Power & Water will share insights on the new digital capabilities and anyone interested in the subject could pose a question.
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