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).
GE is suggesting that this is the equivalent of building as many as nineteen new turbines of that size, but it’s going to have to prove that’s the case in order to make money off of 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.