Advancements in wind power technology generally come in small steps, as companies make incremental improvements in turbine efficiency and power. But GE appears to have leapfrogged ahead with a new line of wind turbines that generate between 20 and 24 percent more power than the previous best turbine in its class. The technology is particularly notable because it addresses the problem of intermittent winds -- one of the main arguments raised by critics of wind power.
From Ryan Koronowski at Think Progress:
The wind does not blow all the time, and the electric grid needs a regular supply of electricity. Wind has been a critical and climate-friendly addition to the grid portfolio, but as the industry continues to expand, people have started to think about what happens when more and more of our electricity is generated from intermittent renewable sources like wind and solar.
GE’s Brilliant 1.6-100 and 1.7-100 wind turbines deal with the issue of intermittency with a grid-scale battery storage system paired with an “industrial internet” — a sophisticated system that predicts when power will be needed and when the wind will be blowing. The Brilliant turbines are bigger as well. Together, that means both increased efficiency and improved capacity factor (how much energy a turbine can produce).
(via Think Progress)