IBM has taken a natural resource that is known for its erratic behavior and turned it into a reliable source of energy. IBM has teamed up with Vestas, the world’s largets wind energy company, and has made it possible to pinpoint the optimal locations for wind turbines to maximize energy production and reduce energy costs.
When dealing with wind energy determining the best place to place the wind turbines is key. If you put a wind turbine in an improper place it can be an expensive waste without much payout. However, a properly placed wind turbine can be a reliable and renewable energy source.
“Wind energy is one of today’s most important renewable energy sources,” says Lars Christian Christensen, vice president, Vestas Wind Systems A/S. “Fossil fuels will eventually run out. Wind is renewable, predictable, clean and commercially viable. By 2020 as much as 10
percent of the world’s electricity consumption will be satisfied by wind energy and we believe that wind power is an industry that will be on par with oil and gas.” Therefore, the partnering of IBM with Vestas just makes good sense. Analytics are used to determine turbines are placed in optimal locations for the most energy output possible. This ensures that the turbines are being used effectively.
People typically think it is not rocket science, just put a turbine in the windiest place possible. This is not the case though. The windiest location may not generate the best output and revenue for energy companies. Turbulence is a significant factor as it strains turbine components, making them more likely to fail. Avoiding pockets of turbulence can extend the service life of turbines and lower operating costs, which reduces the cost per kilowatt hour of energy produced. Analytics programs are able to predict turbulence and wind production and determine the best places for turbines with a good consistent wind flow with little turbulence.
Aside from determining good locations for wind turbines, analytics can also be used to help determine which type of turbine would do best in a variety of settings. Knowing which places to put turbines combined with the knowledge of the product to be used, companies like Vestas can see a greater return which is incredibly important for those companies and individuals investing in these wind energy projects. Wind energy may very well be a great energy source for the future with analytics on their side.