Rotor control

A system that claims to improve the performance and integration of wind farms on the National Grid has been unveiled by GE Energy.

The service, known as WindINERTIA, is part of GE’s range of grid integration products. According to the company, the technology is intended to provide wind turbines with the same reliability standards as thermal generators by adjusting their performance during network disturbances.

Stefan Hartger, GE’s customer value manager, said: ‘Using wind energy in any system means that you need to provide some sort of support to ensure the stability of the network. The rapid increase in demand for wind energy means that this is an increasingly important issue and we have developed WindINERTIA to tackle some of its challenges.’

The technology works by allowing wind turbines to provide an inertial response for large, short-duration frequency disturbances through a control system. The mechanical inertia turbine rotor allows it to increase its power output by five per cent to 10 per cent over a duration of a few seconds, giving the grid time to increase power production from other sources.

Hartger added: ‘Every single rotation is able to provide a certain inertia to that system. When wind turbines are rotating, the torque of the turbine is coordinated by the control system and what we are doing is changing the intelligence of our control systems to alter the behaviour of the rotor.’

GE has also launched WindLAYOUT: a service aimed at improving the efficiency of wind farms by using data from the components, alongside data from wind performance. The offering provides clients with a report detailing locations and estimates of wind-energy production for wind farms currently using GE turbines.

Ellie Zolfagharifard