IEEE Delaware Bay Section Announces a New Program Series for 2008-2009: 

Our Future Power = Energy Over Time
Emerging Technologies in the Electrical Power Sector


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Program: Wind Energy- Third in the Series
Robert Frick, Sales Manager Wind Energy, GE
                  Ron Brzenski, Commercial Manager, Wind Energy, GE
                  Bill Looney, Area GE Representative

Facts from the presentation:

GE services many energy markets: Thermal (Gas Turbine, Coal), Nuclear, and Renewables (Wind, Solar, BioMass).

GE has delivered over 12,000 wind turbines since 2002. The division has 300 employees. The origin was Zand Technology, which was bought by Enron, then GE. 

The key part is the 82 meter wind propeller face. 

Wind turbines ideally can get 59% of the available energy (Bett’s Law). 

Turbines are used in farms, where the position of the blades with respect to each other is critical.
The GE turbine takes a 20 rpm propeller speed through a 80:1 gearbox to deliver 1600 rpm to the generator. Single speed squirrel cage generators were used first, then multi-speed, then doubly fed Asynchronous, to the currently used Magnetic Synchronous Generator. 

How many blades are best? GE has found that economics favors three blades. More blades generate more power, but are not quite as cost efficient. One thing about two blades is that one blade is shadowed from the wind when it is in front of the tower, generating a hard to control dynamic. Three or more blades minimize this effect. 

Installations of turbines should always be mixed with other technologies to obtain as nearly a constant output as possible.

In controlling the turbine, the worst case to avoid is overspeed. Turbines are not placed in hurricane areas.

Comment on the case of the Texas situation where it was reported that the wind suddenly dropped to zero and load had to be precipitously shed; the situation was much more complicated. The supply from the other parts of the supply chain had also dropped nearly to zero, and the demand spiked up.

Some installation problems to overcome are the very large parts, especially the tower, leading to transportation and casting problems. The major parts of a wind turbine are the nacelle and blades, the tower and the down tower assembly. 

The generator harmonic distortion is within IEEE standard requirements. 

Wind speed range for operation is 3 to 25 meters/sec, with a design limit of 59 meters/sec. 
GE has supplied on shore units in the range of 1.5 to 2.5 megawatts; most units at the 1.5 MW level.
Off shore can be bigger at 3.5 MW. 

The aesthetic problem with off shore units is not the profile on the horizon, but the lights at night. 

Typical capacity factor (compared to the maximum of 59%) is about 30%. 
Tower height for a 1.5 MW unit is 80 meters; for the 2.5 MW unit is 100 meters. Higher towers catch more wind, but at a much higher cost. 

Typical cost numbers used for comparing the energy generation options are:
Nuclear     0.02 /kw-hr (doesn’t include the cost of waste disposal)
Thermal    0.05 (doesn’t include the cost of CO2 disposal)
Wind        0.07 

Cost for a single turbine is $2.4 million and $0.8 to $1.2 million for installation.