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Case study: GE uses PowerUp platform to optimize wind farm


In 2013, General Electric (GE) Renewable Energy launched the PowerUp Platform to help wind developers get more power from their existing wind energy equipment. According to the company, PowerUp is a customized suite of software and hardware-enabled technologies created to increase a wind farm’s output by up to 5%, taking into account environmental conditions.

E.ON Climate and Renewables (EC&R) North America, a renewable energy operator, partnered with GE to optimize its wind farm infrastructure, according to a case study provided by the Industrial Internet Consortium.

Not getting the most out of wind

source: Industrial Internet Consortium
source: Industrial Internet Consortium

EC&R was experiencing an unfavorable 30% design margin due to underutilized wind turbines. They also calculated that over-estimating wind conditions was resulting in energy losses of 10% annually.

It was determined that a 1% increase in annual energy production (AEP) translates to an approximate $2,500 per year, according to GE. The potential AEP increase for EC&R was the equivalent of adding 10 more turbines to their fleet.

“There’s nothing more significant to our business than the actual wind itself,” Patrick Woodson, CEO of EC&R North America said. “Being able to harness that wind, even a little bit, has massive implications for our bottom line.”

GE steps Up

PowerUp is a part of the GE Brilliant Wind platform, which uses the industrial internet of things to analyze tens of thousands of data points on a wind farm each second. This leads to higher power output, increased service productivity and the creation of new revenue streams for customers, according to GE.

The PowerUp solution architecture combines operational and configuration data, historical data and real-time data to enable estimation and forecasting, monitoring and evaluation. Customer value analytics, mechanical load analytics and energy prediction, and forecasting provide insights into asset availability and reliability and asset and operational efficiency.

Maximizing profits

After partnering with GE in November 2013 to upgrade 469 of their 1.5-77 turbines with PowerUp, EC&R saw growth in its output, announcing an increase of 4% AEP in the first year. EC&R now have over 1,400 turbines powered by PowerUp and have realized up to 20% increase in profit.

“PowerUp is allowing us to produce energy levels we’ve never seen before,” Woodson said. “I think in the end, we ended up with a great product that will be great for both sides.”

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