Google AI hikes wind power value by 20%; UK targets 30 GW offshore wind by 2030

Our pick of the latest wind power news you need to know.

Google uses machine learning to increase wind power value by 20%

Google has combined machine learning with turbine data and weather forecasting to increase the value of its wind assets by 20%, the company said in a statement February 26.

Google applied DeepMind applied machine learning algorithms to 700 MW of U.S. wind capacity.

"Using a neural network trained on widely available weather forecasts and historical turbine data, we configured the DeepMind system to predict wind power output 36 hours ahead of actual generation," the company said.

"Based on these predictions, our model recommends how to make optimal hourly delivery commitments to the power grid a full day in advance," it said.

Forward power allocations can significantly increase the value of wind power output. Including operational savings from machine learning efficiencies, the DeepMind system increased the economic value of the wind assets by 20% compared with no time-based commitments to the grid.

  Value gains from Google machine learning

                              (Click image to enlarge)

Source: Google, DeepMind

"We can’t eliminate the variability of the wind, but our early results suggest that we can use machine learning to make wind power sufficiently more predictable and valuable," Google said.

"Our hope is that this kind of machine learning approach can strengthen the business case for wind power and drive further adoption of carbon-free energy on electric grids worldwide," it said.

UK sets 2030 offshore wind target to boost supply chain

The UK government has set a target of 30 GW of installed offshore wind capacity by 2030, quadrupling the current installed capacity, the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) announced March 7.

Under a new Offshore Wind Sector Deal between government and industry, the UK will build around 2 GW of offshore wind capacity per year for the next 10 years and hike the share of offshore wind to over 30% of UK power generation.

The deal provides greater market transparency for offshore wind developers looking to build out their supply chain. Last July, BEIS announced it would hold offshore wind tenders every two years from May 2019 and seek to build up to 2 GW of new capacity per year.

Under the deal, the offshore wind industry has pledged to spend 250 million pounds ($328.8 million) to develop the UK supply chain.

"This includes an investment of up to 100 million pounds in a new industry program, the Offshore Wind Growth Partnership, which will help UK companies seeking to grow their business in the rapidly-growing global offshore wind market," industry association RenewableUK, said in a statement.

“This Deal will also ensure that the UK maintains its leading role as an offshore wind innovation hub, accelerating our world-class R&D in fields like robotics and AI, and cutting-edge technologies," Hugh McNeil, Chief Executive of RenewableUK, said.

Under the plan, UK offshore wind employment could triple to 27,000 by 2030 while global exports are predicted to rise five-fold to 2.6 billion pounds, BEIS said. 

Orsted signs UK's first offshore corporate PPA

Denmark's Orsted has signed a 10-year corporate power purchase agreement (PPA) with Northumbrian Water for its 573 MW Race Bank offshore wind farm off England's east coast.

The Race Bank wind farm consists of 91 Siemens Gamesa 6 MW and was commissioned in 2018.

The deal represents the first corporate offshore wind PPA in the UK. Northumbrian Water will source around 100 GWh/year from Race Bank, expanding a previous renewable energy supply agreement between the companies.

Orsted will provide an "innovative balancing service" so the electricity can be delivered to Northumbrian Water under their existing supply agreement, the company said.

Last year, Swedish developer Vattenfall signed Europe's first corporate offshore wind PPA for its planned 600 MW Kriegers Flak project in Denmark.

Global healthcare company Novo Nordisk and biological solutions group Novozymes agreed to purchase around one fifth of the plant's total output.

The Kriegers Flak project was awarded in late 2016 at a record-low offshore wind price of 49.9 euros/MWh ($56.4/MWh) and is due online by the end of 2021.

Marine, aerospace groups join to deploy offshore drones

DEME Offshore and SABCA, an aerospace technology supplier, have created a partnership to deploy drone inspection services at offshore wind farms, the companies announced March 3.

Belgium's DEME supplies engineering and financing services for marine energy and waste projects.

Drone inspections will improve the health and safety of offshore wind employees and reduce project costs, the companies said in a statement.

Drones allow operators to perform inspections during harsh conditions. Combined with data analytics and machine learning, these technologies can provide faster analysis and insights.

Drones could cut offshore wind inspection costs by $1,000 per turbine per year, according to BNEF.

            Annual offshore wind inspection costs per 3.6 MW turbine

Source: Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), Sterblue, VisualWorking

"By adding drone services to our solutions we can provide detailed and highly accurate inspection data, while further increasing safety and reducing downtime and costs,” Luc Vandenbulcke, CEO of DEME, said.

“More accurate data results in shorter response times, better availability and a higher electricity output," he said.

New Energy Update