South Dakota Wind Farm Puts Smart Grid Technology to Work to Yield a Greater Harvest
Basin Electric Power Cooperative’s New Wind Farm Creates Jobs, Puts GE’s ecomagination Transformers and Wind Turbines to Work, Maximizing Cleaner Power Delivered by Every Rotation of the Turbine Blade
ATLANTA, GA.—Homes and businesses receiving power from Basin Electric Power Cooperative’s South Dakota wind farm, scheduled to begin operation in 2010, will benefit from smart grid technologies on the farm’s 101 GE wind turbines. Prolec GE’s high efficiency amorphous transformers will reduce losses as electricity moves through the wind farm’s transformers, so that every spin of the turbine blade delivers more energy to consumers.
In addition to maximizing productivity of the electrical network, smart grid technologies also help improve productivity of renewable energy generation, making investments in green technology more attractive to developers.
“Achieving maximum efficiency at the lowest possible cost is the goal of any power plant,” said Ron Rebenitsch, Basin Electric’s manager of alternative technologies. “These transformers to be installed at our new South Dakota wind farm help us meet that goal.”
Prolec GE’s high-efficiency transformers have amorphous metal cores, which reduce “no-load” losses of the transformer by 60-70% compared to traditional transformers with silicon steel cores. “No-load losses” take place when homes and other applications are not pulling power from the transformer.
“To address the concerns about global warming, we need to keep getting better at how efficiently we generate and distribute power from all generation sources, including renewables,” said Bob Gilligan, vice president, transmission and distribution at GE Energy. “These products have survived the rigor of GE’s ecomagination certification, meaning they deliver financial and environmental performance benefits that forward-thinking companies and conscientious customers will embrace.”
Basin Electric’s South Dakota wind farm will begin providing power to customers in late 2010, according to Rebenitsch. Basin Electric is a recognized leader of wind energy development in the upper Midwest United States. Through joint projects and purchase power agreements, it has added approximately 136 megawatts (MW) of wind energy to the region’s energy portfolio since 2002. By 2011, Basin Electric will add another 314 MW of wind resources to its power supply family.
“In addition to helping meet our efficiency goals, we’re also pleased that investments in our South Dakota wind farm will likely create 10-15 new jobs in South Dakota,” Rebenitsch added.
Widespread adoption of these transformers across all power generation technologies could have a substantial impact on the environment. In the United States and Mexico, electric utilities and end users install more than one million distribution transformers each year. If all of these distribution transformers used Prolec GE’s highly efficient amorphous metal core technology, rather than silicon steel, the annual electricity savings would be approximately 750 million kWh. These energy savings could avoid more than 465,000 tons of CO2 emissions from traditional U.S. electricity sources, which is equivalent to the impact of removing nearly 90,000 cars from U.S. roads for one year.
Through industry collaborations, GE will deliver one of the broadest portfolio offerings in the industry to modernize the electrical systems from the power plant to the consumer. From smarter appliances to technologies for plug-in hybrid vehicles, to providing renewable technologies and smart meters, GE has the breadth and knowledge needed to increase energy productivity all the way up and down the lines.
Prolec GE is a joint venture of GE and Xignux. It owns and operates one of the largest, most technologically advanced transformer production facilities in the world.
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