Jessica Schulz | 05/14/2021
Intelligent solutions for more efficient wind farms
Artificial intelligence is already being used in many areas. Whether predictive maintenance, production forecasts or autonomous driving – AI is used in almost all industries. So, why not also in the field of renewable energies, more specifically wind energy?
Renewable energies are the basis for generating “green electricity”, which is essential for achieving climate targets. The disadvantage, however, is that they are dependent on the whims of nature. This became particularly clear in the summer of 2020 – heat over Germany, pure sunshine and not a breath of wind to be felt. In such situations, wind energy production can be very low. For the future it is crucial to ensure a stable supply of power to the grid.
Stable grids through power optimization
Each wind turbine records up to 600,000 measurement data per sensor and minute, such as vibrations and wind speeds, with a total of more than 100 different parameters. This data can already be used to provide early warning of potential faults. In the future, wind turbines should be able to learn and adapt to changing environmental conditions based on this data. The ALICE project aims to do just that and is supported by the German Federal Ministry of Research. With the appropriate AI, each wind turbine could soon “know” how to orient its own rotors best to achieve the optimum performance. At the same time, it would consider that the air vortices of its own turbine can influence the performance of the wind turbines below.
Optimization of maintenance activities
Another advantage of using AI in wind power is the optimization of maintenance and repair measures. If damage is detected at an early stage, repair costs can be kept low and the lifetime of the turbines can be extended. If damage occurs unexpectedly, it often means that a wind turbine has to be shut down completely. Early fault detection ensures that failures can be prevented. In addition, operators can also rely on AI-supported solutions for visual inspections, which are usually more efficient and faster than conventional methods.
Intelligent bird protection
A common argument against wind turbines is the bird protection. But here, too, there are now AI solutions that use a camera and a deep-learning neural network to detect bird species sensitive to wind power. The AI registers the bird’s approach and switches off the wind turbine in time before the animal gets too close to the rotor blade.
The above-mentioned possibilities are only a selection in which ways AI can be used in the field of wind energy. However, intelligent and self-learning applications are also more than exciting for the areas of solar energy, floating platforms or infrastructure.