Trump or no Trump, the global clean energy industry is gaining pace and scale. A case in point is a new wind, hydropower, and energy storage collaboration between US-based energy giant GE and Germany’s Max Bögl Wind AG. The project is on track to connect its four wind turbines in Germany to the grid next year, with the hydropower component to be operational by the end of 2018.
The project represents an innovative combo of two different forms of renewable energy combined with an energy storage solution. The key points of this project to note are; GE Renewable Energy and Max Bögl Wind AG to install the first wind plant integrated with pumped storage hydro-electric power. The base of each wind turbine to be used as a water reservoir. The Project will be installed at Gaildorf wind farm in Germany and include GE’s new 3.4-137 machine. This project creates the world’s tallest wind turbines with “record-breaking” height of 246.5 meters.
The full scope of the Gaildorf project, located in Germany’s Swabian-Franconian Forest on the Limpurger Berge uplands, will consist of 4 units of GE’s new 3.4-137 wind turbine technology and a 16 MW capacity pumped storage hydro-electric power plant, to be supplied under a separate agreement between Max Bögl, Naturspeicher and Voith. The base and surrounding area of each wind turbine tower will be used as a water reservoir, effectively increasing tower height by 40 meters. At a total tip height of 246.5 meters, once installed these units will become the tallest wind turbines in the world to date.
The Gaildorf project marks a major step forward in balancing power demand and supply fluctuations using renewable energy sources. The combined wind and hydro power plant will provide balancing power for fast-response stabilization of the grid, maintaining a low cost of electricity for residents in Germany.
During times of peak demand and high electricity prices, the hydro plant will be in production mode. During times of low electricity demand and lower prices, the hydro plant will be in pump mode, pumping and storing water–and hence energy–in the upper reservoir for later use.
GE will contribute its new 3.4-137 (3.4 megawatts, 137 meter rotor diameter) wind turbines to the project. That includes the company’s Digital Wind Farm platform with Predix* software to maximize efficiency.
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