The current U.S. wind fleet could produce an estimated 12 terawatt hours (TWh) more energy — enough untapped energy to power roughly 1.1 million homes — according to a new report by Uptake, an advanced analytics software company. That’s equal to nearly all the homes in the city of Chicago.
“Current wind turbines can produce much more energy than they do today,” said Sonny Garg, global energy solutions lead for Uptake. “With the ability to predict problems before they happen, the potential increase in wind turbine energy production is massive and important to our transition to a clean energy future.”
Today, the U.S. wind fleet’s availability, the measure of a wind turbine’s readiness to produce energy, is 94 percent. For each one-percent gain in availability, an estimated additional 2.4 TWh of wind energy would be produced by the current fleet without new hardware. That would:
- Increase energy production by the equivalent of adding 450 additional wind turbines without building new generation;
- Produce nearly the same amount of electricity as one coal-fired power plant;
- Reduce CO2 emissions by 1.78 million metric tons, the equivalent of removing more than 382,000 cars from the road every year; and
- Power 222,000 additional homes annually.
“The findings from Uptake’s report underscore a huge opportunity for the current wind fleet to produce more energy,” said Dr. Sue Tierney, senior advisor at the Analysis Group, Uptake advisor and former assistant policy secretary at the U.S. Department of Energy. “If the windpower industry uses data to improve operations and stop problems before they start, it will be better positioned to stay competitive in today’s evolving energy markets.”
Uptake’s report outlines how software technologies that optimize operations, identify component breakdowns before they happen and provide real-time information on turbine performance can dramatically increase the amount of energy produced by wind turbine fleets.
More details can be found in the report at www.uptake.com/untapped-energy-report.