The moment of truth surrounding the Earth’s never-ending need for sustainable energy and resources is here. With the world’s energy consumption expected to increase at least 36 percent from 2008 to 2035, it’s clear our global dependency on energy and natural resources is not slowing down. Now’s the time to fully tap into sustainable resources including wind power to their greatest ability.
How can this be accomplished? By using new analytics technologies to make more informed decisions about where we install wind turbines.
Wind farms and the turbines that power them offer a promise of unlimited energy. At 4 to 6 cents per kilowatt-hour, wind energy is one of the lowest priced renewable energy technologies available today.
Countries around the world are signing up for this promise by recognizing wind farm benefits, setting aggressive goals and records, and generating demand for new technology that can speed up the delivery and placement of wind farms.
The German Association of Energy and Utilities recently reported the country set a new record during the first half of 2011 with 20.8 percent of the country’s power production coming from renewable resources like wind. Also, New Zealand adopted an aggressive energy strategy this year calling for 90 percent of its electricity to be generated by renewable resources such as wind.
The American Wind Association reported if the United States can increase its wind energy capacity to 20 percent by 2030, the country can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 7,600 tons of CO2, reduce water consumption in the electric sector by four trillion gallons, and reduce consumer demand for natural gas by 12 percent.
A key challenge to efficient wind energy is finding the ideal location to place turbines so they produce enough electricity to keep electricity costs low.
Vestas Wind Systems is overcoming this challenge with new IBM big data analytics software and an IBM Supercomputer that model massive amounts of data such as weather conditions, moon and tidal phases, geospatial and sensor data, satellite images, deforestation maps, and weather modeling research to predict the best place to install each wind turbine.
Analysis that used to take weeks can now be done in under an hour.
We’re using this information to show clients how much energy our turbines will produce and what their return on investment will be before they are installed.
We predict by 2020 as much as 10 percent of the world’s electricity consumption will come from wind technologies, and analytics is helping us speed up this timeline and enter new markets to capitalize on growing demand for wind energy.
This week IBM is hosting its annual Information on Demand Conference and Business Analytics Forum in Las Vegas. Vestas Technology’s Lars Christian Christensen is among several thousand attendees who are learning how to unlock the potential of big data and analytics. Check out more about the conference here: www.ibm.com/press/IOD2011