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Smart Wind Turbines

Everything seems to be getting smarter these days.

First were the cellphones, then came smart cars, wristwatches, and houses. The next tech getting a brainy update will be, quite unusually, wind turbines.Yes, those giant, looming turbines you see as you drive past empty fields will soon be smarter than you . . . almost.

The turbines themselves won’t change much, as their infrastructure will remain. The only difference will be in production levels.

With wind and solar power leading our nation away from dependence on oil to power the nation’s energy grid, it only makes sense that we should increase their workload as much as we can.

New computer models have been able to get more efficiency from various components such as the turbine motors, to the blades that make the magic possible. According to MIT, “GE’s new 2.5-120 wind turbine…is a case in point. Its max. power output, 2.5 megawatts, is lower than that of the 2.85 megawatt turbine it’s superseding. But over the course of a year it can generate 15 percent more kilowatts hours.”

These upgrades, along with larger and more reliable turbines, have gone a long way to making the cost of harvesting wind much, much cheaper; cutting the cost more than half from two decades ago. The 6.5 cents it costs per kilowatt today is on par with natural gas companies, making wind turbines an extremely competitive market.

According to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the “latest data on wind turbine performance and costs suggests that wind power is likely to be more cost-effective than natural gas over the next 20 years…” This marks a huge milestone in the future feasibility of green technology, and will encourage further development of alternative energy producers, which, as we’ve written, 2013 promises to be a great year for.

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