Think progress has an article on new wind power turbines from GE - Gamechanger: Next Generation Wind Turbines With Storage Are Cheap, Reliable And Brilliant.
Wind companies are always trying to making their next turbine spin more efficiently and generate more power than the last, just as car companies are looking for better fuel efficiency and engine power. Advances usually come in small jumps in both cases, with a single percentage improvement cause for celebration.
GE announced a new line of wind turbines in May that generate between 20 and 24 percent more power than the previous best turbine in its class. It does this through traditional improvements in turbine design, but also through innovations that address one of the main issues that critics of wind power raise: intermittency.
The wind does not blow all the time, and the electric grid needs a regular supply of electricity. Wind has been a critical and climate-friendly addition to the grid portfolio, but as the industry continues to expand, people have started to think about what happens when more and more of our electricity is generated from intermittent renewable sources like wind and solar. Fossil fuel advocates try to make the case that coal and gas (and oil) can be burned constantly, but this is becoming less and less tenable. Rising carbon emissions are triggering extreme weather and sea level rise that endanger the very reliability of the electric grid.
Can advances in technology allow renewable energy sources to be reliable for second-to-second grid use? It’s already happening. In 2011, a concentrated solar plant produced power for 24 hours straight. A huge array of mirrors heated up a huge molten-salt battery system that permitted the solar plant to supply power when the sun was down. Reliable, steady wind energy is also becoming a real thing.
GE’s Brilliant 1.6-100 and 1.7-100 wind turbines are different from previous efforts because they use a short-term, grid-scale battery storage system paired with an “industrial internet” — a sophisticated system that is able to predict when power will be needed and when the wind will be blowing. It’s also bigger. All of this increases efficiency and capacity factor, or how much energy a turbine actually can produce. ...
So where are these cutting-edge turbines headed? Sixty-seven of them will be built for installation in the mountains of New South Wales in Australia in the fall of 2013, with power expected to be flowing into the grid by the end of 2014. Fifty-nine of them are headed to the “thumb” region of Michigan as part of a wind farm planned by NextEra Energy Resources. And Invenergy Wind is building a farm in Mills County, Texas that will feature three 2.5 MW GE Brilliant turbines.