Global wind turbine provider Vestas Wind Systems has used Microsoft Azure computing and Azure Machine Learning to generate more energy from wind turbines through wake-steering systems controlled by artificial intelligence (AI).
Each wind turbine casts a wake, which reduces the wind speed for downstream turbines and causes them to produce less energy. Vestas has recaptured this lost energy using wake steering, turning turbine rotors to point away from oncoming wind to deflect the wake.
The company has used the Microsoft platform to run simulations and AI agents to train controllers to react to wind conditions and capture energy that would previously have been lost.
“You can use AI to optimise the construction, siting and the operations of a wind farm, but more importantly, you can use AI to optimise across different systems, both when it comes to consumption but also production,” said Espen Mehlum, coauthor of the World Economic Forum report, Harnessing Artificial Intelligence to Accelerate the Energy Transition. “That’s where the huge untapped potential is for AI – we’re just scratching the surface and seeing the first use cases.”
The World Economic Forum report noted the ability to accelerate energy transition in the power sector through the use of AI technology.
Wind power is one of the fastest-growing renewable energy sources, according to the International Energy Agency. It is expected that the use of wind power will increase by 1,000 per cent by 2050, as reported in the Net Zero by 2050: A roadmap for the Global Energy Sector.
“This is a theoretical exercise that has been living in the research community for years,” said Sven Jesper Knudsen, technical instructor at Vestas. “And there have been some demonstrations by both our competitors and also some wind farm owners. We wanted to see if we could try to shorten the development cycle. Time to market is essential to the whole wind industry to meet aggressive targets that we all have.”