ABB unveils new wind farm technology

ABB Group on Friday unveiled a new wind power technology that it says makes wind farms competitive with conventional large power plants. ABB says the Windformer technology increases power output by up to 20% and cuts lifetime maintenance costs in half.

Jun 12th, 2000


ABB Group on Friday unveiled a new wind power technology that it says makes wind farms competitive with conventional large power plants. ABB says the Windformer technology increases power output by up to 20% and cuts lifetime maintenance costs in half.

The technology group claims the cost of producing electricity using the Windformer is below 4�/kw-hr, competitive with costs from conventional gas, coal, or oil-fired power plants. It added that, using the Windformer, wind farms can be economically built in a range from 6 Mw to 300 Mw or more�equivalent to the output from a medium-sized fossil-fuel power plant.

The Windformer uses advanced cable technology originally developed for ABB's Powerformer high-voltage generator. This technology allows ABB to eliminate a number of components found in conventional wind generation systems. As a result, ABB has created a wind generator that requires neither a gearbox nor a transformer, making wind farms more reliable and with less power loss, it says.

Combined with other ABB advanced power transmission technologies, such as high-voltage direct current light, the Windformer allows wind farms to be located, at lower cost, farther away from human settlements�for instance offshore.

ABB is currently testing a 500 kw prototype. Vattenfall Group, the Nordic energy group, has agreed to install a 3-3.5 Mw demonstration plant, expected to go into operation in the summer of 2001.

ABB says it has more than 25% of the market for wind turbine generators, with more than 7,000 generators in operation in Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, and other countries.

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