With the introduction of the 2.85-103 in 2012, GE switched from a permanent magnet generator to a doubly-fed induction generator (DFIG). This has now been reapplied in the 2.5-120.
A wind industry novelty is integrated battery storage. Abate explained: "Batteries are DC-power devices and we integrate them into the converter DC-bridge, where generator AC-power is converted into DC and back to 50Hz/60Hz AC grid power. This cost-effective solution with GE-batteries has already been tested in a 1.6-100 turbine in California for over a year.
"Built-in storage capacity is not fixed but depends upon local grid/market conditions, including whether the premium utilities are prepared to pay for increased grid stability, including voltage regulation."
Online and advanced controls help manage the intermittency of wind and offer predictability and enhanced reliability/availability. If, for instance, a wind farm turbine suffers anemometer failure, it can continue operating by connecting to a nearby turbine’s anemometer.
Another innovation is the new blade design with a shark-teeth-shaped outer-section trailing edge. "This feature reduces aerodynamic losses and allows the blades to spin faster, boosting performance while curbing aerodynamic noise to a favourable 106 dBA," Abate said.
GE is planning a global ‘soft launch’. The company's facilities in Salzbergen, Germany, will assemble all 2.5-120 turbines in the near-term.