Google uses AI technology to boost wind energy efficiency

(EurActiv, 4 Mar 2019) Google has boosted the value of the wind energy it produces by 20% after installing its own artificial intelligence (AI) software across its largest renewable energy facilities in the US. EURACTIV’s media partner reports.

Posting an update to on its company blog last week, Google’s staff confirmed that its decision to apply machine-learning algorithms across 700MW of wind power capacity last year had paid off.

The algorithms, developed thorugh DeepMind – the AI solutions firm owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc – enable Google to predict the energy output of a wind farm 36 hours in advance, considering factors such as weather forecasts and energy market fluctuation.

Deepmind’s system consists of neural networks – computer systems modelled on the human brain. Google has trained these networks to predict the variability of wind power outputs and energy market price fluctuations.

Once these predictions have been made, the technology recommends the actions which Google staff should take to make optimal hourly delivery commitments, ensuring both grid stability and that the company receives the highest possible price for its clean power.

“We can’t eliminate the variability of the wind, but our early results suggest that we can use machine learning to make wind power sufficiently more predictable and valuable,” DeepMind’s programme manager Sims Witherspoon said.

“Our hope is that this kind of machine learning approach can strengthen the business case for wind power and drive further adoption of carbon-free energy on electric grids worldwide.”

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EurActiv, 4 Mar 2019: Google uses AI technology to boost wind energy efficiency