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Under a new agreement, Vestas Wind Systems will use IBM's big data analytics software and IBM systems to improve wind turbine placement for optimal energy output, IBM has announced.

Vestas is addressing the issue of wind turbine placement by using IBM BigInsights software and an IBM "Firestorm" supercomputer to analyze petabytes of structured and unstructured data - such as weather reports, moon and tidal phases, geospatial and sensor data, satellite images, deforestation maps and weather modeling research - to pinpoint installation.

The analysis, which used to take weeks, can now be done in less than one hour, according to IBM and Vestas.

Once a turbine is operational, Vestas engineers will use the new software and computer to monitor the turbine’s performance in real time, analyze how each blade reacts to weather changes and determine the best times to schedule maintenance. The company expects to analyze even more diverse and bigger weather data sets reaching 20-plus petabytes over the next four years.

If power companies do not install wind turbines in the right locations, they may not produce enough electricity to justify wind energy investments and keep electricity costs low, Vestas explains. Major factors for proper turbine placement include wind turbulence and direction, and space, ecological and aesthetic considerations.


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