Adam Gartenberg's Blog

Business Analytics and Optimization, IBM and Social Marketing

Imagine if you put the Hoover Dam in the wrong place

"Imagine if you put the Hoover Dam in the wrong place"

The above quote came from Lars Christian Christiansen, Vice President of Plant Siting and Forecasting from Vestas Wind Systems, the world's largest producer of wind turbines.  Lars joined IBM executives at a press conference following this morning's general session, and the analogy he made was a very pointed one when you think about the business he is in.  

Vestas helps their clients place wind turbines in the right places, and to extend the analogy above, the Hoover Dam produces the same power as about 600 wind turbines. (And for a little perspective, Vestas currently monitors about 16,000 turbines).  While the scope of erecting a wind turbine might not on the surface appear to be of the same scale as a construction project like the Hoover Dam, the implications of placing that turbine in anything less than its optimal location can be just as significant.

Vestas is using IBM BigInsights software and an IBM "Firestorm" supercomputer to analyze petabytes of data from a variety of sources - weather reports, weather forecast models, tidal phases, geospatial and sensor data to name just a few - to determine where their clients should place their wind turbines.  

This application of Big Data is allowing them to provide their clients with predictability and reliability, and to get them up and running quickly.

Press Release:  Vestas Wind Systems Turns to IBM Big Data Analytics for Smarter Wind Energy