Australia’s first AI-enabled wind farm


On July 10th, a wind farm equipped with Artificial Intelligence software successfully navigated a wave of negative wholesale energy prices in Australia, demonstrating the power of AI to enhance the performance of clean energy assets.

Tilt Renewables’ 100 MW Snowtown 1 Wind Farm was enabled with AI software in July and self-executed a “precision trading” strategy that has already clearly increased total revenue from the wind farm by precisely bidding its way through a wave of extreme volatility and negative prices in South Australia.

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“We couldn’t be more excited with the bidding system’s performance at Snowtown right out of the gate,” said Deion Campbell, Chief Executive of Tilt Renewables. “AI software gives us an edge to manage risk and improve margins in energy markets that are becoming more challenging with high penetrations of renewable generation. Being an early adopter of innovation like this demonstrates Tilt Renewables’ leading approach to renewable asset management and we look forward to applying this technology to other assets shortly.

The AI software used by Tilt Renewables’ wind farm was developed by AMS, a San Francisco-based start-up founded by veterans of California’s clean energy industry. AMS’s chief executive officer, Susan Kennedy, started the company with the backing of A-list investors, including former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose groundbreaking policies to reduce carbon emissions sparked billions of dollars of investment in solar, wind, battery storage and other clean energy technologies. AMS’s optimised bidding software is technology agnostic, and substantially increases the revenues of storage, wind, solar and other generation assets in wholesale electricity markets.

“This time, artificial intelligence is being used to save the planet,” Schwarzenegger said. “If we’re going to address climate change, we need to build renewable energy on a massive scale. Electric grids around the world can’t handle renewable energy on a massive scale without AI.” “Every region of the globe is experiencing the challenges of integrating solar, wind, and electric vehicles into electric grids that were designed for coal and gas,” Kennedy said. “As renewable penetration grows, market volatility will increase. Assets need to be smart, fast and able to accurately predict the forces impacting the electric grid.”

Kennedy founded AMS in 2014 bringing together energy market experts to develop a software platform that can help California cost-effectively integrate the huge amounts of solar, wind, and distributed generation installed as a result of California’s aggressive clean energy policies over the last decade.

AMS’ first projects using battery storage include a groundbreaking fleet of Hybrid-Electric Buildings that delivered more than 2,000 MWh of flexible capacity for one of California’s largest utilities as part of a 70 MW/360 MWh “virtual power plant”.  

In 2018, AMS expanded to Australia where high penetrations of solar and wind have stressed the electric grid, causing wild swings in wholesale energy prices. In an effort to tame prices and smooth energy supplies, Australia began installing large-scale batteries, including the largest battery in the world, the 100 MW Hornsdale Power Reserve in South Australia. Over the last year, AMS has built a contracted pipeline of more than 2,000 MW of solar, wind, pumped hydro and battery storage assets in the US and Australia. The Snowtown Wind Farm sits on the Barunga and Hummocks Ranges, 170km north of Adelaide, in South Australia. Stage 1 has been generating electricity since 2008.