GE Wind Energy
|Headquarters||Fairfield, Connecticut, U.S.|
|Products||Wind turbines, sale and services of wind farms|
GE Wind Energy is a branch of GE Renewable Energy, a subsidiary of General Electric. The company manufactures and sells wind turbines to the international market. In 2018, GE was the fourth largest wind turbine manufacturer in the world.
Enron Wind acquisition era (2002-2015)
In 2002, GE acquired the wind power assets of Enron during its bankruptcy proceedings while gas turbine sales slumped. Enron Wind was the only surviving US manufacturer of large wind turbines at the time, and GE increased engineering and supplies for the Wind Division and doubled the annual sales to $1.2B in 2003. It acquired ScanWind in 2009.
As of 2016, GE has a nacelle production capacity of 4.8 GW, some of which is in Florida.
Growth and acquisitions (2015-)
After the acquisition of Alstom's energy generating assets (2015) GE's wind portfolio was expanded to include the 6-megawatt 'Haliade' offshore turbine (one of the world's most powerful turbines) from Alstom Wind. This became GE Wind (offshore). The same year, GE added Blade Dynamics Ltd., a designer and manufacturer of modular wind turbine blades with principal facilities on the Isle of Wight and in Southampton.
GE Wind Turbines
|Product name||Power rating (MW)||Rotor diameter (m)||Hub height (m)||IEC Wind Class|
|GE 1.x-87||1.6–1.85||87||80||IIs|
|GE 2.5xl||2.5||100||85||IIb|
|GE 1.x-100/103||1.6–1.7||100/103||80, 96||IIIs|
|GE 3.x-103||2.5–3.2||103||98, 75, 85||IIb|
|GE 3.x-137||3.2–3.8||137||110–164||III|
|GE 3.x-130||3.2–3.8||130||85–164||II|
|GE 2.x-116||2.0–2.5||116||80, 90, 94||IIs/IIIs|
|GE 2.x-120||2.5–2.75||120||85, 110, 120, 139||IIIs, DiBT WZII|
|GE 2.x-127||2.2–2.5||127||89||IIs/IIIs|
|GE 4.2-117 (Typhoon class)||4.2||117|
|GE 4.8-158||4.8||158||101, 120.9, 149, 161||s|
|ECO 86||1.67||86||80|
|ECO 100||3.0||100||75, 90, 100|
|ECO 110||3.0||110||75, 90, 100|
|ECO 122||2.7–3.0||122||89, 119, 139|
|GE 3.6sl (offshore)||3.6||111|
|GE 4.1-113 (offshore)||4.1||113||Ib|
|GE Haliade 150-6 (offshore)||6||150||110 or site-specific||Ib|
|GE Haliade-X (offshore)||12||220||up to 150||Ib|
GE onshore wind turbines
The GE platform began development with the creation of the 1.5-megawatt series of wind turbines that were developed with the cooperation of the United States Department of Energy. It consisted of three fibreglass blades attached to a horizontal axis hub. The hub is connected to the main shaft that turns a multi-stage system of gears. The gears increase the rotational rate and send the kinetic energy obtained from the wind to a doubly-fed electric machine, where it is converted into electrical energy. The angle of the blades and the direction that the turbine faces are controlled by an active, all- electric pitch and yaw system. The generator and gearbox are contained in the nacelle, which is further insulated to minimize noise emissions.
Several optional features support its presence in electrical grids, including voltage regulation, low voltage ride through, and the delivery of reactive power during grid disturbances or periods of low wind.
To further wind power research, a unit was commissioned at the National Wind Technology Center in late 2009. Its 10,000 installations in the US at the time constituted 50% of the national commercial wind energy fleet, influencing the NREL's decision to install a model at the Center.
The next evolution, the 2.5XL, used a permanent magnet generator, and its entire output was converted to AC at mains frequency. The platform was then moved back to the use of a doubly-fed generator and rotor converter, similar to the 1.5 series.
As of 2017, GE had over 35,000 turbines installed across the globe .
GE offshore wind turbines
In the early 2010s GE cancelled its development of a 4.1-megawatt offshore wind turbine. The only example built, owned by Goteborg Energi, was erected in Goteborg in 2011.
Following the purchase of the Ecotècnia by Alstom and the acquisition of Alstom by General Electric, production started in 2016 at the St. Nazaire factory for the 6-megawatt Haliade offshore turbine, featuring a permanent magnet design. This unit started an extended test period in Spring 2016 at Østerild Wind Turbine Test Field.
The Fantanele-Cogealac wind farm in Romania, constructed in 2008, uses 240 GE 2.5xl wind turbines capable of generating a total of 600 MW, powering a million Romanian households each year.
The offshore GE 3.6 SL model was installed at the Arklow Bank Wind Park.
Through the provision of 179 GE 3.6-137 turbines to Markbygden Wind Farm in Sweden, GE will create the largest single onshore wind installation in Europe. Norsk Hydro will purchase the power via a 19-year fixed volume corporate PPA; understood to be the largest corporate wind energy PPA in the world.
In April 2018, General Electric announced that it will begin testing the world's largest wind turbine – the Haliade-X – at its facilities in Blyth, England. General Electric's renewable energy department signed a five-year contract with the British government-funded Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult to begin trials of the 12-megawatt turbine. A prototype was installed at Port of Rotterdam, producing 288 MWh in 24 hours in February 2020.
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