GE Wind Energy

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GE Wind Energy
Industry Wind power
Predecessor Zond
Founded 1980
Founder James G.P. Dehlsen
Headquarters Fairfield, Connecticut, U.S.
Area served
Products Wind turbines
Owner General Electric

GE Wind Energy was a branch of GE Energy, a subsidiary of General Electric. The company manufactures and sells wind turbines to the international market. In 2009, GE was the second largest wind turbine manufacturer in the world.[1]


Enron Wind acquisition era (2002-2015)[edit]

The entity was created as developer (not manufacturer) Zond in 1980 by James G.P. Dehlsen, who also formed Clipper Windpower in 2001.[2] Enron acquired Zond and the German manufacturer Tacke in 1997.[3]

In 2002 GE acquired the wind power assets of Enron during its bankruptcy proceedings[4] 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.[5] It acquired ScanWind in 2009.[6]

In February 2011, GE also acquired Wind Tower Systems LLC, a manufacturer of space frame wind turbine towers.[7]

As of 2016, GE has a nacelle production capacity of 4.8 GW, some of which is in Florida.[8]

2015, Alstom acquisition[edit]

After the acquisition of Alstom's energy generating assets (2015) GE's wind portfolio was expanded to include the 6MW 'Haliade' offshore turbine[9] from Alstom Wind, which became GE Wind (offshore).[10]


GE 1.5MW[edit]

GE 1.5MW wind turbine.

The GE 1.5 megawatt series of wind turbines was developed with the cooperation of the United States Department of Energy.[11][12] It consists of three fibreglass blades attached to a horizontal axis hub. The hub is connected to the main shaft which 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 which the turbine faces are controlled by an active, all electric pitch and yaw system. The generator has a maximum output of 1.5 megawatts (1,500 kW). The generator and gearbox are contained in the nacelle which is further insulated to minimize noise emissions.[11]

Three models in the series (the 1.5se, 1.5sle, and 1.5xle) had been developed by 2005. Their rotors ranged in diameter from 70.5 to 82.5 meters (231 to 271 ft), accommodating variable expected wind speeds.[13] Newer models (the 1.6-100 and 1.7-100) incorporate the 100m rotor from GE's 2.5MW towers, enabling these towers to generate substantially more electrical power from locations with sub-optimal wind. 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.[14] 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.[15] 12,000 turbines had been installed in 19 countries by mid-2009.[12][14][16] [17]

GE 2.5MW[edit]

The GE 2.5MW wind turbine (also called GE2.5XL) is the second and larger model of land based wind turbines sold by General Electric. It is currently in operation on three continents; Europe, Asia, and North America. The 845MW Shepherds Flat Wind Farm in Oregon is the first windpark in the United States to utilize this model as its primary wind turbine.[18] Unlike GE's 1.5MW models, the 2.5XL uses a permanent magnet generator, and its entire output is converted to AC at mains frequency. A second generation, using a doubly fed generator and rotor converter similar to the 1.5 series, is in planning.

GE 3.6MW[edit]

The offshore GE 3.6 SL model was installed at the Arklow Bank Wind Park.[19]

GE 4.1MW[edit]

In the early 2010s GE cancelled its development of a 4.1MW offshore wind turbine - the sole built example, owned by Goteborg Energi was erected in Goteborg in 2011. At an EWEA conference in 2014 a GE executive stated that they considered that offshore wind didn't make economic sense.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Acher, John. China became top wind power market in 2009 Reuters, 29 March 2010. Retrieved: 8 August 2010.
  2. ^ Clipper Chairman inducted into Environmental Hall of Fame North American Windpower, 12 December 2008. Retrieved: 23 October 2010.
  3. ^ Enron acquires Zond, a major wind-power company New York Times, 7 January 1997. Retrieved: 6 November 2010.
  4. ^ "GE Completes Enron Wind Acquisition; Launches GE Wind Energy". Business Wire. 2002-05-10. Retrieved 2010-08-09. 
  5. ^ Fairly, Peter. The Greening of GE IEEE Spectrum, July 2005. Retrieved: 6 November 2010.
  6. ^ Arnott, Sarah (2010-03-26). "GE to build £99m UK wind turbine plant". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  7. ^ GE acquires next-generation wind turbine tower technology PennEnergy/GE, 11 February 2011. Accessed: 23 February 2011.
  8. ^ Ros Davidson (29 July 2016). "How Vestas won the Midwest". Windpower Monthly. Retrieved 1 August 2016. 
  9. ^ "GE cautious on offshore turbine factory" (PDF), EWEA 2015 (Day Two), pp. 1–2 
  10. ^ "Alstom closes sale of energy business to GE (UPDATE 1)",, 2 November 2015 
  11. ^ a b "GE 1.5MW Wind Turbine". General Electric. 2008-11-19. Retrieved 2010-02-17. 
  12. ^ a b "Program Areas - Large Wind Technology". United States Department of Energy. Archived from the original on 2010-07-12. Retrieved 2010-02-18. 
  13. ^ "GE Energy Expands Its 1.5-MW Series of Wind Turbines; 2.5 and 3-MW Units Introduced". Transmission and Distribution World. Retrieved 2009-02-18. 
  14. ^ a b "GE 1.5-Megawatt Wind Turbine Commissioned for DOE Program Designed to Move US Wind Energy Technology Forward". MSN Money. Retrieved 2010-02-18. [permanent dead link]
  15. ^ "Wind Technology Center Installing a Dynamic Duo". NREL. 2009-08-21. Retrieved 2010-02-21. 
  16. ^ "Grid Friendly Technology" (PDF). United States Department of Energy. Retrieved 2010-02-18. 
  17. ^ "GE 1.5-MW wind turbine commissioned for DOE program". Noria Corporation. 2008-11-19. Archived from the original on 2010-01-16. Retrieved 2010-02-20. 
  18. ^ DOE LPO finalizes deal on the World’s largest Wind Project to date United States Department of Energy, 17 December 2010. Accessed: 18 December 2010.
  19. ^ "Offshore Wind Power - Ocean Turbines". University of Delaware College of Earth, Ocean and Environment. Archived from the original on 2010-12-25. Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  20. ^ Smith, Patrick (4 Apr 2014), "GE 4.1 turbine to be kept in operation", 

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