Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Global Wind Industry Milestone: GE Energy Ships its 10,000th 1.5-Megawatt Wind Turbine

(BUSINESS WIRE)--GE Energy today announced the shipment of its 10,000th 1.5-megawatt wind turbine, a global wind industry milestone. Over the past decade, GE’s 1.5-megawatt machines have been installed in 19 countries and have accumulated more than 130 million operating hours, producing more than 78,000 gigawatt-hours of cleaner, wind-generated electricity.

The 10,000th unit was shipped to FPL Energy, the largest U.S. generator of wind power, for the Ashtabula Wind Energy Center located in North Dakota. The milestone shipment was announced during a press conference today in Orlando.

GE’s fleet of 10,000 1.5-megawatt machines can power more than five million homes and produce more than 50 million megawatt-hours annually. Compared to other power generation sources, this represents a savings of more than 27 million tons of CO2 emissions each year, the equivalent of removing more than five million U.S. cars from the road.

“We’re very pleased to share this milestone celebration with FPL Energy,” said Victor Abate, vice president-renewables for GE Energy. “Like GE, FPL Energy is firmly committed to increasing the supply and quality of wind power as a vital step on the road to energy security and energy independence for our country.”

“GE Energy is an industry leader and a valued partner,” said Mike O’Sullivan, senior vice president of FPL Energy. “Having a reliable supply of wind turbines to meet our customers’ growing demand for clean and renewable wind energy has been an important ingredient in the growth and success of our wind business.”

Offering proven performance and reliability, GE’s 1.5-megawatt wind turbine is the most widely used megawatt-class wind turbine in the world and is recognized as the industry workhorse. This machine has been proven in nearly every wind regime, terrain and climate worldwide. GE continues to invest in technology improvements that will build upon the vast experience gained from a 10,000+ unit installed base. These investments continue to drive even higher levels of wind turbine reliability and efficiency.

Since entering the wind business in 2002, GE has continued to advance the performance and reliability of the 1.5-megawatt wind turbine through GE-designed technology including pitch systems, blades and gearboxes; improved component robustness; and better diagnostic capabilities and controls. The result is continuous improvement in overall fleet availability to a level over 98% for units commissioned since 2007.

GE’s 1.5-megawatt wind turbine platform continues to evolve and benefits from GE’s core power generation expertise. The XLE model of the 1.5-megawatt class turbine offers a 15% increase in swept area, resulting in greater energy output.

Delivering worldwide services technology and fast parts fulfillment is critical to maintaining reliable performance of the 1.5-megawatt fleet. GE’s customer support and remote monitoring centers in Schenectady, N.Y. and Salzbergen, Germany provide continuous monitoring and diagnostic services seven days a week. The mission of these centers is to increase equipment availability and reduce downtime and operational costs. In addition, GE has opened a parts operation center near Memphis, Tenn. with fleet-wide critical parts for overnight delivery, when needed.

As the penetration of wind-generated electricity grows, it is increasingly important that wind farms have the capability to contribute to power system stability. GE has developed several products for the 1.5-megawatt wind turbine that address this requirement, including Wind RIDE-THRU, which allows uninterrupted wind turbine operation through many types of grid disturbances.

“Since 2002, we have invested more than $800 million to drive reliable and efficient wind turbine technology,” said Abate. “Continuing this investment is part of our overall commitment to wind power, which will be an integral part of the world energy mix throughout the 21st century.”

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