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 2016, GE was the second largest wind turbine manufacturer in the world.
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.
|Product name||Power rating||Rotor diameter||Tower height||IEC Wind Class|
|GE 3.x-103||2.5-3.2MW||103m||98, 75, 85m||IIb|
|GE 3.x-137||3.2-3.8MW||137m||110 to 164m||III|
|GE 3.x-130||3.2-3.8MW||130m||85 to 164m||II|
|GE 2.x-116||2.0-2.5MW||116m||80, 90, 94m||IIs/IIIs|
|GE 2.x-120||2.5-2.75MW||120m||85/110/120/139m||IIIs, DiBT WZII|
|GE 4.8-158||4.8MW||158m||101, 121m||s|
|GE 3.6sl (offshore) ||3.6MW||111m|
|ECO Haliade (offshore)||6MW||150m||Ib|
The GE platform began development with the creation of the 1.5MW series of wind turbines which was 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 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 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 .
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.
Following the purchase of the Ecotècnia by Alstom and the acquisition of Alstom by GE, production started in 2016 at the St. Nazaire factory for the 6MW 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 600MW, 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 3.6-137 turbines to Markbyden 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.