21 January 2003 - GE Wind Energy, a unit of GE Power Systems, has been selected by Cape Wind LLC, of Boston, Massachusetts to supply its latest wind turbine technology for the proposed Cape Wind project.
The 468 MW (420 net MW) project, proposed to be located off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, could provide enough clean electricity to meet about three-quarters of the annual requirements of the Cape and nearby islands, or approximately half a million average American homes.
Proposed in response to Massachusetts legislation supporting the addition of 4 per cent of renewable energy by 2009, the project would be the first offshore wind farm in the United States, and largest offshore wind project in the world.
If approved and completed in accordance with the proposed plan, it would be operational in 2005, with GE supplying 130 wind turbines.
"We are very pleased to have been chosen to help bring this world-class wind power project to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts," said Steve Zwolinski, president of GE Wind Energy. "As evidenced by its 31 per cent growth rate globally over the past six years, wind power has emerged as the most practical renewable energy solution. While interest in wind as a viable energy option is rapidly increasing in the US, Europe is leading the world through its very aggressive renewable energy policy. In Germany, for example, 4 per cent of the total electricity consumption is generated from wind; in Denmark it's 17 per cent.
In contrast, less than one percent of the electricity supply in the US is currently wind driven."
The GE wind turbines selected for the project are 3.6 MW machines which represent the most advanced wind power technology in the world. In September of 2002, a prototype GE 3.6 MW machine connected to the grid in Spain became the world's first offshore-designed wind turbine over three
MW to produce commercial power.
Designed specifically for offshore applications, the 3.6 MW wind turbine is based on the proven technology of GE's 1.5 MW wind turbine series. More than 1200 of the 1.5 MW units are in operation worldwide.
"The development of the 3.6 MW technology is evidence of GE's long-term commitment to wind energy," said Zwolinski. "We are calling on the total resources of the General Electric Company as we invest in technology to continue increasing the output, efficiency and commercial viability of wind turbines. Synergies with several GE businesses - including GE Plastics, GE Transportation, GE Aircraft Engines and the GE Global Research Center - will play a valuable role as we continue to move forward with wind turbine development."
As technology advances and the installed base of wind turbines grows, the cost of wind-generated electricity is becoming competitive with other energy options. "This is a key factor in positioning wind power as an increasingly important source of clean energy for the 21st century," Zwolinski noted.
Adding wind turbine technology to GE Power Systems' line of environmentally friendly power generation options supports the company's on-going commitment to provide customers with the broadest possible range of clean energy solutions. GE Power Systems recently reported that in 2003, approximately
85 per cent of its total revenues will come from cleaner, more efficient or renewable energy technologies.
GE Wind Energy designs and manufactures wind turbines with rated outputs of between 900 and 3600 kW, and offers support services ranging from project development to operation and maintenance. Worldwide, the company has developed and/or sold over 5500 wind turbines with a rated capacity exceeding 3100 MW.