25 March 2010 -- GE said it plans to invest approximately €340 million ($454 million) to develop or expand its wind turbine manufacturing, engineering and service facilities in the United Kingdom, Norway, Sweden and Germany.
At the core of GE’s European expansion plans is development of a 4 MW machine designed for offshore deployment. As the largest wind turbine in GE’s fleet, it will use drive train and control technologies gained through GE’s acquisition of ScanWind. The 4 MW wind turbine will feature technology that eliminates for gearboxes. This technology is being demonstrated at a test site in Hundhammerfjellet, Norway, where the first ScanWind direct drive unit has been operating for more than five years.
GE said the European Wind Energy Association expects Europe’s offshore wind sector to grow more than 70 percent in 2010, with continued growth forecast over the next several years. If all of the offshore wind projects currently in development are completed, they could produce 10 percent of the European Union’s total electricity.
Key elements of GE’s European expansion announcement include:
Norway: GE will add to its existing presence in Norway with plans to create a new Offshore Technology Development Center in Oslo and will expand its advanced demonstration unit production and service facilities in Verdal. GE also has joined the Nowitech Research Center in Norway to participate in joint research projects on offshore wind topics. Norway is the planned site for the testing and demonstration of the first 4 MW wind turbines offshore. This will result in around 100 jobs and a €75 million investment related to GE’s offshore wind business in Norway by 2016.
Sweden: In Sweden, GE also will expand its current offshore wind facilities by developing a Conceptual and Systems Design Center in Karlstad, Sweden. A technology demonstration unit is planned to be installed in Gothenburg harbor and GE also will join the Chalmers Wind Energy Center in Gothenburg. This will result in around 50 jobs and a €50 million investment by 2016.
Germany: A new engineering center in Hamburg will feature product development, application engineering and technology. GE also plans to expand its resources at its existing wind turbine manufacturing facility in Salzbergen, as well as the GE Global Research Center in Munich. This will result in around 100 jobs and a €105 million investment by 2016.
United Kingdom: GE plans to establish its offshore wind turbine manufacturing in the United Kingdom. In addition, GE will locate application and service engineering resources in the country and will bring partners and suppliers of towers, blades, nacelles and other offshore wind components to the manufacturing facility. The plan will result in up to €110 million investment related to GE’s offshore wind business in the United Kingdom and could ultimately deliver nearly 2,000 jobs by 2020. This investment will follow the successful outcome of the U.K. government’s infrastructure competition, aimed at supporting the development of renewable energy in the United Kingdom.
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