GE has entered into a $27 million partnership with the US Department of Energy (DOE) to design a next-generation offshore wind turbine. The power rating of the turbine will be optimized for minimal cost of energy but is expected to be between 5 and 7 MW, making it one of the most powerful wind turbines in the world.
GE’s largest turbine in operation today is the 3.6MW offshore wind turbine. The research will be conducted at GE’s Global Research Center in Niskayuna, NY.
Wind is the fastest growing sector of the energy market, and GE has become one of the world’s leading wind turbine suppliers. Wind energy is a major component of our ecomagination initiative, and the design of a next generation offshore wind turbine represents our commitment to introduce new products that help our customers meet their environmental challenges.
Our research team is focused on designing a new wind turbine that will not only be one of the most powerful in the world, but sets new standards in efficiency, reliability, and cost of energy as well.—Jim Lyons, Chief Engineer for Electrical Systems at GE’s Research Center
GE’s partnership with DOE on this project will last 3-4 years, during which the two organizations will collaborate on research to develop a prototype of a 5-7MW offshore wind turbine. A wind turbine of this magnitude would be nearly twice today’s industry standard, however full commercialization of this offshore design is still some years away.
Wind, which encompasses less than one percent of today’s world energy market, could grow to as much as 15% of the overall global energy supply in the coming decades as Europe, the U.S. and other parts of the world, according to GE. Recent advances in wind technology are helping to drive down the cost of wind power to a level where it is cost-competitive with more traditional sources of energy at close to five cents per kilowatt-hour.
GE entered the wind business in 2002. Worldwide, the company has more than 8,500 wind turbine installations that represent more than 7,600 MW of capacity. GE installed 1,346 turbines in 2005 and plans to ship more than 4,700 turbines over the next two years. GE’s 2005 wind revenue exceeded $2 billion and was more than 400% higher than in 2002, GE’s first year of wind operations. The company currently designs and produces wind turbines ranging from 1.5 to 3.6 megawatts.