GE Achieves Milestone of More Than 5,000 1.5MW Wind Turbines Installed

October 26, 2006 by Jeff Shepard

GE Energy announced that it has surpassed 5,000 installations for its 1.5MW wind turbine, one of the most widely used machines in the global wind power industry.

"Our 1.5MW wind turbine technology has been proven in nearly every wind regime, terrain or climate worldwide," said Victor Abate, Vice President-Renewables for GE Energy. "As we celebrate the milestone of our 5000th application, we also continue to invest in technology improvements that build upon the vast experience of our installed fleet and will result in even higher levels of reliability and efficiency."

The first 1.5MW machine was installed in 1996 in Germany. In 2002, GE gained ownership of the technology as part of its acquisition of Enron's wind business. Since then, GE has increased its wind engineering team three-fold and has applied experience from other business units such as GE Aviation, GE Transportation, GE Oil & Gas, GE Plastics and GE Global Research. Much of the surge in 1.5MW orders has occurred in the United States, where the wind industry received a major boost with the extension of the federal production tax credit at the end of 2005. GE expects to ship more than 5,000 1.5MW machines globally in 2006 and 2007, and anticipates that the total of 1.5MW wind turbines operating worldwide could reach 10,000 by the end of 2008.

Accompanying the increase in the number of installations has been a continuing evolution of the turbine technology. An on-going improvement program has integrated valuable lessons learned and knowledge gathered from long-term plant operation and customer feedback. Current research and development efforts are further enhancing the 1.5MW design. In 2005, GE expanded the 1.5MW series to include the 1.5xle model, designed for efficient operation in low wind areas. With this introduction, the 1.5MW series now is available with the rotor diameter suitable for every wind classification.