The latest evolution of GE Energy’s wind turbine technology, the 2.5xl wind turbine, is playing a growing role in helping Europe meet its renewable energy demands. This machine has been selected for projects across Europe that will add nearly 1, 000 megawatts of wind-generated electricity in 2009, or enough to serve over 480, 000 typical European households.
The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) has reported that more wind power was installed in the EU in 2008 than any other electricity generating technology. Forty-three percent of all new electricity generating capacity built in the EU last year was wind energy, surpassing other technologies including gas, coal and nuclear power. According to EWEA, the wind turbines installed by the end of 2008 will, in a normal wind year, produce enough power to meet more than 4% of the EU’s electricity demand, and avoid the emission of 108 tons of CO2 per year, the equivalent of taking more than 50 million cars off European roads.
“We’re very pleased that our 2.5xl technology is helping Europe expand its wind power capacity, ” said Victor Abate, vice president-renewables for GE Energy. “Wind energy is expected to be a major contributor in achieving the European Union’s target to have 20% of its energy supply come from renewable sources by 2020 and we are committed to supporting that effort.”
The 2.5xl represents GE Energy’s most advanced wind turbine in terms of efficiency, reliability and grid connection capabilities and is designed to yield the highest annual energy production in its class.
The breakdown of GE 2.5xl wind turbine projects for 2009 reflects a growing interest in wind power in Eastern Europe, with Romania, Turkey and Poland set to install or commission 2.5xl machines during the year. Activity also remains strong in Western Europe where Spain, Belgium, Italy, Germany and France will install 2.5xl units during 2009.
GE Energy’s 2.5xl wind turbine builds upon the success of GE Energy’s 1.5-megawatt machines, the most widely deployed wind turbines in the global wind industry with more than 12, 000 units installed worldwide. With a rotor diameter of 100 meters, the 2.5xl is the largest GE wind turbine available for onshore applications and was designed to meet the immediate requirements of Europe, where the lack of available land can limit project size. The 2.5xl has the capability to operate at sites with average wind speeds of up to 8.5 meters per second.
The 2.5xl machines for the upcoming European projects will be supplied from GE Energy’s wind turbine manufacturing plants in Salzbergen, Germany and Noblejas, Spain. To meet the strong European demand for wind turbines, GE is investing more than $100 million in technology and supply chain enhancements. In addition, the investment will increase GE’s European training and service resources and create more than 160 new jobs.