GE (NYSE: GE), today announced it has entered into a $27 million partnership with the U.S. 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 Megawatts, making it one of the most powerful wind turbines in the world. The partnership will also help expand the nation's wind energy potential. The research will be conducted at GE's Global Research Center in Niskayuna, NY.
Wind Energy is a key component of GE's ecomagination initiative. Ecomagination represents the company's commitment to aggressively drive and bring to market new technologies that help its customers address their most pressing energy and environmental challenges. Under ecomagination, GE has pledged to more than double its level of investment in the development of cleaner technologies from $700 million to $1.5 billion over the next five years.
"Wind is the fastest growing sector of the energy market, and GE has become one of the world's leading wind turbine suppliers," said Jim Lyons, Chief Engineer for Electrical Systems at GE's Research Center and leader of Advanced Technology for GE's Wind Energy Business. "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."
"We are striving to better meet our customers needs," Lyons added. "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."
GE's partnership with DOE on this project will last 3-4 years. During this time, GE and DOE 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. GE's largest turbine in operation today is the 3.6MW offshore wind turbine. Expanding the energy generating capacity of wind will help make it even more cost competitive with other alternative sources of energy.
Wind energy is the fastest growing sector in the energy market. It is generally believed that wind, which encompasses less than one percent of today's world's 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 look to take advantage of this clean, sustainable source of energy. In fact, recent advances in wind technology are already helping to drive down the cost of wind to a level where it is cost competitive with more traditional sources of energy at close to five cents per kilowatt-hour.
Since GE entered the wind business in 2002, the company has quickly become one of the world's leading wind energy companies and wind turbine suppliers. Worldwide, GE has over 8,500 wind turbine installations that comprise 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, underscoring wind energy's continued growth. The company currently designs and produces wind turbines ranging from 1.5 to 3.6 megawatts.
About GE Global Research
GE Global Research was the first industrial research lab in the United States and is one of the world's most diversified research centers, providing innovative technology for all of GE's businesses. Global Research has been the cornerstone of GE technology for more than 100 years, developing breakthrough innovations in areas such as medical imaging, energy generation technology, jet engines, advanced materials and lighting. GE Global Research is headquartered in Niskayuna, New York and has facilities in Bangalore, India; Shanghai, China; and Munich, Germany. Visit GE Global Research at www.ge.com/research.