March 25, 2010
GE to put $450 million into European offshore wind turbine manufacturing
GE (NYSE:GE) plans to invest approximately $450 million to develop or expand its wind turbine manufacturing, engineering and service facilities in four European countries -- the United Kingdom, Norway, Sweden and Germany.
At the core of GE's European expansion plans is the development of its next generation wind turbine, a 4-megawatt machine designed specifically for offshore deployment. As the largest wind turbine in GE's line, it will incorporate advanced drive train and control technologies gained through GE's acquisition of ScanWind. The 4-megawatt wind turbine will feature technology that eliminates the need for gearboxes. This technology is already being demonstrated at a test site in Hundhammerfjellet, Norway where the first ScanWind direct drive unit has been operating for more than five years.
Key elements of GE's European expansion announcement include:
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-megawatt wind turbines offshore.
In Sweden, GE will also expand its current offshore wind facilities by developing a Conceptual and Systems Design Center in Karlstad. A technology demonstration unit is planned for Gothenburg harbor, and GE also will join the Chalmers Wind Energy Center in Gothenburg.
A new engineering center in Hamburg will feature product development, application engineering and advanced 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.
GE plans to establish its offshore wind turbine manufacturing in the U.K. 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. 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 U.K.