GE Energy announces offshore activities

On 14th September, GE concluded the takeover of the Norwegian Scanwind Group AS. The company headquartered in Trondheim currently employs a staff of 41 and specializes in developing and producing offshore wind turbines without a gearbox. In March 2003, Scanwind erected a 3 MW prototype with a permanent-field generator, a second one followed in the autumn of 2004. After the nominal capacity had been raised to 3.5 MW, another 13 turbines were installed. All the Scanwind turbines are located in Norway.

Victor Abate, Vice President of renewables for GE Energy praised the "simple, solid, reliable design" of the Scanwind turbines. He added that the acquisition of the Norwegian company was "an important step in the strategy to place GE in a strong position in the growing offshore wind segment."

So far, GE Energy has installed only a few wind turbines at sea. These are located at the wind farm Arklow Bank in the Irish Sea, which was set up in 2003 and consists of seven turbines of the type 3.6sl. This turbine type was originally developed by Enron Wind. After the takeover of Enron Wind by GE, offshore wind turbine production was discontinued. Subsequently, GE focussed on the further development of the turbine type 1.5 and on getting the 2.5xl ready for series production, which started a short time ago. Neither of these turbine types is suitable for offshore use.

The fact that GE has now surprised the industry by taking over Scanwind indicates that the US group considers the offshore market promising and additionally regards turbines with no gearbox as important for offshore applications.

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