First Wind Turbines for the Irish Sea

GE Wind Energy and Irish renewable energy company Airtricity, plan to develop a 25 MW wind farm in the Irish Sea to provide power for Ireland’s electric grid. The project, to be located about 10 kilometers off the coast of Arklow, Ireland, will feature seven of GE Wind Energy’s new, 3.6 MW wind turbines. This will be the first offshore application of these turbines and the first offshore wind project with turbines above 3 MW rated capacity.

Madrid, Spain – June 19, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] “Ireland is 90 percent dependent on imported energy,” said Eddie O’Connor, Chief Executive of Airtricity. “Airtricity is working with others in the wind industry to demonstrate that the Arklow project is the first phase in energy self-sufficiency for this country. Teaming with GE, we plan to demonstrate the feasibility of constructing wind farms in the Irish Sea.” Final approval for the project is expected shortly from the Irish Minister of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources with Installation of the wind turbines in the Irish Sea is proposed to begin this summer. Commercial service is anticipated by the end of the year and is expected to generate enough electricity to serve approximately 16,000 Irish households. “We are pleased to be part of a project that will significantly increase the supply of clean energy for Ireland,” said Steve Zwolinski, President of GE Wind Energy. “We applaud Ireland’s leadership in featuring alternative energy as part of its long-term energy plan.” Initially, GE Wind Energy will operate the facility as a demonstration site. Under the terms of the agreement, Airtricity will hold an option to purchase the project after its demonstration is complete, approximately two years after first operation. The first commercial prototype 3.6 MW wind turbine was unveiled by GE during 2002. Installed on land in September 2002 as a test bed, this machine is currently producing power for Spanish energy supplier Iberdrola. With its power electronics, variable speed rotor, the 3.6 MW turbine is expressly designed and optimized for offshore applications and is one of the largest wind turbines developed to date. The new machine features a rotor diameter of 104 meters and a hub height of 73.5 meters. Airtricity, which will be tapping the power, was established in 1997 to develop wind energy in Ireland and abroad, and is currently developing wind farms in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland. As an integrated utility, the company is both a generator and supplier of electricity.

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