In a Turbulent Market, Revenue Buoys GE Wind

Under the backdrop of the industry’s major annual trade show, held this year in Denver, Colorado, the wind industry’s U.S. darling, GE Energy announced expected revenues from their wind power division to top a 300 percent increase over their first year of operations in 2002. These strong figures come despite a turbulent and uncertain market atmosphere for the U.S. wind power industry.

From $500 million in revenue in 2002, GE Energy expects its wind energy revenue to grow to more than $2 billion this year. Supply orders calling for 1,600 wind turbines to be installed worldwide include 1,100 wind turbines, or a total of 1,650 MW, for the United States. This represents 66 percent of the up to 2,500 MW of new capacity that the American Wind Energy Association has forecast for the U.S. this year. These positive factors don’t erase the fact that the U.S. wind power industry still faces considerable growing pains, primarily from inconsistent government support and increasing aesthetic and environmental opposition to wind power projects. Still, GE plans on putting increasing emphasis on their wind power division. “Wind power continues to be the fastest growing segment of the global energy industry, and it certainly is a very significant part of the diverse energy solutions portfolio that we offer to our customers around the world,” said Mark Little, vice president-power generation of GE Energy and one of the featured speakers at Windpower 2005. Little went on to cite GE’s recent launch of ecomagination, a new company commitment to clean energy solutions of which wind power will play a large role. (See the first two links following this story for more information on ecomagination). To support GE’s wind energy growth initiatives, Robert Gleitz was named general manager of GE Energy’s wind business earlier this year and will lead its new product development. Highlighting its commitment to support its customer’s wind energy needs, GE continues to expand its engineering staff and research and development capabilities dedicated to wind-related technology development. Recent customer-focused milestones include: – Enhancements to one of the most widely sold and tested MW – class machines in the global wind industry, GE’s 1.5 MW wind turbine, which recently surpassed 3,000 installations worldwide. – The successful deployment of the industry’s first offshore wind plant built by GE solely to demonstrate its offshore technology and learn more about the rigors of wind energy installation and operations at sea. Owned and operated by GE, the Arklow Bank Wind Park in the Irish Sea, the world’s first offshore wind project to use turbines over three MW, has completed more than a year of successful operation. Comprising seven of GE’s 3.6 MW wind turbines, the plant will be officially inaugurated during a May 26 ceremony to be attended by Bertie Ahern, the Irish Prime Minister, and David Garman, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. – The opening of two customer support and training centers. Located in Salzbergen, Germany and Tehachapi, California the facilities offer 24/7 response, and have facilitated an increase in GE’s 1.5 MW wind turbine availability to 98 percent fleetwide. In addition, GE’s Global Research-Europe Center was opened in Munich to support further technology R&D, including the increase of wind turbine reliability and performance.
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