General Electric used to be a world leader in coal-powered electrical generation, but the company has fallen on hard times as demand for that technology has shrunk. But the company is fighting hard to transition to a wind turbine powerhouse. This week, GE began testing its first Haliade-X 12 megawatt offshore wind turbine. It also signed a deal to supply the turbines for a 715 megawatt (MW) wind farm in China’s Henan Province.
The China Deal
GE Renewable Energy and China Huaneng Group signed an agreement this week at the China International Import Expo to build a 715 MW wind farm in Puyang, Henan Province, China. The agreement represents GE’s largest wind turbine order in Asia to date. It is also the biggest contract ever granted to a non-Chinese wind turbine manufacturer in China.
GE will provide 286 of its 2.5-132 turbines with 130-meter soft steel towers for the wind farm. These turbines were designed specifically for the unique low wind speed needs in Henan province and will be manufactured by GE in China. When completed in the middle of next year, the wind farm will supply enough electricity to power 500,000 homes.
Jerome Pecresse, head of GE Renewable Energy, said “We are delighted to be working with the China Huaneng Group Co. Ltd. and the Henan Provincial Government to bring our technology, people, commitment and clean wind power to Henan Province, as China continues to work toward its renewable energy goals. GE has a long history in China, and we are excited to have this opportunity to continue to learn locally and grow together, with technology specifically developed for the region.” His presentation was reported by Energy Central. China Huaneng is one of the largest state-owned power generation companies in China and is known for being a leader in clean energy.
Largest Offshore Wind Turbine Enters Service
Also this week, GE Renewable Energy announced its Haliade-X 12 MW prototype — the world’s most powerful offshore wind turbine — has successfully produced its first kWh of electricity. It is currently located onshore in Rotterdam in order to simplify the testing phase, during which GE will perform different types of measurements to obtain a Type Certificate for the Haliade-X in 2020.
John Lavelle, CEO of Offshore Wind at GE Renewable Energy, said “This first kWh is a critical achievement for our whole team, bringing to fruition our vision and all the hard work put in place. Innovation is part of GE’s DNA, and having successfully powered the world’s first 12 MW wind turbine, this illustrates it perfectly. There are more than 500 GE women and men behind this great success, who have been working for a year and a half to make this possible, and I’m taking this opportunity to thank all our partners and suppliers for their commitment and support.”
GE Renewable Energy was recently selected as the preferred wind turbine supplier for the 120 MW Skip Jack and 1,100 MW Ocean Wind projects in the US, and the 3,600 MW Dogger Bank offshore wind farm in the UK. Serial production of the Haliade-X 12 MW will begin in the second half of 2021.
In addition to this prototype unit, a second Haliade-X 12 MW nacelle is currently being assembled in Saint-Nazaire and will soon be shipped to a testing site in the UK. There it will undergo a program that will replicate real world operational conditions to reduce the time required to validate performance and reliability. In August, a 107-meter long blade was also shipped to the site to undergo a full range of advanced static and fatigue testing procedures designed to demonstrate its ability to withstand peak wind conditions and to simulate the blade’s readiness for years of operation at sea.
This Haliade-X will help lower the levelized cost of electricity by making offshore wind a more competitive source of renewable energy. One Haliade-X 12 MW turbine can generate up to 67 GWh of gross annual energy production. It can provide enough clean energy to power 16,000 European households and save almost 42,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide — equivalent to the emissions generated by 9,000 vehicles in one year. And so the clean energy revolution continues.