GE expands manufacturing operations in Europe

SALZBERGEN, GERMANY - GE Energy announced it has already received more than one gigawatt of commitments for its 2.5xl wind turbine over the next year and a half. That represents enough clean, wind-generated electricity to meet the needs of more than one million German households.

To meet the growing demands of Europe’s wind power industry, GE Energy also announced the evolution of its wind turbine manufacturing facility in Salzbergen, Germany. The Salzbergen site will allow GE Energy to focus additional resources on meeting the strong demand for wind energy in Europe.

Historically, Europe has been and continues to be one of the world’s strongest regions for wind energy development. According to the European Wind Energy Association, Europe’s installed wind capacity has increased almost six-fold since 2000 and GE expects strong growth to continue.

Recent orders for the 2.5xl include a contract to supply 12 of the machines for Wind Farm Serra in southern Italy, a project that will take that country a step closer to meeting its goal to become one of the leading producers of wind energy in Europe. This project will mark the debut of the GE 2.5xl technology in Italy.

“GE has invested more than $100 million in launching its 2.5xl wind technology, services and expanding its Salzbergen facility,” said Victor Abate, vice president-renewables for GE Energy. “As GE’s European Renewable Energy Center of Excellence, the Salzbergen site is the base for the serial production of the 2.5xl wind turbine — a high reliability machine specifically designed to meet the immediate requirements of Europe, where the lack of available land can constrain the size of projects.”

In addition to greater manufacturing capacity, the Salzbergen expansion will increase GE’s European training and service resources and has created more than 160 jobs. “The expansion further enhances our capability to provide reliable, timely support for our customers throughout Europe,” Abate noted. “It illustrates our commitment to be a leading supplier of renewable energy technologies for Europe, operating from a local base and developing local talent.”

“Across Europe, power producers increasingly are turning to cleaner, innovative ways to meet their energy needs,” said Ricardo Cordoba, president of GE Energy Western Europe and Northern Africa. “To meet this growing demand, GE continues to enhance our diverse portfolio of energy options, including wind, as illustrated by the expansion of the Salzbergen facility.”

Since entering the wind business in 2002, GE Energy has become the largest U.S. supplier of wind turbines and one of the largest in the world. To date, more than 11,600 GE-technology wind turbines have been installed or committed for projects worldwide.

The 2.5xl wind turbines represent GE’s most advanced wind turbine technology in terms of efficiency, reliability and grid connection capabilities. The 2.5xl has been designed to yield the highest annual energy production in its class and builds upon on the success of GE’s 1.5-megawatt machine, which is the world’s most widely deployed wind turbine.

With a rotor diameter of 100 meters and GE’s advanced grid integration technology, the 2.5xl is enabling power plant operators to meet the latest stability and availability standards of European distribution networks.

The Salzbergen plant expansion includes the addition of 28,000 square meters of property, revamping of the production hall to prepare for the ramped up production of the 2.5xl wind turbines, and adoption of LEAN six sigma manufacturing processes.


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