GE lowers offshore expectations

EUROPE: GE's new European renewable energy general manager Cliff Harris said the company is adopting a "wait and see" approach on offshore despite having developed a 4.1MW turbine.

GE's 4.1MW turbine - in Gothenburg harbour
GE's 4.1MW turbine - in Gothenburg harbour

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GE has been absent from offshore wind since 2003, when it built the 25MW Arklow Bank farm in the Irish Sea using seven GE 3.6 MW turbines.

It was thought the company was re-entering the offshore market after it bought Norwegian offshore wind turbine manufacturer Scanwind for EUR15 million in 2009.

However, only one offshore turbine, the GE-4.1 113, followed the acquisition. It was installed in Gothenburg harbour, Sweden, in December 2012, which is operating at 99% availability, according to the company.

Harris said: "We have the machine, and proved that we can make one. But now we must find a way to make it cost-effective.

"The current strategy is to watch and see how the market develops. We must find projects that make money for the customer. We would proceed if the right project came along."

Former GE vice president for renewables Vic Abate said this year there were no plans to take the turbine into production.

The company has focused on onshore markets and last year it was the biggest turbine manufacturer in the world, thanks to its US sales.

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