United States

United States

AWEA 2019: 'Repowering is here to stay', says GE

GE won more than 2GW of onshore wind turbines orders in North America during the first five months of 2019, and has also repowered 4GW of ageing capacity, it said at the launch of AWEA's Windpower 2019 conference in Houston, Texas.

GE installed 3.01GW in the US last year, according to AWEA figures
GE installed 3.01GW in the US last year, according to AWEA figures

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It received orders for 728 onshore wind turbines with a combined capacity of 2,010MW in North America between 1 January and 31 May, the manufacturer stated.

The majority of these orders were for turbines from its 2MW platform.

"This is a time of unprecedented growth and demand for the onshore wind industry in the US, and we are proud to offer technology and service offerings that meet the specific needs of our customers," said Vikas Anand, GE Renewable Energy’s CEO for onshore wind in the Americas.

GE installed 3.01GW in the US last year, according to AWEA figures, inching ahead of Vestas in annual installations.

Developers announced US new wind farms with a combined capacity of 6.1GW in the first quarter of 2019, AWEA announced last month. The US now has nearly 40GW in development.

Repowering

GE also announced it has repowered US turbines with a combined capacity of more than 4GW since 2017.

It has retrofitted and upgraded more than 2,500 turbines at 36 different US wind farms in this period — including two projects using equipment originally supplied by other manufacturers — GE stated.

Repowering customers so far include NextEra, E.on and MidAmerican Energy, GE added.

On average, repowering has increased annual energy production by 20% and turbine availability by 1.5% from pre-repowering performance.

Sheri Hickok, GE's head of product development for onshore wind, said repowering in the US was seeing a surge due to the planned phase out fo the production tax credit (PTC), but the market would continue to thrive, even after the tax breaks had expired. 

"The repowering market is real and here to stay. When you look at the great wind sites around the country – or around the word – its sad to leave a [turbine with a 100-metre rotor] in the ground when you can put in great new technology and take advantage of that wind," Hickok told Windpower Monthly.

"We really do believe that even if all the regulations are not laid out on how to do it this will continue because it does make sense for energy markets.

"You are seeing it pushed by the PTC window. How ever the market responds post PTC, repowering is a way to continue to grow the wind energy supply without all the new installations," Hickok added.

The US’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory has estimated that annual US wind repowering investment could reach $25 billion by 2030.

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