GE winds up production of European turbine

GERMANY: GE Wind has begun series production of its 2.5 MW turbine at its Salzbergen works in Germany. The machine will replace the company's 1.5 MW model as its "workhorse" turbine in Europe, says Rainer Broering, GE Wind's managing director.

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Production of the 1.5 MW model at Salzbergen is coming to a halt with the delivery of its 10,000th unit later this year, but will continue in the US and in China. A Chinese production line has been running since 2006. The 2.5 MW unit will be "produced in Europe for Europe," says Broering.

"We want to reach a double digit market share in Europe, and this will happen soon." He admits to interest in the larger machine from the US and Asia too. GE has already built 80-100 turbines in the 2.3-2.5 MW range in pre-series production at Salzbergen.

For series production, the factory will initially work a single shift operation to produce 500-600 machines a year. Eventually this will be ramped up to a three-shift operation with annual output reaching 1800 units. A "big plan" for service is being built up, says Broering.

This includes maintenance teams and a centralised warehousing system for spare parts as with GE's US operation, as well as an express service using an external logistics company.

GE has secured its first big order for the 2.5 MW machine, for Romania and a further 54 are destined for Turkey in 2009. "Romania is a big project to deal with in a short amount of time," admits Rich Reno from the Salzbergen plant.

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