First of GE's larger turbine series now rolling off the production line

The first of GE Energy's 2.X series of larger turbines are now rolling off the production line. By the end of the year, between 30 and 35 machines will go to customers in Japan and Germany, says chief engineer Vincent Schelling. About 15, 2.5 MW turbines with rotor diameters of 88 metres are bound for Japan for installation at the start of next year. The customer declines to be named, he says. The remainder are 2.3 MW machines with 94 metre rotors which will be installed in Germany. Meantime, GE is already working on improving the design, although the upgraded 2.X family will not be commercially available until the end of 2006, says the company. Various component configurations are being tried, including different generators and blade lengths. Two prototypes of the 2.X series, a 2.5 MW and 2.3 MW, are running at the Wieringermeer test site in the Netherlands, the larger machine since May 2004 and the second machine since August. The company intends to also add a 3 MW turbine to the 2.X series. The series will "introduce a number of industry innovations" including a permanent magnet generator on the 3 MW machine and on all 2.5 MW machines with a rotor diameter of 100 metres, says Schelling. In early 2006, the 2.5 MW machine at Wieringermeer will be converted to test the permanent magnet generator. The 2.X series is intended for onshore use only. GE offers a 3.6 MW machine for offshore operation.