GE Wind Energy will begin building its own turbine blades in an existing manufacturing facility in Pensacola, Florida. The facility is owned by GE Power Systems, which is cutting its workforce by 2500 jobs over the next eight months due to falling demand for its power generation equipment. The new turbine blade production line could add up to 200 workers. GE's Mary McCann says the blades will initially be for the company's workhorse 1.5 MW turbine, but the facility could eventually manufacture blades for other turbines the company is developing. Production will follow demand for GE turbines. GE declined to name the several worldwide vendors it currently uses to supply its turbine blades. Soon after GE Power Systems bought Enron Wind, the company said that, with the considerable technical talent present in the company, it would more than likely work towards a redesign of turbine blades (Windpower Monthly, July 2002). McCann says the company is still evaluating the manufacturing process and will make a decision in the next few months whether it will turn to a new design or not. GE Power Systems is still producing generators at the Florida facility, but expects to turn to turbine blade production over the next several months. GE Wind also has in-house blade manufacturing capabilities at its a facility in the Netherlands originally owned by now defunct Dutch blade manufacturer Aerpac.
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Senior Renewable Energy Analyst (WindGEMINI Product Lead) DNV GL Bristol (City Centre), City of Bristol