Wind Wire: New model first

Alstom, the France-based energy multinational, has inaugurated the first wind project using its 3 MW Ecotecnia 100 turbines.

The company developed and built the 18 MW project, near Pithiviers in the Loiret department of central France, but it is owned by EDP Renovaveis (EDPR), the renewables arm of Portuguese utility EDP. Alstom is installing 16 Eco100 machines for EDPR at two more sites in the centre of France: 30 MW at the Vallee du Moulin, due for commissioning by the end of the year, and 18 MW at Le Mee for 2010. The Eco100, with a hub height of 90 or 100 metres and a rotor diameter of 100 metres, is designed for medium wind-speed sites of up to 8.5 m/s. It uses the firm's patented Pure Torque hub support structure, which Alstom says deflects unwanted loads from turbulence down into the tower, protecting the gearbox and boosting reliability. Alstom is now working on the Eco110, featuring slightly longer blades, for sites with average wind speeds up to 7.5 m/s. It hopes to have a prototype operating at its Spanish test site by the end of the year, with commercial production scheduled for 2010. Alstom is also gearing up for entry into the US market, with plans to open an assembly plant next year that will produce its 1.67 MW Eco80 and Eco86 machines first, followed by a 60 Hz version of the Eco100 in 2011. The company also has eyes on China, it says.

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