General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) to Trial World’s Largest Wind Turbine in Britain

General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) has signed a research and development agreement with UK’s Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult that will see the two companies jointly test and develop next-generation offshore wind power regeneration technologies.

In while commenting on the agreement, Claire Perry, the UK Government Energy & Clean Growth Minister said the agreement is good news for the country and highlights the country’s world-class research and testing facilities. She added that through the government’s Industrial Strategy, the country is slowly becoming a world leader in production of renewable energy including offshore wind.

The minister went on to say that UK accounts for 22% of all investments in wind projects in Europe and the offshore wind industry is expected to boost the country’s supply of clean energy  while at the same time opening new job opportunities.

The new Haliade-X 12-MW offshore wind turbine as well as the Haliade 150-6-MW which are all operated by General Motor, are expected to undergo additional tests and demonstration which accurately commensurate real-world operating conditions in a bid to enhance their reliability and performance.  The testing will be done at ORE Catapult’s 15-MW powertrain test facility, which is located in Blyth, Northumberland.

General Electric Offshore Wind business President & CEO John Lavelle said that the agreement is very important as it will allow the company to prove Haliade-Xin a much faster way by placing it under controlled conditions.  He added that conventional methods of testing largely depend on local wind conditions hence have very limited testing repeatability.   By using Catapult’s facilities and expertise however, he says will place them in a much better position to incorporate the new technology in a much short time, increase availability and power output and reduce cases of unplanned maintenance while at the same time allowing the company to introduce new features that satisfactorily meet the demands of customers.

Some of the research and development activities that will be undertaken include converters, cooling technologies, loading conditions across electrical and mechanical components, design validation and grid testing.  The partnership is expected to attract improvements in technologies which will help develop the country’s energy supply chain and boost access to demonstration opportunities for small innovative businesses.