GE Energy enters $1B deal to provide wind turbines

GE Energy on Wednesday announced a $1 billion deal with Chicago-based Invenergy LLC to sell wind tur

GE Energy on Wednesday announced a $1 billion deal with Chicago-based Invenergy LLC to sell wind turbines capable of generating 800 megawatts of electricity.

Company officials touted the deal as one of the largest commitments for wind turbines to be delivered in a single year in the short history of the global wind energy industry.

“With this milestone agreement, Invenergy will have secured more than two gigawatts of GE wind turbines for the 2007-2009 time frame,” stated Victor Abate, vice president of GE Energy’s Renewable Energy division, headquartered in Schenectady. “The use of our proven technology by an experienced developer and fleet operator will help individual states, provinces and countries meet their renewable energy standards.”

The deal has direct implications for the GE Wind Product Management and Customer Support Center, located at the conglomerate’s Erie Boulevard campus.

“Our wind product management and customer center here in Schenectady is going to help monitor the performance of those turbines globally,” GE Energy spokeswoman Kristin Schwarz said.

Expansion of GE’s wind turbine business, spurred by international government concerns about carbon dioxide emissions linked to global warming, led directly to a $39 million expansion of its Renewables Global Headquarters in Schenectady, announced in November, and announcements last year to locally hire 500 engineers and 150 white collar workers to staff the Wind Product Management and Customer Support Center.

Since 2004, GE has increased wind turbine production by 500 percent, with its wind business revenues exceeding $4 billion in 2007.

For its $1 billion, Invenergy will get 1.5-megawatt wind turbines capable of a combined output of 600 megawatts for projects in North America and 200 megawatts worth of GE’s 2.5xl wind turbines for European applications, according to information released by the two companies.

According to company officials, GE has more than 7,700 of its 1.5 megawatt turbines installed worldwide, while its 2.5xl model is the “next evolution of the company’s wind turbine fleet” and is the largest GE wind turbine available for onshore applications, useful for markets in the European Union, where lack of available land constrains the size of projects.

All of the wind turbines are slated for shipment during 2009.

Invenergy CEO Michael Polsky praised the GE wind turbines.

“The high availability and reliability and grid-integration features offered by GE wind turbines help to position our installed fleet as an industry leader for grid performance,” Polsky stated in a news release.

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