GE Energy gets $1B wind turbine order

GE Energy announced a new $1 billion wind turbine contract Thursday.

GE Energy announced a new $1 billion wind turbine contract Thursday.

According to the two companies, GE Energy will supply Chicago-based Invenergy LLC with 750 megawatts worth of wind turbines to be used in North American projects to be constructed in 2010. Company officials estimate the turbines will be capable of supplying enough electricity for 200,000 homes.

The contract is the third in a series of big wind turbine deals announced by GE in 2008. In January, GE inked a previous $1 billion agreement with Invenergy for 600 megawatts worth of turbines for North American projects and turbines capable of generating 200 megawatts for projects in Europe. In February, GE announced a $700 million order for 1.5 megawatt wind turbines from Austin, Texas-based Renewable Energy Systems Americas for projects in 2009 and 2010.

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 the decision to hire 500 engineers and 150 white-collar workers to staff the Wind Product Management and Customer Support Center in Schenectady. GE Renewables Vice President Victor Abate said the two contracts with Invenergy are among the largest in the history of the wind turbine business.

“As these agreements demonstrate, the demand for wind energy continues to grow at a record pace,” Abate stated.

According to the American Wind Energy Association, the national trade association representing wind power project developers, the U.S. wind energy industry installed wind turbines capable of 5,244 megawatts of electricity generation in 2007, expanding the nation’s total wind power generating capacity by 45 percent. The AWEA estimates 2008 could equal 2007 in new wind capacity installed.

GE officials could not be reached for comment on the new deal Thursday but said in January that wind turbines sold to Invenergy would be monitored by the company’s new service center at its Erie Boulevard campus.

Invenergery CEO Michael Polsky stated in a news release that completion of this new order from GE will give Invenergy in excess of 3,500 megawatts of wind power projects in North America and Europe by 2010.

“This agreement represents our long-term confidence in the growth of this key renewable energy technology, and ensures that we will be well positioned to meet the growing demands of our customers for wind power in the years ahead,” Polsky stated. GE has increased its wind turbine production by 500 percent since 2004 and its wind business revenues exceeded $4 billion in 2007, according to information released by the company.

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