GE enters slow-wind territory
At the end of March, GE produced its latest prototype for slow-wind areas. This week, construction began on the first GE 2.5-120 sold in Germany. Though the wind resources are quite poor, a lot of power is expected to be generated.
According to Bavaria's Energy Atlas (in German), the area where the new turbine is to be installed only has average wind velocities of 5.5 m/s if you're lucky. And that is only reached at a hub height of 140 m – exactly where GE's places its new turbine.
With a rotor diameter of 120 m, the new turbine is expected to run at a capacity factor of nearly 40% (320 full-load hours per year). GE expects the unit to produce 8 GWh of power over the year. Investor Max Bögl Wiesner GmbH will find out how well the turbine works at the end of October when it goes into operation.
GE says the new turbine is made for forested areas with slow wind velocities. The new unit is larger than the GE 2.5-103 (with a rotor diameter of 103 m) and is expected to be 25% more efficient and produce 15% more power. The turbine is also intelligent – or, as the manufacturer puts it, "brilliant." It has machine-to-machine communication so it can network with other turbines to predict, and sometimes solve, problems.
GE explains the new technology in a chart. If, say, a turbine no longer can decide what direction the wind is coming from, it can use data from neighboring turbines. Once it has realigned itself, it can continue producing a little bit of power even under weak wind conditions.
Max Bögl of Bavaria made the 139 m tall hybrid tower. The firm has already constructed 200 hybrid towers, including for Hamburg-based turbine manufacturer Repower. (Denny Gille / Craig Morris)