This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

December 11, 2002

GE Wind Energy Tests Prototype of 3.6-Megawatt Wind Turbine

GE Wind Energy, the largest wind turbine company in the United States, announced on December 10th that it is now testing a prototype 3.6-megawatt wind turbine, which will be one of the world's largest commercial wind turbines. The wind machine was installed in Spain in May, connected to the electrical grid in September, and reached its nominal power output in October. Designed specifically for offshore wind installations, the wind turbine has a hub height of 75 meters (246 feet) and a rotor diameter of 104 meters (341 feet). The prototype, however, was installed on a farm, so it is mounted at a hub height of 100 meters (328 feet) to account for the higher wind turbulence over land. The massive turbine is equipped with an optional internal 40-ton crane that will allow for the exchange of the rotor blades, gearbox, and generator without using a separate, external crane. It can also be fitted with a helicopter hoisting platform to allow the use of helicopters when working on the turbine. GE Wind Energy will manufacture the wind turbines in Germany and the United States once the test period is complete. See the GE Wind Energy press release (PDF 109 KB). Download Acrobat Reader.

GE Wind Energy is facing some competition from an even larger prototype, erected in August in eastern Germany by the German wind company ENERCON GmbH. The 4.5-megawatt ENERCON E-112 has a hub height of 124 meters (407 feet) and a rotor diameter of 112.8 meters (370 feet), and was operating by October 1st. The company does not currently market its products in the United States. See the ENERCON press release.

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