The proverbial sweet spot is that location or design in which everything works almost better than expected. GE Energy found a sweet spot in the wind market with its 1.5 MW turbine. Over 12,000 of the 1.5 MW designs are in operation in 19 countries, says the company. The design has chalked up over 170 million operating hours generating more than 100,000 GWh. For that accomplishment, the GE 1.5 MW design is our turbine of the month.
The company says it continues improving the design by focusing on efficiency, reliability, site flexibility, and delivering multi-generational product advancements.
Recent options that increase turbine performance and reliability include the Windboost Control System, a software upgrade that, the company says, provides:
• Up to 4% increased annual energy production.
• Control for best rotational speed.
• Capability to remotely turn the feature on and off at the turbine level.
• Increased power output while maintaining grid stability.
The company adds that its reinforced tower opens potential wind sites letting it deliver reliable and safe products that meet user expectation and regulatory compliance. Tower sections have the same length and external diameter as the standard GE North American modular system, but are built to handle seismic loads. Hence, the tower allows locating wind plants in good wind resources that are also designated seismic-prone areas.
Another feature, Condition Based Maintenance (CBM), detects and signals impending drive train issues to lower maintenance costs. The factory or field-installed CBM equipment can improve reliability on a single or several wind farms. The feature lets operators understand an issue weeks in advance, which lets them continue producing power while scheduling parts, crane, and labor, while planning additional maintenance tasks with the same resources.
The company adds that its design and testing methods includes 20-year fatigue testing and Highly Accelerated Life Testing or HALT. The company manufactures turbines at six facilities in the U.S., Germany, Spain, and China that carry registrations to ISO 9001:2000 and Quality Management System.
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