South Dakota Wind Farm Puts Smart Grid Technology to Work to Yield a Greater Harvest

Homes and businesses receiving wind power from Basin Electric Power Cooperative’s South Dakota wind farm, scheduled to begin operation in 2010, will benefit from smart grid technologies on the farm’s 101 GE wind turbines. Prolec GE’s high efficiency amorphous transformers will reduce losses as electricity moves through the wind farm’s transformers, so that every spin of the turbine blade delivers more energy to consumers.

In addition to maximizing productivity of the electrical network, smart grid technologies also help improve productivity of renewable energy generation, making investments in green technology more attractive to developers.

“Achieving maximum efficiency at the lowest possible cost is the goal of any power plant,” said Ron Rebenitsch, Basin Electric’s manager of alternative technologies. “These transformers to be installed at our new South Dakota wind farm help us meet that goal.”

Prolec GE’s high-efficiency transformers have amorphous metal cores, which reduce “no-load” losses of the transformer by 60-70% compared to traditional transformers with silicon steel cores. “No-load losses” take place when homes and other applications are not pulling power from the transformer.

“To address the concerns about global warming, we need to keep getting better at how efficiently we generate and distribute power from all generation sources, including renewables,” said Bob Gilligan, vice president, transmission and distribution at GE Energy. “These products have survived the rigor of GE’s ecomagination certification, meaning they deliver financial and environmental performance benefits that forward-thinking companies and conscientious customers will embrace.”

Basin Electric’s South Dakota wind farm will begin providing power to customers in late 2010, according to Rebenitsch. Basin Electric is a recognized leader of wind energy development in the upper Midwest United States. Through joint projects and purchase power agreements, it has added approximately 136 megawatts (MW) of wind energy to the region’s energy portfolio since 2002. By 2011, Basin Electric will add another 314 MW of wind resources to its power supply family.

“In addition to helping meet our efficiency goals, we’re also pleased that investments in our South Dakota wind farm will likely create 10-15 new jobs in South Dakota,” Rebenitsch added.

Widespread adoption of these transformers across all power generation technologies could have a substantial impact on the environment. In the United States and Mexico, electric utilities and end users install more than one million distribution transformers each year.

If all of these distribution transformers used Prolec GE’s highly efficient amorphous metal core technology, rather than silicon steel, the annual electricity savings would be approximately 750 million kWh. These energy savings could avoid more than 465,000 tons of CO2 emissions from traditional U.S. electricity sources, which is equivalent to the impact of removing nearly 90,000 cars from U.S. roads for one year.

Through industry collaborations, GE will deliver one of the broadest portfolio offerings in the industry to modernize the electrical systems from the power plant to the consumer. From smarter appliances to technologies for plug-in hybrid vehicles, to providing renewable technologies and smart meters, GE has the breadth and knowledge needed to increase energy productivity all the way up and down the lines.

Prolec GE is a joint venture of GE and Xignux. It owns and operates one of the largest, most technologically advanced transformer production facilities in the world.

GE is one of the world’s leading wind turbine suppliers. With over 10,000 worldwide wind turbine installations comprising more than 15,000 MW of capacity, our knowledge and expertise spans more than two decades.

With wind manufacturing and assembly facilities in Germany, Spain, China, Canada and the United States, our current product portfolio includes wind turbines with rated capacities ranging from 1.5 to 3.6 megawatts and support services ranging from development assistance to operation and maintenance.

GE wind turbine technology features robust designs for long, reliable performance, variable speed control, independent blade pitch for reduced loads and cost-effective operation and unique WindVAR electronics for local grid support and improved transmission efficiencies. For the first time, wind turbines can remain online and feed reactive power to the electric grid right through major system disturbances with our low-voltage ride-thru technology.

1.5 MW Series Wind Turbine

With more than 5,000 units in operation worldwide, GE’s 1.5 MW turbine continues to be one of the world’s most widely used wind turbines in its class.

2.5 MW Wind Turbine

GE’s 2.5 MW wind turbine provides highly cost effective operation, especially at wind sites where space is limited. Improving on our 2.x MW Class design, GE’s new 2.5xl units are designed with an increased rotor size, offering higher energy capture, reliability and efficiency. Among its many benefits, the 2.5xl employs an efficient permanent magnet generator, enabling higher efficiency at low wind speeds, resulting in increased Annual Energy Yield. GE’s unique integrated suite of controls and electronics also provides a sophisticated set of grid-friendly benefits similar to conventional power plants. These controls enable wind turbines to meet grid codes and stay on-line supporting the grid, even during severe grid disturbances. Designed for advanced logistics, the nacelle and tower dimensions of the 2.5xl allow for transportation and installation procedures comparable to standard 1.5MW turbines.

3.6 MW Series Wind Turbine

With a rotor diameter of 341 feet and a swept area of 91,439 square feet, the 3.6 MW wind turbine is ideal for offshore markets worldwide. A larger version of our proven 1.5 MW design, the 3.6 MW machine was specifically designed for high-speed wind sites. With a rotor diameter of 104 meters and a swept area of 8,495 square meters, the new wind turbine is ideal for offshore markets worldwide. Active yaw and pitch regulated with power/torque control capability and a double-fed asynchronous generator, it uses a distributed drive train design where all nacelle components are joined on a common structure, providing exceptional durability. The generator and gearbox are supported by elastomeric elements to minimize noise emissions.

GE’s 2.5xl Wind Turbine a Growing Force in Europe

GE Energy Helping to Meet Europe’s Increasing Demand for Renewable Energy

The latest evolution of GE Energy’s wind turbine technology, the 2.5xl wind turbine, is playing a growing role in helping Europe meet its renewable energy demands. This machine has been selected for projects across Europe that will add nearly 1,000 megawatts of wind-generated electricity in 2009, or enough to serve over 480,000 typical European households.

The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) has reported that more wind power was installed in the EU in 2008 than any other electricity generating technology. Forty-three percent of all new electricity generating capacity built in the EU last year was wind energy, surpassing other technologies including gas, coal and nuclear power. According to EWEA, the wind turbines installed by the end of 2008 will, in a normal wind year, produce enough power to meet more than 4% of the EU’s electricity demand, and avoid the emission of 108 tons of CO2 per year, the equivalent of taking more than 50 million cars off European roads.

“We’re very pleased that our 2.5xl technology is helping Europe expand its wind power capacity,” said Victor Abate, vice president-renewables for GE Energy. “Wind energy is expected to be a major contributor in achieving the European Union’s target to have 20% of its energy supply come from renewable sources by 2020 and we are committed to supporting that effort.”

The 2.5xl represents GE Energy’s most advanced wind turbine in terms of efficiency, reliability and grid connection capabilities and is designed to yield the highest annual energy production in its class.

The breakdown of GE 2.5xl wind turbine projects for 2009 reflects a growing interest in wind power in Eastern Europe, with Romania, Turkey and Poland set to install or commission 2.5xl machines during the year. Activity also remains strong in Western Europe where Spain, Belgium, Italy, Germany and France will install 2.5xl units during 2009.

GE Energy’s 2.5xl wind turbine builds upon the success of GE Energy’s 1.5-megawatt machines, the most widely deployed wind turbines in the global wind industry with more than 12,000 units installed worldwide. With a rotor diameter of 100 meters, the 2.5xl is the largest GE wind turbine available for onshore applications and was designed to meet the immediate requirements of Europe, where the lack of available land can limit project size. The 2.5xl has the capability to operate at sites with average wind speeds of up to 8.5 meters per second.

The 2.5xl machines for the upcoming European projects will be supplied from GE Energy’s wind turbine manufacturing plants in Salzbergen, Germany and Noblejas, Spain. To meet the strong European demand for wind turbines, GE is investing more than $100 million in technology and supply chain enhancements. In addition, the investment will increase GE’s European training and service resources and create more than 160 new jobs.

About GE Energy

GE Energy ( one of the world’s leading suppliers of power generation and energy delivery technologies, with 2008 revenue of $29.3 billion. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, GE Energy works in all areas of the energy industry; renewable resources such as water, wind, solar and biogas; and other alternative fuels. Numerous GE Energy products are certified under ecomagination, GE’s corporate-wide initiative to aggressively bring to market new technologies that will help customers meet pressing environmental challenges.

About GE

GE is a diversified global infrastructure, finance and media company that is built to meet essential world needs. From energy, water, transportation and health to access to money and information, GE serves customers in more than 100 countries and employs more than 300,000 people worldwide. For more information, visit the company’s Web site at GE is Imagination at Work.