GE has signed a cooperation agreement with Norwegian energy companies Statoil and Lyse to jointly carry out technical and environmental feasibility studies for building an offshore wind power demonstration project in Rogaland County, off the southwest coast of Norway.
The agreement includes the installation of up to four 4.0-megawatt offshore, direct drive wind turbines. Subject to successful completion of the feasibility studies and the appropriate investment and funding decisions, the installation of the wind turbines will start in 2012.
GE is also planning an onshore installation of its direct drive machine in 2011. The machine, designed specifically for the offshore wind energy, will be erected in Gothenburg Harbor in Sweden in cooperation with Gothenburg Energy.
“We are pleased to be moving to the next phase in our offshore strategy,” said Victor Abate, vice president of GE Power & Water’s Renewable Energy business. “With Statoil, Lyse and Gothenburg Energy we have found three excellent partners with whom we can demonstrate our offshore wind power technology. We remain optimistic about the potential of the offshore wind farm industry, and we believe that our partnering strategy will increase our potential for growth in this sector, particularly in Europe where we see tremendous opportunities.”
GE is a global leader in the wind energy industry, with more than 14,000 wind turbines installed worldwide. The 4.0-megawatt wind turbine will build on experience gained from GE’s global installed fleet of 1.5, 2.5 and 3.6-megawatt onshore and offshore wind turbines. The company recently signaled its commitment to the European offshore wind power sector, announcing plans to invest approximately €340 million to develop or expand its offshore wind turbine manufacturing and service facilities in four European countries—the United Kingdom, Germany, Norway and Sweden.
According to a recent Emerging Energy Research (EER) market study, the installed base of offshore wind grew from 70 megawatts to 1.5 gigawatts over the past eight years. EER expects that total to rise to nearly 45 gigawatts by 2020. Much of that growth is expected to occur in Europe, particularly in the UK, where the government has launched a program for a massive expansion of offshore wind energy. The country is currently working towards a third round of offshore wind farm developments.