French Developers and GE Fuel Wind Energy Growth in France

Helping France to reach its goal of generating 23 percent of its power from renewable sources by the year 2020, GE (NYSE: GE) will supply 27 2.85-megawatt (MW) wind turbines and related services for several wind farm projects in northern France. The projects are each owned and built by French developers Boralex Inc. (TSX: BLX), InnoVent GmbH and a Belgic company. The importance of health and safety is shared among the developer companies and GE.

The Picardy and Nord-Pas-de-Calais regions are well suited for wind projects because of high winds and large agricultural areas available for installations. There is already more than 1,000 MW of wind energy in Picardy and 500 MW in Nord Pas-de-Calais.

Slated for installation in three villages in Picardy (Andechy, Goyencourt and Villers-lès-Roye), about 100 kilometers (62 miles) north of Paris, the Roye projects will include 16 GE 2.85-103 wind turbines. The new Roye projects are located near the existing Laucort and Beuvraignes wind farm built by other developers but also powered by GE wind turbines. For the Fortel projects, GE will install 11 of the same turbines in the village of Fortel-en-Artois, in Nord Pas-de-Calais in northern France.

“We have made a formal commitment to promote occupational health and safety in all of our installations worldwide, and we look for suppliers who are willing to partner with us to achieve those goals,” said Patrick Decostre, managing director Europe, Boralex. “GE’s wind technology is amongst the world’s best and its high-power output and reliability will ensure project success, but what attracted us just as much was that GE shares our view on the importance of health and safety issues. GE showed it is willing to work with us jointly in those areas and was flexible and helpful in structuring their services to support our needs.”

The contracts include wind turbine manufacturing, shipment, installation and a five-year service agreement. The service agreement covers all planned maintenance such as remote monitoring, routine services, preventative maintenance and on-site and parts support. It also covers unplanned maintenance such as up-tower inspection/repair, condition monitoring and turbine performance and life-extension solutions.

“At GE, we are convinced of the importance of cooperation among all of the various entities involved in safety at wind farms, and we were glad to share the same view with Boralex and InnoVent. This includes all the steps necessary to make sure the workplace is productive and safe and to protect the well-being of everyone involved,” said Cliff Harris, general manager of GE’s renewable energy business in Europe. “We have a safety culture born from GE’s aircraft engines, gas turbines and nuclear business as well as the railroad and medical industries, all of which have been applied to our wind business. GE works with our customers to help them address their most important needs and offers a broad portfolio of products and services to reach those goals.”

“GE regularly reviews its procedures and products in order to be safer, and we’re always monitoring the latest regulations, rules and codes to make sure our products are compliant. GE’s workers also are trained to take responsibility for personal injury prevention. GE’s workers, as ‘industrial athletes,’ receive gym memberships, healthy eating education and stretching programs to begin the working day,” Harris added.

GE’s 2.85-103-MW wind turbine offers high output along with high efficiency, reliability and grid connection capabilities. The rotor length of 103 meters, in combination with GE’s advanced grid integration technology, helps balance power output with rapid demand and dispatch cycles, ensuring that these units support the highest reliability and availability standards within Europe.