Today, GE’s (NYSE: GE) renewable energy business announced the introduction of its new space frame tower for multi-megawatt wind turbines at the European Wind Energy Association’s annual conference in Barcelona, Spain. The five-legged enclosed lattice tower from GE enables towers up to 139 meters to be built more cost-effectively in never before accessible locations, using a logistics-friendly model of standard shipping methods and on-site assembly.
“The space frame tower helps our customers go taller in new locations, further enabling the growth of wind energy,” said Cliff Harris, general manager of GE’s renewable energy business in Europe. “This next innovation in wind turbine technology is a stepping stone towards towers taller than 150 meters in Europe. GE will continue to drive innovation and advanced technology for the wind industry in the coming years.”
The space frame tower is being introduced with GE’s new 2.75-120 wind turbine and was demonstrated in a full-scale turbine at GE’s prototype site in Tehachapi, Calif. The lattice tower is assembled at wind farm locations and then wrapped in an architectural fabric to provide familiar solid structural aesthetics. The tower improves serviceability with increased space down-tower, maintenance-free bolting system and custom methods and fixtures for efficient installation and dismantling.
The space frame tower features a wide base supported by five legs that provide more room at the base of the tower than a traditional tubular tower. The additional down-tower space allows for storage within the turbine for ease in maintenance, site organization and balance of plant. Parts manufacturing can be automated with the space frame tower to optimize quality control of the structure. The fabric casing is durable, weather resistant and does not need to be replaced during turbine life.
The space frame tower is a product of GE’s technology evolution and investment. GE has invested more than $2 billion into renewable energy research and development to continually provide customers with the most advanced wind technology available and position wind as a mainstream energy source.