GE snaps up Wind Turbine Tower Technology
Taller towers and lower costs; new technology to streamline wind farms
As the need for taller, more cost-effective wind turbine towers increases, so too has the demand for technology to make them a reality. GE announced today that it has acquired Next-Generation Wind Turbine Tower Technology from Wind Tower Systems, which is expected to enable the company to produce taller, more effective wind turbine towers in response to increasing blade lengths.
WTS has been working on the development of the space frame tower system technology for use at wind farm sites that require hub heights of 100m or more, and this new technology is engineered to withstand the unique static and dynamic loads generated by wind turbines.
Innovative ways to transport taller wind turbine towers have also been analysed, leading the company to design its space-frame technology to utilise standard flatbed trucks, with the Hi Jack system eliminating the need for heavy-lift cranes during installation. Cost effectively extending the tower height in this way will enable the turbine to be fitted with longer blades, directly increasing the amount of energy produced, while at the same time lowering installation costs.
“We see great potential in the addition of this technology to our portfolio, not only for our customers but also for the wind industry as a whole,” says Victor Abate, vice president-renewable energy for GE Power & Water. “Taller towers are an essential complement to longer blades. Longer blades capture more energy and in turn improve return on investment for wind farm developers.”
Plans are currently underway to install a prototype of the GE space frame tower system technology to test its design later this year, with commercial availability targeted for 2012.