In Focus
POWER UTILITY | Cesar Tordesillas, China

GE and Harbin eye Chinese wind market

GE and Harbin are forming a joint venture to manufacture and supply wind turbines for China’s $13 billion wind market.

The wind turbines are for land-based, near-shore and offshore applications. Already the world’s largest, China’s wind turbine market is still projected to grow its capacity by an additional 500 percent. That means that from 25 gigawatts in 2009 it will grow to a whopping 150 gigawatts by 2020. That aggressive wind development plan comes as China’s overall electricity demand is growing at a rate of 12 percent per year.

The joint venture will produce a 3.5 megawatt “direct drive” turbine. Technologies that eliminate the traditional gearbox found in most turbines are ideal for offshore wind farms where repairs can be difficult and expensive due to harsh ocean conditions. Popular Science magazine recently featured GE’s latest technology, the advanced 4 MW gearless turbine. Deployment of offshore wind turbines will be the starting point of the joint venture with plans to develop a 3.5 MW wind turbine using GE’s direct-drive technology acquired from ScanWind.

Harbin will own 51 percent and GE 49 percent of the joint venture company. As part of the overall wind partnership, Harbin also is purchasing a 49 percent interest in the existing GE Shenyang Wind factory, which will continue to manufacture land based wind turbines. The work on near shore turbines will be for wind farms on land within three kilometers of the nearest shoreline, or lying on the water within 10 kilometers of the shore.

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