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GE Announces Industry Milestone: More Than 5000 1.5-Megawatt Wind Turbines Installed

GE Energy today announced it has surpassed 5,000 installations for its 1,5-megawatt wind turbine, one of the most widely used machines in the global wind power industry.

"Our 1.5-megawatt wind turbine technology has been proven in nearly every wind regime, terrain or climate worldwide," said Victor Abate, Vice President-Renewables for GE Energy. "As we celebrate the milestone of our 5000th application, we also continue to invest in technology improvements that build upon the vast experience of our installed fleet and will result in even higher levels of reliability and efficiency."

The first 1.5-megawatt machine was installed in 1996 in Germany. In 2002, GE gained ownership of the technology as part of its acquisition of Enron's wind business. Since then, GE has increased its wind engineering team three-fold and has applied experience from other business units such as GE Aviation, GE Transportation, GE Oil & Gas, GE Plastics and GE Global Research.

Much of the surge in 1.5-megawatt orders has occurred in the United States, where the wind industry received a major boost with the extension of the federal production tax credit at the end of 2005. GE expects to ship more than 5,000 1.5-megawatt machines globally in 2006 and 2007, and anticipates that the total of 1.5-megawatt wind turbines operating worldwide could reach 10,000 by the end of 2008.

Accompanying the increase in the number of installations has been a continuing evolution of the turbine technology. An on-going improvement program has integrated valuable lessons learned and knowledge gathered from long-term plant operation and customer feedback. Current research and development efforts are further enhancing the 1.5-megawatt design.

In 2005, GE expanded the 1.5-megawatt series to include the 1.5xle model, designed for efficient operation in low wind areas. With this introduction, the 1.5-megawatt series now is available with the ideal rotor diameter for every wind classification.

The rotor diameter for the 1.5-megawatt machine has increased from 77 meters to 82.5 meters. The larger rotors and advancements in systems controls have helped to achieve increases in both capacity factor and reliability.

GE Energy's wind turbine technology is a key element of ecomagination, a GE corporate-wide initiative to develop and market technologies that will help customers address pressing environmental challenges.

"We are convinced wind power will be an integral part of the world energy mix throughout the 21st century," said Abate. "With efforts like the on-going improvement of our 1.5-megawatt wind turbine technology, GE Energy is committed to helping our worldwide partners and customers design and implement wind energy solutions for their cleaner energy needs."

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