GE Wins $1.4B Contract for World’s Largest Wind Farm

by | Dec 11, 2009

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windfarm5While General Electric (GE) has received a $1.4-billion contract to supply wind turbines for a project in Oregon, and a small wind farm project in New York gets the go ahead, a 122-wind turbine project in West Virginia has been halted due to an endangered species of bats.

General Electric Co. (GE) has won a $1.4-billion contract from energy producer Caithness Energy LLC to supply wind turbines for a $2-billion project in Oregon, reports Reuters. The Shepherds Flat project, with a total of 338 turbines to be installed in 2011 and 2012, is the first to deploy GE’s 2.5xl wind turbine in North America, according to the article.

The 845-megawatt (MW) project has already received most of the government permits required to operate. GE said it will be the largest wind farm in operation when completed.

The Shepherds Flat project will supply energy to Southern California Edison, a unit of Edison International, reports Reuters.

GE better watch out because Siemens fully intends to outpace market growth and become one of the top three wind turbine providers by 2012.

Andreas Nauen, CEO of Siemens’ Wind Power Business Unit told Electric Light & Power that the company’s strategy is to strengthen its position as a global market leader in offshore wind farms while expanding its global manufacturing in key markets and developing innovative products such as gearless and floating wind turbines.

As an example, Siemens recently won the largest offshore wind power contract, providing Dong Energy with 500 3.6-MW turbines, according to Electric Light & Power. Some of these turbines will be used in the world’s largest offshore wind farm when it is completed, according to the article.

In Martinsburg, New York, a 39-turbine wind farm project has just received site plan approval and may begin construction as early as next year, reports the Watertown Daily News.

Atlantic Wind, a subsidiary of Iberdrola, is proposing the Roaring Brook wind farm project on 5,280 acres and now must obtain a wetlands permit from the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, reports the Watertown Daily News.

The expectation is that the wind farm would be partially built in late 2010, allowing the 78-megawatt facility to be operational by the end of the year, and recommence building in spring 2011, according to the newspaper.

Meanwhile, a federal judge in Maryland has halted the expansion of a West Virginia wind farm because the large turbines would kill endangered Indiana bats, reports the Washington Post.

The judge ruled (PDF) that Chicago-based Invenergy can complete the 40 windmills it started to install but can’t finish the $300-million Beech Ridge Project with 122 turbines without a special permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, according to the Washington post.

The judge also ruled that the 40 turbines can only operate in winter when the bats are hibernating until a grant is permitted, according to the article.

The lawsuit is the first court challenge to wind power under the Endangered Species Act, according to the Washington Post. Invenergy has said that there is no sign that Indiana bats fly near the ridge, and had put up nets at or near the site in the summer of 2005 and 2006 to search for bats, but none were captured, reports the Post.

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