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Sweden is already a country with the highest renewable energy target in the European Union. Now, GE Energy will be helping the country reach another milestone with a new deal for 57 giant 2.5-megawatt wind turbines that will be used by wind developer Arise Windpower. That project will have 300 large-scale turbines spinning by 2014. According to Arise, that many turbines will produce two terawatt-hours of electricity annually — an amount that is equal to today’s total wind power production in Sweden.
Sweden’s goal is to have 50 percent of its energy coming from renewable sources by the year 2020. According to government officials, the country will have to increase its supply of renewable energy by about 10 percent over the next 11 years to do it.
The first five wind turbines are already on order and will be installed at the Brunsmo project near Karlskrona in southern Sweden in the fourth quarter of 2009. GE chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt officially signed a memorandum of understanding for the deal on July 2.
While this project marks the debut of GE’s 2.5xl wind turbines in the Nordic region, more than 100 of the 2.5-MW machines already have been installed across Europe, and have compiled more than one million operating hours. In addition, GE has received more than one gigawatt of commitments over the next year and a half to provide 2.5xl wind turbines for projects across Europe.
The 2.5xl turbine has a rotor diameter of 100 meters — or about the length of a football field. By comparison, its widely used 1.5-megawatt cousin has a rotor diamter of 70 to 77 meters. The 2.5xl turbine isn’t currently sold in the U.S., but GE will begin offering it to North American customers next year — with those units to be assembled in Pensacola, Fla.