GE turbines to power wind farm in British Columbia


General Electric will be supplying 61 wind turbines to a 180-megawatt project in British Columbia. The project, Meikle wind farm, is being developed by Pattern Development about 33 kilometers north of Tumbler Ridge, Peace Region, British Columbia.
Of the 61 turbines, 35 will be of the 3.2-103 model and 26 will be of 2.75-120 model. The mixture of the two models is expected to improve output of the project.
Under the contract with Pattern Energy, GE will be providing full service maintenance for the project once it goes into commercial operation in late 2016.
GE has been experimenting with technologies that can improve wind generation from existing turbines even at sites with less than optimal wind conditions.
Since April, GE has been studying an experimental design at Tehachapi on the edge of the Mojave desert in California.
The turbine, which GE has named ecoROTR, sports an aluminium dome bolted to the rotor. The ecoROTR is aimed to address two problems with wind turbines: wind wastage and the size of blades.
The purpose of the dome is to improve efficiency of the wind turbines by redirecting winds hitting the centre of the assembly to the tips of the blade where they generate thrust.
Wind tunnel experiments with the model at GE’s wind tunnel lab in upstate New York have shown that the 20,000-pound, 60-foot dome can greatly improve efficiency of turbines in windy locations currently inaccessible to the industry.
Turbine performance improved by 3 percent, which is significant in terms of projects of the scale of wind farms, the company stated.
The experimental design is being tested on a 1.7-megawatt wind turbine, which ranks among the most powerful designs of company. GE is also testing a 300-foot tower on which the system is mounted as part of the experiment.
The tower has a space-frame design wrapped in a polyester weave coat, which replaces the traditional steel tubes.
The project is part of GE’s decade-long ecomagination initiative, focused on “building machines with lower environmental impact that save customers money”.
Ajith Kumar S