GE announced September 14 the completion of the acquisition of ScanWind. With this move, GE has expanded its portfolio of renewable energy offerings to better serve customers. ScanWind is a developer of advanced drive train and control wind turbine technologies aimed at offshore deployment.
“The acquisition of ScanWind is an important step in our strategy to place GE in a strong position in the growing offshore wind segment,” said Victor Abate, vice president of renewable energy for GE Energy, at the European Offshore Wind Conference in Stockholm, Sweden. “We are impressed by ScanWind’s simple, solid, reliable design and by the team of people who developed it.”
Headquartered in Trondheim, Norway, with a design-engineering centre in Karlstad, Sweden, ScanWind was founded in 1999 to develop and commercialise advanced drive train wind turbine technology that eliminates the need for gearboxes. ScanWind’s 41 employees have designed and developed the 11 turbines operating on the Norwegian coast which are currently demonstrating the reliability and performance of this advanced technology.
The ScanWind turbine technology will join GE’s family of wind turbines that includes the GE 1.5-megawatt series, the most widely deployed wind turbine in the world with more than 12,000 now in operation. The GE wind portfolio also includes the 2.5 MW series wind turbine, proven in European applications and now also available in North America.
Reliability and maintainability are of concern in every energy sector but are paramount in offshore wind applications. “This is particularly important for the growth of the offshore wind industry, where project economics are strongly affected by turbine design and reliability. The ScanWind design fits these requirements,” noted Abate.
For the EU member states to reach their renewable energy targets by 2020, analysts predict major investments in European offshore wind projects. Industry experts predict a 20-fold global increase, from an installed base of 1.5 gigawatts in 2008 to 30 GW by 2020.
Stephan Ritter, General Manager of Europe and Offshore Wind for GE Energy’s Renewable Energy business, will lead GE’s offshore wind expansion and manage the integration of ScanWind. Ritter comments, “We look forward to taking ScanWind’s proven technology and enhancing it, by leveraging our existing wind turbine expertise, our supply chain and our global research capabilities.”
GE continues to invest heavily in driving innovation and research and development in the areas of clean energy and infrastructure – investing over $6 billion annually in research and development, of which $1.4 billion is focused on developing clean technology solutions. According to Abate, “Our decision to buy ScanWind is part of GE's overall strategy to ensure that we're the innovation leader by developing new renewable energy technologies, collaborating with key players, and when appropriate, making key acquisitions.”