GE installs its largest onshore wind turbine prototype

The company’s Cypress 5.3-megawatt prototype, installed in Wieringermeer, Netherlands, features a two-piece blade design and is said to enable larger rotors and versatility in locations.
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GE Renewable Energy (Paris, France) recently announced that the prototype for its Cypress platform, the largest onshore wind turbine for GE in the field, has been successfully installed and is fully operational, producing power at a rated level of 5.3 megawatts in Wieringermeer, Netherlands. Company officials say the milestone is a key step in commercializing a unit able to both lower the cost of electricity and offer additional flexibility in terms of where wind turbines can be located.

The Cypress 5.3-megawatt prototype was installed in late 2018 and produced its first kilowatt in February 2019. GE Renewable Energy will continue to operate the prototype during the months to come in order to validate the performance of the Cypress platform. This testing will also support the process of obtaining the Type Certificate, a key step in commercializing the product, GE says.

The Cypress platform is offered with multiple ratings and varying hub heights. It is said to enable a lower cost of electricity by matching each wind turbine solution to specific site needs, which is critical as wind power increasingly competes on price with other sources of power generation.

First announced in September 2017, the Cypress platform will be powered by a two-piece blade design that reportedly enables the use of larger rotors and the ability to site turbines in a wider variety of locations. The AEP improvements from the longer rotors are intended to drive down Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE), and the proprietary blade design enables these larger turbines to be installed in locations that were previously inaccessible.

“We are confident that Cypress, with its two-piece blade design, will be a game changer for the industry,” says Jérôme Pécresse, CEO of GE Renewable Energy. “We're hearing equal enthusiasm from our customers across the globe, who tell us they appreciate the potential of Cypress to help them both lower the cost of onshore wind and gain added flexibility in siting turbines.”

“The project is truly coming together in a very short and demanding time frame,” says Duncan Berry, CEO of LM Wind Power. “We have invented a new and effective solution for a blade in two parts, which is borne of the full expertise of LM Wind Power engineers combined with design input from GE Renewable Energy and GE Research. The technology results from decades of blade making knowledge and experience."

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