GE Produces First 6MW Offshore Wind Generator in France

GE Power Conversion has manufactured the first serial Permanent Magnet Generator (PMG) at GE Renewable’s offshore wind factory in Saint-Nazaire, which is to be installed in the company’s Haliade 150-6MW offshore wind turbine in Denmark.

Image source: GE

The 6-MW PMG is one of the world’s largest generators ever built. Its direct drive system has no mechanical gearbox coupled to the generator.

The generator is split into three electrical circuits. In the unlikely event of two circuits going offline, the high level of redundancy enables the turbine to continuously produce power even in “degraded” mode.

GE says that this is a critical element for offshore wind power plants as stormy weather and treacherous water can delay repair work for days or weeks.

“Offshore wind is gaining increasing competitiveness in the power mix, and GE is well positioned to serve this industry. We developed this PMG technology five years ago. It is ideal for offshore setting, helping increase wind turbines’ availability and optimizing energy production,” said Frederic Maenhaut, Renewables Executive, GE Power Conversion.

The factory in Saint-Nazaire was inaugurated in late 2014 and is set up to have a capacity of manufacturing 100 generators per year. As the first series, 300 generators are to be manufactured on-site.

The production site uses the air-cushion system that has been implemented to move generators within the site, thus eliminating the need of cranes within the factory. The site is also equipped with a test bench.

“The factory in Saint Nazaire is the first offshore wind manufacturing site in France. It is a milestone in the nation’s energy history. Now by leveraging technologies from different GE businesses—the GE Store, we are well positioned to bring clean offshore wind energy to the domestic market as well as export to regions beyond France where energy is needed,” said Maenhaut.

GE’s PMGs have been previously selected to be installed on Block Island, America’s first offshore wind farm, which will help generate 30 MW of electricity in 2016.