GE Vernova has produced the first nacelle and hub for the 6.1-158 onshore wind turbine – the largest ever to be manufactured in the US – at a facility in Schenectady, New York.
The company invested $50m to create a new wind manufacturing assembly line in the same building where it produces steam turbines and generators for its gas business. This enables leveraging of skillsets and learnings across the two businesses.
The move was enabled by the increase in US market demand for renewable energy created by passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the landmark climate law signed by President Joe Biden in August 2022.
The IRA provides federal tax credits for manufacturers who produce nacelle components in the US and to projects that meet domestic content requirements, provisions that will support GE Vernova’s investment, according to the company.
New York State also agreed to provide up to $2.5m through its Empire State Development’s Excelsior Jobs Programme.
“This marks the next chapter of GE’s long and storied history in Schenectady of helping meet some of the most pressing power generation needs facing the world,” said Vic Abate, CEO of GE Vernova Onshore Wind.
Inventor Thomas Edison set up the Edison Machine Works there in 1886 and three years later merged his electric companies to form Edison General Electric. In 1892, Edison GE joined with competitor Thomson-Houston Electric Company to form General Electric Company, and Schenectady became the first headquarters.
It is now home to GE Vernova’s gas power, onshore wind, and global research businesses.
“Our teams can take pride in developing workhorse turbines that will help our customers bring online the clean, renewable onshore wind power needed to help decarbonise and electrify the US and the world,” added Abate.
The initial 6.1-158 turbine with a tip height reaching almost 200 metres is headed for a project in the western US, according to the company, which did not provide details.
Plans call for 200 employees at the Schenectady facility to manufacture and assemble components for more than 100 of the 6MW platform turbines in 2024. GE Vernova claims customers have ordered almost 10GW of the turbines to date globally.
Production of nacelles and hubs for the company's popular 3MW platform will continue to take place in Pensacola, FLorida.
In April, GE plans to spin off Vernova, the US wind turbine leader with more than half of the world’s second largest market.
Vernova, which in addition to renewables, includes GE’s conventional thermal power equipment, and energy transition businesses, will lose between $100m and $300m this year, according to revised company guidance.
The spin-off will leave both Vernova and GE, as standalone businesses trading separately on the New York Stock Exchange. GE will focus on aerospace engines for civilian and military use, ending a storied existence as one of the world’s largest and most innovative industrial conglomerates.