GE Sierra onshore wind turbine
The 3 MW Sierra is, according to GE, “built on the legacy of GE’s bestselling 2 MW platform, which recently surpassed 30 GW of installed base globally. The Sierra platform launched with two prototypes, one in Lubbock, Texas, and one in Kamataka, India, with more than a year of successful run time on each.”
The 3.0–3.4 MW turbine features a larger 140-meter rotor “to unlock value at lower wind speeds” and is offered with a variety of hub heights, including a greater-than-500-foot option. A wind turbine’s hub height is the distance from the ground to the middle of the turbine’s rotor.
Sierra also includes GE’s 68.7-meter, two-piece blade, which improves logistics, installation, and serviceability. Two-piece blades significantly drive down logistical costs by enabling blade assembly onsite and reducing costs for permitting equipment and road work required for transporting longer blades.
The Sierra’s two-piece blades are manufactured by both Danish LM Wind Power – a multinational wind turbine rotor blades manufacturer a GE subsidiary – and Scottsdale, Arizona-headquartered wind blade manufacturer TPI.
The Sierra turbines will be manufactured at GE’s Pensacola, Florida, manufacturing facility, and a large portion of its components will be manufactured in North America.
When we asked the GE company spokesperson what made this turbine uniquely useful in the North American market, he said that it’s easy to transport, easy to install, and easy to operate. For example, the Sierra requires more standard-size cranes instead of large ones.
The GE company spokesperson further explained:
This is a high-capacity factor turbine designed and optimized for US-specific logistics and balance of plant constraints, and a strong domestic supply chain to de-risk project execution and policy uncertainty.
GE says it has so far received more than 1 GW of orders for the turbine platform, but its spokesperson wouldn’t identify who placed those orders.
What he did say, however, was what we at Electrek say regularly, when I asked him what he felt the clean energy sector needs in order to continue to grow:
It needs policy certainty and production tax credit in order to grow the onshore wind industry.
Photo: GE Renewable Energy
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