(Reuters) – General Electric Co said on Monday it was tapped to sell wind turbines for what is expected to be the first freshwater wind farm in the United States, planned for Lake Erie in the American Midwest.
The largest U.S. conglomerate will initially provide five four-megawatt turbines to the planned wind farm, which is expected to begin operation in late 2012 and would be capable of producing enough electricity to meet the needs of 16,000 typical American homes.
The wind farm is scheduled to be built off the shores of Cleveland, Ohio, and its developers — the nonprofit Lake Erie Energy Development Corp — have a long-term goal of building it out to have a capacity of producing 1,000 megawatts of electricity by 2020.
Offshore turbines represent just a sliver of installed worldwide wind capacity, but the growth of that new industry could help to offset what GE expects to be softening demand for land-based turbines, Chief Executive Jeff Immelt said.
“I do see that smoothing some of the cyclicality in the whole wind space,” Immelt told reporters in Boston after addressing the graduating class of Boston College.
GE did not disclose the value of the order.
GE has estimated that offshore wind turbines could grow to become a $3 billion to $5 billion business for the company, rivaling its land-based turbine business in revenue.
Reporting by Scott Malone, editing by Matthew Lewis; article appearing courtesy Reuters
photo: Extra Ketchup