(Image credit: Deepwater Wind via GE Reports)
New solar and wind energy farms added a whopping 68 percent of new power generation capacity in the United States last year, according to a report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
When combined with hydropower, renewables now make up a fifth of America’s electricity generation capacity, more than double what it was in 2008.
“The power sector continued to de-carbonize and add near-record amounts of clean energy as policy activity at the global, national and state levels set the country on track for further emissions abatement,” the study found.
This is good news for the environment and consumers but also for companies like GE and their shareholders and customers. GE greatly expanded its renewables portfolio with hydropower, offshore wind systems and power distribution technologies when it acquired Alstom’s energy and grid business last year.
Americans will get their first taste of the combination later this year, when Deepwater Wind turns on the country’s first offshore wind farm in the Atlantic Ocean near Block Island, Rhode Island. But the United States is just one market for the technologies. Take a look at a some of the recent projects.
GE acquired with Alstom’s energy and grid business the Haliade offshore wind turbine. “With a rotor diameter spanning one and a half football fields (150 meters), the turbine can generate 6 megawatts. (Image credit: GE Power)
GE is testing its latest wind turbine design, the Ecorotr, in the Mojave Desert in California. The shield attached to the nose of the turbine is designed to push wind on the blades and make the turbine more efficient. (Image credit: GE Reports)
The Alstom acquisition gave GE access to hydropower technology, including systems working inside the Itaipu Dam on the Parana River in Brazil. The dam supplies Brazil with a quarter of its power and Paraguay with 90 percent of its electricity. (Image credit: GE Power)
The Francis turbine bears the name of its inventor, James Francis. It’s the most common water turbine today. One of them can generate as much as 800 megawatts. The turbine, which is immersed in water, spins the generator, which is the silver wheel near the top. (Image credit: GE Power)
The Kaplan turbine was developed by Czech engineer Viktor Kaplan. Unlike the Francis turbine, it has movable blades that allow it to remain efficient if the flow of water changes. (Image credit: GE Power)
GE also has solar technology in its portfolio. It recently built the world’s first smart solar grid near Nice on the French Riviera. (Image credit: GE Power)