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Siemens, GE Launch New Wind Power Offerings

|Includes: AMSC

Siemens (NYSE: SI) and GE (NYSE: GE), two of the world's largest wind turbine suppliers, each announced significant new offerings at the end of last month.

Siemens launched its new direct drive wind turbine, which uses a permanent magnet generator and less than half the moving parts of conventional geared wind turbines. 

The new wind turbine features a gearless drive train design and a permanent magnet generator--the latest evolutions in commercial wind turbine technology.

The main advantage of the innovations is a simplified, more robust design that produces greater power-conversion efficiency even at low loads.

Designed for onshore or offshore projects, the 3-megawatts (MW) turbine (called the SWT-3.0.101) also is expected to require less maintenance, thereby increasing profitability for customers.

Another advantage of the new machine is its compact design. With a length of 6.8 meters and a diameter of only 4.2 meters, the nacelle can be transported using standard vehicles.

Siemens began testing a prototype of the turbine in Denmark in 2009. Commercial production of the turbines is expected to begin in 2011.

Competitor GE is also developing direct-drive turbines for offshore use, following the acquisition last year of Norway's Scanwind. 

And turbine designer American Superconductor Corporation (NASDAQ: AMSC) is collaboration with the DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to validate a massive 10-MW design that incorporates direct-drive technology.

GE's Full Service Agreement

GE introduced a full service agreement (NYSEARCA:FSA) designed to provide wind turbine owners with total support for all planned and unplanned maintenance and operations needs. The FSA is being introduced on all new GE 2.5xl wind turbines in Europe, with plans to extend it globally on all turbine models.

The FSA offers support for customers looking to share additional operational responsibility with the original equipment manufacturer (OEM). The package includes all planned maintenance activities--such as remote monitoring and troubleshooting, routine services, preventative maintenance, on-site support and parts support--as well as unplanned maintenance services, such as uptower inspection and repair, condition monitoring and turbine performance, and life- extension solutions.

GE says a key feature of the FSA is guaranteed availability of wind turbines. The FSA also gives customers access to GE’s suite of turbine upgrades based on new product evolutions.

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