GE (s GE), one of the leading suppliers of wind turbines in the world, has acquired tall wind turbine technology from Wind Tower Systems, LLC (WTS). The companies announced the deal on Friday, but didn’t disclose the financial terms of the deal.
The idea behind taller wind towers — of 100 meters or more, says Wind Tower Systems — is that they use longer blades, which can generate more energy. More energy, at a similar installation cost, can deliver a lower cost of wind power. Wind Tower Systems says its tall technology can reduce the cost of wind by 5 to 12 percent. GE says the acquired tall turbine tech will potentially be commercially available by 2012.
Taller turbine tech is also part of the move for ever bigger utility-scale wind power systems. The American Wind Energy Association says (via CNET) the average wind turbine installed in 2007 had a capacity of 1.6 MW, which is twice as powerful as the average wind turbine installed in 2000, at 0.76 MW. Because wind is one of the only clean power technologies that can compete with fossil fuels at scale, power companies have been pushing up the size of the wind farm developments over the past few years, too.
Wind technology isn’t an area that sees all that much innovation from startups. Wind Tower Systems, founded in 2002, says its innovation isn’t just in the taller tech, but also the transportation and installation of the taller turbines, with its High-Jack System. Wind Energy Systems says its High-Jack System can reduce crane installation costs by 80 percent.
Wind Tower Systems was funded with a Series A investment from Element Partners, and was awarded grants of $850,000 from the Department of Energy’s Low Wind Speed Technology Program, and $3.1 million matching grant from the California Energy Commission.
For more research on Google, clean power and transmission infrastructure check out GigaOM Pro (subscription required):
- The Real Reason Google Is Buying Clean Power
- Renewable Energy Charging up Transmission Tech
- Google’s Latest Smart Grid Push: White Spaces