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Power play in the wind at GE Schenectady site  

General Electric Co. is planning to install a large wind turbine at its Schenectady campus by next spring.

The 1.5 megawatt turbine, which will be almost 400 feet tall, will be used to power the company’s new renewable energy headquarters.

The wind turbine will be located on GE property about 800 feet from Interstate 890 in Rotterdam.

GE officials first revealed plans for the turbine Tuesday night before the Rotterdam Planning Commission. GE had previously briefed local officials in private about their intentions.

“It’s been very well received,” said GE spokesman Tom Rumsey. “They see it as a great symbol for the Electric City.”

GE also is planning to install solar electric panels that will help power the new headquarters.

It’s all part of a $39 million renovation of Building 53 at the historic 640-acre campus that was announced last fall.

The campus is home to GE’s power generation business that makes generators and steam turbines used in traditional fossil fuel power plants. But GE has also made it the home of its growing renewable energy business, although wind turbines are made in other locations.

Ty Remington, a project development manager for GE’s power generation business, said the wind turbine will not be connected to the National Grid electric transmission system and will power only GE’s operations.

Although the location is not ideally suited for wind power, the turbine is expected to provide 2,300 megawatt hours of power annually, equal to between 3 percent and 4 percent of the campus’s annual needs.

The turbine and the solar panels are expected to provide all the needed power for Building 53.

“We wanted to make sure it was totally a renewables building,” Rumsey said.

Rumsey said the general public will not be able to hear the swooshing of the wind turbine blades, and he said it will not interfere with the view of the iconic GE logo sign that lights up the city skyline at night.

Rumsey said GE’s renewable energy business is going to be able to show the turbine to vendors and customers who otherwise would have to visit a wind farm or other site to view a turbine in action.

“Part of the reason we’re putting it there is letting our customers see it first hand,” Rumsey said. “There’s going to be a good amount of traffic to it.”

The renovation of the 200,000-square-foot Building 53 is expected to be completed sometime next year, with 500 people working there. GE currently has about 3,500 employees at the Schenectady campus, with hundreds of new hires, including highly paid engineers, to support the renewable energy business. Larry Rulison can be reached at 454-5504 or by e-mail at lrulison@timesunion.com.

Change is in the air

GE is seeking town of Rotterdam approval to install a wind turbine at its Schenectady campus. Name: 1.5xle turbine Total height: 397 feet Height of base (without blades): 250 feet Rated capacity: 1.5 megawatts Annual power output: 2,300 megawatt hours

Source: General Electric Co.

By Larry Rulison
Business Writer

TImes Union

19 June 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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