Recognizing which way the wind is blowing in the energy business, American brewer Anheuser-Busch used a high-profile spot during last night’s big game to highlight the fact that its most iconic brand is brewed using wind energy: The ad showed a classic Budweiser dalmatian sitting atop a classic Budweiser beer wagon pulled by some classic Budweiser Clydesdales — against the backdrop of a not-so-classic field of wind turbines, which towered over a golden landscape that looked sun-kissed and a bit dreamy.
Heaven? Nope: That was Oklahoma. The spot featured Thunder Ranch Wind Farm, located near the town of Billings, operated by Enel Green Power and powered by 120 GE turbines.
That GE’s wind turbines are ubiquitous in the renewables landscape is affirmed by a new report from the American Wind Energy Association announcing that GE became the top manufacturer of wind turbines in the U.S. in 2018, edging out competitor Vestas to capture 40 percent of U.S. wind turbine capacity installations. Customers including Fortune 500 brands, and other nonutility players like cities and universities, purchased a record amount of wind power in 2018, AWEA reports.
For GE, the No. 1 slot represents more than 25,000 turbines dotting American fields and over 40 gigawatts of installed capacity, out of a global total of more than 35,000 turbines and upwards of 60 GW.
GE may be a major player but it’s also an ambitious one. Engineers at the company are busy developing one of the world’s largest onshore wind turbines, the Cypress platform, which will boast a rotor diameter twice the length of a Boeing 747; just one of the machines will be able to power 5,000 European homes. And this summer in Holland GE plans to start collecting data from a prototype of the world’s most powerful offshore wind turbine, the Haliade-X, which will support the fast-growing offshore wind market in Europe, the U.S. and Asia.
Just as renewable energy sources are becoming an inextricable part of the electrical grid, GE recently announced the consolidation of its Grid Solutions business into GE Renewable Energy, which will make it easier to deliver green electrons into consumers’ homes. The consolidated GE Renewable Energy comprises a streamlined portfolio of all GE’s onshore and offshore wind projects as well as hydro, grid assets, and hybrid renewables including solar and storage systems.
Top image: Off the coast of Rhode Island, Block Island Wind Farm is the first commercial offshore wind farm in the U.S. GE boasts more than 35,000 turbines installed worldwide, representing over 60 gigawatts of capacity. Image credit: Chris New for GE Reports.