The GE business will fill an order for turbines to power the largest wind project in the Western Hemisphere

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A business to be spun off from General Electric will build hundreds of turbines for what will be the largest wind project in the Western Hemisphere, part of a massive equipment order and long-term service agreement with the global renewable energy – energy giant Pattern Energy.

GE Vernova officials announced the agreement on Tuesday, saying it is the largest onshore wind turbine order the company has received, both in terms of quantity and the amount of electricity the 674 turbines will eventually produce. will generate when the SunZia Wind project becomes operational in 2026.

Construction is already underway on the SunZia wind farm and the associated multibillion-dollar transmission line that will route power to residential markets in the western United States. Pattern Energy announced just weeks ago that it had closed $11 billion in project financing.

Backers see SunZia — described as an energy infrastructure enterprise larger than the Hoover Dam — as a key project. The utility has raised significant financial capital and will increase the percentage of the nation’s electricity that comes from renewable sources amid growing state and federal energy mandates.

Still, some Native American tribes and environmentalists worry about the location of a 50-mile (80-kilometer) segment of the transmission line where it will pass through Arizona’s San Pedro Valley. The federal government had already approved the location, but tribal leaders said there should have been more consultation.

In December, the U.S. Department of Energy reported that over the past three years, the private sector has announced investments of more than $180 billion in new or expanded clean energy projects across the country, including spending to develop larger wind turbines with more – high capacity. GE is among the companies benefiting from tax credits included in the federal Inflation Reduction Act.

However, after years of record growth, the industry group American Clean Power expects less onshore wind power to be added in the U.S. by the end of the year — roughly enough to power 2.7 million to 3 million homes.

Although companies are taking advantage of government incentives now, it could take years to bring projects online, the industry group said.

The SunZia Wind project will cover three counties in rural New Mexico. Crews are already building the concrete platforms that will support the turbines, and developers expect the first turbines to appear this fall.

Pattern Energy CEO Hunter Armistead said the project will serve as the backbone for a cleaner and more reliable grid for customers in the western US. The company has already signed long-term power purchase agreements with Shell Energy North America and the University of California for some of the electricity that will be generated.

“SunZia construction is in full swing, using American-made turbine components and creating thousands of good-paying new jobs — a big win for the growing clean energy economy,” Armistead said in a statement.

GE Vernova will use its Pensacola, Florida factory for the large order, as well as tower manufacturing operations in New Mexico, Colorado and Texas. In total, 15 suppliers are engaged to provide the necessary parts to make each turbine.

Vic Abate, president and CEO of the company’s wind business, called the venture historic.

“This project demonstrates GE Vernova’s ability to deliver on our onshore wind workhorse strategy – producing fewer variants in high volumes at scale to drive fleet-wide quality and reliability for our customers,” said he in a statement.

In total, the company has more than 55,000 turbines installed worldwide.

The company has been working with Pattern Energy for the past 18 months on site plans that are designed to maximize turbine performance in central New Mexico and ensure the supply chain can keep up with production demands.

GE Vernova consultants are also working on the interconnection with the transmission line, and the company’s finance arm provided a tax loan commitment that helped shore up the project’s financing.

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The story has been updated to correct that GE Vernova will be spun off from General Electric, not that it is a GE spinoff.

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