The world’s first commercial tapered spiral-welded wind turbine tower is now operational, thanks to the collaborative efforts of GE Renewable Energy and Keystone Tower Systems.
The tower, standing 89 meters tall, was installed on a 2.8MW GE turbine, marking the culmination of years of collaboration between the two companies. The innovative technology allows for the creation of mobile factories that can curl and weld flat sheets of steel into 25-foot-diameter towers capable of supporting hub heights of up to 160 meters.
The tower was produced at Keystone’s factory in Pampa, Texas, built on the site of a former drilling equipment facility. This move has led to the creation of almost 200 manufacturing jobs in the region. The factory will be capable of producing around 1GW of towers annually when operating at full capacity. This is timely, as there is an increasing demand for wind turbine components driven by the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act.
Keystone’s manufacturing process has enabled the company to bring the speed, quality, and consistency of automated manufacturing to wind tower production. The company has designed and built custom spiral welding manufacturing equipment, which it uses to produce the innovative towers. Keystone is currently ramping up production, with additional deliveries slated for the first quarter of the year.
The tower has already received a component certification from TÜV NORD for a 40-year lifetime. Keystone and GE have also worked together on a tower design for GE’s 3MW turbine platform and have signed a multi-year supply agreement for spiral towers from Keystone’s Pampa factory.
Vic Abate, GE Renewable Energy’s CEO, Onshore Wind, highlighted the importance of collaboration in bringing new and innovative technology to the wind industry, stating that “This collaboration with Keystone is an example of GE’s commitment to working with partners to bring new and innovative technology to the wind industry and advance domestic manufacturing.”
Moreover, he said that the project aims to provide affordable, sustainable renewable energy to customers and helping to drive the energy transition.
Source: Keystone Tower Systems via Recharge