Nordex New-Model Turbines to Debut in Michigan

Feb. 27, 2012
Light-wind design for 81.6-MW wind farm

Windmill manufacturer Nordex USA Inc. has a contract to supply 34 wind turbines to Exelon Wind LLC for the Beebe Community Wind Farm in Gratiot County, Mich. The 81.6-MW wind farm will be the first in the U.S. to operate with the Nordex N117/2400 turbine, a new model designed to maximize output in light wind conditions.

Nordex USA is an operating subsidiary of Germany’s Nordex Energy GmbH, which designs and builds wind turbines. Exelon Wind is a subsidiary of Exelon Generation, an electricity-generation holding company with assets in nuclear and natural gas power, as well as wind power.

The value of the contract was not announced. Last year Nordex USA took an equity position in the Beebe Community Wind Farm, a project scheduled to begin construction this year at a site north of Lansing. Construction will begin in May, and the first turbines will be delivered in September. A second phase of the project would be completed by 2014.

Electricity generated by the project will power over 27,000 homes. It will be supplied to Consumers Energy, Jackson, Mich., under a 20-year power purchase agreement.

Nacelles for the turbines will be manufactured at the Nordex USA manufacturing plant in Jonesboro, Ark. That plant opened the plant in October 2010, a $40-million development that Nordex has stated it is a staged effort that will eventually cost about $100 million. The new Arkansas operation is producing nacelles— the large housings that contain an engine and other critical turbine components atop a windmill tower. A second stage of development is planned at some future date to assemble rotor blades for windmills.

The N117/2400 is the designer’s latest turbine design, with a rotor diameter of 117 meters and a rotor sweep of 10,715 square meters. It will have an acoustic power level of 105 decibels, and is designed for construction with a hub height of 91 meters, so it can be installed close to residential areas. For typical low-wind conditions, it will achieve over 3,500 full-load hours, for a 40% capacity improvement compared to competing turbine designs. Nordex states that users of the N117/2400 will be able “to achieve high and steady electricity production in regions characterized by lighter winds.”