ABB unveils next-generation wind power technology

Windformer (TM) makes wind power more cost effective, more attractive environmentally

    London, U.K., June 8, 2000 – ABB, the global technology company, today unveiled a new wind power technology that makes wind farms competitive with conventional large power plants. The Windformer(TM) increases power output by up to 20 percent and cuts lifetime maintenance costs in half.

    The Windformer uses advanced cable technology originally developed for ABB’s Powerformer(TM) high-voltage generator. Protected by some 230 patent applications, this technology allows ABB to eliminate a number of components found in conventional wind generation systems. As a result, ABB has created a wind generator that requires neither a gearbox nor a transformer, making wind farms more reliable with lower electrical losses. Using the Windformer, wind farms can be economically built in a range from six megawatts (MW) to 300 MW or more—equivalent to the output from a medium-sized fossil-fuel power plant.

    ABB said the the cost of producing electricity using the Windformer is below US 4 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), competitive with costs from conventional gas, coal or oil-fired power plants.

    ABB is currently testing a 500 kilowatt (kW) prototype. Vattenfall, the Nordic energy group, has agreed to install a 3-3.5 megawatt (MW) demonstration plant expected to go into operation in the summer of 2001.

    Combined with other ABB advanced power transmission technologies, such as HVDC (High-Voltage Direct Current) Light, the Windformer allows wind farms to be located at lower cost farther away from human settlements, such as in offshore installations where wind is stronger and where the wind turbines are out of sight and hearing range. HVDC Light also allows wind farms to be economically connected directly to large national grids for the first time, thus reducing the need to build additional fossil-fuelled power plants using coal, oil or natural gas.

    Wind power is fully renewable and the fastest growing source of electricity production in the world, continuing to exceed all forecasts. Installed capacity has grown from practically nothing in 1990 to about 13.4 gigawatts (GW) - the equivalent of more than 20 large fossil-fuel power plants. New installations in 1999, at almost 4 GW, were up 51 percent compared to the previous year. The installation rate could reach 10 GW per year by 2005.

    ABB has been a leading supplier to the wind power industry for twenty years. Currently, ABB has more than 25 percent of the market for wind turbine generators, with more than 7,000 generators in operation in Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, and many other countries.

    The ABB Group ( serves customers in power transmission and distribution; automation; oil, gas, and petrochemicals; building technologies; and in financial services. With novel IT applications, tailored software solutions, growing eBusiness and a fast-expanding knowledge and service base, ABB is building links to the new economy. The ABB Group employs about 165,000 people in more than 100 countries.

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    Contact us

    Page information:
    • John Fox
      ABB Corporate Communications, Zürich
      Tel: +41 1 317 7371
      Fax: +41 1 317 7958
    • Manfred Ebling
      ABB Investor Relations
      Tel: +41 1 317 7266
      Fax: +41 1 311 7918
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