GE announced on October 11 that it would purchase Denmark-based LM Wind Power—the world’s largest designer and independent supplier of wind turbine rotor blades.

GE will acquire the company from Doughty Hanson (a London-based private equity firm that has owned LM Wind Power since 2001) for $1.65 billion. The deal is seen as a way for GE to bolster its onshore and offshore wind businesses by in-sourcing blade design and manufacturing.

LM Wind Power has a global footprint that includes 13 blade factories in eight countries—Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, India, Poland, Spain, and the U.S. The company has produced more than 185,000 blades since 1978, corresponding to more than 77 GW of installed wind power capacity.

In June, LM Wind Power announced completion of the world’s longest blade—88.4 meters—designed for Adwen’s AD 8-180, an 8-MW wind turbine model. The blade was transported 218 kilometers on the evening of June 30 from the factory in Lunderskov, Denmark (Figure 1), to Aalborg, Denmark, where it was to undergo testing prior to installation.

1. Oversize load.
The 88.4-meter blade began its journey at 9:45 p.m. local time on June 30, arriving at its destination 218 kilometers away by 3:30 a.m. Courtesy: LM Wind Power

”Increasingly, wind turbine innovation is driven by system design, materials science, and analytics—all elements of the GE Store,” said Jérôme Pécresse, president and CEO of GE Renewable Energy. “We, along with LM Wind Power, have a deep pipeline of technical innovations that can further reduce the cost of electricity. With our combined global footprint, we can build flexible solutions for customers around the world. This combination will help sustain growth in the wind power industry.”

GE is not currently producing any blades of its own. Following the closing of the deal, expected during the first half of 2017, GE intends to operate LM Wind Power as a standalone unit within GE Renewable Energy. The company said it will continue to fully support all industry customers with the aim of expanding those relationships. GE intends to retain its ability to source blades from other suppliers as well.

LM Wind Power will continue to be led by its existing management team and remain headquartered in Denmark, where it also maintains a global technology center.

“This deal will merge the speed and focus of LM Wind Power’s entrepreneurial culture with GE’s world-class engineering and operational capabilities. Our two organizations are highly complementary and the transaction positions us well to respond faster to customer needs and enhance performance of wind turbines to ultimately reduce the cost of energy,” said Marc de Jong, CEO of LM Wind Power.

Aaron Larson, associate editor (@AaronL_Power, @POWERmagazine)