The transition to a clean energy economy means more American manufacturing and more American jobs. Since President Biden took office, the private sector has announced investments of more than $180 billion in new or expanded clean energy manufacturing projects in the U.S., with a substantial uptick since the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). Those investments are beginning to show impressive returns.
On Nov. 16, 2023, GE announced the completion of the largest onshore wind turbine nacelle– the component that sits atop the tower and contains the turbine’s electrical generation equipment—ever manufactured in the United States. This success, spurred by the IRA, is the latest example of a recent surge in the production of American-made clean energy technologies.
At GE’s newly expanded wind manufacturing facility in Schenectady, NY, 200 newly employed workers assembled the first nacelle for GE Vernova’s 6.1-158 onshore wind turbine. The massive, land-based turbine, which can generate more than 6 megawatts (MW) of electricity on its own, is almost 200 meters tall and has blades that are more than 75 meters long. Six MW is nearly double the capacity of the average onshore wind turbine produced in the United States and enough to power more than 1,500 homes.
The domestic production of larger, higher-capacity wind turbines is the culmination of a decades-long trend, which has been supported by consistent R&D investments from the Department of Energy’s Wind Energy Technologies Office. Larger turbines capture the power in the wind with fewer units. Further, the use of large turbines:
- reduces the cost of installation and operation,
- simplifies the siting process, and
- facilitates the management of community impacts, including noise.
The IRA, which President Biden signed into law in August 2022, laid the groundwork for GE’s expanded investment in onshore wind production. The IRA features an Advanced Manufacturing Production tax credit that incentivizes the domestic production of clean energy technologies—including solar components, wind components, inverters, and battery components—and critical minerals. Wind manufacturers such as GE may be eligible to receive a per-unit tax credit for each blade, nacelle, and tower they manufacture on American soil. The IRA also provides a Domestic Content Bonus for clean energy project developers who source their iron, steel, and a large percentage of their manufactured products from producers in the United States.
Next year, GE plans to manufacture components for more than 100 of these 6-MW onshore turbines at its Schenectady facility.
Domestic manufacturing of clean energy technologies creates American jobs, strengthens national and energy security, and will play a major role in decarbonizing the industrial sector—which accounts for 28% of energy-related carbon emissions. To learn more about the Department of Energy’s efforts to bolster the domestic production of onshore wind energy, visit the Wind Energy Technologies Office homepage.