Future of Renewables

September 9, 2020 7:48 pm Published by

GE Leader Talks About Future of Renewables

Posted on June 12, 2020 by Kurz Industrial Solutions

By Jay Austin

The Boston Women’s Energy Network is bringing together a series of experts in energy and climate change to share their stories throughout their careers and provide expertise on a range of topics that they lead. I was invited to the Women’s Energy Network Group of Boston to hear a presentation from Danielle Merfeld. She is the VP and Chief Technology Officer of General Electric’s Renewable Energy Division. Thank you to Maggie Teliska of Northeast Battery for the invitation.

Her presentation was extremely interesting and informative. Here are some of my key takeaways:


  • GE Renewables has 40,000 employees in 90 countries. 6,000 of those employees are engineers.
  • GE Renewables can deliver turbines within a year of order.
  • GE Renewables has repowered 2,500 turbines so far. That typically gives about a 20% improvement in performance.
  • GE Renewables has created a two-piece “jointed” blade to cut down on logistical issues with shipping.
  • GE Renewables has a 40-year turbine life on newer 2.7 GE models. (Previously was around 20 years.)

Renewable Overview

  • Today- renewables are 20% of the overall mix in USA. Today, the highest percentage of that is from hydro. In 2050 it will be 62% of energy from renewables. It will mostly be in wind & solar.
  • From an investment standpoint, it will be double the orders on solar moving forward. However, wind is double the capacity and higher overall spend.
  • Wind costs to produce has decreased by 45% over the previous 10 years.
  • Solar costs have decreased by 90% over the previous 10 years.

Wind-Related Updates

  • Price is Driving Volume of Orders. Very cost-effective now.
  • In 3-10 years, it will be cheaper to BUILD a new wind farm than to MAINTAIN an existing gas plant.
  • Wind payback on carbon load is typically 3-5 months.

More On Danielle

Danielle Merfeld is the CTO of GE Renewable Energy, a $15B business. She leads technical efforts to develop differentiated products and services across the broadest renewable energy portfolio in the industry, which combines onshore and offshore wind, blades, hydro, storage, utility-scale solar, and grid solutions as well as hybrid renewables and digital services offerings. Danielle received her B.S. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Notre Dame, and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Northwestern University. She is passionate about the development and promotion of talented women and is the co-leader of GE’s global Women’s Network. Danielle will share the latest in renewable technology as well as her journey as a technology and business leader through GE.

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This post was written by Aaron Rood

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