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Following months of quiet anticipation, GE has officially debuted its 1.6-100 model wind turbine - a machine that the company says will help boost the performance of wind farms located in areas with lighter wind resources. A prototype of the new design has been in operation near California's Tehachapi Mountains since February.

The company says the model's swept area is nearly 50% greater than its existing 1.6 MW turbines. The larger swept area yields a 19% increase in annual energy production (at 7.5 m/sec), allowing the 1.6-100 to offer wind developers IEC Class II performance while operating under Class III wind resources.

"By increasing the rotor diameter on the 1.6, our technology now offers customers the highest capacity factor in its class," said GE's Victor Abate, in a statement.

According to GE, Invenergy plans to take delivery of 233 of the new machines for three projects in the Midwest. Three Brazilian companies have also signed contracts to buy 160 of the turbines.

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