Canadian Manufacturing

GE plans huge 12 MW offshore wind turbine, by far the world’s most powerful

Each of the offshore turbine's blades will be longer than a football field. An individual tower will be capable of powering a small city


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Each of the turbine’s 107-metre blades will be longer than a football field. Together, they will sweep an area of 38,000 square metres. PHOTO: GE

PARIS—GE Renewable Energy is going taller, more efficient and more powerful.

The U.S. conglomerate revealed blueprints March 1 for what will become the world’s largest and highest capacity offshore wind turbine.

It plans to spend $400 million to engineer, test and fine-tune its supply chain to produce the monstrous towers and blades over the next several years.

“We want to lead in the technologies that are driving the global energy transition,” John Flannery, chairman and CEO of GE, said in a statement. “Offshore wind is one of those technologies and we will bring the full resources of GE to make the Haliade-X program successful for our customers.”

The 12 megawatt Haliade-X eclipses all other turbines deployed today—the eight MW MHI Vestas V164 being the largest currently generating commercial power.

The offshore wind space has become increasingly competitive over the past five years, driving engineers to continue pushing current boundaries. Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Denmark-based Vestas Wind Systems, for instance, announced design tweaks that will upsize the V164 to 9.5 MW last June.

GE’s new Haliade-X will stand 260 metres (853 feet) above the waves and incorporate 107-meter-long (351-feet-long) blades, each longer than a football field. The company said the blades will be designed and built by recently-acquired LM Wind Power. Engineers from the conglomerate’s other divisions, such as GE Power and GE Aviation, are also expected to contribute insight into the overall design.

Targeting a record capacity factor of 63 per cent—about 5 per cent better than the industry standard—a single Haliade-X turbine is expected to generate 67 GWh of power annually, enough to power the equivalent of about 16,000 European homes. The enormous blades will sweep an area of 38,000 square metres.

For comparison, the V164 sweeps an area of 21,124 square metres and can power the equivalent of 8,300 U.K. homes.

GE says the larger and more powerful turbine will allow customers to reduce the number of total turbines in a wind farm, translating to smaller capital costs, shorter installation timelines and cheaper overall operations.

The company plans to begin testing on the first of the new turbines next year and start shipping the commercial-ready 12 MW turbines in 2021.


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