World’s Largest Offshore Wind Turbine Installed

thorntonbankwindfarm

The world’s most powerful offshore wind turbine – 6.15MW – has been installed 28 kilometres off the port of Oostende in Belgium.
 
Installed by REpower Systems SE and Belgian offshore project development company C-Power NV, it is the first of 48 6MW turbines which will make up phases 2 and 3 of the Thornton Bank wind farm.
 
The company says the turbine occupies an area equivalent to two family homes and the rotor star has a diameter of 126 metres. The swept area of the blades is greater than two soccer pitches.
 
REpower was also involved with the first phase of Thornton Bank; installing six 5MW turbines. The wind farm officially commenced operations at the end of June 2009 and since that time, has generated almost 350,000 megawatt hours of electricity.
 
Starting out with a capacity of 30MW, the Thornton Bank wind farm will be built out to approximately 325 MW by the end of 2015.
 
REpower’s role covers the production and delivery of the nacelles, towers, blades and hubs as well as pre-installation. It is also responsible for the installation and commission of the turbines; along with ongoing operations and maintenance.
 
REpower is part of the Suzlon Group, the same company behind a proposal for a $1.3 billion wind farm in South Australia, to be linked by submarine cable to Adelaide.
 
The Belgium installation marks yet another significant milestone in renewable energy, but like so many other records that have fallen as the pace of uptake of wind and solar power increases, REpower certainly won’t hold the “largest” record forever – a number of companies are working on much larger wind turbines.
 
In 2010, we wrote about the 10MW Aerogenerator X, which was meant to make its commercial debut in 2013/14; but that time frame seems to have been extended.
  
Another huge offshore turbine in the works even larger than the Aerogenerator X is the Azimut; which will have an output capacity of 15 megawatts. The project involves some of the most prominent names in the wind industry including Acciona Windpower and Gamesa; who expected (in 2010) to have Azimut ready for commercial release by around 2020.
 
The largest on-shore wind turbine in the world in terms of capacity appears to still be the 7.58MW Enercon E-126; a record it has held since 2007.