Vestas Super-Sizing Offshore Wind Turbine

And you thought the REpower turbines now operating at the Ormonde offshore wind complex off northwest England, said to be the largest anywhere with their 60-plus meter blades (matched by an Enercon turbine, it now appears), were mind-bogglingly big. Think again, turbine geek. That’s the fun size, compared to what Vestas is cooking up.

The Danish wind power company is building a demo offshore turbine that has 80-meter blades and is capable of putting out 7 megawatts of power. It’s being made for the energy provider DONG Energy, and the plan is to install it in the waters off Frederikshavn, Denmark, in 2013.

Vestas 7 megawatt turbine

image via Vestas

How stupid big is this turbine? As Vestas depicts it, it’s as long as nine London double-decker buses. And the root of the blade – where it connects with the rotor hub – is big enough that you could drive one of those buses into it. Another way to talk about turbine size is “swept area” – the area the rotating blades cover. The Vestas turbine checks in there at 21,124 square meters, dwarfing Enercon’s E126 at 12,668 square meters, and REpower’s M5 at 12,469.

Building a turbine of such extreme dimensions just makes economic sense, the companies said. “New and more efficient turbines are a crucial part of the efforts to reduce the construction costs for offshore wind farms,” Anders Eldrup, CEO of DONG Energy, said in a statement.

DONG has regulatory clearance to install a total of six demo turbines at the site where the V164-7.0 is bound. The companies didn’t say what sort of other turbines might go there, but DONG is planning to invest 32 million Euros ($43 million) at the site.

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.

  • Donald Luke Williams

    Why does it take Vestas 21,124 square meters of swept to produce 7.0MW when Enercon is getting 7.5MW using only 12,668 square meters?