Long-Bladed Turbine Takes Aim At Low Wind Areas

The wind energy industry is growing rapidly, and is quickly approaching a cost level that will make it competitive with fossil fuels as well as solar panels. With all this growth, you might be wondering why you’ve still never seen a wind turbine in action. As this beautiful, real time wind map shows, not all areas of the world are created equal as far as wind energy are concerned. In order to ensure a reasonable return on investment, those who build wind farms need to be confident that the location receives a generous amount of wind at speeds above a certain level.

Low wind areas, while they may be in dire need of the clean, affordable energy provided by a wind turbine, simply don’t make good candidates for a wind farm. As a result, projects are usually planned far away from the urban areas that could use their power the most. But Gamesa says a new turbine design could hold the key to changing this reality.

Gamesa Turbines at U.S. Wind Farm

image via Gamesa

The company, based in Spain, recently unveiled the newest member of its wind turbine family: the G114-2.0 MW Class IIIA, a turbine specifically designed to be productive, even when placed at low-wind sites. With unit capacity of 2.0 megawatts (MW), the G114.2.0 MW features a new, 114-meter diameter rotor with a swept area—the total coverage of the rotating blades—of 10,207 square meters.

This is a 38-percent larger swept area than Gamesa’s G97-2.0 MW turbine, which the company says will deliver a 20-percent increase in annual energy output by comparison. Gamesa says the G114-2.0 MW also features a new blade design, spanning 55.5 metres with aerodynamic features that enable maximum energy production with reduced noise output levels.

All of these improvements could spell good news for growing markets including India and Brazil, large consumption areas in China (like Beijing and Shanghai) and low-wind sites in Europe and the United States. Gamesa says it will begin manufacturing prototypes of the G114-2.0 MW in the third quarter of 2013, with the first turbines becoming available at the end of that year.

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog