Monster Offshore Wind Turbine Gets A Buyer

Vestas might be struggling with its giant new offshore wind turbine, but Siemens appears to have struck gold with its own massive, sea-based energy generator.

The company found a buyer – the Danish group DONG Energy – for 300 of its SWT-6.0-154 turbines, which come with 75-meter-long rotor blades. These are five meters shorter than the blades on the Vestas V164-7.0 MW. But Vestas has yet to convince any big developer to go in on its turbine and last month the company abandoned a plan to open a factory in Kent, England, where it had intended to do nacelle assembly and blade manufacturing.

siemens 6-megawatt wind turbine

The 75-meter rotor blade under construction. (image via Siemens)

DONG said the Siemens turbines will be installed at wind farms off the United Kingdom between 2014 and 2017.

“The agreement will enable DONG Energy to install a significantly larger and more efficient wind turbine from 2014 compared to what we know today,” Carsten Krogsgaard Thomsen, acting CEO of DONG Energy, said in a statement.

The energy-producing potential of each of these 6-megwatt machines is enormous, enough to supply about 6,000 European households with electricity, according to Siemens. In addition to the sheer size of the beasts, Siemens touts a new simplicity to their design, with 50 percent fewer components. Theoretically, at least, that will make the turbines more reliable – a key priority for project developers, since servicing offshore turbines can be very expensive.

Match greater reliability with more power production and less local opposition, and the daunting cost of offshore development could gain an edge over onshore wind.

“Offshore wind energy has huge potential,” said Michael Suess, member of the managing board at Siemens AG and CEO of the company’s energy group. “Offshore wind conditions are strong and stable enabling an energy yield which can be about 40 percent higher than onshore.

Financial arrangements for the deal were not announced, but Reuters reported that a rule of theum for wind turbine cost is about 1 million euros per MW, which would put the total here at around $2.2 billion.

Siemens calls the blades for this turbine the longest in the world, apparently basing that on the fact that Vestas isn’t yet in a full-fledged production deal for its big turbine, although last fall it did announce that a prototype was expected in the fourth quarter of this year for DONG Energy for installation at its demonstration site in the waters off Frederikshavn in 2013.

Sports columnist, newspaper desk guy, website managing editor, wine-industry PR specialist, freelance writer—Pete Danko’s career in media has covered a lot of terrain. The constant along the way has been a fierce dedication to knowing the story and getting it right. Danko's work has appeared in Wired, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.