Alstom, meanwhile, has a 73.5-meter blade. It’s not on the water yet, but the company’s 6-MW Haliade 150 is atop a tower, turning in the breeze in France in a yearlong land-based test.
The only 6 MW turbines in operation at an offshore wind installation are at Thornton Bank, a site off the coast of Belgium, where the first of four dozen REpower 6M turbines was installed in March.
As you might expect with all these giant turbines going in, European offshore wind power capacity is booming. According to data for the first six months of the year just released by the European Wind Energy Association [PDF], capacity installation was up 50 percent this year compared to the same period last year, with 132 wind turbines totaling 523.2 MW in and connected to the grid. As of the end of June, Europe had 1,503 grid-connected offshore wind turbines in 56 wind farms across 10 countries, for a total capacity of 4,336 MW. That’s 4,336 MW more than the United States, by the way.