A 260-meter colossus with 107-meter long blades: the new Haliade-X wind turbine, General Electric’s new bet, will be developed in the next three years.
The offshore wind has taught us to dream big. In the last ten years, turbines have tripled their power, cut their foundations, tested cutting-edge materials and reached record heights.
The last wind giant to reach the sea is the 9 MW mega turbine created by MHI Vestas Offshore Wind, developed by the union of companies Danish Vestas and Japanese Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
As a prototype, this colossal wind turbine has successfully passed all the tests: in January 2017, thanks to its 80-meter-long blades, it operated for 24 consecutive hours generating 216 MWh.
But it is difficult for a growing industry to keep up. And breaking records for size or power has almost become an industry sport. The test is General Electric (GE) Haliade-X’s latest turbine, ready for development, a new offshore mega turbine with 12 MW of power. The American multinational will join the project, which will last 2 to 3 years, contributing some 400 million dollars. The goal is to create a 260-meter-high wind turbine with 107-meter-long blades. Each unit alone must be able to meet the electrical needs of 5,000 average homes.
“ We want to be leaders in the technologies that are driving the global energy transition ” – said John Flannery, president and CEO of the American company in a press release – “ and offshore wind energy is one of those technologies and we will all dedicate GE’s resources to make the Haliade-X program a success for our customers . “
The benefits for the industry are easy to predict: the higher the capacity of the machine, the fewer the number of turbines that will make up the offshore wind farm, which in turn means less investment in components and auxiliary systems, as well as a reduction on project risk and maintenance costs.
The multinational will move production to France through its subsidiary GE Renewable Energy, with the aim of presenting a demonstration in 2019 and making its way to the market by 2021.
For this reason, the company will invest around $100 million in a new manufacturing plant in Cherbourg, western France, and another $60 million over the next five years to modernize its production center in Saint-Nazaire.