The world’s longest offshore wind turbine blade has arrived at the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult’s testing facilities in Blyth, Northumberland.
The production of the 107-meter (351-foot) LM Wind Power blade represents a milestone for the wind industry, as it is the first wind turbine blade to surpass 100 meters in length. The blade is larger than the total wingspan of an A380 aircraft and is designed to operate from GE Renewable Energy’s Haliade-X 12 MW turbine, which is also the biggest to date.
The Haliade-X 12 MW is a multi-million investment designed to help reduce the cost of offshore wind installations. It features a 220-meter rotor and digital capabilities. The combination of a bigger rotor, longer blades and higher capacity factor makes Haliade-X less sensitive to wind speed variations, increasing predictability and the ability to generate more power at low wind speeds.
The Haliade-X can capture more annual energy production than any other offshore wind turbine even at low wind conditions, says GE. The 12MW turbine can generate 67 GW annually - enough clean power to supply 16,000 European households according to wind conditions on a typical German North Sea site. A 750MW Haliade-X 12MW wind farm, based on an estimated annual energy production, could produce enough power for up to one million households.
GE Renewable Energy plans to install the Haliade-X prototype in Rotterdam this summer and to ship the first commercial units in 2021. Earlier this year, Swedish utility Vattenfall announced plans to deploy the Haliade-X in future projects in Europe.