Lowering the cost of energy in relation to offshore wind is essential for the industry. Some of the major stepping stones in achieving this are size and subsequent increased energy capture, which means a need for much bigger turbines that are specifically designed for the challenging offshore environment. Companies are taking steps in improving offshore models. For example, Vestas has introduced its V164-7.0 MW off shore turbine.
The turbine has a wide range of technical features and is larger in size for increased energy capture with a medium-speed drivetrain. “We actually kept all options open from the start, running two separate parallel R&D development tracks,” says Finn Strøm Madsen, president of Vestas R&D. “One focuses on direct drive and one on a geared solution. It soon became clear that if we wanted to reach lowest possible cost of energy and high business case certainty we needed a combination of innovation and proven technology, so the choice could only be to go for a medium-speed drivetrain.”
According to Anders Søe-Jensen, president of Vestas offshore, the offshore wind market is set to really take off over the coming years, but more so in some parts of the world than in others. “We expect the major part of offshore wind development to happen in the Northern part of Europe, where the conditions at sea are particularly rough,” he says. “Based on our offshore experience we have designed the 7.0-MW model to provide the highest energy capture and reliability in this rough and challenging environment. This makes our new turbine a good choice for many projects, such as UK Round 3 building.”
Based on the potential market size, the company will target Europe and primarily the Northern European markets with its new turbine. However, should market demand require so, Vestas is also prepared to take the turbine to other parts of the world. Construction of the first V164-7.0 MW prototypes is expected in Q4 2012. Serial production is set to begin in Q1 2015 provided a firm order backlog is in place to justify the substantial investment needed to pave the way for the V164-7.0 MW.
Filed Under: Turbines