GE turbines on tallest towers in the world (178 m!) go online

The banner reads: Four wind turbines instead of 30,000 tons of coal.

In Gaildorf, Germany, the first part of the pilot project for natural-energy storage supplies green energy with immediate effect. It starts with four wind turbines, which will produce wind power with a total nominal output of 13.6 MW. Another 16 MW from the integrated pumped storage power plant will be added at the end of 2018. The company and the community have so far been very positive on the project.

As of today, green electricity is flowing from Gaildorf, produced by the world’s highest wind power plant. A total of four turbines with hub heights of 155 to 178 meters were erected by Max Bögl Wind AG on the ridge near Gaildorf. “We are proud to be able to make an important step towards the success of the energy turnaround and to reduce CO2 emissions with this milestone,” says Josef Knitl, CEO of Max Bögl Wind AG, at the official commissioning event.

Construction time: 18 months for the wind turbines

It took just over one and a half years since the first cut of the spade until the first kilowatt-hour of wind power fed into the grid. Each year, the four turbines will generate more than 10 GWh of electricity each – enough for 10,000 four-person households. But the construction of the wind power towers and the connection to the power grid are only part of the overall project. At the end of 2018, the water battery – the so-called ‘Naturstromspeicher’ (natural energy storage) Gaildorf – will go online. This is a flexible short-term storage, consisting of pools in the tower foundations of wind turbines, a pumped storage power plant and a lower basin in the valley. If required, additional 70-megawatt hours (MWh), up to four hours of stored electricity, can be fed in and contribute to grid stability. The storage concept operates extremely flexible and can switch between electricity production and storage within 30 seconds, thus enabling a short-term adjustment to the needs of the electricity market.

A city committed to the project

Gaildorf Mayor Frank Zimmermann reviewed the last few years at the event: “In 2012, I got in contact with the project for the first time. It soon became clear to me: something new is being developed here, something unique so far. The use of wind power paired with state-of-the-art pumped storage technology as another important short-term storage for a successful energy turnaround – a convincing concept for me. During the entire planning and construction phase, the great added value of the natural-energy storage for man and nature was worked out with good and provable arguments and communicated transparently to the public.”

At the official inauguration, Thorsten Mack, project manager from the onshore wind division of GE Renewable Energy was on site. The company has delivered the GE 3.4 – 137 units to Gaildorf from its location in Salzbergen, Lower Saxony. They are based on the 3MW class platform and are extremely flexible and designed for a high energy output. Thorsten Mack was enthusiastic about the project in Gaildorf right from the beginning: “We are pleased to be involved in this unique project and to contribute to this great solution for environmentally friendly power generation with our wind turbines. The project is state-of-the-art from a digital perspective also – our turbines are equipped with software and analysis functions that are operated via our industrial internet cloud platform Predix. This guarantees the best possible operation of the plant and makes predictive maintenance reality.”

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