The 10 Biggest Turbines in the World
As wind energy pushes to reduce the cost of energy, manufacturers have increasingly sought to increase the size of turbines. Economically, and environmentally, it makes good sense. A study by Swiss and Dutch Scientists, led by Marloes Caduff from ETH Zurich’s Institute of Environmental Engineering, showed that the larger the turbine is, the greener the electricity. This effect was due both to size of the turbine as well as the learning and experience gained with the technology over time.
Many of the turbines here have been developed over the last two years, the exception being the Enercon E126. More are undoubtedly on the way but still only exist on paper, such as Vestas' V164 7MW. All of the turbines here exist, even if they are not commercially available yet.
The majority of the turbines on this list are designed for the offshore market. But the big daddy of all wind turbines, Enercon's E126 7.5MW, is purely designed for the onshore sector. The initial 6MW second-generation Enercon E-126, introduced in 2007, featured a concrete tower with a 135-metre hub height, and segmented steel-composite hybrid blades with a 127-metre rotor diameter. It also holds a 12-metre diameter generator. Around 34 E-126 units are operational.
While there are numerous 6MW prototypes in existence, Repower's 6.15MW onshore/ offshore turbine is currently the largest turbine installed on the open sea. The turbine aims to build on the success of its 5MW predecessor, one of the largest when launched in 2004 and used in a number of North Sea and Irish Sea projects such as the 150MW Ormonde wind farm. The turbine's rotor width is 126-metres while offshore the tower height is between 85-95 metres.
Siemens’ 6MW offshore machine only exists as an onshore prototype, but it is set to have the world's largest blade at 75-metres long. It is the follow-up to arguably the most successful wind turbine, the SWT 3.6 120. Siemens have got off to a good start with the turbine, signing a 1.8GW €2.9 billion deal with Dong Energy. The machine has a lot to live up to, as its predecessor the SWT 120 3.6 is generally regarded as the best turbine in the offshore sector.
Sinovel's SL6000 6MW turbine is currently being tested in China, and is the country's largest wind turbine. The turbine has a 128 metre diameter rotor. It has been tested at -45 degrees Celsius, and a wind speed of 62.5 metres per second. It also has the low-voltage ride-through capacity, a necessity for installation in Chinese wind farms. The machine is descended from the SL5000, which is also being tested.
Another one of a number of 6MW offshore wind turbines, Alstom's Haliade is currently being tested in France. Prior to Siemens' 75-metre blade, the Haliade held the record with its 73-metre blades co-developed with LM Wind Power. The turbine, which is already set to form the bulk of France's 3GW offshore programme, uses a direct-drive permanent-magnet generator with a 7.5-metre diameter and has been installed Carnet in the Loire-Atlantique region. It will undergo a series of tests over the next year before a second turbine is installed in Belgian waters.
6. Areva M5000
The Areva M5000, in theory at least, is one of the oldest turbines on this list. Originally developed by Aerodyn in the late-90s the 5MW machine is one of the few offshore turbines on this list that is in use commercially (at the Alpha Ventus project in the German North Sea). Last year, the Areva announced it was upgrading the turbine's rotor from 113-metres to 136-metres. It is set to be used on one of the French offshore projects in the English Channel.
7. Bard 5MW
Independent manufacturer/ project developer Bard installed its first turbines in 2008 off the island of Borkum in the North Sea. Since then it has installed a large part of the 400MW project, although the company itself appears to be in difficulty and is looking for a buyer. Featuring a 122-metre rotor diameter, the Bard 5.0's box-type nacelle is 14 metres long, 8.5 metres wide and 8 metres high. However, the company's in difficulty at the moment and has been put up for sale by its Russian owner.
8. XEMC 5MW
Chinese manufacturer XEMC installed the first prototype of this offshore turbine last year. Like many Chinese turbine, the bulk of the design comes from Europe - in this case Darwind in the Netherlands.The turbine wind rotor is 100 metres above the ground and blades measure 115 metres in diameter. It is set to be the first Chinese turbine to be installed in European waters (a project off the Swedish coast). It is also rumoured to be installed on the US Fishermen's Energy offshore project on the US east coast.
9. Gamesa G10X
Gamesa's G10X 4.5MW turbine is an onshore machine, although the platform is also being used for a 5MW offshore version. The G10X has a 136-metre rotor and is essentially designed for low wind sites, making it the largest turbine for that classification. Launched in 2011, the swept area is 14,527metres-squared, an 13% improvement on its flagship turbine, the G128-4.5. The G136 also uses Gamesa’s segmented blade design.
10. GE 4.1-113
GE's 4.1MW offshore turbine is currently being tested in Gothenburg harbour. The turbine is essentially a return to offshore for GE after ditching the sector back in 2003. Developed from technology acquired from Scanwind, the direct drive turbine has a 113-metre rotor. Despite being smaller than a number of upcoming next generation turbines, such as Alstom's Haliade, GE believes the solid track record inherited from its predecessor will mean the machine's availability and output will compare favourably with the competition. However, it is unlikely the machine will go into production with GE believed to be favouring a larger capacity turbine.
Proposals Manager. The Netherlands Proposals Manager. The Netherlands Viridium Associates Netherlands
Tender Manager. The Netherlands Tender Manager. The Netherlands Viridium Associates Utrecht (stad)
Wind Analyst Wind Analyst ERSG South West England
Electrical Commissioning Engineer - GERMAN SPEAKER REQUIRED! - Germany Electrical Commissioning Engineer - GERMAN SPEAKER REQUIRED! - Germany ERSG Germany
Project Manager - Vessels - Offshore Wind - CONTRACT - UK based Project Manager - Vessels - Offshore Wind - CONTRACT - UK based ERSG North West