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Close up - 3MW turbines and beyond

Windpower Monthly technical writer Eize de Vries looks at the trend for 3MW+ turbines and the role increased rotor blades have to play in this.

Siemens SWT-3.0-101 turbine
Siemens SWT-3.0-101 turbine

Until recently, the number of suppliers that offered 3 MW+ turbine models for land applications was limited to two: a Vestas V90-3.0MW and WinWinD's WWD-3.

Now an increasing number of leading wind turbine suppliers entered into this segment and it looks like it could be turning into a major wind industry trend.

In late 2009, Siemens erected a prototype of its lightweight SWT-3.0-101 direct drive prototype while Vestas recently designed a prototype of a new geared V112-3.0MW turbine.

A parallel trend is that rotor diameters increase faster than turbine rated power, an industry-wide strategy clearly aimed as a yield boosting measure. For example, around 2002/3 a 90-metre rotor was state-of-the-art in the 3MW class, today's rotor diameter range encompasses 100 - 116m.

Note that the difference in rotor swept area between a 90-metre and a 112-metre rotor is 55%.

Vestas quotes that for a common location with an annual average wind speed at hub height of 6.7 m/s the difference between a V90-3.0MW and V112-3.0MW in terms of energy production will be 38%.


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