Over the past year a lot of new turbines have been developed for the low-medium wind segment. Predominantly these have been in or around the 3MW class, with new turbines from companies such as Nordex, Enercon, Vestas and GE. However these are largely targeted at the European market. In North America, the turbine of choice is usually in the 1.5-2MW segment, with GE's 1.6MW a leader over the last year.
Next year, Vestas is set to bring two new machines to the market — the V110-2.0MW and a new version of the V100-2MW. And although these two turbines will be available in Europe, the company is specifically looking to make and sell them in North America.
For Vestas, the last major launches in North America were three 2MW Gridstreamer models and new versions of the V100 series in 2011. Last year it launched the V100-2.0MW VCSS 60Hz turbine, with improvements including a larger nacelle and an integrated lubrication unit, which has just gone into full production.
The existing V100-1.8MW turbine, which was itself an upgrade to the V90-1.8MW, is one of Vestas most popular machines in North America. This was illustrated with the recent 300MW deal from EDF for a project in Canada, the company's largest in the country to date. But both will now be superseded by the two new turbines.
The V100 will be for IEC2B conditions and the V110 will be for IEC3A conditions, with the latter going up against GE's 1.6MW turbine. The machines will come with optional hub heights of 80 metres and 95 metres for the V100-2.0MW. The V110-2MW 50Hz will come in at 95 metres and 125 metres and the 60Hz version in 80 metres and 95 metres.
Speaking to Windpower Monthly, Vedel said: "Compared to the V90-1.8MW turbine, the V100-2.0MW has an annual energy production that's 12.4% higher. In low wind sites the V110-2.0MW will have an annual energy production that's 13.6% higher than the V100-1.8 MW. The V110 gives us a shift in our capability as it has a capital expenditure that is less than that of the other versions."
The structural shell blade design for the V110-2.0MW allows greater flexibility in terms of outsourcing manufacturing to third-party suppliers.
Additional flexibility comes through the use of a doubly-fed induction generator (DFIG) as opposed to the previous 2MW Gridsteamer range, which used permanent magnet generators (PMGs). Although the PMG is, as Vedel puts it, "a proven technology", problems producing them at the Vestas factory in Germany provided the company with a well-publicised headache and late deliveries last year.
Speaking about the change to DFIG, Vedel said: "[DFIG] keeps coming back, but the important thing is it gives us flexibility in new markets as it's so simple. Today we are outsourcing some of our generators, apart from the PMGs, though we have the capacity to produce the DFIG generators as well. PMG has a slightly lower load [compared to the DFIG] but when you measure the output it is the same."
Another innovation on the V110 is the deployment of the same structural shell blade design as is used on the V126-3.0MW turbine that came out last year. The V112 uses a box-spar and shell structure. Vedel said the shell blade design allows for greater flexibility in terms of bringing in external suppliers, although there are no immediate plans to outsource blade manufacturing for the V110. The company also said it required significantly less capital expenditure to produce.
The new range was highlighted by president of Vestas Americas Chris Brown, who said the turbines would take the company "into new areas where we haven't been competitive".
Vestas said the first prototype of the V110 would be installed in Q1 2014, with serial production planned for Q4 2014. The V100 will go into production in Q2 2014.