Vestas reveals new high-wind turbine

DENMARK: Vestas has launched a new 3.3MW turbine for high-wind onshore sites, aimed at markets with tip-height restrictions such as the UK and Ireland.

The new turbine is based on the V112-3MW model

The V105-3.3MW is based on the company's existing medium-wind model, the V112-3MW, with the same nacelle, hub and drive train.

The shorter 51.5-metre blades are also developed from the same technology as the 55-metre blades from the V112.

Chief technology officer, Anders Vedel, said: "The geometry and characteristics of the blade will be the same. The same mould will be used, but it will be shorted with a block in the end that allows us to make the shorter blade.

"With a smaller rotor, this will allow it to deal with the higher stress it will experience, without any other changes needed to the turbine. It will be fully certified for high-wind sites."

Vedel also confirmed that Vestas is working on upgrading the V112 with a 3.3MW generator. A 117-metre rotor version is currently being developed.

Vestas is confident there is a market for this turbine. Vedel said: "The UK government predicts the onshore wind capacity will increase by 3.5-5.5GW by 2020, and around two thirds of wind farms in the UK must meet the tip-height restriction of 127 metres. So this turbine is well placed to take advantage of this."

He added that the inclusion of a built-in full-scale convertor makes it fully compliant with the UK and Irish grid, saying: "To my knowledge this is one of the only turbines of this type to include that."

Previously, the V90-3MW had been a best seller in the UK for Vestas, but the company claims that the new turbine will have an annual energy production which is 22% higher.

"We will still produce the V90 when customers want it, but I would see the new turbine taking over the majority of the market,' said Vedel.

A prototype of the new turbine will be installed in the second quarter of 2014 in Hovsore, Denmark, with the first delivery expected to be available at the end of the year.

In October 2012, Vestas' chief sales officer Juan Araluce said that the company would focus largely on the development of low-to-medium-wind onshore products.

But Vedel maintained that this turbine does not represent a u-turn: "This in not a change in policy; we will still be focusing on strengthening our low-to-medium wind portfolio. This is to maintain our competitiveness in the high-wind sector."

The turbine will be installed on a 72.5 metre tubular steel tower.