WindMax: Monthly digest of wind turbine operating data -- March 2017

GERMANY/DENMARK: Windpower Intelligence, the data and research division of Windpower Monthly, has teamed up with the Imperial College Business School of London to analyse and publish the output and capacity factors of operating wind turbines in Germany and Denmark.

The 2.4MW Nordex N117 was one of the standout onshore models in March (pic: Jan Oelker/Nordex)
The 2.4MW Nordex N117 was one of the standout onshore models in March (pic: Jan Oelker/Nordex)

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Low winds drive down generation

A total of 12,366 onshore and offshore wind turbines with a combined installed capacity of 16,682MW, generating electricity across Germany and Denmark, contributed production output data for March. The average nameplate capacity for the machines in Denmark is 872kW. Those in Germany are more than twice as powerful, averaging 1.77MW.

Wind speeds right across northern and central Europe during March were slightly down on the historic average for the month, according to AWS Truepower's Wind Trends Bulletin. That is reflected in the respective capacity factor figures, with Denmark's turbines averaging 33%, well down on February's impressive 43%, and Germany's falling from 26% in February to 22% in March.

Siemens 3MW platform on top

As usual, Siemens' 3.6MW offshore turbine tops the capacity factor table, though the 48% average was significantly down on February's 60%. The first commercial project to deploy the MHI Vestas V164-8.0MW has now been fully commissioned, Dong Energy's 258MW Burbo Bank Extension, but the only models of this type reporting data remain the first two prototypes, installed onshore. Their average capacity factor during March was 37%.

The standout onshore turbines during the month were the Nordex N117-2400 and the Siemens 3MW platform. The Nordex machine's 36% capacity factor looks particularly impressive because all the units reporting data are based in Germany, mainly in small projects of four or five turbines.

The 2.4MW turbine has a rotor diameter of 117 metres and is designed for low and medium-wind conditions. Most have hub heights of 140 metres. Average output over the month was 647.8MWh, while productivity, rated in kilowatt hours per square metre of rotor area, was 60.46kWh/m2.

The direct-drive 3MW Siemens turbines reporting data are all installed in Denmark, again at small wind farms. All but a handful feature a rotor diameter of 101 metres, rather than the 108- and 113-metre options more recently introduced. And they are mounted on much lower towers than the Nordex turbines, for hub heights of 80-90 metres.

Average output during March was 840.7MWh, but productivity was 102.18kWh/m2, well ahead of the Nordex turbine, clearly reflecting the advantages enjoyed by a more powerful turbine in higher wind regimes.

GE's 2.5-120 turbine also reported good figures: average capacity factor of 31%, output of 578.9MWh, and productivity rated at 52.95kWh/m2. All reporting units are based in Germany, with hub heights up to 140 metres.

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