Turbines of the year 2019: Onshore turbines up to 3.4MW

Still a high-volume sector, but one that western OEMs are eschewing in favour of higher-rated machines and the offshore sector, leaving China's turbine makers to dominate.

Goldwind’s GW150-2.8MW is designed for ultra-low wind speeds


GOLD Goldwind GW150-2.8MW

The Chinese manufacturer’s latest direct-drive model for IEC S ultra-low-wind conditions (6m/s) boasts a specific power rating of only 158W/m2.

According to Goldwind, it delivers 2,712 full-load hours at 5.5m/s, which translates to an annual energy production (AEP) of 6,780MWh.

The GW150-2.8MW is the latest addition to the firm’s 2.5S platform, which had a cumulative order backlog of around 6.4GW in Q1 2019.

Standard technology features of the compact drivetrain include a fully enclosed air-cooled in-house PMG with a nacelle-integrated heat exchanger and a single main bearing supporting both the generator and turbine rotors.

Unique to Goldwind, apart from Vensys, in the direct-drive sector is a low-maintenance toothed-belt drive for the individual pitch systems of each rotor blade.

Leading Chinese OEMs are increasingly combining a supersize rotor with a modest rating as they search for optimised configurations capable of fully exploiting the potential of low- and ultra-low wind speed markets.

These include large parts of China and other areas in the Asia-Pacific region, notably India. The GW150-2.8MW is initially focused on China, but may become available in other markets in the near future.


SILVER Envision EN156-3.3

Aimed at medium-wind speed conditions, the EN156-3.3 has a specific power rating of 173W/m2, which Envision says makes it a strong contender for zero-subsidy projects in north and south-west China.

A key characteristic is the cut-out at 25m/s wind speed with a re-cut-in at 20m/s, a control strategy to minimise standstill during gusty conditions and enhance generation at high wind speeds.

The latest 3MW platform has evolved from Envision’s mature 2MW series, comprising a drivetrain layout with a three-point gearbox support and DFIG in 50Hz/60Hz configurations.

A particularly innovative feature is three-level technology for the electrical power conversion. The increased generator output voltage — 690-950V — helps reduce transport-cable power loss down the tower.


BRONZE Vestas V120-2.2MW

Originally marketed with a 2.0MW rating and aimed at low- to medium-wind sites with high turbulence, Vestas’ V120 continues to be a top-seller in North America and other key markets.

The platform’s history dates back to 2000 with the launch of the V80-2.0MW and the global track record now encompasses over 23,000 units across 46 countries, making it the widest-applied turbine of this century.

All 2MW variants feature a classic non-integrated high-speed drivetrain with four-point gearbox support, a three-stage gearbox with one planetary stage and DFIG.

Particularly noteworthy is the combination of increased performance with a minimum increase in mass, enabling easy and economical transportation. The blade design is clever, too.