WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
The larger the wind turbines the more electricity they generate and the cheaper they do it – making renewables even more affordable.
Renewable energy is now the world’s cheapest energy according to a new Bloomberg report, and as renewable energy projects get bigger, and renewable technology improves, with solar panels for example now having a pathway to being over 130 percent energy efficient compared to today’s paltry 20 percent, those costs are only going to fall further until eventually the cost of generating energy reaches zero or pretty much zero.
And when it comes to going bigger America’s first commercial scale offshore wind energy project have announced that they’ve decided to use GE’s colossal Haliade-X turbines, the world’s largest and most powerful. Standing 853ft, or 260m, high, which is as tall as an 85 story building, with a 722ft, or 220m, rotor, each one can power a home for two days with just one spin.
The Vineyard Wind 1 project, an 800 MW renewable energy project, will place a number of these monster turbines some 15 miles off the South coast of Martha’s Vineyard, an island off Massachusetts, to take advantage of the strong winds off the East coast of the United States where it’ll power about 400,000 houses in New England, expecting to become active sometime in 2023.
Each Haliade-X turbine is a self-contained 13 megawatt generator in its own right, capable of generating a staggering 67 gigawatt-hours annually under perfect conditions. And making them huge is key, not only do those 351ft, or 107m, long blades capture some 45 percent more energy than anything else on the market, it’s also more effective at lower wind speeds, making its output more predictable. Also, using fewer, larger turbines cuts down significantly on installation costs.
The world’s largest wind turbines standing over 40 storeys tall
However, while Vineyard Wind 1 might be the largest offshore wind project in America its 800 MW capacity lags far behind the world’s largest offshore wind project – the 3.6 gigawatt Dogger Bank project in the UK, which will use the same GE turbines. And how does that compare to onshore wind? Well, the world’s largest wind project overall is China’s Gansu wind farm, with a planned capacity of some 20 gigawatts – although according to The New York Times, political factors have rendered it “mostly idle.”
Come what may though with the China project, and as giant as these new wind turbines are, GE has plans for even larger wind turbines in the future after they recently perfected a way to 3D print the bases of their turbines, and bearing in mind that these monsters are already 85 storeys tall one can only wonder at how big they’ll be in ten, twenty, or even thirty years time!
Source: Vineyard Wind