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World's Largest Wind Turbine to Test Its Wings in Rotterdam

A prototype of GE's massive new wind turbine will be installed in the industrial area of Maasvlakte 2 in Rotterdam. GE Renewable Energy

Rotterdam's skyline will soon feature the world's largest and most powerful offshore wind turbine.

GE Renewable Energy announced on Wednesday it will install the first 12-megawatt Haliade-X prototype in the Dutch city this summer. Although it's an offshore wind turbine by design, the prototype will be installed onshore to facilitate access for testing.


EcoWatch has written about this giant machine before. At 853-feet tall, it's about three times the height of the Flatiron building in New York City. Its massive rotor diameter of 722 feet is roughly the tower height of San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge above water.

It's not only big, it's incredibly powerful. On its own, a single Haliade-X can generate enough power to supply 16,000 European households, GE touts, adding that a 750-megawatt wind farm configuration could produce enough power for up to 1 million homes.

Once it's up and running, the size and strength of the Haliade-X will surpass MHI Vestas' 9-megawatt turbines installed at Vattenfall's offshore wind farm off the coast of Aberdeen, Scotland.

Companies are investing in bigger and bigger offshore turbines that can capture more wind and produce more power. This is appealing for wind farm operators because fewer turbines can simplify operations and lower maintenance costs.

"In our fight against climate change we need a massive expansion of the number of windfarms at sea," Alderman Bonte, responsible for Rotterdam's Energy Transition, said in a press release. "We are delighted that GE has selected the Port of Rotterdam as the test location for the Haliade-X 12 MW, which is the largest wind turbine in the world and can therefore help us accelerate the clean energy transition."

GE's installation plans were struck with Future Wind, a joint venture between renewable energy consultant Pondera Development and SIF Holding Netherlands, which manufactures offshore foundations for wind turbines. The deal includes five years of testing and a 15-year full service operation and maintenance agreement.

This initial period of operations will enable GE to collect data needed for a Type Certificate, a "key step in commercializing the product in 2021," the company said.

"As we rapidly progress on assembling the Haliade-X prototype, this announcement is a critical step forward for GE and our customers," John Lavelle, VP and CEO of Offshore Wind at GE Renewable Energy, said Wednesday in the press release. "The port of Rotterdam has been a real partner and provides all the necessary conditions to test the Haliade-X in the most drastic weather conditions."

GE is investing $400 million to develop the Haliade-X turbine to help reduce the cost of offshore wind energy "in order to make it a more competitive source of clean, renewable energy," the company said.

This video illustration below shows how the turbine will appear in the industrial area of Maasvlakte 2 in Rotterdam:

GE Haliade-X offshore wind turbine prototype - English www.youtube.com

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