By Ari Phillips
On Tuesday the world’s largest and most powerful wind turbine swung into gear at the Danish National Test Center for Large Wind Turbines in Osterild, Denmark.
The prototype V164-8.0 MW wind turbine is 720 feet tall, has 260-foot blades and can generate 8 megawatts (MW) of power—enough to supply electricity for 7,500 average European households or about 3,000 American households.
A joint venture between Vestas and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the turbine is slated to go into production next year and was designed to take advantage of the growing offshore wind industry across Europe.
“We have now completed the production, testing, and installation of the V164-8.0 MW as planned, thanks to the team’s intense effort during a time when Vestas has reduced its investments and lowered fixed costs,” said Anders Vedel, chief technology officer for Vestas. “We now look forward to evaluating the turbine’s performance on site.”
According to the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), 418 offshore turbines came online last year, providing 1,567 MW of capacity. That brought the total offshore wind capacity in Europe to 6,562 MW with more than 2,000 turbines, enough to provide 0.7 percent of the EU’s electricity. EWEA estimates that by 2020 Europe’s offshore grid should have a capacity of 40 gigawatts and by 2030 it should have 150 gigawatts, enough to provide 14 percent of the EU’s electricity demand.
Britain has the most installed offshore wind capacity with 3.68 gigawatts (GW), while Denmark is a distant second with 1.27 GW.
Vestas is Europe’s second leading wind turbine manufacturer, after Siemens, a German company. As of last year, Vestas had installed 27 percent of Europe’s offshore wind turbines, or 547, compared to Siemens’ 1,249, or 60 percent.
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