Turbine design

Larger, higher, quieter

Bernd Müller, 13 Oct 14
WindEnergy 2014 sent out a clear message: evolution, not revolution, is the order of the day. The trend is moving towards larger, customised turbines, but not necessarily higher capacities.

Top Trumps was once a popular children’s game: the car, the train and the lorry with the highest HP beat the weaker cards and won the “trick”. The person with the most cards at the end was the winner. Up until now, the wind sector’s key focus has been capacity, measured in megawatts (MW). And it has shot up in recent years: onshore turbines need a capacity of 3 MW – and even more when offshore – to stand a chance in Turbine Top Trumps.

In 2016/2017 major manufacturers plan to install 8-MW offshore turbines, which are likely to exceed the 10-MW limit by the end of the decade. WindEnergy in Hamburg seems to mark a turning point in this race, at least for onshore wind. At the fair, all renowned manufacturers showcased new wind turbines which have grown in size, but only moderately – if at all – in output. “Energy production costs are driving technological trends,” explains Jan Hagen, head of product management at Nordex.

This is an abridged version of the article – the full text is available in new energy issue 05/2014

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