GE to Build World's Largest Offshore Wind Turbine
GE is planning to leapfrog ahead in offshore wind turbine R&D with the launch of a 12 MW unit. It would be about one third more powerful than the largest model on the market today, allowing developers to use fewer turbines, foundations and subsea cables for a windfarm of equivalent power. All of these elements are costly to build and install, and lowering capex requirements would lower the cost of power for the consumer.
GE's future Haliade X would generate nearly 70 GWh per year, based on wind conditions at a typical North Sea site off Germany. This is twice as much as the company's current top model and would be enough to power about 16,000 households per turbine. GE says that the next-generation turbine will be capable of generating more power at low wind speeds than anything else on the market.
GE estimates that the development of Haliade X will cost about $400 million, including a new $100 million blade factory in Cherbourg and a $60 million investment in its current Saint-Nazaire turbine factory. The first demo model will debut next year and the first commercial turbines should be available in 2021.
Most of the R&D work will be done in France, but GE says that Haliade X is a company-wide effort. GE's Onshore wind team is contributing its experience with 50,000 turbines in the field, and the project also draws on the blade expertise of LM Wind Power, the GE Power and GE Aviation engineers for reviews of component and systems design, the Global Research Center for control systems and component validation, and GE Digital for supporting digital modeling, analytics and app development.