As the U.S. offshore wind arena continues to be 100 percent turbine-free, companies around the world are scaling up. Chinese turbine manufacturer Sinovel announced its mammoth 6-megawatt turbine will be used in a demonstration project in Shanghai's port. It will install 17 of the turbines, so "demonstration" actually means a pretty large wind farm, with a capacity of 102 MW.
Going big seems like a good choice when it comes to offshore wind power, where there are fewer constraints on the space they use. Cape Wind notwithstanding, NIMBY issues are similarly diminished, even with such huge structures.
Sinovel's is not the only 6 MW turbine around, though few are actually in operation at offshore wind farms. REpower Systems, bought by wind giant Suzlon in 2009, has a 6 MW turbine as well, as does Siemens. Last year, we wrote here about the real giant of wind turbines, Vestas's 7-MW V-164. The V-164 will clock in at a height of 135 meters with a rotor blade measuring 80 meters long. DONG Energy has said it will install as many as six of the Vestas turbines off the coast of Denmark in 2013.
Most of these huge turbines are still in demonstration or pilot phases, with the companies planning to start full-scale production in the next couple of years. This is welcome timing, as countries around the world look to expand offshore wind development. Even in the U.S., things are getting ever closer: today, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will make an announcement in Baltimore involving an improved permitting process for offshore wind development in Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and Virginia. The more power the merrier, so bring on the gargantuan turbines.
Image via Sinovel