In UK, World’s Biggest Wind Turbines Set New Standard

May 22, 2017


8 MW turbines. That’s a big machine, but not nearly the upper limit.
Offshore power coming of age is a real game changer. Big implications for more traditional power sources.

They are, of course, not American, we’ve given away that leadership.
Thanks climate deniers!


The planet’s biggest and most powerful wind turbines have begun generating electricity off the Liverpool coast, cementing Britain’s reputation as a world leader in the technology.

Danish company Dong Energy has just finished installing 32 turbines in Liverpool Bay that are taller than the Gherkin skyscraper, with blades longer than nine London buses. Dong Energy, the windfarm’s developer, believes these machines herald the future for offshore wind power: bigger, better and, most importantly, cheaper.


Each of the 195m-tall turbines in the Burbo Bank extension has more than twice the power capacity of those in the neighbouring Burbo Bank windfarm completed a decade ago. “That shows you something about the scale-up of the industry, the scale-up of the technology,” said Benjamin Sykes, the country manager for Dong Energy UK.

The project is the first time the 8MW turbines have been commercially used anywhere in the world, which Sykes hailed as a “very important milestone” for the sector.

Subsidies, friendly regulation and a maritime past have helped the UK install more offshore wind power than any other country in the world. Collectively they now have a capacity of 5.3GW, generating enough electricity to power 4.3m homes. Eight further projects already under construction will add more than half that capacity again.

But ministers have made it clear that the industry must keep cutting costs if the technology, the only large renewable energy source backed by the Conservatives, is to continue earning taxpayer support.

While a recent study showed the cost of offshore wind has fallen a third since 2012, a key litmus test will be the results of a government auction this summer for £290m of renewable energy subsidies.

“I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it comes in below (controversial nuclear station – Peter) Hinkley,” said Sykes of the prices offshore windfarms might reach, compared to £92.50 per megawatt hour that France’s EDF has been guaranteed for electricity generated by the nuclear power station it is building in Somerset. Previous offshore windfarm subsidy deals have cost well above £100 per megawatt hour.

“This and other projects have been crucial for driving costs down for the whole industry,” said Skyes, pointing to the Burbo Bank extension.

Building fewer but more powerful turbines like these is cheaper because each tower and its blades need a foundation, the “transition piece” that goes atop that, plus the cables to connect it to a nearby substation, and ongoing maintenance.

In Germany, Dong recently made waves when the electricity grid regulator approved its bid to build the world’s first subsidy-free offshore windfarm. While Skyes will not be drawn on when UK windfarms might do the same, he describes this one off Liverpool as “part of the journey to a zero-subsidy windfarm”.

Dong thinks that by the time that German windfarm begins construction, there will be turbines as powerful as 13MW or 15MW. “There’s every reason to think they will arrive,” said Sykes, although he acknowledged eventually they will hit a theoretical limit.

The majority of turbines in UK waters today are between 3.0MW and 3.6MW, with a smattering at 5MW to 7MW, but the Burbo Bank extension is a herald of things to come. Most of the 16 projects which have a planning green light but have not started construction yet will use turbines of at least 8MW.

Transparency Market Research:

Several developing countries have opened up a plethora of opportunities for the global offshore wind turbines market as the pressure of keeping the carbon emissions low is mounting each day. According to the research report, the global offshore wind turbines market is projected to be worth US$58,729.7 mn by the end of 2025 from US$29,418.9 mn in 2016. During the forecast period of 2017 and 2025, analysts estimate that the global market will surge at a (compound annual growth rate) of 7.7%.

As shallow- and deep-water spots being explored harness the potential for power generation from wind, they are likely to augment the growth of the floating wind turbines segment over the forecast period. Offshore floating turbines are advantageous over fixed structures in terms of the total cost incurred in installation and production. These wind turbines come with a floating platform to support the entire turbine structure. On the other hand, traditional offshore plants need fixing of foundations to the seafloor and bolting of massive turbines on them, which can hamper the ecology as well.

Several new, offshore, floating wind turbine projects are in the prototype phase for testing of their operational feasibility, particularly in India, China, South Korea, the Pacific Islands, and Japan. A floating platform and its turbine are entirely manufactured onshore. They are then towed out and tethered to the seafloor. Another advantage of the floating platform is that they can be identical in shape, which reduces the cost of customization.




5 Responses to “In UK, World’s Biggest Wind Turbines Set New Standard”

  1. Sir Charles Says:

    A single revolution of a turbine’s blades can power a home for 29 hours.

    [video src="" /]

  2. Gingerbaker Says:

    …“part of the journey to a zero-subsidy windfarm”.”

    Oh, huzzah!! Jolly good, that! Why would anybody possibly think that the government should spend a single dime to solve global warming? It’s not like it is the end of the world or anything, right?

    After all, there are football stadiums that need government subsidies. And lots and lots and LOTS of corporations that need tax breaks. Now THERE is some government spending that makes responsible sense.

    But subsidies for renewable energy? Are you effing crazy?!?

    • funslinger62 Says:

      While there is nothing wrong with the government subsidizing RE development, why do you think it’s not laudable to wish for a time when that RE becomes profitable enough to not need subsidies?

      The government cannot continue to keep adding subsidies without having older subsidies drop off as no longer necessary. Money is just as finite as FFs.

  3. webej Says:

    “cementing Britain’s reputation as a world leader in the technology. .. Danish company Dong Energy ”

    Sounds more like cementing Denmark’s reputation.

    I still consider it a tragedy that the Dutch have not become the world leader in this technology, with their heritage and windmill as a national symbol. The reason is that the government is too “Atlantic” oriented, with privatizations, lack of subsidies and plans, neo-liberal laissez faire type attitudes. Their Danish and German neighbours have been showing more vision; of course they don’t have free natural gas to rely on [known as the Dutch disease by economists].

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: