A unique, two-blade wind turbine that features a helicopter landing pad will soon be rising off the eastern coast of Scotland. Scottish energy minister Fergus Ewing announced this week that the Scottish government has approved the construction of the innovative 6 MW wind turbine at the Fife Energy Park in Methil, which will be located about 70 feet offshore. Scotland has set an ambitious goal of sourcing 100 percent of the country’s power from renewable energy, and the two-blade design will be part of a test to develop new offshore solutions.
The Netherlands-based wind company 2-B Energy is behind the two-blade concept; the company has been working on the design for several years, but the Scotland turbine will be the first one built. But why are two blades better than three? For one thing, fewer blades means fewer parts, and 2-B hopes that will translate to fewer repairs for the two-blade concept. And as for that helicopter landing pad, accessibility is one of the more difficult challenges associated with offshore wind farms.
As Herbert Peels from 2-B explained at the European Wind Energy Conference 2009, many offshore wind turbine designs are currently based on on-shore technology, which doesn’t make much sense, considering that noise and size constraints are different in the ocean than they are on land. So the company started from scratch and designed a new type of turbine that will be better suited to offshore use. 2-B had originally planned to build two prototypes off the coast of Scotland, but so far only this one has been approved.