Danish wind power manufacturer Vestas has announced the launch of the world’s most efficient wind turbine, the V163-7.0MW. This huge windmill boasts a 7 megawatt (MW) capacity and a rotor diameter of 164 meters. Improving the commercial viability of renewable energy sources is central to pushing them up the energy supply chain and ultimately reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and offshore wind power projects in particular require substantial investment. The trick is to get as much bang for your buck as possible, and the V163-7.0MW does exactly that as each blade is as long as nine double-decker buses!
Vestas CEO Ditlev Engel says of the new turbine: “We are very pleased to be able to serve the market and show our commitment to the offshore wind industry by introducing our dedicated offshore turbine – the V164-7.0 MW. Seeing the positive indications from governments worldwide, and especially from the UK, to increase the utilisation of wind energy is indeed very promising. We look forward to this new turbine doing its part in making these political targets a reality.”
The innovative part of the new turbine is, along with a wide range of technical features, its size and consequently much increased energy capture. The rotor diameter is big enough to dwarf the EDF London Eye and each blade is so large a double-decker bus could drive right into one (until running out of headroom as each blade tapers at the end, obviously).
“We actually kept all options open from the start, running two separate parallel R&D development tracks; One focusing on direct drive and one on a geared solution. It soon became clear that if we wanted to meet the customers’ expectations about lowest possible cost of energy and high business case certainty we needed a perfect combination of innovation and proven technology and so the choice could only be to go for a medium-speed drive-train solution,” says Finn Strøm Madsen, President of Vestas Technology R&D on this particular design.
To put Europe’s wind energy market in perspective, in 2009, renewable energy and wind accounted for 7% and 2% respectively of energy production, compared with coal at nearly 25%. However by 2020 the 27 EU member states have agreed to grow total energy generated from renewables to 13%, and offshore wind power will be central to this plan.